Coat Types

Just as dogs are found in a variety of shapes and sizes, so are coats. Doberman Pinschers, Greyhounds, and Miniature Pinschers have what is called a smooth coat. This short coat has hairs that are K inch long or shorter that lie very close to the skin. Many dog owners feel these dogs don't need grooming, or worse yet, don't shed, but they do. Short coats need regular brushing, combing, and bathing.

Labrador Retrievers, Corgis, and Rottweilers have short coats with hairs that are between Vi inch and about 1 inches long. These coats do not lie as flat and straight as the smooth coat and may have some wavy textures. These dogs may also have longer hairs on the back of the rear legs and on the tail. These coats do shed and need regular brushing and bathing.

Many breeds have medium-length coats. German Shepherd Dogs, Australian Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Flat Coated Retrievers, and Border Collies all have medium-length coats with hairs that are usually between 1 and 3 inches long, sometimes up to 4 or 5 inches long on the belly, around the ruff of the neck, on the back of the rear legs, and on the tail. Dogs with this type of coat shed, sometimes very heavily, and need thorough brushing, combing, and bathing. In addition, the longer coat may tangle or mat.

Long-haired dogs have coats longer than 4 to 5 inches overall and include the Afghan Hound, setters, Pekingese, Rough Collie, Rough Chow Chow, and many more. These coats vary in type, including whether or not the coat tangles and mats, and how much undercoat the dog may have, if any. All of these factors will influence how much and what kind of grooming the dog may need. Potential owners should discuss coat care with a breeder prior to committing to a dog of that breed.

Many breeds have single coats, which means that the hairs are the same from the skin on out. Breeds that have double coats have two types of hairs. The outer hairs, called the guard coat or outer coat, are coarse and long. The undercoat is soft, and the hairs are more downlike and fluffy. German Shepherd Dogs have a double coat. The outer hairs have the traditional colors we're used to seeing in a German Shepherd, and the undercoat is usually lighter colored (gray is common). The undercoat is very soft and, in the spring and fall, sheds tremendously, whereas the outer coat sheds a little bit year-round. Dogs with undercoats must be thoroughly brushed on a regular basis to keep the undercoat from matting. During shedding seasons, the undercoat must be brushed well to help remove the dead coat.

The variety in coat textures is tremendous, too. Papillons, Japanese Chins, and long-haired Chihuahuas have a silky coat that is soft under the hands when you pet the dog. These coats need combing to keep them from tangling. German Wirehaired Pointers, Wirehaired Dachshunds, and many terriers have a coarse, almost curly, wiry coat. Most of these coats need hand-stripping; a breeder can show potential owners how to do this correctly. Poodles and Bichons Frises have a curly yet soft coat that brushes out fluffy. These dogs often need professional grooming to keep them looking wonderful. Komondors and Pulis have a coat that forms into cords (dreadlocks). A breeder can explain the specialized care needed for these coats. Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, and Samoyeds have a thick double coat with an undercoat thick enough to protect the dog in freezing temperatures. And don't forget hairless dogs! Several breeds are naturally hairless. Chinese Cresteds have tufts of hair on the head, each paw, and the tail, yet the rest of the body is hairless. The American Hairless Terrier is exactly that: naked!

Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.

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