Head & Tail Styles with Jodi Murphy Part 1

This is my Shih Tzu client, “Curt.” He is a personal favorite to groom. He has a beautiful coat. His head has nice straight hair and that’s why I chose this head style for him.

Shih Tzu Head Style 1








First, I trim the hair under the eyes with my “Detailer” thinning shear in order to leave the area looking natural, and not shaved. When a dog has a very deep stop, the area between the eyes at the top of the muzzle, stretch the skin on the forehead back to help clean out the stop.









I scissor a visor from the outside corner of the left eye to the outside corner of the right eye with my curved shears.









Using a ½” snap-on comb over a 15 blade I set the top of the head from the visor to the back of the skull over the occiput, the bone at the back of the skull.









With the same snap-on comb I continue to set the length over the ears.









I lightly run the snap-on comb over the ears to blend into the ear hair. I do not take the snap-on comb against the grain or come from the occiput to the visor, otherwise the top of the head will be too short.









I set the length of the top of the head with the snap-on comb and use a long comb to lift the coat. Tip the ends with “Shaper” thinning shears to eliminate any uneven coat. The softened head looks very natural.









I continue to lift the coat over the ears with the comb and tip the ends with my thinning shears. When using this technique the head will be very well blended without scissor lines.









Blend the back skull into the neck hair with thinning shears. I want this area to be very well blended into the 4F neck/body work. It should flow from the back of the head to the neck without any visible difference in length.









Setting the chin line on Curt can be tricky. First, I set the length of the chin with my straight shears. You don’t want to leave too much length under the chin. I prefer to leave it about 1 ½”.









Next I scissor the ears and side of the chin. I treat ears as part of the chin, not separate. I start at the back of the ear a bit higher and swoop down to meet the line that I set in front of the chin. This gives a really nice look and transitions the back of the ear nicely into the chin.









With this much straight coat it is very easy to see scissor lines. I go over the entire chin line to the back of the ear with my “Shapers.” I lightly thin the edge of my scissor work to rough the edges of the coat. This eliminates any choppiness you may encounter.

Shih Tzu Head Style








The finished product.

Now a Yorkie Mix. Over the years I discovered styling heads and tails is the greatest challenge for many groomers. In this and a few future issues of eGroomer Journal I will demonstrate several head and tail styles to help you with mixed breed trims.









This is a little Yorkie mix of mine. My client with two Yorkies recently adopted him. This was his first haircut by me.









Using a 1/2 inch snap-on comb I set the top of his head. I clip from the front of the head towards the back.

yorkie mix 2








Using the same snap-on comb I set the coat over his years.









I then trim the hair from outside corner of the left eye to the outside corner of the right eye creating a visor.









I trim the visor close to the outside corner of the eyes.









I set the bottom of the chin being careful not to leave too much length. Because this is a little dog with a petite head I only leave about 3/4” to 1 inch under the chin.









Holding the ear up and out of the way with my left hand I scissor under the chin all the way under the ear.









Now that I have the top of the head and chin set, I scissor the cheeks. I comb up the coat from the chin line to the top of the head.









By doing this I can see the coat that needs to come off. By setting the top of the head and chin first you are creating two points. Now you can remove the coat between the two points with thinning shears. The result is a well-blended cheek.









Using my “Detailer” thinning shears I neaten the hair under his eyes and in the stop area.









Trim the ears from the back of the ear down toward the front of the ear. You want to trim the ear shorter in the back. The owner requested not to cut the black tips off his ears so they don’t’ appear as short as I would have liked.









The finished product.

Learn more at Jodi’s web site www.jodimurphy.net featuring grooming books, videos, tools and apparel.