What is a Double Coated Dog?

Every dog breed is just a little bit different from the others and these differences take many forms. One of the most basic ways in which one dog differs from another is in its coat. Dog coats can be divided into two main categories – single coat and double coat. Within each category there are some variations, but these are the two basic categories you should know before grooming your dog. Let’s go over the basics about double coated dogs including which breeds have double coats and how to properly maintain this type of coat.

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What is a Double Coat?

A double coat is a type of coat that consists of two layers. Double coated dogs have a dense undercoat of short hairs, typically with a wooly texture, over a top coat of longer hairs called guard hairs. The denser the undercoat, the fluffier the coat will appear to be and the more grooming the dog will require. The undercoat serves mainly to keep the dog protected from extreme temperatures – both hot and cold – while the top coat helps to repel moisture and dirt.

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Which Dog Breeds Have Double Coats?

For the most part, you can tell just by looking at a dog whether it has a double or single coat. This is especially true for Spitz-type dogs and other breeds with thick, fluffy coats. There are also some small-breed dogs that have double coats including several terriers which have a wiry rather than a soft top coat. Some examples of double-coated breeds include:

Grooming Tips for Double-Coated Breeds

Regular grooming is incredibly important for double-coated dog breeds because these dogs tend to shed a lot. If you do not routinely brush your dog’s coat the shed hairs will become caught up in the coat, causing mats and tangles to form. Grooming is also a great way to keep dog-related allergies to a minimum, though you cannot keep a dog from shedding entirely. Below you will find a collection of tips for grooming your double coated dog:

  • Brush your dog at least two or three times a week to prevent mats and tangles.
  • Use a undercoat grooming rake to remove loose and dead hairs from your dog’s undercoat.
  • Use a slicker brush on your dog’s rump where the fur is thicker and longer.
  • Go over your dog with a wire pin brush or comb to remove dead and loose hairs from the top coat.
  • Work through mats and tangles with a wide-tooth comb – if you have to cut one out, pinch the fur as close to your dog’s skin as possible to prevent accidentally cutting his skin.
  • Go over your dog’s coat with a bristle brush to improve shine – this should be your last step.

In addition to learning how to groom your double-coated dog, you should also familiarize yourself with a few grooming mistakes that dog owners often make. The biggest mistake you can make with your double coated dog is to shave his coat. Some dog owners mistakenly believe that their dog’s double coat makes them hot in the summer and they shave the dog’s coat in an attempt to cool him off. What these dog owners do not realize is that a dog’s double coat acts as insulation, protecting him from the heat. A dog’s double coat is part of his natural cooling system – each layer helps not only to keep the dog cool, but it protects his skin from sun damage as well. If you are worried about your dog being too hot in the summer, consult a professional groomer about the possibility of trimming his coat but in no case should you shave your double coated dog.

Grooming is one of your most basic responsibilities as a pet owner so it is up to you to make sure you know how to do it correctly.

kate-Bio_PicKate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor’s degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.