As the name suggests, double-coated dogs are dogs with two coats. You may not even know you have a double-coated dog! While it is easy to recognise numerous differences between the various breeds of dogs, from size and colour to personality, the fact that some have single coats and others have double is more challenging for the untrained eye to spot.
As you would imagine, some double-coated dogs are easy to recognise as they are extra furry, like Huskies. On the other hand, some appear quite smooth, like the sleek-looking Beagle. So, how do you tell if you have a double-coated dog and if you have one, how does this impact the care required for your pet?
A double coat on a dog consists of two layers, an undercoat and a top coat. The undercoat usually consists of short hairs, and the top coat has longer hairs called guard hairs. For the most part, the dense undercoat makes double-coated dogs appear fluffy, but there are some exceptions to that rule. Whether fluffy or not, double coats on dogs can have enormous benefits. The undercoat provides insulation and protects the dog from weather and elements, while the top layer repels dirt and moisture. The downside is that double-coated dogs tend to shed a lot more and require regular grooming to keep their coat & skin healthy.
Looking at it, you can sometimes tell if your dog has a double coat. If your dog is extra fluffy and sheds a lot of fur, chances are it has a double coat. If you can’t tell if your dog has a single or double coat, follow these simple steps.
Dog breeds with double coats come in all shapes and sizes. Usually, double coats are associated with spitz-type dogs because they have long hair and a fluffy appearance. Spitz breeds generally have pointy, upright ears, tails that curl into their back and are quite furry. They are often bred to live in cold climates. However, double-coated dogs can take all forms; here are some examples of double-coated dog breeds you might recognise.
Double-coated dogs tend to shed much more than single-coated dogs, so regular grooming is essential. Without a proper grooming routine, hair from the undercoat can get caught in the top coat, leading to tangling and matting. Your four-legged friend may end up with pain from matted hair and is more likely to suffer from fleas and ticks. On average, double-coated dogs should be brushed daily and bathed once a month.
Ideally, the best way to care for a double-coated dog is to take them to a groomer regularly, as they can more thoroughly care for the dog’s coat and keep them properly groomed and healthy. Double-coated dogs’ top coats and undercoats serve different purposes and must be groomed differently. There are also some grooming practices you can do at home as we know, it’s not always possible to attend a groomer regularly, although it would also be beneficial to implement them just as maintenance between groomer visits.
Follow these steps on how to groom and bathe your precious double-coated pooch.
Now that we know the correct way to groom a double-coated dog, it is just as important to understand what not to do. Double-coated dogs should never be shaved! Even if you think shaving your dog will make it more comfortable in hot weather, the opposite is true. The two layers of the double coat work to keep the dog cool in summer and warm in winter, so shaving will remove their ability to regulate their temperature. Other reasons not to shave a double-coated dog include:
Because double-coated dogs are a little more high maintenance than single-coated dogs, here are a few additional tips to help with grooming.
Double-coated dogs often need more care and attention than other dogs, so it is important to know if you have a dog with a double coat. Some double-coated dogs have long hair and are easy to recognise, but short-haired breeds may not be as prominent. In this article, we explain how to tell if your dog has a double coat and guide you through the professional grooming and washing that double-coated dogs require.