What is a double coated dog? Should They Be Clipped Short in Summer?

You may own a dog that is double coated without even knowing it. Many breeds of dogs that shed have double coated fur. Every double coated dog has their own natural fur pattern and it is not beneficial for their coats to be altered by being clipped. A quick mythbust, shaving a double coated dog does not make them cooler. If your dog has not been clipped or shaved before and is not severely matted, their coat regulates their temperature. Blue Wheeler Groomers do not recommend clipping or shaving double coated dog breeds for a myriad of reasons. In the rare circumstances where our Groomers do clip a double coated dog (eg. for medical purposes), we have a simple waiver that is required to be signed by the customer. Keep reading to find out what’s best for your dog. 

What is a double coat?

A double coated dog has two unique layers of fur: the under coat and the top coat. The under coat is dense and made of short hairs. The top coat is made up of longer hairs called guard hairs. The guard hairs help repel dirt and moisture, while the undercoat protects from high or low temperatures. If your dog has a fluffy coat, they probably have a very dense undercoat and will shed more than non-fluffy double coated breeds. The under coat sheds twice a year. Removing their loose under coat by brushing/washing helps keep them cool while keeping the top coat intact prevents heat and sun from reaching their skin.

Some Popular Double Coated Breeds Include:

  • Pomeranians 
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Border Collies
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels 
  • Labradors
  • German Shepherds
  • Huskies
  • Pugs
  • Chows
  • Samoyeds
A Pomeranian (double coated dog) with clipper alopecia

Why should I not shave my double coated dog?

It does not make them cooler. Shaving a double coated dog only hinders their ability to regulate their temperature. Although they may look like they could be over heating, they will be cooler if their fur is not cut. Using Samoyeds as an example, they are a double coated dog and are naturally very fluffy. Thanks to the power of their double coat, Samoyeds can survive extreme cold temperatures of -30 to -45 °C and warmer climates up to 30 °C comfortably. If the temperature is higher than this, we recommend keeping them indoors with the AC on and only walking them when the temperature drops below this (after sunset). 

It does not make your dog ‘shed less.’ Double coated breeds shed their undercoat twice a year and continue to shed due to their normal fur growth cycle for the rest of the year. Shaving or clipping may appear to help minimise shedding but they will still be shedding the same amount, only the hairs will be shorter so you may notice them less.

Your dog will become more vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. A dog’s natural double coat helps to cover and protect their skin from the sun. Shaving or clipping them will expose their sensitive skin to the sun’s rays. Especially for dogs living in Australia, sun protection from their natural coat is vital. Clipping can also disrupt the natural shedding cycle and they may start shedding more constantly, year round.

Your dog’s hair will not grow back the same. Cutting the fur damages the natural cycle of a double coat. Your dog’s top coat can take up to 2 years to grow back completely or it may not grow back as before. Depending on your dog, their fur can grow back patchy, thinner and can develop skin conditions such as alopecia. Your dog could also develop irritated skin and razor burn from licking and scratching after they have been groomed. If your dog gets a condition like alopecia, it could mean that you have to continue shaving your dog for the rest of their life on vets instructions. 

Severe clipper alopecia

What can I do for my double coated dog? 

Double coated dogs should be washed every 4 – 8 weeks. If shedding is bothering you, you can help this by having your dog deshedded every 4 – 8 weeks as well. Blue Wheelers has a 3 step deshed program that can be added onto your pup’s usual wash. Getting a deshedding treatment can help minimize shedding for weeks after your pup’s bath time. Our shampoo gets in deep to clean the coat and loosen the undercoat, the conditioner makes the coat slick and shiny, making it easier for us to brush out any extra loose hairs. Finally, our finishing spray seals the hair cuticle and promotes maximum release of tangled & loose fur in their coat. You can also brush your dog at least once a week with a brush like a ‘Furminator’. Furminators have fine metal bristles that catch onto the loose undercoat of your dog. Brushing them regularly will help minimize the shedding that happens in your home and remove their loose undercoat. Keep your dog’s hair in the Big Blue Dog trailer instead of on your floor or on your clothes! Book in your dog’s deshed by calling 1300 659 055 or get a free quote online.

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