Depending on how you look at it, having a longhaired dog can feel either like a hairstylist’s dream or like an at-home groomer’s nightmare. Your tolerance level for daily brushings and frequent baths probably leans you more one way or the other.
If you’re willing to put your dog’s style in the hands of the local groomer (or if you’re exceptionally brave with the scissors), you can go to town on your longhaired dog’s coat and turn it into a work of living, moving art.
If you’re ready to give your dog’s style a change, head to the groomer (or the bathroom, if you know what you’re doing) with one of these longhaired ideas in mind.
1. Show Dog Style
If you’re raising a show breed, you can always default to the AKC’s standard for your dog. By following a set of guidelines, there’s far less room for error, even if your dog doesn’t frequent any actual shows.
AKC standards often leave the dog’s hair long and flowing, or as close to its natural state as possible, while maintaining a clean and trimmed appearance.
A maltese with a standard cut, for example, would have silky hair that flows all the way to the floor. With that comes maintenance, regular brushing and probably lots of hair ties if you want to help them see. If you’re up to the task, though, the style is adorable.
2. Westie Cut
This style isn’t just for small dogs. Your large breed can sport it, too.
The Westie cut, which is normally seen on West Highland terriers, is simple and clean. The hair around most of the body is trimmed to about 2 inches in length, is slightly shorter around the neck and hangs down just a touch lower around the stomach in a “skirt” fashion.
3. English Saddle
If your dog has curly, wiry hair — like that of a poodle — the English saddle is a style worth considering. Fair warning: There’s a bit of upkeep that comes with this ‘do. If your dog is the stand-out type, though, it might suit them perfectly.
The AKC recognizes this style for poodles, so you might have seen it if you’ve ever watched a dog show.
With this cut, the dog’s face and neck are trimmed close, while the chest and torso area are left long (the hair sort of poofs out). Throughout the rest of the body, spots on the tail, legs and back are trimmed short. This gives the appearance of pom-poms all over the dog.
4. Puppy Cut
If you want to keep things a bit more tame, a puppy cut might be the perfect go-to style.
In simple puppy cuts, the hair is trimmed relatively short around the head, feet and tail. The rest is left longer but still kept clean and “shaped” around the dog’s body.
Puppy cuts are great when you want your dog to look freshly groomed but aren’t necessarily ready to go all-in with a “show” style. With this grooming idea, your dog will keep their youthful look. Plus, the maintenance on your part won’t be overwhelming.
5. Lion Cut
The lion cut — it’s hard to miss. And adorable. If you really want to make a statement and gather a ton of attention, the lion cut might be the ultimate longhaired style.
As you might expect, a lion cut leaves most of the dog’s hair short but keeps long fur around the neck and head, giving the appearance of a mane.
Surprisingly, this cut has been around for quite some time, and not just as a cute style. Instead, it came about to serve a specific purpose for working dogs who were routinely in and out of waist-deep water. The short hair around their bodies let them move through the water easily, and the thick fur around their necks served to keep them warm.
Whether the style you choose serves a functional purpose or just gives your dog a cute new look, head to the groomer with as many details as you can to ensure the perfect outcome.