The Clean Feet Poodle: Why are they Shaved?

Should I shave my Poodle’s feet is just one of the more complex questions you’ll find yourself asking as a Poodle owner. You’ll only have to glance at Google to realize hundreds of other owners have asked exactly the same question. If nothing else, this shows it’s a legitimate question and it’s right to raise it.

So, just why do people shave their Poodle’s paws? Are there any real benefits or is it all about the Poodle look? We aim to tackle this subject in some depth and explore the pros and cons of having clean-shaven paws for your pooch. We also look at the origins of the so-called clean feet and how this became a trend.

Clean feet are easier to keep free from dirt and other debris. When the hair on the paws becomes long it can attract mud, grass, and thorns which can be uncomfortable. Achieving the clean feet Poodle look is quite difficult if you are not experienced. It can be best to have this done professionally.

Keep reading if you aren’t sure whether you’d like your Poodle to have clean feet. There are pros and cons and we will provide you with a step to step guide for achieving this look.

Why are Poodles Shaved?

Poodles are renowned for their curly coats which are often very stylish haircuts. It’s not all about achieving that typical Poodle look though – it’s often much more to do with ease of maintenance.

Keeping a Poodle shaved keeps their coats healthy and stops those knots from forming. Poodles need regular grooming to keep those curls at bay and shaving certain areas is all part of their care routine.

Take a look at our sister article what does a Poodle look like without a haircut to learn more about the history of the Poodle cut and why we shave them.

The Origins of The Clean Feet Poodle

Poodles were originally bred as water retrievers who fetched prey for their owners. It’s believed their hair was kept short to help them swim better and to stop them from getting tangled in debris from the water.

This same theory explains the clean feet idea – although back then it wasn’t such a close shave as they had to use the tools, they had available.

Why Do Poodle Feet Need Shaving?

You might now understand the practical reasons for shaving your Poodle, but their feet as well, is this necessary? It’s true that some Poodle owners prefer to keep their hair around the paws long as part of their overall look. However, it’s much more common for Poodles to also have their feet shaved regularly.

Keeping the hair around the paws as short as possible stops the feet from attracting dirt and other debris. Sometimes grit or mud can collect in the hair around the paws and can be uncomfortable for the pooch.

Poodles love nothing more than a good walk and they are naturally inquisitive which will often take them off the main track. It’s on walks they are most likely to get dirt stuck to their coats. They might also stand on a thorn or other foreign object, and it will be much easier to see any potential injuries if they have clean feet.

Sometimes, Poodle owners may let the hair around the feet grow longer during colder spells in the weather. This helps keep them warmer on walks when it’s snowy or icy outside. During hot spells though, your Poodle will be much more comfortable with short hair. As an added bonus, if your Poodle is particularly adventurous, it can limit the amount of mud that is traipsed through your home!

How Do You Shave Poodle Feet?

Most Poodle owners will opt to have their dog professionally groomed by someone who knows what they are doing. This is the best option if you aren’t confident that you can do the job properly yourself.

However, some do take on the task themselves by following online tutorials. Grooming your dog can be tricky and keeping them still enough is a task all on its own. It’s important your dog becomes used to the grooming routine right from the word go so that they feel at ease.

Follow our how-to guide for achieving the clean feet Poodle:

  • Grooming the feet is not an easy process and it’s important you select the right size blade for the task.
  • You also need to be aware of the direction the hair is growing and therefore, the direction to cut in.
  • Be sure the paw is clean and free from dirt before you begin.
  • Blade size may differ depending on if your dog is a show dog. It is important to use the correct size blade. The higher the blade number the closer the shave will be.
  • Some believe that lighter-colored Poodles are more prone to skin irritations after clipping so be mindful of this. In these situations, you might be best using a blade so that is not quite such a close shave.
  • Keep away from between your Poodle’s toes, the webbed part. You don’t need to do anything there as it’s a very delicate area of skin.
  • Start with the hair on top of the paws as this will get quite thick when left to grow.
  • Use the corner of the hair trimmer and move in upward strokes moving from left to right.
  • You can then use your spare hand to separate the toes so you can shave the hair next to the toes. Again, keep away from the webbing.
  • For the more stubborn hair around the dog’s nails, you can pull it taught with one hand and trim with the other.
  • A good trick for avoiding the webbing is to place your spare finger over it so you don’t get too close.
  • Should your Poodle become agitated or restless then stop for a few minutes before starting again. Standing on three legs doesn’t come that naturally to dogs!
  • You then need to move onto the underpart of the dog’s paws and again trim the long hair away.
  • Separate the toes to remove those long hairs that can be more stubborn.
  • You should then shave the hair above the large paw pad so that it matches the other side of the paw.
  • You can then assess how evenly cut it is all around the foot and if necessary, make further clips.
  • You can then brush the cuffs back down and your Poodle now has lovely clean feet.

Take a look at our ultimate guide to Poodle feet to learn even more.

Are There Any Cons to Having Clean Feet?

We’ve covered the reasons why Poodle owners opt for the clean feet method but are there any reasons not to shave their feet? Well, you might be tempted to keep those paw hairs longer during the cold season as it provides extra heat. Also, if your Poodle suffers from itching or other skin issues then it might not be in their best interests either.

Grooming was once a practical process for the purpose of much of their time being spent in the water. These days, it’s more a cosmetic decision so it’s really only one you can make. If you have a nervous dog, then you might find the task is too stressful for all involved. In this case, you can just use scissors and trim the fur instead. Some Poodle owners feel extra hair on the feet provides more protection against the harsh outside environment.

Clean feet or hairy feet – the decision is entirely yours to make. It’s worth remembering that Poodle hair is very curly and thick making it quite easy to become knotted. Grooming on some level is definitely a requirement as a Poodle owner – the question is, how far do you want to take it?