What is a Double Coated Dog?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington

Double Coated Dogs. It’s a thing. But what are they? Two times the coat, two times the fur? If you’ve got a double coated dog, here’s what you need to know about this type of fur.

There are so many dog breeds out there and every dog breed is just a little bit different from the others. These differences take on many forms (size, shape, personality, color, and on and on). One of the most simple ways in which one dog differs from another is in its coat. If you’ve ever run your hand over a variety of dogs, you’ll know what we are talking about. Those furry exteriors are rarely the same.

Dog coats can be divided into two main categories: single coat and double coat. You’ve probably got a good idea of what a single coat might be, but the double coat? A mystery, right? Well, that’s what Pet Guide is here for. We’re hear to explain away all of these pet related mysteries. So if you’ve longed been vexed by these strange concept known as the double coat, you’ve come to the right place!

Within each of these two main categories of dog coats, there are some variations. However, these are still 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. Worthwhile information if you’ve got a dog with a luscious double coat.

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Two times the coat, two times the fur – double coated dogs have a two-layer coat that can be quite a handful. From seasonal blowouts to regular coat care, there’s plenty of work to put in to keep your double coated dog looking their best. If you opt for leaving that job to the professionals, Vital Care can help keep the grooming costs down. Petco’s Vital Care offers you an affordable solution to take care of your pet’s routine wellness needs. In addition to covering the costs of unlimited preventative vet exams, this plan also provides unlimited 30% discounts on full-grooming services and monthly rewards that can be used to buy food, toys, and more. Unlike traditional pet insurance plans, this pet care program helps you reduce the chances of health issues occurring in the first place, rather than treating them after the fact. Their complete wellness care makes sure your pet is being taken care of, head to tail, with regular checkups and grooming. Easy to sign up for and economical, this pet care plan will make sure your dog gets only the best care even when you’re on a strict budget.


So, What Exactly Is A Double Coat?

Simply put, a double coat is a type of coat that consists of two layers. Double coated dogs have a dense undercoat full of short hairs. These short hairs typically with a wooly texture. Meanwhile, the top coat of longer hairs are called guard hairs. The denser the undercoat, the fluffier the coat will appear to be and the more grooming the dog will require. These dogs require more work. 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. Each has a vital use, so there’s a reason why these pups have such a different form of fur.

Related: All About Hand Stripping

This isn’t too difficult to figure out. For the most part, you can tell just by looking at a dog whether it has a double or single coat. The difference is notable. This is especially true for Spitz-type dogs and other breeds with thick and fluffy coats. There are also some small-breed dogs that have double coats including several terriers (however, these pups have a wiry rather than a soft top coat). Some examples of double-coated breeds include the following:

If you own a dog with a double coat, there are more differences than simply the appearance. These coats also behave differently. To explain, double coated dog breeds also go through what is known as coat blow. It’s important to know specifically what coat blow is because this is something else that you should be aware of if you are thinking about introducing one of these canines into your family.

Coat blow is different from the regular shedding that happens with dogs throughout the year. When a dog blows his coat, it’s basically because he is transitioning from his winter coat to his summer coat. The process is similar to shredding, but different enough to be worth exploring in detail.

A double coated breed (such as a Malamute or a Siberian Husky to name just a couple of examples) will have an undercoat that is soft, and this will lie underneath the top coat of coarse guard hairs which are noticeably longer. Thanks to this soft undercoat, your dog can stay nice and warm even during the coldest winter months. But, as you probably guessed, something has to change when the weather warms up so that he can continue feeling comfortable underneath all of his fur. This is where blowing the coat comes in. It is a process in which the undercoat is released in big clumps. If you thought shedding was bad, you will reconsider your stance when you see what coat blow looks like! Some dog owners fill up entire garbage bags with all of the hair that comes out. It’s not a pretty sight.

Do you need to rush to the groomer when your double coated dog is blowing his coat? No. Surprisingly, you actually don’t. All of the unwanted hair will end up falling out on its own. Now, just how sever, and how frequent your dog’s the coat blow might be will depend entirely on your dog’s breed (as well as your pet’s gender). There are a number of unexpected factors involved in coat blow.

Even though you don’t need to take your dog to a groomer to take care of their coat blow, you can at least help it along at home. Just take a few minutes each day to brush your dog. Fifteen minutes is a good place to start and will become clear if you need to stick at it for longer. You’re also going to need specific tools to help with the process, like a slicker brush, a Greyhound comb, and an undercoat rake. These tools will all come in handy. Removing that undercoat, which has already come loose, with these grooming tools can help you get the hair out before it ends up all over the house. On top of all of that, your dog will likely feel better too. As the coat blow progresses, your dog might even up with patchy areas throughout his fur, so helping him out with a little at-home grooming will help keep him looking his best.

In addition to brushing your dog (and then brushing some more, obviously!) during coat blow season, it is also a good idea to bathe your dog a bit more often than you typically might. This will also serve to help speed up the process. That’s because the bathing will help further loosen your dog’s undercoat. It’s best to stick with a canine-appropriate shampoo that contains natural ingredients and will not irritate your dog’s skin (especially because you will be bathing him more frequently, which inevitably causes a little irritation). You can even use a coat conditioner made for dogs to add moisture to any mats or tangles that have developed. Then, you can more easily remove the matting with a mat breaker grooming tool. Dealing with coat blow is certainly a bit of an aggravating process, but ultimately it will make such a difference for your dog (and the cleanliness of your home) that it will be worth it. Trust us.

It’s clear by now that any old brush won’t do the trick for your pet’s thick fur. Double coated dogs require special hair care, and that means grooming tools powerful enough to tackle their layered fur. This is especially true during the coat blow season as they’ll need help to get rid of all that dead hair. And if you don’t want your whole home to be coated in pet hair (even more than it usually is), you’ll want to invest in some quality grooming tools for a double coated dog. Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to get some great gear- when you know where to look, you can get fantastic quality at an affordable price. To help you find what you need to keep your pet’s fur under control, we’ve rounded up the best grooming tools for a double coated dog on the market- take a look and make a pick!

Double Wide Mars Coat King

If quality is of utmost importance, then you’ll want this premium grooming tool in your arsenal. It features a contoured wooden handle to ensure your comfort and rake-style blades that will remove hair without pulling or pinching. Made in Germany, this stainless steel stripping comb will help strip and comb out all of the dead hair in your pet’s undercoat, as well as detangle and de-mat their fur.

Miracle Coat Slicker Dog Brush

They don’t call it the miracle brush for nothing! The classic slicker brush design works great with a fluffy double coat as the angled flexible pins can reach through the first layer of hair into the undercoat to remove the shed hair that’s trapped underneath. And with a cushioned and ergonomic designed grip, you’ll be comfortable while brushing out all that dead fur!

JW Pet Company GripSoft Double Row Undercoat Rake

Easy to use and comfortable to pets, this unusually designed grooming tool is ideal for double coated dogs. With two rows of round-tipped teeth, this rake brush loosens the lightly matted parts of the coat to lift out loose hair from the undercoat. But the best part is that the brushing process is not only extremely efficient but it is also very pleasant for your pooch who’ll get a soothing massage while you brush the dead hair away.

Furminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool for Dogs

Furminator is one of the most popular grooming tools on the market- and many owners of double-coated dogs sing it praise, too. The densely-packed teeth penetrate through the top coat and completely remove all dead hair in the undercoat with superior efficiency.

Pixikko Double Row Undercoat Shedding Rake

With 13 long and 12 short stainless steel pins distributed in two rows, this handy little tool will remove shed hair from all coat layers but it is especially efficient for undercoats. The size makes it a great choice for small and medium breeds- but it can be used on pooches of all sizes and even long-haired cats.

Some Additional Grooming Tips for Double-Coated Dog Breeds

Regular grooming is incredibly important for double-coated dog breeds because these dogs tend to shed a lot (as you would expect for a dog with double the fur). If you do not routinely brush your dog’s coat the shed hairs will become caught up in the coat, causing uncomfortable mats and tangles to form. Grooming is also a great way to keep dog-related allergies to a minimum. While you cannot prevent a dog from shedding entirely, this will at least help keep the shedding under control. If you’re used to grooming a dog with a single coat and wonder how this second layer of fur will affect this process, get ready. Below you will find a collection of tips for grooming your double coated dog. The mystery is about to be revealed:

  • Brush your dog at least two or three times a week to prevent mats and tangles. Consistency is key.
  • Use an undercoat grooming rake to remove loose and dead hairs from your dog’s undercoat. This is the only way to really get in at that bottom layer.
  • Use a slicker brush on your dog’s rump where the fur is thicker and longer. Rump fur can quite easily get out of control, so this is important.
  • Go over your dog with a wire pin brush or comb to remove dead and loose hairs from the top coat. It’s easy to get so preoccupied with removing the undercoat that you’ll forget to spend some time on the top coat. Don’t make this mistake. Both layers of hair deserve your attention.
  • Work through mats and tangles with a wide-tooth comb. If the fur is particularly rough and you have to cut out some tangles, 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 always 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. You don’t want to be one of those unfortunate dog owners who falls into one of these traps. The biggest mistake you can make with your double coated dog is to shave his coat. Why would you do that? Well, 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. Big mistake. 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 and 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. Some jobs are only meant for the professionals.

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. Take the time to put in some research. It will always pay off in the long run.

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Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate 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.

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