Grooming Tails: Trimming and Thinning

tail grooming

Grooming tails, much like nails may sometimes put people off grooming their own dog at home. Anyone doing it for the first time may fear they could accidentally ‘cut too much off’ or nick the tip of the tail. As with many aspects of dog grooming at home, confidence, the right tools and a bit of prior homework is key. grooming dogs tails

Just as when grooming the rest of the dog, tails also need to be free and clear of knots and matted fur before we start any proper trimming work.

First check the tail for knots by running a steel comb from the base of the tail to the tip, ideally, the fur should be moist. If the comb does not run through properly we know we have a problem area. Here’s a quick guide to grooming a matted dog.

When the heavy knots and any matted fur have been taken care of, do a quick brush through using a rubber pin brush such as the Groomeasy Slicker Brush (great option for regular maintenance).

Now we can start to trim and thin.


Run your hand gently down the tail and locate the tip of the tailbone. Now take your thumb and finger and grasp the area just above tip to sort of shield it and mark where to cut, trim off the excess fur here. We don’t want to cut past this point or flush with the bone as it can spoil the look of the tail.

If you have a particularly furry-tailed dog you can now either use the clippers to take the coat length down to same as the body or simply brush and trim off the ends with scissors.


See the great video below on grooming tails using the thinning scissors on a Shih Tzu. Also explains how you should clean up the anal area and underneath the tail.

Produced by On the Leash Productions presented by Wahl Professional Dog Grooming

Using the clippers

First make sure you are using an appropriate length blade then slowly run the clipper from the base of the tail gently down towards the tip, taking care not to nick the skin particularly around the tip area.

Repeat this as necessary going around the tail.

You may want to take extra measures and use a slightly shorter blade when trimming between the base of the tail and the bottom area as faeces can sometimes stick to the coat if the fur is too long here.

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