Can every dog’s hair be cut? We wouldn’t recommend it at all for these breeds!

László Enikő

2024. March 10 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Although it may seem like a good idea, especially in warm weather to trim your dog's coat with a clipper or to shave it off completely, this can cause serious issues for many breeds. Here is why!


Many feel sorry for their thick-coated furry friends in the increasingly warm weather. Although dogs with thick coats are indeed used to colder conditions, a large coat also protects from the heat. Therefore, it is not recommended to completely shave them. Fur insulates, keeping the body warm in the cold and cooler in the heat. Of course, both options are only ideal to a certain extent: just because a dog has a big coat doesn’t mean they can stay in extreme cold or heat indefinitely. But it is not only because of the weather conditions that it is not recommended to trim certain breeds with clippers. Some dogs’ fur may not be able to grow back to its original condition.

Shaved hair that is too short can be dangerous!

Double-coated dogs

Double-coated dogs have a soft undercoat close to their skin that acts as an insulating layer: helping to keep them warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. In the summer, the dog sheds a good part of this layer, but what remains helps to trap air between the two layers of fur, keeping the heat out and regulating body temperature. The top coat has longer strands of hair, which gives the dog colour and does not shed as much.

Examples of this type are the Golden Retriever, the Border Collie, the German Shepherd, the Labrador Retriever and the Siberian Husky. As they shed their undercoat in warm weather, they retain their outer layer, or guard hair. The reaso for this is to protect them from sunburn and insect bites.

It might be tempting to shave off all the fur at once during shedding season, but its not a one-size-fits-all solution.

“The dog’s coat actually acts as an insulator,” explains Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC’s Chief Veterinarian. “Shaving the coat – to reduce shedding or to keep the dog cool – also removes the insulating layer of fur that protects the dog from heatstroke. It can also cause inadequate hair growth and follicle damage. Also, the animal’s coat protects it from sunburn and reduces the risk of skin cancer.”

Shaving a double layer of hair can also cause long-term damage. If trimmed down to the skin, the undercoat grows back faster and sometimes crowds out the slower-growing guard hair. This can change the texture and colour of the dog’s coat and cause it to grow back in patches.

When might it be necessary to shave a double-coated dog?

  • surgical intervention,
  • extremely felted, matted hairs
  • skin diseases

Single-coated dogs

Examples of dogs with one coat include the Greyhounds, the Boxers, the Dalmatians, and the Poodles. They can have very short or long hair and can be wiry, smooth or curly.

For certain dogs with a single coat (e.g. Yorkshire terriers ), it may be beneficial to have a groomer trim their coat from time to time. They constantly grow their “hair”, so this keeps them cooler. But the coat should not be shaved down to the skin. It’s best to leave at least 2-3 centimetres of hair to protect the dogs from sunburn, skin damage and insect bites.

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