Grooming your dog is an essential part of being a responsible owner. It helps prevent illness, stops mattes developing, allows you to spot skin problems and is a great way to bond with your pet.
But did you know there are various types of dog coat? And that each requires a different grooming regime? In this article, I’ll go through the five most common types, along with some tips for keeping your dog looking his best.
The most common type of dog fur is smooth. This is the coat found on breeds such as the dachshund, Labrador retriever and greyhound.
The great thing about a smooth coat is that it doesn’t need to be groomed as often as longer coats. You should still brush it regularly with a bristle brush, but mattes are less likely. Keep your strokes in the same direction as the hair to spread healthy oils across the skin.
Some dogs have a double coat. These breeds have an undercoat, which is a made of woolly and soft fur, along with longer guard hairs. This combination provides protection from moisture and acts as insulation in both cold and warm weather. Breeds with a double coat include the Siberian husky, German shepherd and Akita.
As you might expect, a double coat requires more frequent grooming – especially if the dog has long and fluffy hair. A wide-toothed comb is an essential tool for preventing mattes. You should also use a slicker brush on a regular basis.
Breeds with long hair are often the hardest to groom. If the dog sheds a lot, they can also make it difficult to keep the house clean. Long hairs get caught around carpet and upholstery fibers, which many non-pet vacuums struggle to remove. This is why a high-quality and effective pet vacuum cleaner is essential.
There are three sub-categories of long-coated dog – parted, small and large. Parted long-hair dogs have a clearly defined parting down the back. This requires frequent grooming, as you’ll need to use a comb after bathing to recreate the parting. There aren’t many dogs with this type of coat, but some of the most common include the Shih Tzu and Yorkshire terrier.
Small and large long-coated dogs don’t have the parting but still need regular brushing, trimming and combing. It’s vital to prevent mattes and tangles, as these can be difficult to remove. Examples of breeds with this type of hair include the Pomeranian, Irish setter and Newfoundland.
Dogs with a curly or wavy coat tend to have thick hair. They are prone to developing knots or tangles, so it’s important to brush them regularly – although they don’t need as much grooming as a long-haired dog. Examples include the poodle and Portuguese water dog.
The grooming strategy for a curly-haired dog varies depending on the exact type of hair. It’s a good idea to use a conditioner before brushing, however, to prevent damage to the hair. This type of coat also requires regular cutting with clippers to stop it getting out of hand.
Most dog coats are soft when in good condition – but this isn’t the case with a wire coat. Instead, a healthy wire-coated dog will feel coarse and rough. The great thing about this type of coat is that it doesn’t shed, so you’ll spend less time vacuuming. Examples include the Border terrier and otter hound.
A vital task when grooming a wire-coated dog is removing old hairs. This causes new hairs to grow which keeps the coat healthy. Unless you plan on showing your dog, you can achieve this by plucking dead or stray hairs whenever you see them.
There are a variety of types of dog fur. Each requires a different grooming strategy to maintain a healthy coat. By following the tips in this guide, you’ll find it easier to keep your dog’s fur in great condition.
Keep in mind that the coat isn’t the only part of a dog that needs regular grooming. Nails (dog nail clippers can help prevent in-grown nails), ears, teeth and paws all require upkeep to ensure your pet is in top condition.