8. Types of Coats
Dogs have a huge variety of coats based on its pedigree and the variations can be on a range of factors including color, texture, patterns as well as skin type. The state of the coat is one of the best ways to judge the health of the dog.
One with a shiny clean coat is normally a robust and active dog that eats right and gets the adequate amount of exercise; a dull coat and / or skin infections most often are a reflection of some sort of a health concern that requires immediate attention. A good coat is also an indication of the animal’s breeding.
In the widest classification, a dog’s coat can either be double or single coated. A dog is said to be double coated if it has both a soft undercoat and a coarser topcoat while some other dog breeds are single-coated in the sense that they have only one type of coat or the other – most often only the topcoat.
Most dogs are seen to shed their undercoat every spring and grow it back as colder weather sets in; this process is also referred to as ‘blowing the coat’. Several other domesticated breeds shed their coat twice a year or else depending on the climates, the topcoat and undercoat might shed continuously in greater and lesser quantities all year.
The variety does not end here – while some dog breeds’ coat is more like human hair than like other animals’ fur in the sense that they continue to grow long as is the case with the Poodle, which calls for frequent trimming, others need constant grooming to ensure that the coat does not form clumps due to the accumulation of dirt and grime. Coat textures can be very different as well ranging from smooth to rough, curly or wavy to straight and silky, crispy to broken and frizzy.
Here’s a look at the ways in which different types of coats can be cared for:
In order to groom a smooth haired dog you will need a rubber brush, a bristle brush and a chamois; brushing against the grain of your dog’s hair is recommended.
The rubber brush must be used first to remove any large foreign matter and dead hairs. Thereafter use the bristle brush to remove the finer dirt / dust particles and hair. Finally use the chamois to polish your dog’s coat and bring out the luster and glossy sheen. This should be carried out once in every 3 to 4 days to keep your dog looking in great condition.
Long haired dogs require grooming at least twice a week, using standard grooming equipment like a slicker brush, bristle brush and a steel wide tooth comb. Lack of regular grooming for long haired dogs will cause their coat to matt, making it much harder to set right when you do decide to groom them. Some dogs that have long silky coats do not have the downy undercoat that other long haired breeds making it essential that you are extra careful not to scratch or cut them while grooming.
On a daily basis, begin with a slicker brush to ensure that your dog’s coat does not become twisted and matted. After this, use a pin brush to go through your dog’s coat more thoroughly. Use the wide tooth comb to remove any left over tangles; after this you may use a finer tooth comb after this for finishing off the coat.
Avoid pulling too much on your dog’s hair as far as possible and be careful while untangling hair under your dog’s legs as this area is more sensitive and gets missed easily. It is a good idea to trim any excess hair from around your dog’s hocks and feet as these areas are more susceptible to gather foreign objects, like mud and dirt from the ground.
Short coated dogs require a comparatively lesser amount of grooming than other breeds. However as all dogs molt they need to be brushed on a daily basis. For this you will need a slicker brush, bristle brush and a steel comb. With short hair breeds a fine tooth comb rather than a wide tooth comb is a better bet.
As with long haired dogs, the slicker brush is used to remove any tangles as well as to prevent coat matting. Then the bristle brush removes any remaining dirt and other foreign matter. The comb can then be used to run through any straggly parts that are left, like the tail and underbelly.
Regular grooming is necessary to prevent matting in dogs with wiry coats as well. Slicker brushes, pin brushes and wide tooth combs are good choices for this purpose. Stripping knives can be used on dogs with wiry coats in the direction of coat grain once in three months to keep your dog well groomed.