Below is the description of acceptable trims for Poodles in AKC Conformation competition, as set forth in the AKC Breed Standard. As with so many things in life, styles have changed throughout the years and some trims have become more exaggerated, but there are certain rules regarding the Poodle trims allowed in the show ring that have remained steadfast. And the main rule is that the lines of the trim must be unbroken.
(b) Clip—A Poodle under 12 months may be shown in the “Puppy” clip. In all regular classes, Poodles 12 months or over must be shown in the “English Saddle” or “Continental” clip.
In the Stud Dog and Brood Bitch classes and in a non-competitive Parade of Champions, Poodles may be shown in the “Sporting” clip. A Poodle shown in any other type of clip shall be disqualified.
In all clips the hair of the topknot may be left free or held in place by elastic bands. The hair is only of sufficient length to present a smooth outline. “Topknot” refers only to hair on the skull, from stop to occiput. This is the only area where elastic bands may be used.
One thing to note first:
More Poodles are being shown in what has been referred to as the Modified Continental Clip (MCC). This clip, actually, has always been allowed as an acceptable trim; the Continental. With the MCC, the first thing people notice is that the length of the dog’s hair is shorter than that of dogs shown in the traditional clips.
It is important to note that nowhere in the AKC Breed Standard does it state how long the dog’s hair must be. So, the topknot of the MCC is scissored into shape and the jacket is scissored much tighter, both of which are allowed. Regardless of which trim you have your dog in, there is, however, one absolute rule and this is—the lines of the trim must be unbroken.
Therefore, for all of the trims, including the MCC, there should not be a broken line between the topknot and the top of the ears. Further, to keep the line of the trim unbroken, for example, with the puppy trim, the line from the front to the back of the dog should be one smooth line; there should not be a break in the trim between the hips and the jacket.
Other details regarding acceptable trims include that for both the Continental and the MCC trims. The rosettes over the hips are optional; however, with the English Saddle trim, there must be a “kidney bean” cut out on each side of the dog, behind the ribs.
The topknot gives the Poodle a very distinctive look. With any of the above trims, the topknot may be shaped and scissored to present a smooth, unbroken appearance. If the topknot is left longer, it is allowed to be held in place by elastic bands and the hair should only be of sufficient length to present a smooth outline. The only place where elastic bands are allowed is from the stop to the occiput.
…the topknot may be shaped and scissored to present a smooth, unbroken appearance. If the topknot is left longer, it is allowed to be held in place by elastic bands and the hair should only be of sufficient length to present a smooth outline.
A fourth trim, which is only allowed at Poodle specialties, is the Sporting trim. This is allowed for dogs entered in Stud Dog and Brood Bitch classes and non-competitive Parade of Champions. The Sporting trim, however, is not an acceptable trim for a dog competing in the regular classes at a Conformation show.
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