Head & Tail Styles with Jodi Murphy, Part 2

In Part 2 Jodi Murphy discusses Tail Styles beginning with The Flag Tail. First, hold the entire tail in your hand and trim the excess coat off the tip of the tail.

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Hold the tail out and trim the rest of the tail in a flag shape.

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Hold the tail up. Use thinning shears and neaten the base of the tail. The flag tail may be left at any desired length based on the client requests. The length is determined by where the first cut is made at the tip. A flag tail should never be longer than the hock for a point of reference.

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The Westie Tail

The West Highland White Terrier should have a carrot shaped tail. When the Westie is groomed for show they are hand stripped. Their body coat should be about two inches in length with long leg furnishings. The length of coat on their tail should balance with the body coat yet shaped like a carrot. You will notice the tail of a show dog is much longer than when groomed for pet trims for that reason. For pet trims a #4F, #5F or a #2 snap on comb is recommended to set the body pattern.

The tail should be set to the same general length as the body.

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Trim the coat at the tip of the tail as close to the tip as possible. Comb out the coat and use thinning shears to shape the tail like a carrot.

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The coat on the top and sides of the tail should be slightly longer than the underside of the tail. Trim the underside of the tail tight.

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The rectum area should be clipped clean and tidy using a #10 blade. The finished tail should be shaped nicely and balance with the body coat.

The Rat Tail

The Bedlington Terrier and Irish Water Spaniel have rat tails. It has become trendy to put Poodles in Bedlington trims in the grooming competition ring.

When executing a rat tail a #10, #15 or #40 blade may be used based on the sensitivity of the dogs skin. Clip 2/3 of the top of the tail from the tip towards the base either against the grain or with the grain.

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Clip the complete underside of the tail in the same manner from the tip to the rectum.

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The top of the tail from the base to the clippered area should be scissored in a “V” shape.

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Scissor the coat into the clippered areas until it is well-blended.

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The Poodle Tail

The poodle tail can be done in three easy steps. When held up, the tail should be no longer than the top of the poodle’s skull.

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Once you determine where that is, comb all the coat down to the tip of the tail and trim off the excess coat.

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Holding the tip of the tail up comb all the coat down to the base of the tail. Using curved shears trim the coat around the bottom of the tail at your clipper line. When holding the tail down over the rectum the clipper work should come to the bottom of the rectum.

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Once those two cuts are made the majority of the tail has been set. Hold the tail and comb the coat out. The only coat left should be the middle. Using curved shears scissor the middle of the tail to blend into the rest of the tail (Photo 3).

The actual length of the poodles tail will determine whether you will get a round tail or an oblong tail. If the poodle has a longer tail you will get an oblong shape. If the poodle has a shorter tail you will get more of a round tail.

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