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When Should a Poodle Puppy Get Their First Haircut? (Standard, Mini, and Toy)

Reviewed and Fact-Checked by Veterinarian Charlotte Stiles (DVM)


Poodles are notorious for their stunning and lively coats of hair. This dog breed is proud but highly intelligent and enjoys showing off what they know.

Standard Poodles grow to be about 15 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 40 to 70 pounds. This dog breed can live for around 18 years with the right amount of diet and exercise.

when should a Poodle puppy get their first haircut
When should a Poodle puppy get their first haircut? (Standard, Mini and Toy)

Miniature Poodles are shorter at 10 inches tall and weigh no more than 15 pounds. These dogs also live to be 18 years old.

Toy Poodles are slightly different than their Standard and Miniature counterparts. Toy Poodles are highly intelligent but pride themselves on their agility and confidence. These dogs are shorter than 10 inches and weigh around six pounds.

short haircut of black Poodle
The black Poodle with his new short haircut. (Image: Instagram/@milothebabyboy)

(Learn about all the 7 different types of Poodles)

Regardless of which type of Poodle you choose, they will need a haircut at some point, and the first haircut is the most precious! This milestone in your Poodle puppy’s life is a big one, and you’ll want to support them through the process. Luckily, we’re here to help you do just that! 

What Age Should Your Poodle Puppy Get a Haircut?

Poodles have fast-growing hair. Regardless of the Poodle type, their hair may come in strong and rapidly start taking over. Your puppy may seem small, but they may be ready for their first haircut when they are between 12 and 15 weeks old.

Poodle in a raincoat being held by man in a raincoat
Man in a raincoat hugs a Poodle also in a raincoat!

Before 12 weeks, your Poodle puppy may not be ready to be away from its mother or usual living space for long periods. Even something as short as a haircut may cause your puppy stress and make them develop a negative association with grooming.

Since Poodles have to be groomed often, it’s best to make sure that the experience is as welcoming and easy as possible. 

messy hair Toy Poodle
A Toy Poodle with its messy hair. (Image: Instagram/@milothebabyboy)

You can decide the best time for your Poodle puppy’s first haircut by looking at how long their hair is and if its length impacts their daily functioning. Here are some signs that your Poodle puppy needs a haircut:

  • Their hair is in their eyes.
  • Their fur smells bad after they relieve themselves.
  • They show signs of discomfort due to their hair.
  • They scratch excessively.

Poodle Puppy Milestones

There are a few different milestones that puppies reach. Once they have reached some specific developmental stages, they’ll be ready for more complicated activities like visiting the groomer. 

red poodle puppy on vibrant green grass
Miniature red Poodle playing on a vibrant green lawn.
Stage of DevelopmentAgeCharacteristics
Stage One: Neonatal 0-2 weeksOnly senses of taste and touch are present; puppies rely totally on their mother.
Stage Two: Transitional2-4 weeksPuppies will develop their senses and grow teeth. They will also begin to interact with the world and develop personality.
Stage Three: Socialization3-12 weeksPuppies will begin interacting with things more frequently and do most of their learning. This is the stage where they often go home to their new owners (~8 weeks).
Stage Four: Testing3-6 monthsPuppies begin testing boundaries and determining what they are allowed to do. This is the best time to begin training if you haven’t already.
Stage Five: Adolescence6-18 monthsDuring this time, your puppy will be transitioning to adulthood. Keep training your puppy through this period to reduce negative behaviors, and allow them to get plenty of exercise.

You should wait until at least Stage Three to take your puppy to the groomers, but it may be best to wait until Stage Four when their personality has developed and you will know how they may react to an unfamiliar situation.

They will also be more receptive to changes in routine at this age. 

Why You Should Groom Your Puppy Frequently?

Grooming and hygiene are vital parts of keeping your dog healthy and happy. If your Poodle puppy is dirty or has matted hair, bacteria, bugs, or pests may make homes out of your pet’s coat.

white Poodle on the floor
A white Poodle is not feeling well lying on the floor.

You can reduce the risk of infections, scratches from excess itching, and bacteria buildup by brushing your puppy’s coat regularly. Veterinarians also recommend treating your dog for ectoparasites (such as fleas and ticks) which can affect the condition of your pup’s skin and coat.

Teaching your puppy to be calm around grooming tools may take time and practice, but can significantly reduce the risk of a negative experience with fleas or other pests. Grooming your puppy can also assist in potty training and ensuring that they remain clean after relieving themselves.

How To Train Your Puppy For Grooming?

Training your Poodle puppy for grooming means getting them comfortable with the tools and keeping them calm. Your puppy must feel entirely comfortable with you to participate in the grooming training process.

white Poodle puppy sitting
A white Poodle puppy sits and seems like it needs grooming.

Begin by introducing your Poodle puppy to the tools you’ll use for grooming. Ensure your scissors are closed and let your dog sniff them while they remain in your palm. Make sure your clippers are unplugged and allow your dog to sniff them.

When your puppy gets used to these tools, you can turn on the clippers. The sound may be loud or jarring to your puppy, so allow them some time to adjust before you bring the devices closer.

Poodle got a treat
The Poodle got a toy as treat for good behavior. (Image: Instagram/@logan_the_poodle_)

Repeat this introductory process several times over two weeks to give them time to understand the tools and their noises. Reward them with treats and praise for good behavior, which will associate grooming tools with positive reinforcement. 

Everything You Need To Groom Your Poodle

If you opt for home grooming, you’ll need some specific tools. These tools include nail trimmers, nail files, hair clippers, scissors, and towels for bathing. You may also use a puppy wash or dog shampoo.

grooming tools for dogs
It is cost-effective to groom your dogs at home with your own grooming tools.

To learn tips and tricks, a book on grooming is a worthwhile resource to have on hand. 

If you bring your Poodle puppy to a professional groomer, you won’t need any tools. However, you may want to bring training treats to help your puppy understand what you expect of them and what you want them to do. This can also give them something familiar in the room and remind them of the positive reinforcement they received earlier. 

How Often Should You Bathe and Groom Your Poodle?

Your Poodle may need more frequent baths as a puppy, especially if they are messy eaters. However, as they get older, your Poodle will become more aware of how they eat, what they need, and how to potty without making a mess on themselves.

a very wet poodle in a bath
A very wet Poodle puppy during bathtime

How often your poodle needs bathing or grooming, depends what they’ve been up to and how dirty they are.

“Only bath your pup if it’s really necessary, as over-bathing them can cause problems for their skin and coat.”

Veterinarian Dr Charlotte Stiles (DVM)

Signs Your Poodle Needs Grooming

Poodle puppies may need more grooming than adult Poodles. However, many signs can clue you in that it may be time for a trim, clip, or cut.

can Poodles live outside
Can Poodles live outside?

When To Seek Professional Grooming Services?

Grooming services are ideal for busy pet owners or those who don’t have time or patience to train their Poodle puppy to be patient during grooming services.

groomer holding poodle ears
A groomer holding the Poodle ears.

Your Poodle puppy may be scared of the clippers or other tools you use, which can make trimming your Poodle difficult. Additionally, your Poodle puppy may need grooming more often than you can handle.

Professional groomers see dozens of dogs every day and your Poodle is only one of many anxious dogs who walk in. Seek out a professional groomer if you struggle to train your Poodle to accept grooming sessions or are too busy to get it done yourself.

You may also want to see a professional groomer if you’ve tried to groom your Poodle and accidentally hurt them or clipped them. Your Poodle may fear trimming or other grooming from you if you’ve caused a small cut or pulled too hard on their hair. 

Using a professional grooming service can help your Poodle remain calm during grooming, as the groomers have special training in keeping dogs calm and making the grooming process as easy and painless as possible. 

Final Thoughts

There is plenty of information you should know as a Poodle-owner. Although it can be a challenge to take care of your Poodle’s hair, it can also be rewarding.

You can keep your Poodle puppy looking their best by helping them get comfortable with grooming and bathing as soon as possible.

No matter what you decide to do with your Poodle’s hair, make sure that you’re keeping your dog’s comfort in mind! While it may be fun to keep them fluffy, heat can make a thick coat dangerous for a Poodle.

They might not like having lots of hair, so a good grooming session is essential to keep your Poodle looking and feeling their best!