AKC Standard Hair Cuts

Lion Cut Hair StyleDuring dog shows, the American Kennel Club establishes breed-specific standards that the dog must live up to in order to compete. In addition to height, weight and coat color, dogs must have a breed-specific haircut. The precise type of haircut determined by the AKC is influenced by the dog’s historical purpose. For example, the poodle’s elaborate cut hearkens back to a style designed to help them be better water retrievers.

The ultimate goal of having a uniform grooming requirement for the animals is to make the judging a simpler practice. Since the styles must be similar, a judge cannot be swayed by a particularly fancy coat.

The exception to the AKC haircut guidelines is the “puppy cut.” This is a grooming style that involves a simple uniform trim all over the dog’s body. As the term implies, it is used on puppies and is not allowed on older dogs.

Most dog groomers are capable of following the AKC guidelines. The training for a groomer typically takes up to twelve to fifteen weeks. Local kennel clubs, veterinarians and dog enthusiasts should be able to provide good references to groomers who can provide an AKC approved cut.

Unlike the Human Society of America, the AKC does not regulate any animal or human interactions on a legal basis. Rules established by the AKC are simply guidelines that must be followed if a dog owner wishes to participate in one of the AKC events. If not participating, dogs can have any haircut the owner chooses.

Photo: Flickr