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Truths and Myths About Shaving Dogs with Double Coats

German Shepherd laying on the green grass

Double coats, also known as down hairs, ground hairs, or undercoat, are very fine, fluffy hairs closest to the skin on some mammals. Common dog breads that have undercoats include the German Shepherd, Pomeranian, Chow, Husky, Malamute and Samoyed. The hairs are short and crimped, which makes them highly efficient at trapping air and insulating the animal. This keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This brings us to the first myth:

Myth #1: Long-haired, double-coated dogs need to be shaved in order to be cooler during the summer.

Shaving dogs with double coatsDouble-coated dogs are dogs that have a heavy undercoat. The lighter, softer coat that sheds naturally does 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 the undercoat. This raking, followed by a bath, and a blow dry, will help separate the hair so the groomer can get to the rest of the undercoat.

Once the undercoat has been thinned out, the dog does feel cooler. The guard hairs on the top, which do not shed out, provide protection against the sun’s rays and actually insulate the dog from the heat. However, one might consider shaving a strip on their belly, so that they can lay on cool surfaces, and get maximum coolness. If mats are your main concern, then it’s best to simply keep up with them so they don’t get bad to the point of having to shave your dog.  You may wish to try a product like Mud & Mat Remover made by PurestPets.

Myth #2: Cutting a dogs hair off will cause the dog not to shed.

This is not necessarily true. Dogs with undercoats shed. After a cut, it may shed shorter hair, but it will still shed.

Myth #3: Don’t worry; it’ll grow back.

The most harmful myth, as far as the dog is concerned is ”Don’t worry, it’ll grow back.” Well, sometimes it will. However, the older the dog is, the less likely the guard hairs will re-grow. While the undercoat will re-grow, the upper hairs sometimes do not. This gives the dog a patchy, scruffy, frizzy appearance.

Results of shaving your double coated dog

Also, a shaved dog is more susceptible to sunburn – skin damaged by UV rays. These are rays that the dog would not otherwise be exposed to. This, unfortunately, can be painful and take a long time to heal. The dog may have scaling and dandruff for quite some time, even after the hair has re-grown.

Dogs like poodles, Maltese, Shih Tzu’s, and other dogs, which do not have undercoat, require regular grooming and haircuts. But dogs with undercoats rarely need shaving. So shaving your long-haired, double-coated dog in the summer is not really necessary, according to some veterinarians. But there may be just as many veterinarians and groomers who hold the opposite opinion and this needs serious consideration, too. To shave or not to shave? This controversy is sure to continue.

Author: doggywoof staff

117 Responses to “Truths and Myths About Shaving Dogs with Double Coats”

  1. karen says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for this excellent article. As a mobile dog groomer I continually try to educate my clients about the “dangers” of shaving their dogs to keep them “cooler”. I am going to pass this article on as further proof that it often is NOT a good idea to shave down your dog!

    • I have raised both breeds the chow chow.and the shitzu I love both very much. We do not shave our chow chow. She stays long although we do trim her up under her tummy and around her butt.helps keep fur from matting as this seems to b the most area to mat on her. She is groomed and brushed daily so matting.she is taken to grooming for a bath around every 2 months. As she does not have any oder to her as I keep up on for my shitzu yes we groom him shorter in summer bc he gets too hot and is easier for him as his fur does tangle up and horrible yes I totally agree with u on shaving. Thanks for sharing. I’m from Jackson . Michigan.

    • Do u know how to get my chow chow from being so skidish. She is literally afraid of her own shadows. Noise etc. She loves ppl that she is familiar with but until she gets to know one of my friends or family she won’t have nothing to do with them. I had to muzzle her to take her to vet bc I was afraid she may bite.she has never which she is only 7 months old but afraid of strangers. I don’t want her to be afraid of my friends and family .Although I do want her to b protective when needed b.she need her next shots how can I do this in the vets office with out creating a problem with her . other than that she’s very lovable

  2. Amanda says:

    This just confirms what I have told people over and over again. Unless it is extremely matted, I strongly discourage against shaving these breeds. Not only could their hair not grow back in properly, but it doesn’t keep them any cooler, PLUS like the article said… they will STILL SHED…the pieces are just a lot smaller and can act as “splinters”. A lot of people would rather vacuum larger pieces they can see rather than pull smaller pieces from their skin. I will definitely be using and posting this article for others to see!!

  3. Christina says:

    My neighbor’s chow chow doesn’t have a beautiful coat like how other chow chows have, I’ve always knew it was because she shaves him every summer. My cousin wanted to do this to his dog too, but I’ve always say that the fur will never grow back the same!

  4. Review by Bia Be for Rating: I began using this product 2 years ago because I love my big furry monsters: 1 berner and a border/golden mix. The ingredients are outstanding as professional products go. Hypoallergenic, no drying or irritating, all natural. When used properly (and I do recommend using some sort of bottle to dilute it), these products will give you the most incredible results. The solution sure is a REALLY GOOOD conditioning TREATMENT!!! It works by strengthening the hair shafts and follicles to not only loosen and eliminate dead coat, but also to prevent future shedding by increasing the quality of their skin and coat. When used as directed (every 4 to six weeks *And used properly*), this product delivers everything it preaches. After two years of it, I rarely ever vacuum my home, and I RARELY brush my dogs and have not used the furminator tool on them in over a year. Being a professional, I have the facilities to adequately “blow” out their coats which is were professional grooming can also play a huge roll. My dogs never smell like dogs except on those fun trips to the creek or the lake. I’ve also used this product on my drop coated maltese to help strengthen and enhance the quality of her coat and it does a terrific job. Her hair is strong, long, silky, and beautiful. One other reason I highly recommend this product is for families with allergies. This not only reduces shedding, but when used more regularly (and again…. properly), ELIMINATES dander and dust! Highly recommended to everyone for just about any reason other than skin conditions!!!! Good luck!

  5. Dana Stone says:

    Well, what product are you talking about?

  6. Cynthia Eliason says:

    The first sentence is not correct: the term “double coat” does not mean “undercoat,” it refers to the soft, insulating undercoat AND the harder, protective outer guard hairs or “top coat.” That’s what makes it “double.” Otherwise a most excellent article!

  7. JenniferT says:

    As a professional groomer for 25 years, I have seen MANY double coats destroyed forever by shaving. One beautiful boy I took in as a rescue was a great Pyrenees/Alaskan malamute mix who the previous owner decided to shave down. I had pictures of him before in a glorious, long, fuzzy coat. He never grew that again. :-( He was a wonderful, lovable dog, ad we fell in love with him and kept him for ourselves. Two years later we lost him to cancer. But I digress…shaving a double coat almost NEVER turns out well in the end.

  8. Bev Furnish says:

    My vet shaved my sheltie one January, supposedly because she had a skin infection. She had a bald spot, but no infection. The poor thing was embarrassed and almost froze that winter. The hair didn’t grow back properly until I changed vets and the new one put her on hormones. So good rule is to question and get a second opinion when ANYONE suggests shaving a double coated breed.

  9. hadees says:

    I have yet to seen anyone produce any sort of actual science about this topic. I’ve heard over and over again dogs hair doesn’t grow back but when I push people for where their evidence for that is it is all hearsay.

    From what I’ve been able to get from actual science is that dogs with certain medical conditions don’t grow hair correctly so shaving them might be an issue. Other then that I await anyone’s scientific study on the issue. Otherwise all you are doing is furthering a rumor.

    • Sandy says:

      I had my groomer give my older golden retriever a summer cut . He was shaved and if you don’t believe the hair doesn’t come back, print your email with your comment and I will gladly send a picture of my dog now, with no beautiful overcoat except on a few warts he has…..looks so ridiculous as he did grow some hair back on his belly….but we still love him… advice, don’t shave your dogs!

    • jill says:

      Well said.
      Thank you for that. I completely Agree.

  10. Barbieemaher says:

    I’m not a vet, or groomer,I am a hairdresser, for 27 years, I have a 8 year old perkiness ,wo got her hair cut about 2 1/2 years ago, the groomer shaved her hair instead of scissor cutting her like I asked, and like she has always had,her fur was ruined!!! It has taken over two years for her hair to grow back and really never really looked the same ,she had beautiful hair, mean while I have been trimming her hair,just dusting the edges tring to even up the two coats,the groomer said she had a ” brooken coat” any way I took her back about 3 weeks ago to get a hair cut, and guess what!!!! They SHAVED!!!!! Her again!!!!! Are you kidding me, so here we go again the top coat is already growing back but very uneven ,so I guess it will take another two years to grow this out, I think the myth about this subject is true Its happening to my dog, what sucks is her hair grows so slow :(

    • Baiba says:

      I am so sorry that happened to you and your dog. Really. Horrible
      !!!! I would get a heart attack if my dog was SHAVED!!!! Nooo!

      • Kayte says:

        Thank you for your concern. It was pretty awful. Her top coat seems to be coming in a little now on top of her neck, albeit thinly. It’s been almost 7 months. I’m interested to see what happens after this shed season and the acquisition of her next coat. Her base coat barely exist too. I sure feel for the folks who have shaved their dogs coats off that didn’t grow back. Can’t imagine a Keeshund feeling very proud about it’s post shave appearance.

        • Kayte says:

          I just wanted to say that my Akita’s hair is continuing to fill out. Her base coat is no longer visible under the regrowth of top coat. I don’t know if it was the brushing I did of the base coat (where she had been shaved from the surgery) but I’m very grateful that the top coat is growing again. Whether it gets as full as it once was I have yet to see. Will know by the end of summer. Also am wondering if her top was slow to grow back because of the time of year she was shaved. They shed late winter, early spring and then the base coat begins to grow back over the summer preparing for winter. Maybe by August her coat was finished growing? Just a thought. Unlike some double coats, she only blows her base coat once. She doesn’t lose any hair all late summer through the winter. Then I pay for it all summer after her base coat blows in the spring and her top coat sheds. Doesn’t disappear of course like the base coat but litters the coarse straight top coat hair on the floor like pine needles.
          I do understand why people consider shaving their dogs because of the heat. I certainly had considered it but after this experience I won’t do it even though I know she will more comfortable. I think the best thing people can do is only own dogs that can tolerate hot summers if that is where they live. I live in the very north of PA but the summers will get in the 80′s. Fortunately my dog has access to our pond where she can cool off. But with the dense hair she has usually replaced by the hottest month of summer (Aug), she doesn’t dry especially if it’s humid and it usually is here in the summer.
          Right now she looks skinny w/o her winter coat but by fall people will comment that she is fat!

  11. alice says:

    i always shave my malamute in the summer as she looks nicer and cooler and she likes it and its easyer to wash her and the shedding isnt and horrifing, she always grows back a beautiful coat, i think it just depends on tthe individual dog.

    • Jennifer says:

      This is part of the myth. Your dog LOOKS cooler to you, because to you all that hair would be hot. After a double coated dog sheds the winter undercoat, the summer undercoat comes in. It’s thinner and actually lifts the guard hairs up so the heat can escape the body and allows cooler air to get to the skin. Take that away and your dog is actually hotter than they would be if you took the time to properly brush every day. Not to mention that Mally’s are at higher risk for cancer and by shaving you take away their protection from the sun. Unless you are putting sunscreen on your dog every time you take it outside, then you are putting your dog at high risk for melanoma (skin cancer). Rule of thumb is to never shave a double coated dog except when medically necessary – and even then make sure it is actually necessary!

  12. Sue says:

    We have Shelties. We would never shave them. They get regular baths and very little trimming. They have the under and top coats to keep their temperature regulated. Panting keeps them cool. Ensuring your dog has plenty of water will help keep their temp. regulated in summer and winter. After seeing the results of shaving Shelties and other long hair dogs the coat always comes back looking horrible and very choppy.
    Shaving is often done for the convenience of the owner. Justifying shaving by saying the dog does better for doing it is wrong.

  13. Nicole says:

    I am a groomer. But before I was a groomer I shaved my Australian Shepherd and the first time it grew back fine but when I shaved it the second time the next year it has yet to come back and it has been 3 years now. When dogs are younger it will grow back fine most of the time but when they start to come around the age of 6 I do not believe it comes back like the normal coat should be. I have seen many double coated dogs that come into the salon and their fur will never be the same. In my studies of becoming a groomer they said that a lot of times the undercoat will grow back faster than the guard hairs. The undercoat has no guard hairs longer and to help separate it so it grows back all clumped together now allowing for the guard hairs to grow back and through it as well. (leaving it to look like the above pictures). To HELP the coat to grow back regularly it is recommended to brush the dog’s hair everyday and monthly baths. Which will separate and help the undercoat fall out naturally like it is supposed to do and to get rid of any dirt that might be clogging pores to allow for the guard hairs to grow back properly. No, there is no research or research that I have read anyways that explains this, but it IS what happens! I see it almost everyday and people who have been grooming for 50 plus years say the same thing and vets that know about grooming.

    • Penny says:

      You have no idea how comforting your response was! Our Newfie St. Bernard lab mix was shaved this past spring by her previous owners. I was devastated. She had a beautiful thick and gorgeous coat. She was young (8 months) and is now 10 months and it’s growing back slowly. She has a pretty good undercoat growing in most areas (except her back). I keep wondering what she will end up with. She will never have another haircut! Thanks for your post! I have hope now since she is still pretty young!

  14. Fal says:

    I have a quick question I hope someone will be able to answer. My current dog is a Wolfhound/Husky/Chow mix (weird combination, I know) and has a pretty dense, scruffy, long coat. I’d describe the texture as wooly. We’ve never had a dog with her coat type (past dogs were poodle mixes and the last one was probably a schnoodle-Yorkie mix, among other things), and I’m a little bit concerned about how to handle her grooming for the summer. The first full summer we had her, I got a KONG Zoom Groom and that basically took care of all of her longer coat- it left about an inch and a half to 2 inches of hair. Her fur long is either dark grey or lighter grey with black bases- so the brush left the base and the undercoat. What the brush didn’t get I was very easily able to just pluck out without causing her much discomfort. However, I’m concerned that it may not be a healthy way to take care of her winter coat when it warms up. Thoughts?

  15. Maria S. says:

    April 2012 I took my 11 yr. old Pomeranian to the groomer she’s been going to for years for a bath & “trim” as usual. When I picked her up later I was devastated to find that the groomer had shaved my dog. She insisted this is the same clipping she always did but even after showing her pictures of prior “cuts” she insisted she did nothing different. Here it is one year later & my dog has not regrown her fur. She looks really strange & I have to be very careful when we go for walks so that she doesn’t sunburn. Be sure you confirm how your dog is going to be clipped…. :(

    • For your pomeranian. When your groomer cut her.or shaved her.was wrong bc they are only supposed to do as u request. Secondly when I had one of my shitzu groomed at an older age of 9 years old his fur did not grow back it is true their fur will not grow back bc of age levels. I suggest u find another groomer that will listen to your orders or sometime your vet will do this for a price. Mine does it .Once a year for my shitzu Kerby boy. Trims his nails weight.bath and groomed it’s a little more costly but when I take him in for shots etc this is when I have it all done.

  16. tony smith says:

    Articles like this have been bringing me to tears lately. I wish there was more complex discussion, but it all sounds like if your dog is ever clipped, it will destroy the dog forever. Imagine my nightmare!

    I took my beautiful Labs to boarding in late February. The last thing they asked was: Do you want your dogs showered before you pick them up. I said yeah – there were in boarding for almost a week; so, it is better to have nice clean doggies.

    I returned home and discovered that my male’s coat was uneven. I didn’t notice it at first, because he was all puffy from his blowout. But as the week progressed it became clear that his coat had been shaved. On the sides, his top coat was gone; on his back, it remained.

    I was pissed, but not knowing much about dog coats, I figured it would be back to normal in a coupe of weeks, given that he constantly sheds. Two weeks passed; four weeks passed. Still, the sides are the soft furry back hair; the top is the shiny coarse top coat.

    I finally went back to the kennel. Apparently, the former groomer is no longer there. The new guy was really nice. He said that the hair should grow in normally, and that he mainly sees coat problems with Pomeranians, Shelties, and GSD. Also, he said that it doesn’t look like a clipping, but overuse of the Furminator by the prior groomer. I took him to another groomer and got a similar response: just wait — the topcoat will fill in again.

    I hope what they say is true. If this is the case, then I would like to say that all of the gloom and doom websites that tell people that any double-coat dog that is ever cut will suffer irreversible damage cause unnecessary shock and fear in owners. No – I have never and will never cut my dog’s hair. But I cannot reverse what has happened. Even though I cannot change the past, I would like to have hope for tomorrow. This is just one of a hundred articles that gave me many sleepless nights and anxiety attacks. Thanks a lot.

  17. Teri says:

    Thanks for answering this question for me. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to get my little dog’s coat shaved short, as is the fashion these days. I would hate to lose her wonderful sleek topcoat. I do have a slightly unrelated question for you: The second dog picture in your article, what kind of dog is that? It looks so much like my dog and we’ve been trying to figure out what she is!

  18. Matt Twyman says:

    we started shaving our shephard/rotweiller/… mut last summer because she pants excessively, even when it’s not hot and her breath is cool. We hoped to offer her as much relief as possible. She doesn’t seem to pant less. The coat grew back very quickly though and we’ve shaved her 3 or 4 times now. She found us so we don’t exactly know her age but, due to a tooth injury she suffered years ago, the dentist estimated she’s now ~ 4.

    Just took her into a dog day care center and the owner informed us that we should investigate the dos/don’ts about shaving. Her advice was to NOT shave as the undercoat provides insulation. Doesn’t matter the temperature… insulation is insulation. I’ve worn a down insulated jacket in the summer and it helps keep the heat out for a bit but ultimately it also prevents heat from escaping. On a summer day it’s a game of time. If a dog is out briefly no problem, but prolonged play will certainly produce a ton of internal heat which I can only imagine needs to be released.

    Came across this and can’t decide what’s right from what’s wrong. My gut says that it depends on the dog and the climate. I live in Austin, TX. Hot is HOT and we are outside frequently and for long periods of time. I can’t buy that removing the top ‘hair’ layer introduces UV burns. I’ve inspected my dog after being out in the sun and see no signs of burns. I certainly can’t claim that she is in more pain. Is a dog’s skin different than a human’s? I have no hair on my body, relatively speaking, and tan, but don’t burn if I have any level of shading like a shirt.

    In the end, I absolutely want to do what’s best for my dog. Preserving a coat is NOT my priority over keeping her cool and healthy. Of course, if I am convinced that by shaving I’m actually reducing her ability to keep cool than I’ll stop, but the evidence doesn’t stack up to me yet.

    thank you all for the article and discussion. Looking forward to fully learning something new and educating others.

    Matt Twyman

    • Janice Cerda says:

      One of the elements that needs to be considered with regard to sunburn is the color of the skin.I have owned black skinned poodles who have never had issues sun- burn. But a friend had a pit with a pink nose. It burnt every time shewas out in the sun. His solutions was to tattoo the pin area. After this healed from the tattoo she never had a problem agsin.Right now I have a pinkskinned poodle and Icrop him to 3/8 length so far, so good. I livein the Nevada desert.

  19. Matt Twyman says:

    Just read that indeed, dogs’ skin is different than ours in that, obviously, they lack the network of sweat glands and circulatory vessels. No problem here. Unfortunately, I still would like to see some scientific study showing that a dog’s core temperature is indeed kept cooler with a full coat than one that’s trimmed. Stories don’t do it for me… I’m looking for empirical evidence based on measurements. I will of course lean on the evidence that dogs have had coats for many thousands of years and they were never shaved. Still, that doesn’t mean that a shave is bad.

    It does seem that a thorough undercoat grooming is promoted by all articles I’ve read. Ferminator?


  20. Crystal Lewis says:

    I do not know that there is any scientific evidence that supports shaving or not shaving a dog with a double coat and it seems that depending on the vet. you go to the answer will be different. With that being said I worked as a bather, grooming assistant, and dog trainer for a long time. From my experience it seemed that double coated dogs that were shaved on a regular basis had horrible skin and very bad dandruf, but yet the skin was oily. Also the coat never seemed to grow correctly. This was also true of older pets that did not have a double coat. So I guess when it comes down to it, owners should be educated which would allow for an better decision. I always emphasized that shaving would not stop sheding, as owners seemed to think. As far as sunburns I know my Mom’s boxer gets sunburned, so it would make sense that if the hair is short and the dog is less protected it’s more susceptible to burns.

  21. msb says:

    Been shaving my 1/2 golden ret. and 1/2 lab for years… no problems.. must depend on the dog. Seriously… stop debating… people do it with no problems.. people do it with tons of problems. no one can tell me to not do it because I do it all the time.. no skin problems, no sunburn.. no spotting, no matting, nothing… ???????????????? I dont understand.. if you want to do it, do it… if not.. don’t.

    • Betty says:

      I have heard it all now, I have been grooming for a very long time and I have seen nothing bad happen to a dog that is shaved except that the dog is cool in the summer. The hair grows back the same way it was. Who makes these stories up?

      • Sue Ingram says:

        I have a Great Pyrenees. When I got him from the rescue, he had been shaved and his coat did not regrow well and his former owner had released him to the rescue group. The rescue had his thyroid checked and his thyroid was low. He was put on thyroid meds and his coat has grown out well. After two years, I decided to have him shaved to withstand our warm summers here in central Illinois. After 2 weeks, I realized I had made a mistake. They flies are a huge problem for him. I have many trees so he does not have to worry about sunburn as much as some other dogs but the flies are causing a lot of problems fotr him.

  22. Sam says:

    A few things about this article: the two poms pictured here, are Pomeranians with alopecia x syndrome. This is not the fault of a clip down but a genetic disorder that generally doesn’t show until the animal is clipped down. Second: shih tzu in fact, can and do have a double coat with hair like folicals for the top coat which continuously grow. Third: the main argument for not shaving down a dog is the debate on body heat regulation and coat texture changes that can develop after a clip.

  23. Akriti says:

    Had trimmed my GSD’s coat last July as she had some skin infection. The problem here is that her coat hasn’t grown back. Could you please provide me with a solution for the same.

    • Betty says:

      her hair not growing back has nothing to do with the shave, it is probably a medical problem. You can shave any dog over and over and it has nothing to do with the coat growing back. Please shave the coats off in the summer for the sake of your hot dog.

  24. Lorena says:

    I wish i had Know this before. I tome my dog a yorkee to petsmart. Asking for the shorter blade, no one told me about the risk. And nos my dog is so sick every time I toke her outside she get so bad breading. So I start researching why she get so hot and now I see was the hair cut, al the way to the scalp and now I’m so worry for her, because is so weak and she doesn’t want to eat, and when I lift her I can fell how weak she is now. If there is something you can tell me what to do plissssssss I will be very greatifull for any advice that help my little dog

    • Betty says:

      If anything clipping your dogs coat down all the way is going to help your dog feel better. I don’t know long they actually left your dogs coat, it has nothing to do with a shave. It sounds like your dog is still burning up and that can make them sick. Other than that your dog needs to go to a Vet. I have been reading all these post and I have never read so much nonsense. If anyone has a vet that tells you such nonsense go to another vet. In the summer, get that coat off and help your poor dog feel better.

  25. Kelly says:

    Lorena, I do not have any idea if your dog could be sick from a hair cut, but if Lyme disease is of concern in your area, you may want to have her tested. Since she is not eating, you might better call the vet? Blessings to you both.

  26. Rene Miller says:

    If I was Lorena, I would sue Petsmart for shaving my dog. They should know that shaving a dog’s hair off is dangerous business. In fact, a dog has more than one coat of hair for a reason. I feel sorry for Lorena, but I feel more sorry for her pup. She needs to make sure to keep her dog covered because they can also get sunburned and then dehydrated too. I don’t think this has anything to do with Lyme disease. Who came up with that noise? She needs to get her dog to the vet, fast. There may be some myths about a double coat but I think there are more truths going on here about the problem. Yorkshire Terriers have a pretty long coat for a reason. If you shave your dogs coat off, there are consequences you are going to have to deal with. One is a vet bill.

    • Betty says:

      There is nothing dangerous about shaving a dogs coat off. I tell you what, you go get a thick heavy coat on and go out side in the summer and see just how hot you are. How many dogs have had heat stroke because of stupid myths I have read here. How about common sense, anybody out there have any?

  27. Denise Vogan says:

    I have been reading this debate about shaving a double coated breed or not. I have lived with, owned and bred Rough Collies for over 30 years, in that time only 1 male dog had to be shaved on the vets advice due to a skin problem. His coat never recovered and to say he looked like an sheep once it had “grown back” was an understatement. The top guard hairs never grew back and the dog got water logged when it rained.
    I currently have a ex racing greyhound and 2 rough collies. The collies have coped with the heat alot better then the greyhound, even with their long, thicker coats, I groom all 3 dogs once a week removing any loose or dead undercoat.
    Please think long and hard before you shave your dogs coat. A dog does not sweat through its skin like humans, but through its tongue, my advice would be plenty of cold water to drink, regular grooming and a cool shady place to lay down in.
    A dog has developed coat over hundreds of years and it serves a purpose for that breed, dogs have enough natural instinct to know how to cool themselves down in the hot weather

    • Benjamin says:

      I agree with you wholeheartedly, our Malamutes coat is completely ruined due to shaving his coat off during the summer months… he was always a stressed wreck due to the heat and couldn´t do anything other than pant constantly, he turned into a much happier dog after having his thick coat removed, and his skin was always red and moist and prone to hot spots because of his thick coat. this quickly cleared up once his skin could get air…

      however I can now see this debate holds allot of truth after witnessing first hand the consequences of shaving/trimming the coat (about 4-5 times in all for us) the thick undercoat will grow back, the problem is the gaurd hairs do not, yes maybe the first and second time with no problems… this now results in a coat that is not protected from the elements, and therefor prone to skin issues like dandruff due to sun exposure and last but not least a very patchy coat due to the soft undercoat being rubbed off from lying down… he had the most beautiful coat once … now ruined :0(

      I wish I had found info like this earlier… please do not shave if you are contemplating this.. hope this helps others to avoid the same mistake we made.

  28. Brenda says:

    Please help:
    I have a two year old short haired havanese. So he has double coat and sheds. We never had him clipped ,except when he was 9 months old on his behind and back of his back legs as it was longer than everywhere else and looked funny. Anyways, I came home tonight to find my dog shaved and cut by my son and his girlfriend. An awful cut. His back is shaved almost to the skin. You can see places where the clipper passed to close and you can see the skin. Poor little thing. He’s black, so he might get sunburned. My question is this: is there anything I can give him to help promote his fur to grow back. I am devestated at the situation,as I had no choice in the matter.

    • Annie says:

      #1. I would have kicked both of their ignorant asses all over the
      house !!
      #2. NEVER let ANYONE do anything to your animals just because they
      feel like it !!
      #3. I would try rubbing NATURAL ALOE on his skin-”OFTEN”.

  29. MICHIGAN64NANA says:

    I CANNOT BELIEVE I FOUND ALL THESE COMMENTS! wOW! My 12 yr old 5# Pom I got as a rescue about 4 or 5 years ago. She had lost weight from 8# down to 2# when I got her, but she had the beautiful blonde outer hair with white underneath. She still acts like a happy little frisky puppy when around other people; however, she lives with me in my bed (she has her own stuff on her own side, tho), not a barker except “warning bark” when someone comes near the house, porch, etc. HOWEVER, it was very hot a few years ago, and someone suggested I PERSONALLY give her a TRIM. I bought the kit, gave her a shave. Long story, not only has her hair not grown back, but the little that was left SHE IS NOW LOSING, and is almost BALD, mostly “pink skin” showing here and there. Strange tho, the hair on the legs is about 4/5 inches long, and grows long and fast from her feet forward and on her belly. Her hair does NOT feel soft like it was before; the “sheep like” fur is now STRAIGHT and very very THIN. Obviously, I seldom bathe her and never BLOW dry her, (fear of burning her skin), use a very soft brush. THIS IS BREAKING MY HEART TO KNOW THAT I DID THIS TO MY LITTLE DARLING, and I have no idea if there is a remedy. She reminds me of a cancer victim. EVERYONE WHO MEETS HER THINKS SHE IS ADORABLE AND LOOKS JUST LIKE A LITTLE LAMB.i FEEL LIKE AN ABUSIVE HORRIBLE PARENT WHO DESTROYED HER CHILD. I FEEL U WILL UNDERSTAND HOW TORTURED I FEEL, SO HELPLESS. I had gotten her weight up to 5#, which she is maintaining (although she is a very picky eater);and i feed her treats that have glucosamine and other good stuff for older dogs……but without her hair, she looks soooo skinny and pitiful. One hind quarter is turning dark color. The vet just said it may be because she is older or could be thyroid problem but expensive for tests etc. I thought about buying some thyroid herbal meds to give her…? Her appetite has been terrible since i got her, but she loves chicken, cheese, bacon, fish, basically any meat, especially french fries ,and take out food. lol. I use angel eyes btw, for the “weepy eyes”, but she hates it. I use a “tea tree” conditioner on her, just spray on and brush a little. ANY ideas? Welcome any advice and prayer is always appreciated. btw, I myself have a seizure disorder, and am hypoglycemic….and she has those health issues also. As I do, I think she may have a thyroid condition. ty for sharing your stories. I truly believe you SHOULD NOT SHAVE AN OLDER POM FOR SURE; THE EMOTIONAL PRICE U PAY IS TOO GREAT A RISK TO TAKE.

  30. Panny says:

    I have my husky/chow shaved DOWN every few months, since he was 3yrs. old, he is now 7yrs. and he looks awesome in the winter when all his hair grows back. Every year…He comes in when he is too hot or cold outside, sleeps on my bed without it shaking all night from him panting…

  31. This has always been a huge controversy in the field of grooming. I am a certified pet aesthetician who works in a large veterinary hospital with 12 veterinarians. There is indeed research available that shows shaving dogs and cats is extremely detrimental and can lead to sunburn, toxicity and many inner disorders if the skin is left exposed for long periods of time. There are treatments available that will bring back the coat and nourish the skin. In the case of alopecia X, it is still unknown how and why this issue occurs. It is best not to shave any natural coated breed in the event that these pets will not be able to recover their coat.

    • Kathy Rizk says:

      What treatment do you recommend for a dog who has been shaved and is not regrowing his topcoat — actually it has come back in some areas in splotches. It has been four months since my dog got shaved.

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  33. Mary McKay says:

    To shave or not to shave isnt the question!! Its more like the kind of food these pups are getting. We have 3 berners and a miniature schnauzer. We have them all cut down in the summer mostly for their comfort. But most of the comments sound to me like it may be the food these pups are ingesting. We were feeding our dogs purina one. They started losing their hair and were just acting funny. After some research, there is a list of bad dog foods, and there are problems that these bad foods cause. Some that end in death due to tumors, cancer etc. So my advice to some of these pups that suffer with alopecia, out them on a good food! It may be expensive but well worth it for them! Just type in 10 worst dog foods!! And read!! You should find some answers.

  34. J.Gee says:

    We decided to give our Border Collie a very short trim recently prior to start of the Aussie summer. Despite the fact that she hates water and seemed to suffer in years gone we had resisted the temptation for 12 years but I am very glad we made the decision at this time. It’s only spring but unseasonably warm this year and she was looking very uncomfortable dragging that heavy (mostly black) coat around but despite most comments above saying “don’t do it!” she’s positively bouncing around now and seems to be benefitting enormously. With respect, it’s all very well saying that dogs have survived for centuries with the coats they have and, they know how to cool themselves.. the fact is, the Border Collie was not bred for Australian conditions – and neither were many other long-haired breeds – they may cope in the European summer but not here! Our dog also got a paralysis tick a few years ago which very nearly took her life and so needed to be shaved right down the skin at the Vet hospital – and her coat grew back just as long, thick and lustrous as it had ever been and I’m sure it will again. But, even if it doesn’t if I have made her more comfortable in her mature years, so will no regrets… after all… it is only us humans who are concerned about how they look – the dogs could care less!

  35. Gloria Dake says:

    My13 year border collie/Queensland has not shredded or grown new hair for one year has been tested no Cushing disease . Do you have any answers. She is a very healthy, happy dog. But hair is getting very thin.

  36. Matt says:

    Hi…thank you for the article and to all those who’ve added to the conversation. Just so it can be clear to all: don’t shave an Australian Shepherd. After rescuing her from the pound, her fur was matted and in need of serious cleaning. As I’ve done with my mixed breed (Brittany/Eskimo Spitz) every year, I shaved her down. She loved the coolness, bounding and rolling and being her crazy self. BUT then the fur began to grow back. Within a month, her fur was coarse and I couldn’t draw a brush through it without it catching. She now has to be buzzed every 6 months or the matting is terrible. She really does have the appearance of a sheep. If only I’d known. I feel terrible for the mistake. She’ll never have the gorgeous Red Merle coat again. BUT it isn’t the appearance that upsets me…it is knowing she’s uncomfortable as the fur slowly mattes over weeks.

  37. Leah says:

    I see a lot of comments here that tell me that some people are not aware of certain scientific facts about dogs. It is no good comparing your dog in his fur to a human wearing a fur coat on a hot day. This is because humans release heat by sweating dogs do not. Dogs lose heat by panting. It is normal for a dog to pant in hot weather. As long as they are provided with plenty of water and cool place to lie they should be fine. Also if it is really hot during the day why not walk at night? As a groomer I have seen some really bad outcomes from shaving dogs. For example cocker spaniels once they are shaved, the hair grows back thicker especially over their head. They have some fluffy hairs on their otherwise smooth heads that can be plucked out if wanted but once you start shaving it you have to always shave it. It is soooo unneccesary to shave any dog unless, like the article states, it is matted beyond a good brushing. Raking out the undercoat cleans up the dog and takes out all the dead hair and helps the coat stay healthy. How can someone say that their dog likes being shaved? How would you know that? How do they act differently? Some dogs once their coat is shaved grows back wavy. I have seen that in the spitz breed and I would say their is scientific evidence about what happens when a coat is shaved and why it grows back differently. I say, if you want a dog you can shave, get a poodle!

  38. debbie says:

    I just took my long coated akita to a groomer who said the hair on the butt and upper part of his hind legs was to matted to brush out, so she shaved him. It’s just been a week but i really regret agreeing to this. Not only does he look silly but I think he feels self concious. I just pray that it grows in and I promise I will keep up with the brushing…….

  39. Kelli says:

    We have a cocker spaniel/pug mix and we tried EVERYTHING we could find at the time before breaking down and having him ‘shaved’ with clippers. His soft brown fluffy undercoat was constantly growing longer than his beautiful black slightly wavy top coat and was matting. He is 40lbs so not a small dog. We brushed him daily with a combination pin/bristle brush and then every other day with a slicker brush. That kept down the matting a bit, but didn’t do much for the amount of fur overwhelming his top coat, so on the advice of several people with show dogs and a few groomers, we changed to a slicker brush daily and added in a ‘rake’ once a week to remove the shedding fur and clumps. Again, it helped keep down the matting a little more than our previous treatments, but the fur still was growing longer than his top coat and would mat up with the tinest bit of moisture. So we changed the rake in for a furminator, fewer deep mats, but at this point you could barely see the poor dog’s top coat for all the brownish fluff puffing out. The poor thing looked like a brown cotton ball on sticks. We then tried lightly clipping him but it was a LOT of work for little reward. We finally broke down and had him clipped after a snowfall and the resulting dreadlocks of ice all over his body. He was miserable. We couldn’t get the tangles out of his 2 inch fur even when trying to apply a warm blanket to met the ice then slowly using brushes. We took him to a professional groomer who was able to fit us in and the result was a clipped dog. We then continued to brush him with slicker (daily) and rake (weekly) and found after three months we were headed back to the same situation as before, but before then his top coat was on top and his undercoat barely showed through. So now we have him clipped every three months or so when his undercoat hits it’s super growth phase and he looks beautiful and his top coat is lovely until the undercoat grows out again.
    I think that we encounter this since he is a mix and most groomers I talk to say its like he has a triple coat almost when they groom him, a very close fine & thick undercoat, a longer extremely fine and fluffly “undercoat like’ middle layer that keeps on growing and slightly wiry shiny top coat that can’t keep up with the middle coat as it gets longer. As he is only 5 years old, should I be looking for other options? Am I ruining his top coat?

  40. Nikki Arko says:

    Bottom line…go to a groomer you can trust at a clinic you can trust. Usually there is a wait time for a new client because he/she is so busy. Talk to them in detail. A truly great groomer knows how to seperate fact from fiction. I’ve had many dogs throughout my life and just recently adopted a Shih Tsu. On our first visit the receptionst reviewed my paperwork, the vet tech did a well check, vaccinated him, micro-chipped him and then she and the groomer trimmed his nails, examined his coat and told me how to take care of him at home and what grooming schedule was suggested. All my questions were answered before I could ask them. Find people you can trust and they will take care of your pet in a professional manner as needed for the breed.

  41. Ryan says:

    I have a 3 year old lab, that I started shaving 2 years ago. His hair always grows back fine and he has a beautiful coat. When I shave him in the summer months he always seems to have more energy and be less hot. I have been reading every article I can find on the web about shaving a double coated dog. There is a pattern of the same breeds that stand out for those dogs not growing their hair back properly. It seems to be the smaller breeds and the breeds with very thick puffy coats. Shelties, palms, shitz tsus, shepherds, great parainese and so on. I can not find anything that backs this up scientifically and my vet who is very educated and a great vet, said it wont hurt unless you cut it too short. My dog is an inside dog, that too might make a difference. I do feed my dog omega 3 fish oils, and it helps keep his coat shiny and slick. I really think it depends on the breed the climate and the dog. The other pattern I have noticed is the age of the dog seems to make a difference. For this reason I will probably stop shaving him when he gets a little older just to be safe. But until some evidence comes out backing this article, I am going to have to say its a case by case matter.

    And for the people saying that the dogs still shed its just smaller. You are right but the winter time in my house consist of me vacuuming daily to get the dog hair up and out of the cracks and crevices. When he is cut short I can tell a huge difference in the amount of hair around the house it is practically non existent compared to when it is long.

  42. I have been using this clipper for my Normal Poodle for about 6 months now – I do his
    toes and face at the very least when a month – and it is excellent for all
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    the clipping we do with this clipper. All clippers will
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    the clipper “drags by way of the coat” it could be the same thing that transpired to
    me when I first got it – the blade wasn’t snapped down into situation appropriately and it wasn’t clipping at all.

    For my Poodle, this clipper is amazing, and the value can not be beat!

    I had by no means clipped both canine or human ahead
    of, but decided to try undertaking my Standard Schnauzer at
    home. He is the terror of all regional groomers: they complain that he struggles the whole time, so it is been a headache for
    them and costly for me. Soon after researching residence-use clippers at the Groomers BBS,
    I determined on this Andis clipper established and I am delighted.
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    The comb attachments support to mix in the limited and lengthy coat locations on the Schnauzer.
    I adopted the suggestions of the pros and bought an additional blade so that I could rapidly swap
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  43. Kelli C says:

    I work at a groomer’s.. I own a Siberian Husky. It KILLS me to see people bringing in their double coated dogs to be shaved. They do it all the time – labs, goldens, GSDs, huskies, you name it.

    The coat does not grow back in the same if you keep shaving it. It does not. I can always tell straight away when I look at a sheltie, or a husky, or a GSD if it’s been shaved before. Always. The coat texture changes and the guard hairs don’t come in as well as they should. The undercoat becomes super dense and thicker than it would be naturally. It dries out and for a while it becomes extra fluffy, and then after many years and many shavings, it just stops growing in.

    My husky had surgery on both of his back legs. He had to be shaved bald from hock to hock. It took nearly a year for the guard hairs to begin growing back. The undercoat only started growing back in when I hand-plucked all of the loose undercoat that was trying to come out. Two years later, you can FEEL the difference in the undercoat on his hind legs and hips – he was only shaved there once but you can clearly feel the undercoat is much more dense on his hindquarters than it is along his sides, back, and front.

    • Deirdre says:

      I have two Siberian huskies. They both had hot spots and serious matting. We had never even had them groomed before but the vet insisted they needed to go. I didn’t really know what to ask for so when she said do you want them trimmed I thought, sure. Well, they have buzz cuts and they look ridiculous. More than that, I’m worried about the heat and the sun and if their hair will ever grow back. I feel absolutely terrible and there’s really nothing I can do. Did I completely ruin my dogs?! And why didn’t the groomer say it’s not a good idea to buzz a husky??!! If you can ease some of my guilt and anxiety is be great full!

  44. pooja says:

    I have a 9 month old Shih Tzu who looked so beautiful and cute…his vet Mr.Ajay Rana recently claimed to my husband that he would do grooming and trimming of our pup in a cheaper price than the groomers we take him to…so trusting his word we handed our pup to him…but to our horror the vet handed over oud pup to his helper who shaved off our shih tzus hai so badly unevenly n his mouth was totally shaved off nearest to the skin and his legs were half shaved off…and a few matted hair were left as it is and the pup was given a quick bath and quick blow dry leaving him damp and ugly…and he charged us a good sum for this mess…it is very sad now to look ag my shih tzu he looks sick ugly and unhappy…moreso this vet does not listen to our queries or answer to our queries if ever and never checks our pups weight or advice us about neutering or m8crochipping or anything…I am very sad and so are my kids on the way our shih tzu has been shaved off badly…I hope someone can advice me oh how we can help his hair grow back…I would not only change his vet but also take him to proper grooming parlour in future…..

  45. pooja says:

    Sorry for the typing mistakes in my comment earlier…I would like to request all dog lovers to kindly advice me of any way his hair can be grown back sooner…after reading all the articles that these hair would never grow back same I am feeling very sad…please someone help….

    • cheryl says:

      Most vets do not have groomers they employ vet texchs and know NOTHING of grooming.take your dog to a pet salon .tell them what happened ask for the groomer who has the most years experience .at least 5.and you will have problem solved.

  46. Katie says:

    I have a three year old Alaskan malamute German shepherd mix named Koda. I got him at 12weeks old. The man I adopted him from said he and the other pups had gotten into Something that resembled tar. The first night we brought him home we had to give h a bath. He was so dirty and muddy. I then blow dried him and brushed out his beautiful coat and I could not for the life of me get the tar from his coat. I ended up taking him to the groomers and they had to cut and shave certain spots where the most tar was at that wouldn’t come loose with their brushes. 3years later there are certain spots in his fur that have never grown back. Please do not shave any dog that is a northern climate bred dog. I live in Alaska so yes he needs his coat, but he is not an outdoor dog, he is an all around indoor dog and I accommodate him since Alaskan homes do not hair air positioning unless you purchase a unit. I sleep with my bedroom window open all year long for him so he doesn’t pant all night.

  47. blue heeler and spitz says:

    I shave my Spitz, but only a guard cut. She’s spunkier with her short hair and seems happier. I’m not sure why. She’s 6 years. My blue heeler (a senior)does not getted shaved. We just brush him out frequently when he blows his coat twice a year. Both have beautiful coats, but we feed them high quality, organic, grain-free food and I think that helps.

  48. Terri says:

    I have been a dog groomer for over 12 years now. There are certain breeds I refused to shave. Maladies, huskies, had, etc. There is nothing wrong with shaving down your dog. I have never seen a dogs coat not growth back in full. There is an issue with cutting the hair too soon. Dogs should be at least 6 months Old with a full adult coat. Medical issues or poor quality diet lead to the coat problems.

  49. Bruno says:

    I shaved my Great Pyrenees for 12 years every summer, just not short (no shorter than 3/4 inch with clipper guards) with zero issues. Of course they still shed but 80% of the drooling stopped and his coat returned absolutely beautiful.

    • Erin says:

      Usually shaving with a guard comb attachment or shaving using longer blades don’t damage the coat. It’s the people who shave their dogs competely down to the skin that see issues. #7, #9, and #10 blades are THE WORST to use on double-coated breeds.

  50. Ana says:

    We have had all sorts of dogs and have shaved them down to their shortest length of hair in spring to keep an eye on parasites. The dogs are well cared for and of varying ages. The health of their coat regardless of the hair cut or shave had more to do with their diet and care. We never shaved any during any other time of the year unless absolutely necessary. We also found cod liver and flax seed oils to do amazing things to their over all health as well as fresh food and a high quality dog food. Ever the poorest health dog has grown all sorts of hair, including a 14 year old cairn with a heart condition and a bad reaction to fleas. You are what you eat, aside from genetics and/or injury.

  51. Lavender says:

    Well, I am discouraged reading this article, but hoping for the best with our dog. We have a senior Newfie-Chow mix (he’ll be 11 in November) that has been having horrible hot-spots and skin issues for the last 6-8 weeks. We’ve had him on prednisone, antibiotics, stuff for the itching, etc. He had been very lethargic so they put him on thyroid meds and that has helped with how he feels, but his coat was beyond brushing (we’ve been able to manage it up until this year), so we had him shaved today. Any suggestions for what we can do to encourage healthy re-growth of his coat? His coat has always been tough but we’ve been able to keep it in good shape. Not this year :(

  52. ELS says:

    I agree with the posters that said this is a lot of myth and hearsay. Obviously if you show your dog and need it to have a perfect coat, guard that coat with your life. Otherwise there is no need for such fear about shaving as it is rare (and usually a sign of a condition/deficiency/poor nutrition/whatever) for it to cause problems.

    Where I live in California it is 110-115 degrees every day from May until September and shaving is a necessity. I shave my double coated dog multiple times during these months because she is absolutely miserable if I don’t. She stays in the house in the air conditioning all the time but it doesn’t make any difference. If she isn’t shaved she does not move; she lies very still, panting, on the hard ground because it is too hot for her to lie on her beds, and then she gets stiff. She will pace and whine at night because she is overheated and cannot sleep. She also stops eating. When she is shaved, she acts like her normal self. Active, happy, able to sleep, and eating as usual. It would be cruel for me to not offer her relief because I was worried about her fur.

    That said, the climate I live in is severe. I’d imagine that for most places in the US (north, back east, etc.) shaving is not necessary. My dad lives a few hours north of me in an area almost as hot (105-110*) and owns two malamutes, one wooly coated. Obviously this was just a poor choice period on his part, and he has had to get over his aversion to shaving because the wooly has had a few scares with severe overheating. In spite of constant brushing and undercoat removal, she is still burning up near the skin in the summer. Her fur grew back as long and luxurious as ever afterward.

    One thing that I pointed out to my dad, and that should be food for thought when considering advice given on the subject, is the person giving it. Most groomers charge $40-60 for a shave and won’t see you again for a while. My dad was paying over $250 every few weeks for the maintenance/undercoat removal routine. Maintenance is a heck of a lot more money for the groomer than just advising you to shave it off. My dad’s groomers finally got tired of spending 6-8 straight hours on his wooly and advised him to shave anyway. The profit in the small fortune that he was paying was being eaten up by paying the groomer to work on her for so long. ;)

    • Cheryl B. says:

      I breed and train King Shepard dogs. They have double/triple coats with guard hairs up to 6″ long. The day that I shaved my black sire was the happiest day of his life. I shaved the other 5 dogs in my care and liberated them from their weighty fur. Undercoat is now 2-3″ long after 30 days with guard hairs showing thru on triple coated dogs and the fur of the double coats fur is beautifully shiny new with top coat intact.
      These dogs are show dog lineage. People flock to see them and say the dogs are just as gorgeous with long fur or short.
      A dog’s fur/tail receive nutrition last after all the body’s other needs are met. Try vitamins/supplements. My dogs love the treat given by show dog handlers: Satin Balls. If you can make meat loaf you can make these. Filled with flax seeds,gelatin, ground meat, eggs, 100% bran. Search

  53. Really glad I found this site. My Buster, a mutt, is huge, maybe 110 lbs, has an undercoat and long hair. He gets totally matted, brings in twigs and anything that will stick to him. He is a mess. So I thought I would buy some electric sheers and shave him. Wow, I sure would of been sorry. Your page has helped me be responsible. It took me 3 hours to comb him today, I just need to be consistent. I live in rural community in Central America, as you can imagine, grooming your pets here is not on the average Central American’s priority list. Getting nice shampoos that will treat their skin is not easy and my combing tools have come from the states. Any tips on home-remedy treatments for his coat and skin would be welcome. Anyways, again thanks for the great site, I know Buster is thrilled I read it!

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  56. Beana says:

    It definitely depends on the dog, what they are fed and the environment. I have a Spitz that I have shaved for years and not only does she love to be shaved but within a few months she has a beautiful coat back. She has never gotten sick or had issues with hair growth.

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  66. Kayte says:

    Can anyone tell me WHY the hair doesn’t grow back?
    I have a 7 yr. Akita, who besides Malamutes, must have the most dense undercoat of all. I brush bags full when she begins shedding. The top coat does shed, it sheds after the base coat is finished but not completely. Sheds like a pine tree sheds, never loses all the needles but leaves a carpet of needles on the ground. During the summer her top coat is scattered lightly across the floor.
    She required surgery around her neck so obviously they had to shave there. Her coat never grew back. Even her base coat hasn’t come in properly. It’s been 6 months. It’s interesting though, her hair grew back where the incision was made! At first I thought it was from the collar rubbing there that stimulated the hair growth but where there were puncture wounds outside the incision area (she was bit by a bear),the hair returned here as well. So the hair will grow back where there is scar tissue?
    I wish there was a way to get her hair to grow. Some have said brushing it regularly will help but so far hasn’t helped hers. The areas where they shaved her legs for IVs, injection sites, haven’t grown back completely either.
    So back to original question, was doesn’t it grow back?

    • Erin says:

      In cases of shaving double-coated breeds it is always a possibility for the coat to not grow back, even on dogs that “always get shaved and never had any issues”. The reason this happens is because the hair follicles become “clogged”, for lack of a better word. Double coated breeds shed their longer/heavier hairs as new hair grows in its place; if you shave the hairs, the old hair no longer has the weight to fall out and becomes “stuck”. This can cause infections, the hair to grow back damaged, and/or to not grow back at all. Some dogs don’t have issues but many dogs do. Often times pet owners don’t even notice that their dog’s hair is damaged because they’ve been getting shaved for so long.

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  68. Nicki says:

    It may work for some dogs and it may not for others. I’ve heard both ends of the spectrum and from what I’ve read and heard, it boils down to each individual dog, dog owner and climate. We live in the west in a very dry and hot climate. I’ve talked with numerous people about shaving and not one of them has said they had a bad experience with shaving (not to say there isn’t).

    My mother has been shaving her two goldens for years with zero issues and their coats grow back just fine. I’ve been shaving my golden and lab for several years and they are noticeably happier after being shaved. My black lab used to have this glazed look in her eyes while out in the heat and could not tolerate it well at all. After being shaved, her tolerance is much higher outside and she dries off much quicker. Goldens are known for getting hotspots and mine wasn’t spared. The first year was horrible (pre-shave), he was on medication, ointments and any time after swimming, I had to make sure he was completely dried off and didn’t heat up too much. After shaving, he’s had very little to no hot spots. Not to mention the shedding. Noticeably cleaner in the house. The shorter hair makes it so much easier for them to clean themselves. With longer hair, I am continuously pulling out random thorns or whatnot that get caught in their hair.

  69. Eleanor warren says:

    i have my elderly border collie clipped in the spring , nothing to do with keeping him cool he simply finds the huge coat he had too heavy he loves to swim which makes the coat even heavier and then stays damp all day which in turn makes him stiff. No I can’t use a dryer on him he goes ballistic . Clipped out he is so much happier he walks better and further. His coat grows back exactly the same. So you will never convince me that it’s the wrong thing to do for this dog.

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  72. Sarah says:

    Just one correction to this very good article – dogs DO shed their guard hairs. It’s usually just later than their undercoat. I can pull it out by the handful at the right time. It starts to shed out AFTER their new undercoat begins to come in. :)

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  74. Erin says:

    Hi! I need some advice/suggestions. I’m a dog groomer and already knew the dangers about shaving double coated breeds and I try to spread the knowledge to my clients and, of course,a lot of then don’t listen. ANYWAYS, I recently adopted an older LH chihuahua mix and I can tell that his previous owners liked giving him a lion cut because his “mane”(the hair from his head to around his ribcage) and the tip of his tail is un-damaged, however the hair towards his reared is very thin and patchy. Is there anything that I can do to fix the damaged part of his coat? It’s very itchy and uncomfortable to him and I really don’t want to continue shaving him. :/ I would also like to pass on successful remedies to clients with similar issues. Thank you!

  75. Haley says:

    How do you help your dog achieve the maximum comfort when they have been shaved? There was a vast miscommunication between my mum and a new groomer we’re using, resulting in both our 5 year old Shihtzu-Pekingese and 3 year old Australian Shepherd being shaved. I’m really worried about how their coats will grow back, and whether or not there will be complications with the sun. Not to mention they’re very grumpy and sad now. I’m considering trying to make them little doggy jackets to help prevent sun problems, but other than that what can I do to make them feel better?

  76. Pomowner says:

    I think there are a few topics being mixed up here.

    1-Whether or not ‘shaving’ a dog (meaning: cutting its hair/fur very short) is going to damage or ruin the coat, and delay or prevent re-growth of a natural, beautiful coat.
    2-Whether cutting a dog’s hair/fur (to any length) using electric trimmers/clippers rather than scissors is going to damage or ruin the coat, and delay or prevent re-growth of a natural, beautiful coat.
    3-Whether scissors or trimmers produce a better looking cut.

    Regarding the first point, I have two 10 year old Poms. We live in the tropics where for 8 months of the year, it’s over 85 F (30 C).
    The male has very thick top and under coats which continue to grow rapidly even at this age. In these temperatures, we have found him to be very lackadaisical/droopy/un-energetic and frankly really uncomfortable looking. We decided to ‘shave’ him very short, to about 1.5 cm (3/4″) long. (My wife insists on using scissors, and the multi-hour task stresses her neck, shoulders, back and knees. She has been scared away from considering the much faster electric trimmer route– thanks to the ‘facts’ she has read on panicky, misinformed, flock-mentality rumor mills like this and hundreds of other useless web pages, and suffers for it. Admittedly, it’s her own doing to not trust myself or a professional groomer to handle the task for her)
    After shaving, he is a transformed dog. Very energetic, happy, playful and bounds around despite the heat. His fur, even this short, is thick enough to minimize or even completely block sunlight contact with the skin, but we don’t take him out in the sun.
    A point in the above article is made saying that the top coat, or ‘guard hairs’, block the sun’s heat and actually insulate the dog[‘s skin and body from the sun’s heat].
    While this may be partially true in white dogs, white dogs are a minority. All other colors will absorb heat from the sun’s rays. Some of this absorbed heat is radiated back into the atmosphere, but some will penetrate the top coat and increase the temperature of the air trapped between the top coat and the skin. The insulating effect of a top coat will then increase body temperature, which in turn will further increase the temperature of this trapped air. It is a self-feeding cycle which can cause discomfort and possible medical emergencies.
    All dogs, including white dogs whose hair/fur will largely reflect the sun’s energy, absorb heat from their surroundings. This in addition to their natural production of heat from being warm-blooded, makes the inability to shed heat through their long coat a problem. Nobody would put a blanket on their dog on a hot day, so why would it seem normal to leave a long coat on the dog in hot weather?

    If you consider a scrub brush, held bristles-upwards under the flow of water from a tap, the water will very freely flow down and between the bristles to the base, then flow outwards and away.
    Next, consider a roof made of grass or palm frond thatch. When rain hits this roof, the layers of thatching, which are long and more or less perpendicular to the direction of the rainfall, insulate the occupants of the house from the rain.
    While these two examples are not exactly how it works with dog hair/fur and heat, it gives you a good visual of how a long top coat (the thatched roof) will insulate and retain heat against the body, whereas the more vertically-standing shaven hair/fur (bristly like a scrub brush) will more easily allow heat to escape outwards. The fact is, if a dog is left in hot sunshine, or in a very hot environment like an enclosed car, it’s going to suffer regardless of the condition of the hair/fur. However for any given environment, a dog that is able to reject body heat through its (shaven) fur is going to be better off than a long-haired dog that cannot.
    My male Pom is an excellent proof of this. I can feel the heat radiating out of his body when I hold the palm of my hand an inch above his shaven fur. It absolutely unquestionable that shaving him is an effective way for him to shed body heat and maintain more comfortable body temperatures.
    Contrary to all the unsubstantiated panic mongering going on, after shaving his coat, it grows back quickly and with equal quality to his first adult coat after puppyhood, which I’m proud to say is show quality. The short summer shavings do not affect the appearance of his long coat when it grows out again 2-3 months later. This is because he is very healthy and his follicles are still producing hair normally.
    My female has Alopecia X, otherwise known as ‘Black Skin Disease’, and her hair stopped growing long ago. It remains at the length of her last cut preformed three years prior to now. This is because her hair follicles are disabled by the disease, and has nothing to do with what tool was used to do the cutting or the length of the actual cut.
    (For those who took special note of the above mentioned time to re-grow, my Pom’s hair (not palms’ hair!) is 8-10 inches long, and understandably takes some time to fully grow out.)

    Regarding second point, a hair/fur follicle isn’t going to know what instrument shortened the hair/fur filament that it is producing, and develop a bias to that instrument, as many people are essentially suggesting. The hair follicle’s actual hair/fur production cannot be affected by the cutting instrument type. The follicle simply has no way of “knowing” how the hair was cut, and therefore will not react to different methods of cutting, in any manner.
    There is no relationship between method of cut, and post-cut re-growth. To say so is the same as saying “The follicle knows when its hair is cut short, or cut with trimmers rather than scissors, and gets angry. When a hair follicle becomes angry, it will either refuse to grow any more hair, grow it slowly, or produce a different hair than normal to punish the selfish jerk who did the cutting, and do so in complete disregard for the pride of the host dog to which said follicle is a part of.”
    Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Of course it does, because drawing an imaginary line between those two dots actually IS ridiculous.

    Point 3. Whether scissors or trimmers produce a better looking cut is a different debate entirely, and is actually dependant on the tools used, their condition and the skill of the user. There are people on this earth who can make a really good copy of Michelangelo’s David out of a tree trunk using only chainsaws. Similarly, there are people (quite a few MORE people, fortunately) who can do a beautiful job with electric trimmers on a dog coat. It is nothing more than a skill which can be learned by anyone not already biased against it by uninformed and narrow-minded opinions. Keep in mind that the mechanics of how scissor and trimmer blades cut is essentially the same. So the difference between the two is all in the handling, and a clear understanding of the cut’s ‘swath’. A longitudinal swath for the scissors– cutting single hairs at a time in a line, and a lateral swath for the trimmers– cutting a line of hairs simultaneously. Much like how marble can be formed into smooth curves with chisels, a trimmer can also be manipulated with skill to follow the compound curves of a dog’s body. Like anything, this skill takes practice. If the complete skill set is not present in the groomer, imperfections can be sorted out with scissors after the initial trim, if required.

    From all this, logic would dictate that the ability of a dog’s coat to recover to its original beauty is a product of neither the cutting tool used nor the length of the hair/fur after the cut, assuming the cutting tool of choice is in good condition and used properly.
    Rather, the ability to recover is dependent on the health and genetics of the follicles and indeed the dog overall.
    If the health and/or genetics of the dog at whichever age make for follicles that are slow, weak or simply non-productive, shaving a beautiful or at least nice coat to a short length will obviously be the last time such a coat is ever seen on the dog.
    It has nothing to do with the actual length after the cut or the tool used.
    Sadly, most people are discovering their dog’s follicle/health/genetics problem the hard way– by shaving the dog for its own comfort. This is where the humans panic and start thinking selfishly, feeling a bruise on their pride that their once beautiful dog is no longer so, or affixing human emotions like embarrassment onto their dogs’ behavior, to express the human’s own mortification at the ‘ruined’ coat.

    A question must then be asked: what is more important? The dog’s comfort or how beautiful he or she looks in the eyes of humans?
    A shaven dog that doesn’t re-grow its coat can wear a sweater in cold weather, but an unshaven long haired dog is only going to suffer in hot weather. Worried about sunburn on a shaved dog? Throw a cute t-shirt on him or her when going out, provide shelter (should be done anyway), or avoid direct midday sunlight entirely as humans are recommended to do themselves.

    Our female was also show quality except for her tail, but she’s now quite ugly. With no hair on her body or neck, and pink/purple/brown blotchy skin, she looks like a misshapen little piglet. Regardless, she has the cutest little face and even if the Alopecia had not spared her head’s hair, we would still love her for her equally loving and decadent personality as much and as unconditionally as we do now.
    Dog ownership, much like raising kids, is a HUGE responsibility. Dogs are not accessories. Their health and comfort is paramount and much more important than whether they’re beautiful or not. If a dog owner believes the weather is too hot for the dog’s comfort, they’re probably right and a solution must be found. Be it shave the coat or keep the dog indoors in the a/c. Avoiding a health-and-happiness improving shave because the rumors are that the coat will be ruined is pure negligence.

    Another article on here, called “Shaving your dog? Think again!” states, “This undercoat not only warms them in winter, it also cools them in summer.”
    Does it now? What rumor mill did you read that on? How does a thick, dense blanket cool a dog? Explain it! Prove it! Show me scientific studies!
    The article also states “Another thing I didn’t realize is that there was a pretty good possibility that his hair wouldn’t grow back. It always did but had I known that there was a pretty strong chance it wouldn’t, I might not have been so quick to make it easier for me by having him shaved.”
    Again, upon what research is this ‘pretty good possibility’ based on, and why if the dog’s hair ‘always did’ grow back would there suddenly be ‘a pretty strong chance it wouldn’t’?
    This author and her dog clearly are just more victims of the rumor mill.
    Incidentally, the shaving of this dog wasn’t just for the author’s convenience, and the reader will note there was no mention of the dog ending up ugly or unable to re-grow his coat. That being the case, what was the point of the whole stupid article other than to monger more unsubstantiated rumor?!
    Owners and groomers really need to take a step back, and take a wide view of the big picture. Then have a close examination of the facts and proceed with logical actions. Just because you haven’t done something in a certain way yourself doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Just because someone else said something is a certain way doesn’t make it true.
    Above all, stay calm. Research reliable sources, and make informed, logical decisions. And remember: Hair follicles are not intelligent entities capable of exacting revenge!

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