Close X

Double coats, how can you tell?

Good grooming practices are essential for maintaining health and happiness for you and your dog. This is a forum to exchange tips and advice for proper care of your dog's hygiene needs.


Teeth kisses for- everyone!
Barked: Sun Dec 10, '06 5:20pm PST 
Missie is a mix of two breeds. One, the Cavalier, has a single coat. The other, the Tibetan Spaniel, has a double coat. I also have a Cavalier, and although Missie's coat is longer, they really feel just the same. Her coat color is that of a Tibbie, so I've been thinking her coat should be double, but when I part the hair and look, I find skin.

Just what does an undercoat look like, and how can you tell if your dog has one? Also, do dogs with undercoats have a double coat on their legs and face as well?

One or the other makes no difference to me, but I am curious.

Vote for me!!- see page for- details!!
Barked: Sun Dec 10, '06 6:35pm PST 
i can tell you this. Labs also have double coats. The easiest way you know your dog hasa double coat when he/she has a short hair coat is that they shed like crazy.

Belgian sheds more then any hound, shepherd,etc. i've ever known. Of course labs are one of the worst shedders out there

Barked: Sun Dec 10, '06 8:29pm PST 
If you part the hair and find skin without having to dig through fluff, then you have either done a very good job at brushing the undercoat out, or your dog just has a single coat.

An undercoat looks and feels a lot fluffier than the guard hairs. Guard hairs feel like individual strands of hair, undercoat feels like cotton batting, like when you take a cotton ball and stretch it out really thin. You know there are individual hairs there, but they all weave together to make a dense "clump".

A dog with undercoat will often shed in balls or clumps. You will be able to pull wads of undercoat out in the spring-time.

Color and length really have nothing to do with whether or not a dog will have undercoat.


Teeth kisses for- everyone!
Barked: Sun Dec 10, '06 9:28pm PST 
Thank you Gio. I also have a husky, and her coat is definately different. I know it is double because it does come out in clumps. I can still part it and find skin, but there is a lot more fluff under there. I do believe, if that is what I am looking for, that Missie does have a single coat. The very top of her head is different, and it seems to have some long fluffy hairs mixed in with the shorter ones. I can actually spike them up. Anyway, thanks for the tip.
Ginger DSA- ThD TT CGC - &hearts

My Angel
Barked: Tue Dec 12, '06 12:52am PST 
It depends on the dog/breed... Ginger has a double coat but by parting her hair and looking you'd think it was a single coat!
If you brush them and you get hairs out that are shorter, finer and/or softer than their "regular" (outer) coat then they have an undercoat.
If you get a brushful of fur out of brushing your dog, pull it out of the brush and are easily able to bunch that fur into a ball, it's likely undercoat.
----Jordan--- --

Sweet & gentle- rabble rouser
Barked: Tue Dec 12, '06 10:42am PST 
Some dogs are meant to have double coats but it takes effort to get them that way. A Westie for example is supposed to have one and that tendency's reinforced by stripping the coat so that the tough outer fur is encouraged to increase (I can't think of any other way to put it). I'd say if she has scruffy rougher texture fur on the outside then she may be inclined to be double-coated and it can be increased or decreased via grooming practices.....

Some people like soft, some people like ruff (good for protection).

Silent Observer
Barked: Wed Dec 13, '06 8:14am PST 
Great description, Gio!

I just wanted to add that some of us with long hair have a double coat all over our bodies - including between our toes!

Barked: Wed Dec 13, '06 10:08am PST 
I hear ya there, Storm!! Mom used to think that my double coat was just where the hair was thickest (my mane, legs, butt, tail, etc.) but we then noticed that I shed on my EARS! The hair on the very tips of my ears goes white and will come out in clumps! Mom is a little obsessive compulsive about that and will sit for every just picking my ear hair! BOL silly humans.