How To Tell If A Dog Has A Double Coat?

How to tell if a dog has a double coat? This is the question we are often being asked from people planning to adopt a dog and new dog owners.

How to tell if a dog has a double coat

There is a breed through which you can differentiate your dog—Bulldog, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Poodle, Beagle, Rottweiler, French Bulldog, Boxer, Yorkshire Bulldog, etc.

What if I tell you that there’s more to it. There’s yet another category that your dog falls into—single-coated dog and double-coated dog. If these terms are creating confusion, rest assured, by the end of the blog post, you would learn how to differentiate between a single-coated dog and a double-coated dog.

But before that, it is imperative to know what these terms mean individually.

What is a Single-coated Dog?

A single-coated dog only has a topcoat of hair or fur. They do not have an undercoat.

These types of dogs are sensitive to weather conditions. When it turns a bit sunny or windy, your dog may begin perspiring or shivering. As a result, you need to carry a dog jacket when heading outside. Some of the top single-coated dog breeds include:

  • Bichon Fries
  • Border Terrier
  • Cesky Terrier
  • Coton de Tulear
  • DandieDinmontTerrier
  • Schnauzer
  • Havanese
  • Ibizan Hound
  • lhasaApso
  • Lowchen
  • Maltese
  • Shih Tzu
  • Silky Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

What is a Double-coated Dog?

A double-coated dog has a topcoat of a hair along with an undercoat. The major problem you have to deal with an double-coated dog breed is shedding. Many double-coated breeds like Golden retriever, Australian shepherd, German shepherd, etc. shed all year round

The shedding level of a double-coated breed increases twice a year—before the onset of summer and winter. However, it is the undercoat that provides them with the necessary insulation and guards them against extreme weather conditions.

Some of the top double-coated dog breeds include:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Husky
  • Shiba Inu
  • Samoyed
  • Swedish Lapphund
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American Eskimo
  • Chinook
  • Siberian Husky
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Chow Chow
  • Finnish Spitz
  • Finnish Lapphund
  • German Spitz
  • Icelandic Sheep Dog
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Newfoundland
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Havanese
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Norwegian Lundehund
  • Keeshond
  • Korean Jindo
  • Pomeranian

Check: Labrador Retriever vs Golden Retriever

How to Spot the Difference Between a Single-coated Dog and a Double-coated Dog?

Below are some of the points that you should keep in mind to spot a difference between a single-coated dog and a double-coated dog:

  • The top coat of a double-coated dog is made up of stiff hair.
  • The hair or the fur of a double-coated dog repels water.
  • A single-coated dog would shed flat hair or fur. However, a double-coated dog would shed their hair in the form of woolly sheets.
  • Double-coated dogs have a soft undercoat, but their hair is not straight. As opposed to this, single-coated dogs have soft and straight hair, which is their topcoat.
  • The fur of a double-coated dog is usually dense, and they have longer hair.

These are some of the physical characteristics that will help you find out whether a dog is single-coated or double-coated.

There is a top misconception regarding a double-coated dog—A dog with a masculine body and huge height doesn’t need to be a double-coated dog.

Is it Okay to Trim the Fur of a Double-coated Dog?

As discussed previously, a double-coated dog has two coats—outercoat and undercoat. It is okay to trim outercoat, but not the undercoat. The undercoat is a type of a natural shield against tough weather. Moreover, it does not grow the same again.

If you are frustrated with the high shedding level of your double-coated dog, note that shaving or trimming is not the option. By shaving your dog, you will be damaging his undercoat.

To deal with high shedding, you need to provide regular brushing, bathing, and quality food to your double-coated dog.

On the other hand, it is fine to trim the fur of a single-coated dog, as it only has a single coat on its body.


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