Dog breeds that should not have their fur cut
When it gets hot out, dog groomers put their razors to work. A lot of owners get their dog’s fur cut. However, increasing numbers of groomers are saying that there are dog breeds that should not have their fur cut because instead of keeping them cool, it actually harms them.
We’ll talk about what breeds they are and what alternatives there are. For example, you might be able to groom them with a special brush — and you’d be surprised at how much fur these brushes remove!
First of all, when it’s hot, dogs cool themselves off by sweating through their tongues and paw pads, not through their skin like humans. Dogs also pant to cool off and regulate their body temperature. Therefore, the amount of fur they have doesn’t actually matter very much.
Plus, not all dogs have the same type of fur. Their fur may be long or short, curly or smooth, but what we really care about is how many layers they have: some have a single coat and others have a double coat.
Some breeds have a coat made up of two layers of hair. First, there’s a thicker, longer outer layer, which determines the color you see. Second, there’s the undercoat, composed of more woolly, short, fine hair that can only be seen by lifting up the outer layer of fur.
This undercoat stays underneath the outer layer of fur to create a pocket of air. This pocket keeps the dog at a comfortable temperature; it protects him from the cold, but also from heat. If a dog has a single layer of fur, air pockets don’t form. Below, we’ll tell you which dog breeds should not have their hair cut.
Dog breeds that do not need to have their fur cut
When a dog has this undercoat, you shouldn’t cut his fur, even if it’s long and seems really hot. Why? Because you’d be destroying a weapon nature gave him to protect himself from the weather. Cutting and shaving exposes the undercoat to the elements.
There are many dog breeds and mixes whose fur should not be cut for this reason. Some examples of dogs with double layers of fur:
- Nordic breeds, such as huskies or malamutes
- Herding dogs, like German shepherds, Berger Blanc Suisses, Belgian sheepdogs, border collies and mastiffs
- Hunting breeds, such as water dogs, labradors and dachshunds.
Additionally, mixes of these breeds, regardless of whether they resemble any of them, inherit the double layer of fur. If you want to know whether or not you should cut your dog’s hair, take a close look. If you see a double layer, you now know how to protect him from extreme temperatures; leave it be.
To cut or to shave?
In addition to helping with the cold and the heat, a dog’s fur has many other functions. For example, it protects his skin from the sun. A dog’s skin is not made to be exposed to the sun’s harsh rays, so they have fur to keep their skin from getting burnt.
So even if your dog has a single layer of hair (like many terriers), it’s still best to not shave their fur in the summer. It would expose their skin to the sun, making them prone to sunburn — and even skin cancer.
However, these dogs can have their fur groomed, provided it’s just a little bit. That is, if it’s done with scissors and not a razor, meant for aesthetics or to keep fast-growing hair under control. It’s also fine for a dog’s fur to be cut if he has long, curly hair; sometimes that helps them move around more comfortably.
To sum up, we recommend never shaving your dog. If you do, his skin would be completely exposed to the sun and the elements. Only your veterinarian should shave any part of your dog’s body, and only for medical reasons.
Even if your dog is on the list of dog breeds whose hair should not be cut, there is another way to keep shedding under control and help in hot weather: major grooming. Major grooming consists of a thorough brushing of both layers of hair.
You can buy a special brush to do it at home. Alternatively, you can also take your dog to a dog groomer and ask for this particular service. You’ll be shocked how much hair has gotten caught in the top layer after being shed!
The takeaway: look carefully at your dog’s hair to see if he has only one layer of hair or if he has a woolly, shorter, hidden layer too. If he has only one layer of hair, tell the groomer to just trim with scissors. If he has both, give him a good brushing. That’s all you need to keep him happy even when it’s hot out!