Does Your Dog Need a Coat?

Ever wonder if your pup is too cold or too hot during a certain time of the year? 

Some dogs have long fur, short fur, curly fur, or coarse fur. But did you know that dogs either have a single coat or a double coat? Don't know what the difference is? We're here to help!

Let's Talk about the "real" coats first.

Double Coats

Double coated dogs have two distinctive layers of hair - a longer, outer layer of guard hairs and a shorter, softer layer close to the skin. They shed out dead hairs, but a regular brushing will help remove them. The outer guard hairs are weather proof and protect against moisture - catching precipitation from the seasons and holding it away from the body. These guard hairs also work to keep cold and heat away from the body. A well-maintained inner coat provides a layer that aids air to regulate temperature. This works in both cold and warm weather.

WARMER MONTHS: Thick coats also work as a natural sunblock, protecting your pup from sunburn which can result in skin cancer. 

TIPS: Double coats require regular bathing and brushing (because matting will occur in some) and a bunch of dead hairs will be left on the coat or around your house. Plus, brushing releases oils from the skin and stimulates blood circulation to keep their fur properly weatherproofed and healthy. 

Some Double Coated Dog Breeds:

  • Husky
  • Chow Chow
  • Shiba Inu
  • Samoyed
  • Pomeranian
  • Collie
  • German Shepard
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Saint Bernard

Single Coat

When a dog has a single coat, it just lacks an undercoat. The terms "fur" and "hair" are often used interchangeably when describing a dog's coat. However, a double coat, like of a Newfoundland, is referred to as a fur coat, while a single coat, like of a Poodle, is referred to as a hair coat. That means they also don't "blow" an undercoat out in the spring and fall, so they have less heavy-duty shedding. Single coat dogs typically need regularly scheduled professional grooms to maintain their hair length. 

Some Single Coated Dog Breeds:

  • Australian Silky Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frisé
  • Maltese
  • Poodle
  • Skye Terrier
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

So...does your dog need a coat or a sweater?

Sure, some dogs have a heavier coat than others, but some dogs are also breed for and meant to be in warmer (or cooler) climates, but they are translated in many places because of their human friends. If you live in a cold climate, your SINGLE COATED pal will need a coat. It can also be helpful if your dog doesn't want to go out into the cold or snow to relieve himself.

Smaller, light bodied breeds, toy breeds, and breeds that naturally have very short or thin hair coats benefit from a warm dog sweater for when they need to go outside, or for just hanging around the house.

Lighter jackets are great even for DOUBLE COATED dogs to prevent the snow and rain from covering them completely and getting them wet. While your double coated dog may not need a coat, they will need shoes, especially in an urban environment where there is lots of chemical salt that will not only irritate their paws but is toxic to ingest.

- Candace Canty

Still not sure?

Post a picture of your pup on our Facebook Page and we'll share our thoughts!