Why you shouldn't shave your long haired double coated dog.


Nov 27, 2000




Look, I'm going to let you in on one of the biggest scams going. It's summer and 100 degrees F outside. You notice your Golden retriever panting, or your Sheltie, or your Chow or your Malmute (see where I'm going with this?) and you think to yourself, wow, Fido must be hot in that fur coat!

Fast forward to the local groomers shop. "Oh yeah," they say, "You should shave that dog right now! How much? Oh about $50 or more since we have to shave so much hair off."

Bull cookies. Long haired, double coated dogs do not need to be shaved in the hot weather, any more than you need to shave your head in the hot weather. Double coated dogs are dogs that have a heavy undercoat (the lighter softer coat that sheds) and do not need to be shaved. Unless the dog has passed the point of no return in the matting department, the best type of grooming for these dogs is a vigorous undercoat raking with a special tool that helps remove undercoat, a bath, and a blow dry to help separate the hair so the groomer gets the rest of the undercoat out. Once the undercoat is removed, the dog does feel cooler. The guard hairs on the top that do not shed out provide protection against the rays of the sun, and actually insulate the dog from the heat. On most dogs I will shave a strip up their belly, so that they can lay on cool surfaces, and get maximum coolness.

Another myth is that by cutting the hair off short, it will cause the dog not to shed. Again Bull cookies. Dogs with undercoat shed. It may shed shorter hair, but it will still shed.

The most hurtful myth as far as the dog is concerned is..."Don't worry, it'll grow back". Well, sometimes it will. The older the dog, the less likely the guard hairs will regrow. The undercoat will regrow, but the upper hair sometimes does not. This gives the dog a patchy, scruffy appearance.

Also skin that is damaged by UV rays that they would not otherwise be exposed to, can take a long time to heal, and the dog may have scaling and dandruff for quite some time after the hair has regrown.

So don't let your groomer shave your long haired, double coated dog in the summer, it's not necessary, and it's not good for the dog.

Dogs like Poodles, maltese, shih tzus, and other dogs with no undercoat of course require regular grooming and haircuts, but dogs with undercoats rarely do.


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