Ear Trimming Tricks

Have you ever had the experience of trimming the ears on a drop-eared dog only to find that you simply can’t manage to get them even? Either one ear is shorter than the other, or you keep finding straggly pieces that you missed on one or both ears. It can be frustrating and sometimes end up with the pet having far shorter ears than you had initially planned as you trim one, then the other, in an attempt to get things perfectly matching.

Sometimes this problem occurs because the dog has exceptionally thick fur on its ears. You may have discovered this for yourself when grooming some heavily coated Standard Poodles. The hair is so dense no matter how often you brush and comb through it, it seems impossible to get everything to lie evenly and neatly trimmed. In this case, try reducing the thickness of the ear fur using an Andis deshedding tool.   This tool will remove a tremendous amount of bulk with a few strokes but still leave the ear looking natural. You will find that it is far easier to get a neat, even trim once some of the thickness has been removed.

For both very full poodle ears and drop ears on many other breeds, the following tip is beneficial to achieve excellent, balanced results.

  • Brush and comb both the outside and inside of the ear, so the fur is smooth and free of all tangles and clumpy areas.
  • Once the fur is lying as you wish, lightly grasp the hairs at the bottom edge and twist slightly.
  • Use a curved shear if you want a gently curved finish to the edge. If you are going for a straight cut, use a straight shear.
  • Holding the twisted end firmly between your thumb and finger, snip off the bottom edge of the twist.
  • Comb the hair smoothly again, and use scissors to neaten any stray hairs.

One extra nice thing about this tip is that you can lay the clump of trimmed hair from the first ear down on the table and use it to eyeball measure how much to remove from the other ear or even hold it up against the second ear to estimate quite accurately before you snip.

Reducing the bulk on overly thick ears and utilizing the twist and trim method will help you master nicely trimmed ears with minimal effort.


By Daryl Conner, MPS, MCG 

Daryl Conner has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for almost 40 years.  You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter and infant granddaughter, or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism.  She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and too many animals.