To clip or not to clip, my dog’s coat

Whether or not to clip your dog's fur ultimately depends on their type of fur

Should I clip my dog’s coat? Making this decision can be a tough choice. Whether to clip or not to clip your dog’s coat should depend on a combination of need and functionality. If you’re finding yourself stuck on whether or not to clip, we recommend asking yourself these two questions before heading out to the groomers:

Does my dog’s coat need clipping?

If not, what’s the primary reason I want to clip my dog’s coat?

Does my dog’s coat need clipping?

Not all dog coats are created equal. Dogs generally fall into two buckets, based on their coats: dogs with “fur” and dogs with “hair”. If your four-legged friend is a “hair” breed, they, in most cases, will need regular clipping. This is because the hair on dogs follows a long growth cycle: if their hair isn’t trimmed, it will grow, and keep growing, like our hair does. To avoid the hair-in-eyes, or worse, the poo-stuck-on-bum situations, you should stick to a regular grooming schedule. In good news, the “hair” breeds are less prone to shedding, and many are hypoallergenic. You can say goodbye to the vacuum cleaner, and hello to the grooming clippers.

Here in Australia, the most common hair-coated breeds that need regular clipping are:

  • Poodles and Poodle crosses
  • Bichon Frises
  • Yorkshire Terriers and Australian Silky Terriers
  • Malteses
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Shitzus
  • Schnauzers
  • Brussels Griffons

Poodles and poodles crosses have hair, not fur, and need to be regularly clipper

If my dog’s breed doesn’t need clipping, what’s the primary reason I want to clip their coat?

If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve established your dog has a “fur” coat. Fur coats are characterised by shorter growth cycles, which means they will only ever grow to a certain length and don’t need to be clipped.  Because of this, fur breeds shed more, a lot more, than hair breeds. Still thinking about clipping your dog’s fur coat? Is it the middle of summer, and worried how they will cope with the thick layer of fur? Or does their long fur get tangled and unmanageable? Read on, as we address the most common reasons pawrents consider clipping their pup’s coat, and why clipping might not always be the solution.

My dog’s too hot

Dogs with fur coats have two layers of fur: the undercoat and the guard coat. The undercoat is warm, soft and fluffy while the guard coat, which sits on top, is harsh and coarse. When you cut your dog’s fur, the guard coat grows back slower and is replaced with more undercoat, which actually keeps your dog warmer. The danger of clipping a fur-coated dog is that you could end up in a clipping cycle – having to continuously clip, to remove your dog’s increasing and warmer undercoat. For this reason, clipping fur-coated dogs to relieve them from the heat tends to have the opposite effect.

I want to stop my dog’s shedding

If you clip a dog with a fur coat, this will have no impact on the amount they shed. They will shed the same amount, only, the shedded fur will be shorter. If anything clipping may, in fact, promote more shedding. Your dog will feel warmer, due to more undercoat, which may increase the amount they shed. The best way to reduce shedding? A solid washing and brushing routine is the best way to get shedding under control, and certainly is the recommended solution to clipping. Over-excessive shedding can be a sign of stress, so keep an eye out if you noticing your dog shedding more than usual.

Dogs with a fur coat do should not be clipped as this will promote growth of the warmer undercoat

My dog’s coat gets tangled

Dealing with tangles and matted fur is never fun, and some breeds such as Cocker Spaniels or Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are especially prone to it. In some cases, getting your dog trimmed around the legs or behind the ears may help manage tangles. However, as for managing shedding, a regular bathing and grooming routine will help make your dog’s coat more manageable, and decrease the need for clipping.

Looking to bring the shine and glossy back to your dog’s (possibly newly clipped) coat? The right balance of Essential Fatty Acids could be your answer.