What exactly defines double coated dogs? This is a question that does matter if you are about to choose a new dog for the household. It matters even more if you are about to embark on a grooming career.
What are Double Coated Dogs?
Before we look at the actual breeds let’s define a double coat.
Whilst we might expect the answer to be really straightforward, there is often confusion about what the word ‘double’ is referring to. Does it mean twice the length of the coat, or twice the thickness of a coat or something else altogether?
Simply put, a double coated dog has an undercoat and an outer coat. So the term ‘double’ refers to how many coats a dog breed typically has.
A double coat does serve a very handy purpose. The additional undercoat can work to keep a dog cooler in summer and warmer in winter. It is effectively like an insulation.
The undercoat is usually a softer, fluffier coat than its outer counterpart. Therefore the outer coat consists of coarser hair which is typically longer, providing protection for the soft undercoat. Not only that, the coarse outer coat protects the dog’s skin from the hot sun.
How to Identify Double Coated Dogs
You can easily tell which coat your dog has. You can part the hair with your hands. If you see a thick coarser coat on the outside and a softer, more down-like coat underneath then you know you have a double-coated breed.
The hair, in these breeds, grows to a certain length in contrast to the single coated dog breeds.
Dog Coat Maintenance
The dog breeds with double coats can be high maintenance. They require constant grooming to prevent matting in between trips to the groomer. Not only that, you need to keep on top of shedding. There are a number of tools that you can use for this purpose, tools such as a de- shedding rake or specialized brush.
The double coat will also need a good shampoo, one that can get down to the skin. It also needs to be a shampoo that can be rinsed off without too much effort.
Double Coat Vs Single Coat Dog
One thing is certain: The ‘double vs single’ concept provides a very handy way to categorize dog breeds.
Double Coated Dogs – List of Breeds
The double coated dog breeds include:
Having 2 coats, these dog breeds are prone to shedding, as mentioned. The undercoat can produce a considerable amount of loose hair that needs to be shed, particularly twice a year.
Single Coated Dogs – List of Breeds
The single coated dog will see the groomer quite often for a clipping. That beautiful single coat can keep on growing if not trimmed periodically.
However, with the single coated dog breeds, you don’t get that twice yearly burst of massive shedding. Some breeds in this category shed a little throughout the year rather than big clumps all at once. Some hardly shed at all.
We are quite used to talking about dogs that don’t shed. Strictly speaking, that is a misnomer as all dogs shed to some extent. However, it is acceptable to refer to very low shedding dogs as non-shedding. Just how much a dog breed sheds, is determined by the coat type.
So if you are in the market for a ‘non-shedding’ dog breed, you can narrow down your search by sticking to the single coated breeds.
Generally speaking, the single coated dog breeds are easier to look after in-between salon visits, provided the hair is not left to grow too long.
The one single coat acts as the protection layer, there being no soft, down-like undercoat.
Breeds with single coats include:
You can see a much bigger listing of single coated dog breeds here.
Grooming Double Coated Dogs vs Single Coated Dogs
Some dog breeds need clipping more frequently than others. However, all dog breeds need ongoing attention in between salon visits.
Brushing is a critical task that needs attending to on a regular basis, preferably weekly.
Caring for a Dog’s Double Coat
Keep in mind the fact that single coated dogs need their one coat for protection. Therefore short haircuts are okay but shaving can leave the dog’s skin too exposed to the elements.
Similarly, shaving is also regarded as inadvisable for the double coated dog. Not all groomers agree on this point, however, The double coat can struggle to grow back correctly. In some cases, the undercoat becomes too thick and woolly.
Tips for The Single Coated Dog Breeds
Regardless of the type of coat that your dog has, there will be a need for ongoing grooming, particularly brushing and bathing. Whether or not to clip, and how often, will depend on whether you have a double coated dog or a single coated dog.