Until You Find Me
Home Grooming Companion Old English Sheepdogs

Sport Clip or Puppy Cut
Old English Sheepdog

Below is just one way an Old English Sheepdog owner tends to a dog's coat.  Dogs often need to be slowly desensitized to any new process.  This process can be more challenging to some owners. The vibration of electric clippers can startle a dog so you need to be slowly desensitize a dog to this process.  You need to proceed slowly, respect the dog's limits, praise and reward lavishly so the dog will learn to tolerate it.  Only you know your dog and how he or she may respond.  Seek assistance from a professional if there is any chance your dog could be harmed by it's exuberance or fear or if the dog could display an aggressive behavior. Follow all product safety instructions provided by individual manufacturers.  Try to make grooming a special one-on-one time that both you and your dog will look forward to.   These instructions are offered as-is and without guarantee or warranty.

Sport Clip- Kobuck
#6F, #3F and Scissored

#3F & Scissored
Sport Clip- Bumble
#3F & Scissored
Puppycut- Toby
Completely Scissored

Above is the same haircut. Everything was hand scissored EXCEPT for the body/trunk/neck/chest
 was shaved with the blade noted or scissored. The instructions below are for the dog on the left.

I'm careful to angle the scissor tips AWAY from the dog so the dog won't accidentally be poked with the sharp points of the scissors. I make sure I know where the skin starts/stops so I don't accidentally cut the dog. And I frequently touch the clipper blade to be sure it's not hot. Remember that the shorter a blade clips hair, the faster the blades usually heat up.


Note: The dog's coat type, the thickness and texture, will influence the final haircut.  A thick, crisp coat tends to stand up more while a soft or thin coat tends to lie flat. One of my dogs has a thin coat due to hypothyroidism so instead of using a #6 on the body, I use a #4 blade which leaves the hair just a bit longer.

Electric Clipper With #3 & #6 Blades
Longer blades can be used or the trunk can also be scissored to match the length of the legs.
Electric clipper margins
Shown above are the areas I shaved with clippers... note where the shorter #6 and longer #3 blade lengths meet on front of the neck/chest. (Easier to see in the same picture on the top-right.  I later blend the two lengths with scissors.

Why I use a #3 blade on the neck/chest...

The picture on the right shows why I use no shorter than a #3 blade on the lower chest. (This was all trial and error for me too!)  The dog was shaved with a #7 blade which clipped shorter in some areas due to the direction of hair growth.  It wasn't razor burn... it was just that the hair was so short it allowed her pink skin to show through.  So I now use a #3 blade at least on the lower front of the chest.  I do sometimes use the #4, #5 or #6 blade (the  blade I used on the trunk) from the neck/chin down to that line... then a #3 blade for the lower chest.

Why I use a #3 blade on the chest area.

I almost always shave in the direction the hair is growing... I go with the grain, not against it.  To get a more even finish, I usually need to go over an area a few times.  I either brush the hair back with a brush or comb or sometimes just with the sweep of my hand so it lifts the hair.  I then shave the area again.

 Shaved down with a #6 blade and #3 balde.

I've finished with the electric clippers. Refer to the picture on the left for boundaries showing where I stop clipping.  Note the bottom of the chest, above the butt, back of the head/neck and under the chin (see more specific pictures below).  If I leave a little too much hair, I can always shave a little more or just scissor it to the best length.

Boundaries for a little faster haircut.


A Little Faster Haircut:  Above is the same haircut except clippers were used down the hips and legs to the hocks. The pink and off-white area of the chest is done with an electric clipper.  The other areas are scissored.

  Area shaved on the inside back leg.

I shave the belly and private area with the #6 blade.  I also shave partway down the inner thigh.


Wha the back looks like after being shaved.

I shave down the back and stop just above the butt.


The back of the head where the floppy top meets the neck.

I leave the back of the head longer... the area will be shortened up and blended with scissors.

  Boundary for #3 blade on chest.

#3 blade down the front of the neck/chest. The longer hair at the bottom will be scissored when the legs are scissored to length.

  I go up this far on the neck with the electric clippers.

Above is where I stop with the #3 blade on the neck, under the chin.

Rounding Up The Foot Hair
More on how I trim feet. The curve of the trim around the front of the foot.

Back Feet-
  Make sure the dog is standing straight with his/her toes pointing forward.  My first cut is straight across the front being sure to leave the hair a little longer than the ends of the toenails so they stay hidden. Trimming nails after a haircut will also help hide the nails.  Then trim in a curve from the front to around the sides.  After I've trimmed the back of the legs to length, I round up the back of the foot too.

Trimming the feet, keeping nails hidden.
Trimming the Hips & Thighs

Scissoring down the thigh.

And I keep scissoring.

Using fingers as a guide when trimming the front of the back leg.

I trim around the forward edge of the back leg.  I hold the hair between my index and middle fingers and trim the side farthest away from the dog.  I make a couple of clips like this then go back to scissoring without using fingers as a guide.

Before trimming the back of the hind leg. Using fingers as a guide again. The finished leg. Another view of the finished leg.
I finish up the back of the left leg and the inside of the left leg.  I use my fingers as a guide again
as I locate the hock so I can follow the contour of the leg.  I then scissor the other leg to match.
Scissoring The Front Feet
I trim the front feet the same way
as the back feet, first making sure the
toes are pointing straight ahead.
Front feet are curved too.
First straight cut across the front, being sure nails remain hidden.
The first cut is straight across the
front being sure to leave the hair
long enough so the nails stay hidden.
Finished first cut.

  Curving from the front to around the side of the foot.
Then rounding to the sides from the front.

And on to the back.
And cross the back to meet the previous cuts.
One finished foot.
I then trim the other foot.
Scissoring The Front Legs

Think tubes or cylinders when trimming the front legs.  

Think cylinders/tubes when trimming the front legs. I locate the toe-pad on the back of the front legs (at the wrists) so I can avoid them. Starting at the longer hair near the elbow, I scissor straight down the back and both sides of the leg.  I try not to disturb the rounded foot hair done in the previous step. I fluff with a brush frequently and trim again.  I'm  aiming for a straight cylinder shape. (I didn't quite get it! ;)   I trim the front of the front legs the same way BUT... I stop above the curve/bend at the top of the foot.

I either have the dog lie down so the legs are extended straight in front.  - OR - I lift/extend the leg straight in front.  Fluff the hair and trim to the proper length.

Hair is trimmed straight down the back of the front leg.
Chest before...
Chest after.

The long hair that was left at the bottom of the chest is trimmed shorter with scissors so it blends to the length of the chest/legs. Above is the before/after scissoring/blending of the bottom of the chest area.

Bath Time Trimming Head Hair

Time for a bath.

I bathe and thoroughly dry the dog.  After the dog is dry, I go over the entire dog one more time, fluffing the hair with a brush and trimming everything I missed.  Then I move on to the head.

I always leave my dogs' heads BIG.  You can trim them shorter or you can can trim them different ways. Here is one of the ways I do it...

Trimming my Old English Sheepdog's face.

Note: If you want the ear hair length to match the back of the beard (near the neck) do not trim the beard shorter than the actual skin length of the ear flaps.  Always locate the ear skin before trimming... if in doubt, part the hair to find out exactly where the ear skin ends.

I trim the beard to length first... on an angle or somewhat curved... shorter at the front, longer at the back near the neck.  It's a blunt cut.  It can later be blended with thinning scissors for a softer look. 

I use thinning scissors near the front by the nose/mouth to soften the cut.  Be very careful the dog doesn't stick his/her tongue out... you can accidentally clip it!

Carefully trimming the ear hair to match the beard length.

After the beard is trimmed to the desired length, I trim the ears to length.   Again, I part the hair to learn exactly where the bottom of the ears end and the hair starts. 

Making sure the head is held level, I trim the bottoms of the ears straight across to match the beard length at the back near the ears.  I then lift the head up and scissor to blend under the chin-area where the shaved front of the neck area meets the longer beard hair.

Finishing Ears Rounding Up the Head
Rounding up the back of the ear. The underside of the ear.

I round partway up the back of the ears and soften with thinning scissors.  I flip the ear flap up, comb and trim to neaten up the hair there too.  This dog's ears had already been trimmed underneath and plucked.

When both ears are trimmed to length, I trim the top of the dogs head. If I want more of a mop-top look, I leave the hair on top of the head longer.  Or I trim shorter like with this boy who never requires a topknot.  If the dog has thick/course hair, it may stand up more like a crew cut.  If the dog has thin/soft hair, it will lie flat.  I cut the hair with regular scissors, then follow up with thinning scissors over the head.  I blend the hair from the top of the head to partway down the ear flaps.  I use thinning scissors to soften/blend the hair behind the ears near the back of the head and across the back of the skull.

Rounding up face hair. Rounded head with topknot. Rounded head with two topkots.
I comb out the hair and lightly round up the head.

I comb out the hair around the face and lightly trim it into more of a circle.  I often use thinning scissors to soften the look. I'm careful not to take too much off on the sides (in front of the ears) or the ears may not look right.

To soften the blunt cut to the beard, I lightly thin along the bottom with thinning scissors.

Trimming Hair Near Eyes
Tools for trimming near eyes.
Tools Used: Comb and
thinning/blending scissors.
Trimming hair at inside corners of an Old English Sheepdog's eyes.

Old English Sheepdogs must be able to see.  I keep some in topknots and others I keep trimmed short so the hair doesn't obstruct their view.  I trim near the hair near the corners of this dog's eyes so he can see... also his eyebrows.

I blow the dog off with the dog dryer to remove hair clippings and release the dog to go play. 

Copyright 2013- Jaclin Dunne.  All rights reserved.  The photographs and instructions on this page are the
property of the author. Do not reproduce or copy for public use without written permission from the author.

Home Grooming The Companion Old English Sheepdog

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