Whether you’re simply a fan or lucky enough to be an owner of an Australian Shepherd, it’s hard to deny that this breed’s gorgeous coat is one of the first things you notice when seeing one of these dogs. Also known as Aussies, Australian Shepherds have luxurious coats that make you want to bury your fingers inside and give them tons of love. The question is, are Australian Shepherds double-coated?
Yes, Aussies have a double coat similar to those of the Golden Retriever or Husky. This means their fur requires a bit of special care and a lot of attention. Let’s dive into the Aussie’s gorgeous coat and help you better understand how to care for these lovable dogs and all that fur!
What Is a Double Coat?
If you’re a dog lover, you’ve most likely heard people talk about single coats and double coats. Honestly, it isn’t all that confusing. Where the true confusion comes in is trying to determine which dog breeds have which coat. Let’s take a look at each coat type so you can better understand what we mean.
Just like it says, a single coat is just that, a single layer of fur. This means your dog only has one layer of fur to keep it warm when the weather outside gets chilly. This is the coat that’s most common in the dog world. While these dogs may not get overheated in the summer, you will find that many breeds with a single coat require a bit more warmth in the winter so don’t be surprised to find your Chihuahua shivering under the nearest blanket.
This is where things get thick. Dog breeds with a double coat have 2 layers of fur to help insulate their bodies. While they have the regular top coat like single-coat dog breeds, they also have an undercoat. The top coat is used to prevent dirt and even moisture from getting into a dog’s fur. It doesn’t do much to help keep your dog warm. That’s where the undercoat comes in. This undercoat features shorter hair that is quite thick. It’s located closest to your dog’s body to provide them with extra warmth when the weather gets colder.
Fortunately, however, you don’t necessarily need to worry about the undercoat when the summer months approach. While your dog may look like they are running around with a huge fur coat, the undercoat sheds when things get hot to allow your dog to better control their body temperature. This is called coat blow and is why so many dog breeds can leave tons of fur around the house. You’ll also find that your Aussie’s undercoat helps insulate in the summer as well. This means it helps cool your pup’s body just as much as it warms it.
Understanding Coat Blow
Now, don’t be fooled. Yes, Aussies blow their coats twice a year, but that doesn’t mean they don’t shed any other time. Coat blow is when your pooch will shed the biggest majority of its undercoat. This happens in the spring and fall as temperatures begin to change. In the spring, your pooch will shed its winter coat to allow for a more comfortable summer.
Once the summer months are over, they will shed again, allowing the thickness of their undercoat to return and warm them up on cold winter’s nights. You’ll know when your pet is experiencing coat blow as you’ll be cleaning up a lot of hair. This is simply part of loving an Aussie or any other dog breed with a double coat.
Caring for Your Aussie’s Coat
Caring for an Aussie’s coat can be a difficult task but it’s one you need to stay on top of as a responsible pet owner. Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you deal with your pet’s double coat so your pooch is properly prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store.
Bathing Your Aussie
Aussies and other dog breeds with a double coat don’t require frequent baths. Of course, if you want to bathe your dog, feel free. Otherwise, give them a bath when they’ve gotten a little dirty or smelly. Normally, double-coated dogs only need to be bathed every few months to help remove dirt and loose hair.
Use a Hair Dryer
With long coats, like an Aussie’s, hair dryers can be a helpful tool. Using a pet dryer, which is a high-velocity tool, can help prevent matting and tangles in your Aussie’s fur after they’ve had a bath.
Brushing Your Aussie
Yes, brushing is something you’ll be doing a lot of with an Aussie in the house. Brushing should take place regularly, every day if possible. Slicker brushes work well for an Aussie’s top coat, but don’t forget the undercoat rake. This is needed to help remove any loose hairs from the undercoat that your slicker brush simply can’t reach.
Use a Groomer
If you aren’t comfortable trimming the fur around your Aussie’s toes or ears, choose a trustworthy groomer in your area to handle these issues. They can help you with bathing, brushing, blowing out their coat with a hairdryer, and even trimming their nails.
The Big No-No
Now that you’ve learned about your Aussie’s thick hair and double coat you may be tempted to provide them a bit of relief when the weather turns hot outside. While the idea of your dog running around with a double coat of hair may sound hot and uncomfortable to you, that’s simply not the case. Your Aussie’s undercoat is used to regulate their body temperature. It not only keeps them warm in the winter, but it helps them to stay cool in the summer. The last thing you want to do is shave off their fur. This can leave your Aussie vulnerable to sunburn and even heat stroke as their bodies aren’t able to regulate normally. You can also cause permanent damage to their double coat that will not repair itself when it grows back.
Final Thoughts on Aussies and The Double-Coat
Yes, Australian Shepherds have double coats that can be a bit difficult to manage. However, this design allows your dog to remain comfortable no matter the temperature. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to learn how to manage your pet’s fur and keep it looking its best. Routine grooming, help from a groomer, and being prepared to clean up the excess hair they shed is the best way to keep your Aussie looking and feeling great.