Who knew there was so much to a dog’s coat. It’s not just about their markings, whether they have a patch over their eye or what color their coat is. Some breeds are actually double-coated. Whilst that sounds like double the vacuuming (and at different times of the year it is) there’s actually a really good reason why some dogs have two coats.
So, what is a double-coat? Which breeds are double-coated dogs and what do you have to think about when grooming them?
What is a double-coat?
You know when you’re in the park and you see a dog that looks particularly fluffy? Well, the likelihood is that that dog has a double coat. It consists of a dense undercoat that almost looks like down and a longer topcoat which gives the pup its color. The inner coat helps to regulate and protect the dog in both warm and cold temperatures, and the overcoat repels water and dirt.
Unlike dogs with single coats, the hair of double-coated dog breeds actually stops growing at a certain length. Single-coated dogs will need to be clipped as their hair generally keeps growing. Whilst having a double-coated dog may mean a cheaper groomer’s bill, they shed quite a lot more than those without. When their undercoat sheds, the finer hairs can get caught in the outer coat, causing matting. You really need to keep on top of brushing with these pups.
Because the undercoat acts as insulation in both summer and winter you can also expect double-coated dog breeds to shed more at specific times during the year as they change their coats to prepare for the coming season. You’ll need to get the vacuum and brush ready.
Double-coated dog breeds
Touching the fur or a Poodle feels totally different from stroking that of an Alaskan Husky. As is that of a Labrador and a Schnauzer. That’s because some have fluffier double coats (the Husky and the Labrador) and the others have single ones. To see which your pup has, simply part its fur and if you see a denser, softer undercoat then they’re a double-coated dog breed.
Some of the more common breeds with double coats are:
- Australian Shepherd
- Shiba Inu
- Golden Retriever
- Scottish Terrier
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- German Shepherd
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Chow Chow
How to groom a double-coated dog?
It’s impossible to stop your dog from shedding. Although some pups are considered to be hypoallergenic because they shed less, all dogs lose their hair to some extent. It’s important to regularly brush your dog to remove dead hair and skin cells from their coat. If you leave it or don’t do it often enough, it’s likely their hair will become matted. You may even end up having to cut out the tat.
This is especially true for double-coated dogs, so make sure you invest in some good quality grooming tools that specialize in undercoats (especially when they blow their coat in spring) to help reduce the amount of fur in your home.
When grooming your double-coated pup, pay attention to the areas of their body that are particularly fluffy – normally their underbody, hind legs, and butt – and give them some special attention. You’ll want to do this a few times a week and even every day when they’re shedding more.
Have you ever wondered why poodles are groomed and styled to have a pompom tail but a German Shepherd isn’t? (Are you imagining a German Shepherd with a pompom tail too?) It’s not just because Poodles need to keep up with Parisian fashion trends and a German Shepherd needs to look like a fierce guard dog. It’s actually to do with what kind of coat they have. Poodles have a single coat so can be shaved, whereas a German Shepherd has a double coat.
One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make when it comes to grooming is thinking that their very fluffy dogs will overheat in summer and that they should shave them. Whilst dogs can only sweat through their paws so overheating can be a bit of a concern, double-coated dog breeds are actually well prepared for hotter weather. Their undercoats act as insulation to keep them warm in winter and cooler in summer. It also helps protect them from sunburn.
If you’re really concerned about your pup overheating in summer, have a chat with a professional groomer. Whilst they won’t shave them, they may suggest trimming their hair a bit. Double-coated pups may be a little more work when it comes to grooming and maintaining their beautiful coats but they have a built-in heating and cooling system.
What breed of dog do you have? Do they have a double or single coat?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!