Don’t Shave Down A Double Coated Dog!

Thanks to Rumpydog for posting on this topic recently.

With the coming of spring, many dog people start thinking about how a dog needs to stay cool in the hot summer weather. Some people in my rural area shave down their dogs in the summer, and sometimes in the winter. This is not a good idea. I will show you why.

Any time you shave down a double coat on a dog, you are actually causing damage to the “guard” hairs which is what helps a dog regulate their temperature. When the guard hairs are cut, the undercoat will grow thicker and actually take over from the guard hairs, replacing them.

So the guard hairs that let air move around them (which is what helps regulate the temp), are replaced by thick undercoat through which no air flows and thus prevent temp regulation.

Not only is the undercoat thicker and warmer than the guard hairs, they are usually a different colour – mostly a bland, washed out colour and not at all what the dog should naturally be. You can see in the picture below how this dog’s guard hairs are a rich, deep colour but the hair on her backside is washed out. This is because the coat was getting cut down at home which caused the undercoat to overgrow. Now we are trying to repair the damage – if it can be done – by leaving it alone and taking only the undercoat out.


So, even though the coat is shorter and should be cooler, it actually is thicker and hotter even if it is shaved down. This makes it so that the dog needs regular shaving down.

Then best thing you can do for your dog is to train him to love being groomed and do it regularly so that the undercoat is taken out when it should be taken out and the guard hairs can stay long and healthy. Oh and use your clicker.


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