Dog Coat Types, Shedding & Maintenance.

One of the “perks” of being a pet care service provider is that we meet many sweet and amazing dogs that are all different from the inside and outside. Every dog will require a different type of handling and care, fitting to his or her personality and appearance. Coat care is no different, and taking care of the fur of a husky is different than that of a Saluki. Before deciding what type of coat care your dog needs, you will need to determine what type of coat they have.  

When looking at coat types, they can be mostly broken down into 3 categories which are:

  • Length
  • Single or Double Coats
  • Texture

Most dogs will fall into more categories at once. For example, a dog can have a short coat (length) and be double coated. So, let’s have a closer look at the different categories.


Short coat

A short coat lays close to the body and will have short fur. This type of coat is low maintenance and requires little to no grooming. Short coats usually shed a decent amount as they go through many shedding cycles in a short period. Examples of breeds with short coats are the Labrador Retriever, Bullmastiff, Belgian Malinois and the Australian Cattle Dog.

Short Haired Dog

Long Coat

As the name implies the fur is long. Long coats are considered high maintenance as they will require very regular brushing and combing to prevent knots and matting. When the fur is not brushed properly or sufficiently the coat will block air circulation to the skin, which will lead to infected and/or inflamed skin. Mats and knots close to the skin are also extremely painful. Long coated dogs will require trimming of the coat, but are considered low to non-shedding. Examples of breeds with a long coat are the Bearded Collie, Lhasa Apso, Havanese and Maltese. 

Long Haired Dog

Combination Coat

When a dog has a combination coat, they will have longer hair on the rear side of the legs, tail, under the chest and stomach, and in some breeds the ears. The fur will be short around the face, and on the front side of the body and legs. Most dogs with this type of coat have seasonal shedding and their coat will require a low to medium amount of maintenance. Examples of dog breeds with a combination coat are the (feathered) Saluki, Flat Coated Retriever and the Golden Retriever,

Combination Coat Dog

Hairless Coat

As the name implies, dogs with a hairless coat are (mostly) without fur. As hairless dogs are more exposed to the elements, one has to be careful and take precautions when it’s cold, or when in the sun. Hairless dogs often require special skincare routines. Examples of Hairless dog breeds are the Chinese Crested, Mexican Hairless dog and the Peruvian Hairless Dog.

Hairless Dog

Single or Double Coat

Single Coat

Dogs with a single coat have one single layer of fur that covers their body. Dogs with this type of coat generally don’t shed seasonally, but year-round more evenly. A single coat can be long or short. Examples of single coated dog breeds are the Maltese and Poodle.

Single Coated Dog

Double Coat

Double coated dogs have a soft, thick and dense undercoat and a harsh outer guard coat. This type of coat protects against extreme weather conditions. A double coat tends to shed evenly year-round but seasonally, often twice a year, will heavily shed the undercoat. 

Dogs with a double coat should not be shaved as it will interrupt with the natural defenses a double coat provides and will leave them more exposed to the elements. It also interrupts the natural shedding cycle and may damage the coat. Shaving a double coated dog will not help them shed less, just shorter hairs, and shedding may increase after shaving as the natural cycle is interrupted. 

Shaving dogs also will not keep them cool and will even have the opposite effect as you remove the insulating layer the coat provides. Important to keep in mind is that dogs don’t lose heat the same ways as humans do. While humans lose heat by sweating all over our body, the main way dogs disperse heat is through panting. So, while for us a coat will block us from losing heat, for dogs this is not the case.

Examples of breeds with a double coat are the Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Shiba Inu.

Double Coated Dog


Smooth Coat

The smooth coat is short, has no structure, and lays close to the body. Smooth coats are known to be medium to high shedding as they go through many shedding cycles in a short period. This type of coat is easy to maintain and requires little to no grooming. Examples of dog breeds with smooth coats are the Weimaraner, Boxer and the Whippet.

Smooth Coat Dog

Silky Coat

The silky coat is a combination of a smooth and short coat, with a long and silky coat. The coat is long and silky on, and under the chest and stomach, on the backside of the front and back legs, on the tail and ears. The face and the front of the legs will have short hair. This type of coat is medium maintenance, and the longer parts will require regular brushing and combing to prevent mats, knots and tangles. Examples of breeds with a silky coat are the Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, English Cocker Spaniel, and the English Setter. 

Silky Coat Dog

Corded Coat

A dog with a corded coat will have fur like dreadlocks. Even though they tend to shed less as loose hair becomes trapped in the cords, maintaining the cords will require a good amount of time and effort. 

Corded Coat Dog

Wire Coat

The wire coat is characteristic for the Terrier Group. Dogs with a wired coat will have a dense and soft undercoat with a coarse wired coat covering most of their body. This type of coat requires a special kind of grooming known as plucking or stripping. The soft undercoat will shed seasonally. The longer wire coat can form mats and should be brushed and/or combed. Examples of breeds with a wired coat are the West Highland White Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Border Terrier, and the Airedale Terrier.

Wired Haired Dog

Curly Coat

The curly coat is soft, curly and or wavy, and considered low to non-shedding. The fur will need regular brushing to prevent mats, tangles and knots and because of this is considered high maintenance. Regular baths and trimming of the coat will keep it healthy and maintained. Examples of dog breeds with a curly coat are the Poodle and the Lagotti Romagnoli.

Curly Coated Dog

Heavy Coat

Dogs with a heavy coat have bushy and thick coats, which can be long, short or a combination. Dogs with a heavy coat can also have a double coat, but generally speaking the characteristic of a heavy coat is that the thickness of the coat is evenly spread around from base to tips. This type of coat is high maintenance and prone to knots and matting and will require brushing. An example of a dog with a heavy coat is the Chow Chow.

Heavy Coated Dog


There are many different types of coats, and all come with different care requirements. In most cases, medium to high shedding dogs are often low in maintenance, while the low to non-shedding dogs are considered high maintenance due to the brushing and grooming they require. Through this article we hope to have informed pet owners about the different coats so they can provide their pet with the care it requires. Would you like to know more about our dog sitting or dog walking services, feel free to contact us. We will be happy to help.

        Paw Pals Relocation Request Form

        Cat Details

        Please enter your estimated travel date

        Dog Details

        Please enter your estimated travel date

        Travel Carrier

        Please enter the size of your Travel Carrier in centimetres

        Pet Dimensions

        Please measure your pet in centimetres

        A Value = Length of the pet from the tip of nose to the root of the tail

        B Value = Height from the ground to the top of the leg or elbow joint

        C Value = Width across right and left shoulders

        D Value = Height of the pet in their natural standing position from the ground to the top of the head or the tip of the ear in erect ear breeds (for a cat you might find it easier to measure the height whilst the cat is sitting with their head erect)

        Please note: We do advise that one of our specialists visits your home to measure your pet, as small differences in dimensions can have a significant impact on the cost.