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5 Australian Shepherd Haircuts & Grooming Styles in 2024 (with Pictures)

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

australian shepherd dog standing on carpet in living room

Australian Shepherds are known for their striking coat patterns. They’re pretty popular dogs among active families and herding enthusiasts. However, their double coat requires a lot of maintenance. In many cases, daily brushing is required.

That said, you can choose a shorter cut for your Australian Shepherd, which would theoretically cut down on grooming time. While Australian Shepherds aren’t typically known for elaborate haircuts like some other breeds, you can trim them if that’s your preference.

You don’t want to get too dramatic with the haircut, though. These dogs have a double coat, which means you cannot trim them very short without disrupting how their coat works. The upper layer is supposed to protect the underlayer. If the upper layer is cut down too much, it can’t perform that job, and your dog’s coat will no longer be water-resistant.

Of course, as long as you don’t trim it very short, you shouldn’t have to worry about disrupting their coat. Here is a list of cuts and grooming styles that are pretty common:

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The 5 Australian Shepherd Haircuts & Grooming Styles

1. Full Coat

Australian shepherd dog
Image Credit: Alpeek,Shutterstock

Most people do not trim their Australian Shepherds. Instead, they allow them to grow their coat out completely and perform the necessary grooming to keep their coat healthy. While this cut does require more maintenance, it is the most popular option. It won’t require any trimming or professional grooming, which many pet owners prefer.

This cut is required for show dogs, too, and it is what most people think of when they imagine an Australian Shepherd. You can think of this as the “default” cut, despite the fact that it isn’t really a cut at all.

Even with a full coat, some trimming may be done. Clipping around the paws and ears is common, as it provides neatness. Some dogs may have the fur between their toes trimmed, for instance, to prevent matting. While this isn’t absolutely necessary, it can make the dog more comfortable.


2. Puppy Cut

australian shepherd puppy
Image Credit: Sbolotova,Shutterstock

Puppy cuts are very rare in Australian Shepherds. However, when these dogs are trimmed more than usual, it often is because their owner doesn’t want to spend as much time grooming them. In this case, a puppy cut makes sense, as it is very low-maintenance. These cuts are fairly short, with a unified length across the whole body.

The cut is called the “puppy cut” because it is what puppies naturally look like. It takes a little bit for puppies to grow out their fur completely.

The puppy cut continues this trend into the dog’s adulthood by keeping their fur short and even. While this makes them easier to groom, it can disrupt the dog’s coat functioning. If the outer coat is cut too short too often, it can permanently damage it. Therefore, while this cut is popular, it isn’t necessarily recommended.

Dogs often stay cooler when their whole coat is intact, as it is designed to allow for heat distribution when it is hot outside. Trimming their coat eliminates their ability to regulate their temperature, which ends up making them hotter.


3. Summer Cut

Miniature American Shepherd puppy lying down outsoors
Image Credit: otsphoto,Shutterstock

If it gets very hot where you live or your dog tends to get very dirty, you may opt for a summer cut. This sort of cut isn’t as short as a puppy cut, but it follows the same principles. The dog is evenly cut across its whole body, which can help them stay a bit cleaner when running around in the summer. Not all Australian Shepherds need summer cuts, though.

This sort of cut is fairly common for owners looking to reduce grooming, too. The dog’s fur will continue to shed the same amount, but they may be less likely to get tangled or dirty. Therefore, if you’re short on time, you may consider getting your dog’s fur trimmed shorter into a summer cut—even if it isn’t summer.


4. Extra-Trimmed

Australian shepherd female spring photography
Image Credit: Medenka Nera,Shutterstock

Between a summer cut and a long coat is the “extra-trimmed” cut. This haircut is exactly what it sounds like. The fur is mostly kept long and traditional. However, the dog is trimmed a bit more than is usually called for. This gives the coat a neater appearance and may cut back on shedding.

If you’re worried about your dog’s coat becoming damaged, then the extra-trimmed cut may be the best option. It gives the dog a nice, clean appearance without trimming their fur very much.


5. The Shiba Cut

Aussie, the Australian shepherd marble fall in the pile of leaves flying around the leaves of the maple
Image Credit: Svetlay,Shutterstock

The Shiba cut is very similar to the extra-trimmed style. However, the fur around the neck and chest isn’t trimmed much at all, giving the dog a lion-like appearance. The fur on the back and belly will be trimmed and neat while still protecting the dog’s outer coat. This prevents the dog from getting quite as dirty and may reduce grooming time.

While this cut isn’t very popular, it’s slowly gaining in popularity. It’s more of an aesthetic option to the extra-trimmed coat for those that want their dog to have a little bit of a mane.

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Do Australian Shepherds Need Haircuts?

Australian Shepherds do not require traditional haircuts in the same way that some other breeds with continuously growing hair do. Their coat is naturally designed to protect them from various weather conditions and provide insulation. However, Australian Shepherds do need regular grooming to keep their coat healthy, prevent matting, and maintain their overall appearance.

All of this grooming can be a lot of work. Therefore, some owners may decide to trim their Australian Shepherd’s coat to help reduce their grooming needs. While this can be done, you have to be extra careful not to damage their coat, as their double coat isn’t exactly made to be trimmed.

Even if you don’t get your dog a complete haircut, you may still want to trim their paws and ears for hygiene purposes. This trimming helps prevent matting and keeps them from getting quite as dirty. Plus, hair in the dog’s ears can contribute to ear infections.

It’s generally not recommended to shave Australian Shepherds’ coats unless there’s a specific medical reason to do so. Their double coat serves important functions, such as temperature regulation and protection from the elements. When it is shaved, all of these functions are disrupted. If your Aussie has skin issues, like allergies, lesions, or infections, you may need a medicated shampoo. Talk to your vet about which shampoo would be best for your pup if they have any skin problems.

Many people mistakenly believe that shaving their Australian Shepherd will help the dog stay cool in the summer, but the opposite is true. Their double coat is very good at helping them regulate their body temperature. If you take away their ability to regulate their temperature, they may end up even warmer.

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Divider-Dog Paw and Bone- NewFinal Thoughts

Australian Shepherds do not need professional haircuts like other breeds. They do not have continuously growing fur, so it will grow to its natural length and then stop. Their coats do need quite a bit of grooming to stay healthy and tangle-free when at full length.

Therefore, many owners decide to cut their fur a bit shorter. It’s important to do this very cautiously, as cutting their fur too short can disrupt their ability to regulate their temperature and stay dry. That said, it is often safe to trim their coat a little bit.


Featured Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

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