Like humans having different hair textures, each dog breed has a unique coat that sets it apart from other breeds. The fur coat is one of the main distinguishing factors among our pups. Yet, they are far more purposes for a dog coat. Besides the cuteness, your dog coat regulates body temperature and protects the skin from scratches and cuts. Mastering the distinguished dog coat types is a coat if you dream of offering your furry friend the best grooming care and healthy living.
Does My Dog Have Hair or Fur?
You know that your dog is a special creature, but do you know what makes them so great? Do you have a fur baby? If so, you’re familiar with fur and dogs’ common questions. Are they hypoallergenic? Is it better to get a dog who sheds less?
The great hypoallergenic debate tends to be a hair-versus-fur battle, but on a chemical level, fur and hair are the same! The biggest difference between hair and fur is its growth, length, and coat life cycle.
Hair grows in a single layer that goes through a longer growth cycle. While it grows longer than fur, hair falls out less. Fur is still hair, but it grows in a double layer and does not grow as long. It tends to be thicker and falls out more often than hair does. So, if you always find dog hair all over your couch, black pants, or freshly vacuumed carpet, your buddy likely has a beautiful fur coat!
Despite popular belief, allergies are not a reaction to the dog fur type but rather the frequency at which it comes out. Dogs with fur are worse for allergy sufferers because they shed more often. At the same time, it might seem that shorter hair translates to less grooming (and less shedding). But that isn’t always the case—and why it is crucial to understand the different dog coat types.
Smooth-coated dogs have short fur that lies close to their bodies, giving them a sleek, shiny look. They are easy to groom and don’t need daily brushing. Grooming tips: Grooming smooth-coated dogs is easy! While they don’t need daily brushing, we recommend using a curry brush a few times a week and occasional baths to release excess hair from the skin.
Examples of Breeds with Short Coats:
- Labrador Retriever
- American Staffordshire Terrier
A medium coat is the most common type of dog coat. It typically ranges from 1 to 2 inches in length and can be either single or double. Dogs with a single coat have longer fur, which stands off their body. This coat can give your dog a softer appearance, since some of the fur may fall over their eyes or neckline. The undercoat of these dogs tends to be shorter and fluffier than other types of coats.
Dogs with medium coats often have longer hair around paws, tails, chest, and belly. Their fur tends to be coarser than those with short coats. They may have more natural oils for protection against the weather conditions in which they live.
Grooming tips: If you have a medium-coated dog, you’ll need to brush it every few weeks. Brushing with a bristle or slicker brush is recommended every other day to keep the fur from matting. This will also aid in distributing your dog’s natural oils throughout their coat, resulting in a sleek, shiny appearance. During the shedding season, a dog’s undercoat with a double coat, such as a Siberian Husky, is shed. Brushing your teeth daily is essential in this scenario to avoid any itching or discomfort.
Examples of Breeds with Medium Coats:
- German Shepherd
- American Eskimo
- Golden Retriever
- Border Collie
Long-haired dog breeds are some of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They have long, flowing fur that can reach the floor, making them stand out from other dogs.
There’s a reason they nicknamed the Komondor the “mop dog.” Long-coated breeds can have hair so long that it sometimes reaches the floor! When we think of long dog fur types, we often think of the distinctive coats on show dogs such as Afghan Hounds and Shih Tzus. While long, flowing locks certainly help these dogs stand out from the crowd, their coats need much effort to maintain.
Long-haired breeds need regular attention to prevent mats from forming and becoming tangled. Since long-haired breeds need more frequent grooming, many pet owners opt for “pet trims,” in which the hair is neatly bobbed to make upkeep easier.
Examples of Breeds with Long Coats:
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Yorkshire Terrier
Wire-coated dogs (also known as wirehaired dogs) have a wiry outer layer of rough hair. You’ll notice these coats feel quite different from a smooth coat’s soft silkiness. Even a properly groomed wire coat will be rough and bristly!
Grooming tips: Wirehaired dogs are an excellent option for those suffering from allergies. It’s best to “hand-strip” a wirehaired dog’s coat because it does not shed. You can remove a wirehaired dog’s superfluous coat by carefully plucking away old or unruly hairs with your fingertips. Hand-stripping allows the animal’s coat to regrow by holding the hair in one hand and yanking it out from the root. You can get this done by a pet groomer, and then when you’re ready, you can do it yourself.
Examples of Dogs with Wire Coats:
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Wire Fox Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
Curly coats—also known as wavy coats—are characterized by those adorable curl patterns. Curly-coated breeds have hair ranging from soft waves to tight curls. The types of curls your dog has can vary within individual dog breeds, which is especially common with Poodle mixes. For this reason, grooming should be uniquely tailored toward each dog.
Grooming tips: Wirehaired dogs are a fantastic choice for allergy sufferers. Because the coat of a wirehaired dog does not shed, it is better to “hand-strip” it. You can remove a wirehaired dog’s excess coat by delicately plucking away old or stray hairs with your fingers. Using one hand to tug the hair from the root, hand-stripping encourages the animal’s coat to regrow. A pet groomer can take care of this for you, and when you’re ready, you can take over.
Also, consider trimming the hair around the ears on curly-coated breeds to prevent matting and keep them looking neat!
Examples of Dogs with Curly Coats:
- Curly-Coated Retriever
- Bichon Frise
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Airedale Terrier
Hairless dogs are a recent breed. The first hairless dog was the Chinese crested, which has been around since the 17th century and is now considered extinct. In the 1960s, a hairless breed called the Tosa Inu was developed in Japan for its hunting ability. Despite what their name might suggest, hairless dogs are still an important dog coat type. Even though they lack furry coats, hairless dogs still need proper grooming to maintain healthy skin. Hairless dog breeds’ skin, which a layer of fur would otherwise protect, faces more exposure to the natural elements. Because they lack fur as a resource, hairless dogs need extra protection from the sun and often need jackets in the winter. Hairlessness is genetic in most cases, but not all; some breeds have been bred for their smooth skin and lack of fur (which can include poodles or Shih Tzus). If you’re looking for a new pet that doesn’t need much grooming, consider one of these breeds:
Keeping a bath routine can be helpful when you can’t feel the fur for filth because hairless dogs don’t have coats; so, it’s a good idea. Due to increased exposure to the sun, hairless dogs desperately need any and all sources of moisture. A skin-conditioning dog shampoo must be used frequently to keep your pet’s coat in top condition.
Examples of Dogs with No Hair:
- Chinese Crested
- American Hairless Terrier
- Peruvian Inca Orchid
- Argentine Pila Dog
The Bottom Line
It is vital to remember that every breed has a specific coat and requires specific attention. Even your dog may display different layers and textures of fur over the years as it grows. The key is to ensure you master the coat type your dog has. This step ensures that you choose the right grooming methods and products for each particular type of coat. We recommend taking this knowledge further by learning how to care for each breed’s coat and how best to keep it healthy.
Also check out How to Treat an Abscess on a Dog at Home the Right Way