Walking around in public with a white, traditionally styled poodle means I'm often approached by dog groomers (probably wanting to get my business) These groomers generally lament that most, if not all their clients, request that their poodles NOT be clipped so as to look like poodles. I get that. I didn't really love their aesthetic but careful research nonetheless taught me the poodle breed is the exact right one for us, so that's what we got - and a white one to boot!
So I figure, I've got it, may as well flaunt it. Why pretend he's something other than he is so my family is quite used to seeing him "clean shaven" around his face feet and tail and they've watched with reserved acceptance as he's variously sported a moustache, short, shaved ears, been close cropped and covered in curls as well as fluffy to the max.
Last Friday, however, when the "troops" came home there was all out disgust at my latest efforts. My first attempt to "Set" a bonafide pattern - in this case, a modern take on the "Dutch" clip - a look that I understand was almost the universal poodle clip of the 1940's and 50's.
The modern version trends away from the super puffy legs used in those days to evoke traditional Dutchmen's Trousers but maintains the idea of the Dutchmans' "jacket" and "pants"...
The pattern is set by clipping lines according to the relative position of "landmarks" of the poodle's body - rib cage, hip bones, shoulders etc. then tweaking them to make the dog look like an ideal specimen - fooling the eye where necessary. Finally once its all set, the edges are bevelled using sheers and the overall length of the full sections hand scissored to 1" all over to give that signature poodle puff ball appearance.
The impression should be that dog is squarely built, elegant, smart and well proportioned.
In my view, further to that, the dog should feel great all clean and free of his heavy winter "wear". I easily took >3" of length off his upper body. It kept him comfortable during hours of walking with nothing extra on but his collar while I was swathed in knits and down this past frigid winter. Now, though, one of the great things about the poodle is, we can "change" his outfit to something that better suits the season.
Just check out that poodle smile - whatever the others say, I know he feels good and he's happy. (BTW except sometimes right at the end he's generally pretty happy while I'm clipping him too - there's no place on earth where he gets more or better treats than when he's on the grooming table!)
Tonight at Obedience Class we'll see a couple of groomers who have poodles of their own - there will be scrutiny for me but liver and salmon treats for Hudson so probably more poodle smiles too!
Thanks for dropping by!