Teddy Bear Cuts, Styles, and Trims – Master Groomer Explains

What is a Teddy Bear Cut?

That is the question of the day. The truth is – there is no right answer.

There are no definitive instructions that clearly state THIS is a teddy bear cut.

A teddy bear trim essentially means we’re trying to mimic the look of a cute teddy bear. How that is achieved completely depends on the dog and the groomer.

Each Groomer Has Their Own Style

My teddy bear cut is generally 3/4” all over the body, with a rounded head, rounded muzzle, and carefully trimmed paws.

But that could change depending on the dog’s coat type, the state of their coat, and the breed.

Side note: 3/4” sounds really short, but you may be surprised how much coat that leaves.

When I spoke to some of my groomer friends, they each had their own take on the teddy bear. Some kept the coat and head longer, some shorter.

Each Breed Has Their Own Style

Going even further – teddy bear cuts look different on each breed.

My Shih Tzu teddy bear is going to look a lot different from my Poodle teddy bear. We’ll go deeper in comparing breeds later.

What Is Different About a Teddy Bear haircut?

The main difference compared to other styles is the coat length. A teddy bear is essentially a uniform coat length with rounded features.

Achieving the uniform look requires careful hand scissoring technique.

It also requires more work to maintain at home. And due to the time and skill involved, it can be one of the more expensive grooms.

Comparing a Puppy Cut

A Puppy Cut is in the same vein as the Teddy Bear. It’s a vague style that doesn’t have a specific set of instructions.

What owners are asking for is to mimic how their dog looked as a puppy.

Again, it depends on the breed. But that usually means a uniform length all over and short ears and muzzle.

Comparing a Kennel Cut / Summer Cut

A Kennel Cut is a little more instructive.

This is a typical shave down​. Generally with​ ​1/2 inch of hair or less left on their body. ​These are a favorite since ​kennel cuts are inexpensive, easy to maintain, and can look very stylish​.

Comparing Teddy Bear Cuts With Different Breeds

Let’s take a quick look at what a teddy bear groom may look like between different breeds.

Here we have a Pomeranian, Yorkie, and Shih Tzu.

Notice how each one looks different depending on their coat type..


Some things are always consistent – a uniform length with a round head and round paws. But each coat type presents us with different challenges.

Important Note: A single breed can have multiple coat types.

What Breeds Can Get a Teddy Bear?

Because there is no definitive teddy or puppy cut, pretty much any dog that receives haircuts can get some form of this trim.

Some coat types require more frequent grooming to maintain their look.

How to Care for Your Dog’s Teddy Bear Cut

Teddy bears are longer in length and therefore require regular upkeep from their owners.

  • Brush your dog’s coat daily or every other day to prevent mats and tangles
  • Wash your dog’s face with a damp cloth or wipes to keep it clean and prevent tear stains
  • Take your dog to a professional groomer every 4 to 6 weeks

The biggest issue with longer trims is matting and tangles.

It’s easy to miss hidden tangles on the body. And once they tighten, they’re almost impossible to comb out.

The best way to reduce matting is through prevention. Brush out your dog and get right down to the skin (without irritating the skin).

Two adorable Poodle dogs sitting together on white color background.

How Groomers Give a Teddy Bear Cut

There is significant time and skill required to achieve this style, which is why it can be quite a bit more expensive.

Here’s a quick run down of what’s involved:

1. The Bath

Your dog will be thoroughly cleaned of any oils or residue before anything else. Any leftover oils in the hair will make scissoring considerably more difficult later on.

Groomers use high-quality, concentrated shampoo and conditioner for efficiency. Typically these are quite a bit more expensive, but save us a lot time.

2. Blow Dry

The foundation of a good groom is a good blow dry. Your dog must be 100% dry before proceeding, otherwise hair will clump together and make it impossible to get an even groom.

Groomers will use a high velocity dryer, while also brushing out the coat to “fluff” it out. Having the hair stand out (instead of lying flat) sets the proper canvas for trimming.

3. Clipper Comb

Now we run a clipper comb over the body to remove excess coat. This will save us time when it’s time to scissoring and shaping.

Proper clipper combing is only achieved through a properly “fluffed coat”. It’s very easy to take too much off and ruin the entire trim.

4. Hand Scissor

Finally, it’s time for our scissoring expertise to shine. Hand scissoring is the longest and most detailed process of a teddy bear groom.

Groomers will address each part of the body differently to achieve the teddy bear look:

  • Round head and muzzle
  • Legs a uniform length
  • Shaped and smooth body
  • Neatly trimmed feet
  • Shaped, round bum

Towards the end we use a comb to continually fluff-up the coat and look for hairs sticking out.

puppy poodle

Getting The Most From Your Groomer

Whether you’re going to get your first professional teddy bear, or have a particular style in mind, here’s a few notes that will help you get there.

1. Discuss With Your Groomer

There may be limits based on the state of your dog, their coat type, and how often you’re able to brush them out.

I’ll often make recommendations on length and style after meeting your pup.

Sometimes there are compromises, but we can meet somewhere between style and practicality.

When someone asks me for a teddy bear for the first time, I’ll then ask a few questions:

  • Head top, long or short?
  • Moustache, long or short?
  • Tail, long or short?
  • Legs, long or short?
  • Body, long or short?
  • Rounded paws?

2. Bring A Picture

Pictures can help communicate exactly what you’re looking for.

Pay close attention to the coat type of your dog and the picture you select. You should try and match coat types as best as possible.

  • Does your dog have tight or loose curls?
  • Straight and silky hair, or thick and wooly hair?

3. Get To Know Your Groomer

The best way to get exactly what you want is to develop a relationship with the same groomer. They’ll grow to understand your preferences and your dog’s needs.

It’s not uncommon to visit the same facility 2 or 3 times to get the groom just right. And then we make minor adjustments depending on the season or state of the dog.

Katlin Primrose

Katlin Primrose

​​Katlin is certified master groomer with over 10 years of experience, a registered veterinarian tech assistant (working in emergency, exotics, and general practice), and has won multiple awards in the show ring with her dogs at AKC and CKC.

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