What is a Double Coated Dog + Grooming Tips

Defining Double-Coated Dogs

Are you pondering what double-coated dogs are? Well, it’s not anything out of the ordinary: it simply means that there are two layers of hair on the dog rather than one. 

The first coat, or undercoat, is full of short hairs, while the overcoat contains longer hairs. If a dog is fluffier, then the undercoat is much fuller than the overcoat, as the short hairs are usually wooly in texture. 

Why Should You Not Shave Dogs With Double Coats?

It’s a well-known rule that you don’t shave double-coated dogs. But why?

Simply put, it can do more harm than good to the dog. Having dogs with long hair may be tempting to cut for you as their owner, but in more cases than not, they are a double-coated dog, and shaving will not fix the problem.

It won’t stop the shedding

In more cases than not, if a double-coated dog’s fur is shaved because it is shedding a lot, the problem will probably continue––but worse. 

Though dogs with double coats do shed a lot twice a year, the rest of the shedding is completely normal, just as with any animal such as a dog, cat, or even a horse. Even when the dog has been shaved, it is a temporary fix (and the short hairs will still shed, as well). 

It can cause skin problems

Many dogs with double coats are not shaved because they are prone to razor burn and irritated skin. The irritated skin only worsens if the animal is shaved because they will most likely lick and bite at their skin excessively after grooming.

It changes their metabolism

This may be the most shocking of the reasons. Because dogs with double coats have an undercoat, it protects the body from the elements. In summer, a dog sheds and uses the undercoat as a sort of air conditioning system. In the winter, the double-coated dog uses their undercoat for warmth and protection. 

With this, the metabolism responds differently to the different heating and cooling and will be confused if the dog is shaved. 

It can cause skin damage or cancer

Though you may be rolling your eyes at this one, it is true. A dog’s coat is there for protection for their skin. If a double-coated dog’s fur is shaved, their skin is not used to that kind of exposure because it is usually under two layers of fur or hair––not one. 

Exceptions to the No-Shaving Rule

There’s always an exception to the rules, isn’t there? 

If you have a double-coated dog and are at a loss for what to do with the matted hair, here are the exceptions for you:

Your dog is a swimmer

If your dog is a swimmer, the fur or hair may be a burden and slow your dog down. It also helps with the upkeep after swims!

When you can’t do a thorough brushing

Many times, older dogs can’t go through the process of a thorough brushing anymore. Whether they are too weak or it becomes too painful for them, it may be easier just to shave them. There’s no need for unnecessary pain at that stage of life, so comfort is most important. 

If your dog is matted and a brush can’t go through their hair, it’s time to shave them. Though it can be sad to shave a dog with long hair, dogs with double coats need to have a well-groomed coat with the amount of regulation their fur or hair needs together with their metabolism. 

You have allergies

If you are allergic to the shedding that happens with your double-coated dog, then shaving them may be a good option for you to ease the irritation. Alternatively, you might want to consider rather getting a hypoallergenic dog.

Spotting fleas and ticks

Fleas and ticks are nuisances for any dog but especially double-coated dogs. In the spring and summer, it can be next to impossible to try to find the fleas and ticks on your dog, so shaving during that time may help to alleviate that kind of irritation for your beloved animal. 

List of Dog Breeds That Have Two Layers of Hair or Fur

Most dogs with double coats are easy enough to decipher. Usually, they are fluffy, long-haired dogs, such as a Husky or Shiba Inu, but others may surprise you. 

Spitz-type dogs, as well as terriers, are often known to have double-coated fur or hair as well.

If your dog is on this list and you’ve scheduled them for the groomers, be sure to stay away from the razor. A quick trim is entirely harmless, but taking the clippers to the hair or fur of your animal may cause more damage than a pretty haircut can cover. 

Alternative Grooming Tips for Double Coated Dogs

Grooming Tools for Double Coated Dogs

Undercoat grooming rake

Used for when your dog has loose or dead hairs in its undercoat. 

Slicker brush

Use this on your dog’s butt (because the hair is longer and thicker there). 

Wide-tooth comb

Use this to get through any tangles or mats on the topcoat.

Bristle brush

This brush will add shine after you have finished grooming them.

Though it may seem like many different grooming tools, it is important to remember that any combination of these will help alleviate your dog’s extra hair from the undercoat and the topcoat. 

All About Coat Blowing in Double Coated Dogs

If you are new to double-coated dogs, it’s essential to know that a dog will “blow its coat” entirely once or twice a year. This basically means that a dog will shed its hair or fur in preparation for either the winter or the summer once or twice a year. 

The undercoat is full of soft and wooly hair, which keeps the animal warm during the winter months. However, as you may have guessed, all of that hair needs to go for the summer. The undercoat will come out in big clumps in preparation for this, and it’s known as “blowing its coat.” 

Go groom your pup!

Now that you’re well aware of double-coated dogs, it’s time for you to step up and take care of that long-haired pup.

Remember, don’t shave your double-coated dog unless you must, and always be patient with them as they blow their coat.