Hi guys, fun fact of the day. Did you know that Huskies, Samoyeds, and Malamutes are not the only dogs that have double coats? In fact double-coated dog breeds are more popular than you think, with breeds such as Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Shelties, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Corgis, German Shepherds, Pomeranians, and many more, all falling under the double-coated fur category.
But what does it mean if you've got a double-coated dog? It means that you should NEVER EVER EVER be shaving them to "keep them cool"!
Long story short, double-coated dogs have two layers of hair. Long outer hairs, and soft, woolier hair thats underneath these hairs that is called the undercoat. The longer outer hair repels dirt and moisture, while the thicker undercoat helps insulate the dog, keeping them warm in the winter and COOL IN THE SUMMER! Here's a quick infographic to help explain.
Its really not a complicated matter, and yet as a business and individual dog owners we continue to run into people summer after summer who are convinced that "shaving down" their double coated dogs help them keep cool during the hotter months when in fact, the opposite is happening!
When you shave down a double coated dog you are removing the dogs natural insulation system that helps regulate its body temperature AND you are exposing the dogs bare skin to harmful UV rays, resulting in sunburns, increased risks of skin cancer, increased exposure to parasites such a ticks and chemicals people use on their lawns and gardens.
When you shave a double-coated dog you also changed the texture of the dogs coat. Unlike single coated breeds whose hair continues to grow until it is trimmed, double coats only grow to a certain length, with the outer coat taking longer to grow. This means that when you shave a double coat the soft fuzzy undercoat grows in first, with the longer outer coat slowly making its way through at a much slower growth rate. At this stage the texture of the new double coat isn't the same as before. The coat is less resilient to dirt and plant life, and your dog will come in from the yard with burrs, seeds, grass, twigs and whatever else he rolled in or touched stuck to his fur. The coat also can't insulate itself properly. The combination of undercoat growing with the outer coat will make your dog significantly warmer in summer because the newly regrown undercoat stops the air from getting to his skin and absorbs UV rays. This can ultimately lead to overheating.
This newly regrown coat is also more susceptible to matts and hot spots.
We can't stress enough. If you ever encounter a groomer who is willing to shave your double coated dog, FIND A NEW GROOMER! Any good groomer should know and abide by the above information, its very basic stuff. If you are going to a groomer who is willing to shave down your double coated dog, find a new groomer.
What you can do instead is bring your dog to a groomer who won't shave your dog!
A great groomer will have specialized tools that can loosen up some of their undercoat that hasn't fallen out yet and give your dog a light trim and take some of the "weighty" fur off. Keeping your dog well-groomed with regular brushings at home can drastically help your dog keep cool, regardless of how much fluff they've got.