Have you noticed oodles of doodles lately? There are Aussie-doodles, labradoodles, golden doodles and more. Aprimary reasondoodles are becoming so popular is they supposedly have shed-free, hypoallergenic fur.
Doodles are all poodle mixes, and poodles are known minimum shedding. What some people don’t realize, however, is that these thick coats require pricey grooming appointments to maintain.
Doodles are a good example of why it’s important to understand the different types of dog fur, as well as the care each coat requires. Some breeds have short hair that needs very little grooming, but theytend to shed a lot.
Still other breeds have thick double coats that “blow” out twice a year. If you’re a tidyperson, you may not be happy with a pup that leaves little tumbleweeds of fur all over the house.
To help determine the type of dog that will work best in your life, check out this brief guide on the main varieties of canine coats.
Short and Medium Coats
Short-coateddogs have fur that lies very close to their body, giving them a sleek, almost shiny appearance. Two examples are the beagle and the dachshund. Pups with medium coats have hair that is more than an inch in length but isn’t long and flowing. The Akita and Siberian Husky both have medium-length fur.
The good news about short and mediumcoats is that the grooming requirements are usually minimal. You’ll want to brush these dogsat least once a week to rid them of dirt, dead hair and dandruff. Brushing also helps stimulate blood flow and distribute the natural oils in your pal’sfur. The bad news? Some short- and medium-coated pets— such as German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers — are notorious shedders.
Dogs with long coats, such as the Silky Terrier, are certainly gorgeous, but those flowing locks require regular combing to preventknotting and matting. Take the Old English Sheepdog, for example. To keep their shaggy mane free of tangles,you should expect to devote approximately three to four hours a week to grooming.
Curly or Wavy Coats
Many people believe that pups with wavy or curly fur, such as poodles, are non-shedding and hypoallergenic. This is not true, however. All dogs shed to some extent. Curly or wavy-haired canines just shed a lot less than other coat types.
It’s important to note that because curly coats tend to be low-shedding, the hair continues to grow and can easily tangle. Even worse, if these canines aren’t properly brushed, they can form thick mats that can only be removed by shaving.
That’s why it’s imperative for curly-haired dog owners to routinelybrush them all the way down to the skin and take them to the groomers for regular appointments.
Wire-haired breeds have low-shedding coats that are bristly and rough. Two breeds that exhibit this type of coat include the Irish Wolfhound and the BorderTerrier.
Like curly-coated dogs, wire-haired canines need to be brushed and combed on a regular basis or their fur can become tangled. Groomers recommend that owners use a slicker brush or a comb to brush from the skin outward to prevent matting.
Because wire-coated breeds are low shedding, they need to be frequently clipped or hand-stripped. Hand-stripping is considered the best method for maintaining the wiry hair.
However, it can be a time-consuming task that can also be painful for some dogs, as you will be pulling the longer hairs out. Clipping is much easier; however, with this method expect thepup’s coat to lose some of its darker coloring and distinctive texture.
Many breeds and mixes have a double coat. The bottom tier consists of a dense, soft undercoat that is wooly in texture. Over this is a second layer of longer hairs known as guard hairs. The outer fur may be long, medium, short, wiry or curly.
One important thing to note about dogs with double coats — such as Samoyeds and Collies — is that they will “blow” their undercoats twice a year. As the weather warms up in the spring, our double-coated friends shed their winter undercoat.
Then as the weather begins to cool, they will once again shed the undercoat in preparation for growing a thickerone. Be forewarnedthat blowing a coat is like an extreme form of shedding, and you’re likely to find large clumps of fur all over the house during thesecycles.
The number of times per month (or year) you need to wash your canine depends on several factors, including hair type and your pup’sactivity level. For instance, a lap dog with short fur that rarely leaves the house may only require a bath once every three months. On the other hand, a long-haired dog that spends a lot of time romping in the woods may need to be washed more frequently.
Generally, though, it’s best not to wash a dog more than once every two weeks. Bathing more frequently could strip the coat of its natural oils and dry out its skin. It’s also important to use shampoos that have been specifically formulated for a dog, since humans and canines have very different Ph balances. Using a human shampoo could cause your pet’s skin to become dry and flaky.
Caring for Your Fur-ever Friends
Each type of dog hair has its pros and cons. Some may shed less but need more attention, and vice versa. Make sure to thoroughly read up on the grooming requirements of the types of coats before committing to your next fur-ever friend.