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Home DOG GROOMINGDog Coat Types Understanding Dog Coat Types: A Guide for Owners

Understanding Dog Coat Types: A Guide for Owners

by Bella Woof
Dog Coat

Understanding Dog Coat Types: A Guide for Owners

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to keep your pooch healthy and comfortable. Although dogs are equipped with fur, not all coats are created equal. Knowing your dog’s coat type is essential in taking care of them properly. Each breed has its unique coat type, and different coat types require specific grooming techniques. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the various dog coat types and how to care for them properly.

Understanding Dog Coat Types: Hair vs. Fur

Before we dive into the different coat types, it is essential to differentiate between hair and fur. Although used interchangeably, they are not the same. Hair is longer, finer, and grows continuously while fur is shorter, thicker, and sheds seasonally.

Hair coats are commonly found in breeds like Shih Tzus, Maltese, Terriers and Schnauzers. These breeds, known as non-shedders, possess hair that grows continuously without shedding. Nurturing their hair requires regular grooming to keep their coats healthy.

Fur coats are commonly found in breeds like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds. These breeds, known as shedders, possess fur that sheds seasonally. They require regular grooming during shedding season to minimize shedding.

Understanding Coats by Length and Texture: Smooth, Wavy, and Curly

Smooth Coats

Smooth coats are shiny, short, and close to the skin. Breeds like Boxers, Dobermans and Dachshunds possess smooth coats. These coats require minimal grooming compared to other types. A weekly rub down with a rubber grooming glove or a soft-bristled brush will suffice. Smooth coats are easy to maintain and do not tangle, so there is no need for frequent hair trimmings.

Wavy Coats

Wavy coats are slightly longer than smooth coats, typically one to two inches long and have a noticeable wave to them. The wave generally depends on the breed, some coats waver more than others. Breeds like Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and Poodles have wavy coats. These coats require frequent brushing to prevent tangles and matting. Professional grooming every six to eight weeks is also necessary to maintain the length and texture.

Curly Coats

Curly coats are tight, dense, and have a spiral curl. These coats require the most grooming, but they are less likely to shed. Breeds like Poodles, Bichon Frise, and Portuguese Water Dogs have curly coats. Frequently grooming curly coats is essential to prevent matting and avoid moisture buildup. Professional grooming every six to eight weeks is necessary to maintain length and texture.

Understanding Coats by Density: Single, Double, and Combination

Single Coats

Single coats are made of one layer of hair or fur, and these coats are usually shorter than double coats. Breeds like Greyhounds, Whippets, and Beagles possess single coats. These coats require minimal grooming since they are shorter and require less attention than other coat types. Regular brushing once or twice a week will keep these coats healthy and shiny.

Double Coats

Double coats consist of a dense undercoat and a longer top coat. Breeds like Huskies, Samoyeds, and Malamutes possess double coats. These coats are thick and provide insulation to keep them warm during colder months. Double coats require frequent brushing to remove loose hair and prevent matting. Regular grooming is necessary to maintain healthy skin and fur growth.

Combination Coats

Combination coats consist of both hair and fur, and the texture and length of either can determine the primary coat type. Breeds like Shih Tzus, Chows, and Pomeranians possess combination coats. These coats require frequent grooming to prevent matting and stress on the skin. Regular brushing, trimming, and professional grooming are necessary to keep combination coats healthy and tangle-free.


1. How often should I brush my dog’s coat?

The frequency of brushing depends on the type of coat your dog has. Smooth coats require weekly brushing, wavy coats need daily brushing, and curly and combination coats need to be brushed at least twice a week.

2. How often does my dog need professional grooming?

The frequency of grooming depends on the type of coat your dog has. Double and curly coats need professional grooming every six to eight weeks. Single and wavy coats can stretch to two to three months.

3. Can I groom my dog at home?

Yes, you can groom your dog at home, provided you have the right grooming tools. You can take your dog for professional grooming for trimming, but you can take care of regular grooming yourself.

4. Can I use human shampoo on my dog’s coat?

No, it’s not advisable to use human shampoo on your dog’s coat. Human shampoo has a different pH balance and can cause skin irritation on your dog. Use dog-specific shampoo and conditioner for your pet.

5. What should I do if I find any matting on my dog’s coat?

If you find matting on your dog’s coat, use a slicker brush to untangle the matted hair and remove any debris. If the mat is stubborn, do not try to cut it off with scissors. It can cause injury to your dog’s skin. Instead, take them to a professional groomer who can safely cut the mat off.


Proper grooming is vital in keeping your dog’s coat healthy and shiny. Neglecting your dog’s coat type can lead to matting, poor skin health, and other health issues. Understanding your dog’s coat type and grooming requirements will help you take care of them better. Regular grooming, professional trimming, and a balanced diet play an essential role in maintaining good coat health.

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