Whether it's super short, sleek and shiny or a chaotic, shaggy mess, a dog's coat is one of its most distinguishing features.
Different coat types need different grooming methods, and each has its challenges.
But before you groom your pouch, it's vital to know what type of coat your dog has
Dog coats differ in colour, texture, and length. And while there are many different types, they fall under two specific categories: the single coat and the double coat.
Here, we'll focus on how to keep your double-coated pet looking in top-notch condition.
If you know you have a doggie with a double coat, then you’re dealing with two layers: a dense undercoat of short hair that has a wool-like texture. And topcoat of longer hair (these are called guard hairs). Apart from being great for snuggles, they each have a super useful job to do. The undercoat protects from extreme temperatures while the topcoat repels moisture and dirt.
Now the full list of double-coated dogs is super long, so if you're unsure about your pup, you may need to do a little homework. But some of the more popular double-coated breeds popular in Australia include:
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
Double-coated canines shed. A lot. And while this can be frustrating when it comes to keeping the home looking neat and tidy. And perhaps even concerning when you pet your pup only to have clumps of hair fall out in your hand. There’s no need for concern.
Now while regular grooming won't prevent shedding, it will help to control the amount of fur on your floor. And also helps keep allergies in check.
Proper grooming is also crucial to prevent matting and tangling. Which not only looks awful but can end up being a bit of a health issue for your dog.
Tips for grooming a double coat:
- To remove loose and dead hairs from your dog's undercoat.
- Brush your dog several times a week to prevent matting.
- Invest in a grooming kit with a wide-tooth comb, a raking comb and a soft brush.
It’s essential NOT to shave a double-coated dog. While your heart may be in the right place, you're not helping your dog stay cool since a double coat is organically engineered to do just that. It's also designed to protect your pup from sun damage. Which it may not be able to do ever again if you de-fur your pooch.
Some of the issues that come up when you shave a double-coated dog:
- The guard hairs may not grow back correctly.
- When the fur grows back, the undercoat can be coarse, and the guard hairs sparse.
- The undercoat will grow back first. Being soft with no long hair for protection, it may get fuzzy and mat easily.
- Shaving reduces the coats ability to insulate and protect your fur baby from the elements.
The long and short of it
When it comes to grooming short-haired double-coated dogs, you'll likely only need a brush. Start by working on the undercoat first. Then concentrate on the outer coat; this spreads the natural oils and helps your puppy shine.
For long-haired, double-coated dogs, you'll need to brush the fur in sections. Then use the wide-tooth comb to detangle and matted fur or a raking comb if your dog has coarse hair.
When it comes to bathing, it best not to overdo it with any dog. Only the occasional bath is necessary unless you can see or smell that they are dirty (and we’re not talking about that incredible natural dog smell).
When it comes to double-coated pups more frequent brushing is the ultimate way to keep their coats healthy and clean.
Things it’s handy to have in your grooming toolkit:
- A perfect dog brush to keep it all shiny and for de-matting short-haired double-coated dogs.
- A wide-toothed comb for detangling those longer haired canines and for that longer fur around the shank and neck area.
- A raking comb for getting on top of all that shedding.
The bottom line
Your double-coated fur-baby may be a little bit high maintenance when it comes to grooming. But it's a small sacrifice for your pooch.
Sure, it can be time-consuming, so maybe that's something to consider before you get a dog with this type of coat.
But let's face it, you’re a dog person. And that means you'll do whatever it takes to keep that tail wagging, those wet kisses coming and that coat in prime condition.
And anyone involved in the care of your dog should understand the needs of your fur-baby. Whether it's the dog walker, family member or friend, it’s crucial they know how to look after the walking, the nutritional requirements and the primary fur care of your pouch.
Fun fact: the Alpine and Desert dingo has a double coat. While the Northern population only has a single layer.