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Double Coated Dogs and Single Coated Dog Breeds Compared

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What exactly defines the hair type of single coated dog breeds? And how is this different from double coated dogs. This is a question that does matter if you are about to choose a new dog for the household.

It matters even more if you are about to embark on a grooming career.

So let’s examine the main differences so that you can be well-informed when deciding on your next puppy.

Double Coat or Single Coated Dog Breeds

How to Choose

The breed you choose will determine in large part how much or how little hair shedding you can expect. Irrespective of the breed, a good slicker brush will no doubt prove valuable in the long run

Before we look at examples of single coated dog breeds, let’s look at some popular double coat breeds.

Characteristics of Double Coated Dogs

What Is a Double Coat?

Whilst we might expect the answer to be really straightforward, there is often confusion about what the word ‘double’ is referring to. Does it mean twice the length of the coat, or twice the thickness of a coat or something else altogether?

Simply put, a double coated dog has an undercoat and an outer coat. So the term ‘double’ refers to how many coats a dog breed typically has.

A double coat does serve a very handy purpose. The additional undercoat can work to keep a dog cooler in summer and warmer in winter. It is effectively like an insulation.

The undercoat is usually a softer, fluffier coat than its outer counterpart. Therefore the outer coat consists of coarser hair which is typically longer, providing protection for the soft undercoat. Not only that, the coarse outer coat protects the dog’s skin from the hot sun.

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How to Identify Double Coated Dogs

You can easily tell which coat your dog has. You can part the hair with your hands. If you see a thick coarser coat on the outside and a softer, more down-like coat underneath then you know you have a double-coated breed.

The hair, in these breeds, grows to a certain length in contrast to the single coated dog breeds.

Maintenance of a Double Coat

The dog breeds with double coats can be high maintenance. They require constant grooming to prevent matting in between trips to the groomer. Not only that, you need to keep on top of shedding. There are a number of tools that you can use for this purpose, tools such as a de- shedding rake or specialized brush.

The double coat will also need a good shampoo, one that can get down to the skin. It also needs to be a shampoo that can be rinsed off without too much effort.

Do You Know Which Breeds have a Double Coat?

One thing is certain: The ‘double vs single’ concept provides a very handy way to categorize dog breeds.

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A List of Double Coated Dogs

The double coated dog breeds include:

Having 2 coats, these dog breeds are prone to shedding, as mentioned. The undercoat can produce a considerable amount of loose hair that needs to be shed, particularly twice a year.

There are many other dog breeds that are characterized by their double coat.

Can You Identify Single Coated Dog Breeds?

Let’s look now at some breeds of dogs without double coats, dogs without undercoats. We are of course talking about breeds with a single coat.

Single Coated Dogs - Poodle Grooming with Clippers
Photo by Cole Wyland on Unsplash

4 Single Coated Dog Breeds

Single coated dogs will usually need to see a groomer quite often for a clipping. That beautiful single coat can keep on growing if not trimmed periodically.

However, with the single coated dog breeds, you don’t get that twice yearly burst of massive shedding. Some breeds in this category shed a little throughout the year rather than big clumps all at once. Some hardly shed at all.

We are quite used to talking about dogs that don’t shed. Strictly speaking, that is a misnomer as all dogs shed to some extent. However, it is acceptable to refer to very low shedding dogs as non-shedding. Just how much a dog breed sheds, is determined by the coat type.

So if you are in the market for a ‘non-shedding’ dog breed, you can narrow down your search by sticking to dogs with single coats.

Generally speaking, the single coated dog breeds are easier to look after in-between salon visits, provided the hair is not left to grow too long.

The one single coat acts as the protection layer, there being no soft, down-like undercoat.

Single coated dog breeds include:

  1. Dachsunds
  2. Poodles
  3. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  4. Yorkshire Terriers

Grooming Double Coated Dogs vs Single Coated Dog Breeds

Some dog breeds need clipping more frequently than others. However, all dog breeds need ongoing attention in between salon visits.

Brushing is a critical task that needs attending to on a regular basis, preferably weekly.

Caring for a Dog’s Double Coat

Keep in mind the fact that single coated dogs need their one coat for protection. Therefore short haircuts are okay but shaving can leave the dog’s skin too exposed to the elements.

Similarly, shaving is also regarded as inadvisable for the double coated dog. Not all groomers agree on this point, however, The double coat can struggle to grow back correctly. In some cases, the undercoat becomes too thick and woolly.

Tips for Owners of Single Coated Dogs

Regardless of the type of coat that your dog has, there will be a need for ongoing grooming, particularly brushing and bathing. This will help to minimize how often you need to wash your dog’s bedding. Whether or not to clip, and how often, will depend on whether you have a double coated dog or one of the single coated dog breeds.

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