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Do All Dogs Shed

Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Published on
Sunday 30 January 2022
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
shedding dogs
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Pet parents seek out dogs who “don’t shed” for a wide range of reasons. Some people are seeking the mythical “hypoallergenic dog“, while others simply want a companion who won’t leave hair all around the home. Others seek low-maintenance pups who need less grooming than others. This leads us to the age-old question, “do all dogs shed?”

Instead of looking for dogs that don’t shed, it’s more realistic to look for breeds that are low-shedders. These breeds typically have a single coat that is short in length, making it easy to groom and maintain. In contrast, high-shedding breeds tend to have longer coats and may even have undercoats, which need to blow out a few times each year.

Why Do Dogs Shed

Shedding happens when your dog loses their dead or damaged fur to make room for new fur. Some dogs shed all year-round, others shed seasonally, and others appear to shed very little. But, it’s important to know that all dogs undergo this shedding cycle and it cannot be prevented. Generally, dog breeds with longer coats shed more than those with short or coarse coats. Many double-coated dogs shed their undercoats during the spring and fall. These heavy-shedding breeds include Akitas, Chow Chows, and Alaskan Malamutes.

Do All Dogs Shed

All dog breeds shed hair and dander to some degree. However, the amount of shedding varies from dog to dog, and breed to breed. For some pet parents, the amount of shedding is an important factor when choosing their new furry friend. So, let’s take a look at our contenders: the low-shedders and the high-shedders.

Least Frequent Shedders

There are many dog breeds that could be considered to be low-shedders. These breeds include the Cane Corso, Greyhound, Ibizan Hound, Plott Hound, Poodle, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Dogs who shed less may be a good fit for pet parents with allergies or particular fondness for having a clean home. These dogs also have simpler grooming requirements and tend to only need grooming once a week to remove dead skin and hair.

It may seem obvious to choose a dog with little or no hair to avoid problems with allergies. This, however, is not always advisable. Even hairless breeds like the Xoloitzcuintli, Chinese Crested, or American Hairless Terrier will produce dander! For those who are extremely sensitive to dog hair and dander, even a hairless breed may be out of the question.

Choosing a dog based solely on their shedding level overlooks several other problems. Many low-shedding dog breeds have inherited disorders, high energy requirements, and temperaments that may not make them an ideal fit for your family. For these reasons, if you choose a particular breed, it’s crucial that you know what kind of health conditions it might be prone to. And, be aware that although certain “designer” breeds are often labeled as being “non-shedding” or “completely hypoallergenic”, all dogs shed to some degree.

Most Frequent Shedders

Some of the heaviest shedding breeds include the Samoyed, Chow Chow, Newfoundland, Pomeranian, and the Tibetan Mastiff. Perfectly groomed, these dogs’ coats are spectacular. These breeds are all double-coated, meaning that they have two layers of fur. The first is the outer coat, consisting of a coarser layer of fur with greater weather resistance. The layer beneath is shorter, finer, and softer, designed for insulation. It is this layer that your dog will “blow out” in the summer months.

Many pet parents are drawn to heavy-shedding breeds despite their high-maintenance coats. For many, these breeds have the temperament and exercise requirements that make them a perfect match for the family. When considering whether to adopt a dog who sheds a lot, it comes down to your personal preference as well as your home. If you have wooden floorboards and leather furniture, shedding might be easier to handle.

These dog breeds lose a lot of their undercoat during warmer weather in large clumps. This process is known as “blowing coat.” Expect to find piles of fluff all around during the warmer seasons, two to three times per year. While it may seem helpful to shave a dog’s coat during this time, it’s actually quite the opposite! Your dog is regulating their temperature by themselves, so removing their coat can cause problems for them.

dogs shedding reason
Many breeds grow thicker coats as winter progresses, then lose them in the spring.

Do All Dogs Shed: FAQ

So, do all dogs shed? Our Frequently Asked Questions section may give some more insight into this question. As always, contact your vet right away if you have any concerns about your pup’s skin or coat health.

How do I know if my dog is excessive shedding?

Excessive shedding in dogs will be clear to see – your dog might lose clumps of hair when you groom them, or you may find piles of hair around the home, more so than your dog usually sheds. Your dog might suddenly begin to shed excessively if they are under a lot of stress, such as when they are at the vet’s office, or moving home. If your dog’s excessive shedding comes alongside skin irritation, it suggests that there is an underlying condition that requires veterinary attention.

Can my dog’s food affect its shedding?

As with all aspects of your dog’s health, nutrition is a huge factor in your dog’s skin and coat condition. Your dog needs protein and fat for good skin and coat development – a lack of these two in the diet can cause areas of hair loss. Your dog’s hair may also become dry, brittle, and dull. This is where fish oil comes in! Fish oil is one of the best and safest supplements to add to your pup’s diet. Not only does it support your canine companion’s heart health, but it also promotes a silky coat and helps to relieve itchy skin. This is because fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids. These are “good” fats that help your dog’s body and brain.

How often should I groom my dog?

Your dog’s grooming needs vary depending on their coat length and texture. In general, short-haired breeds will only need brushing once a week. In contrast, a medium-haired dog breed will need brushing a few times a week to remove dead fur. Lastly, long-haired breeds should receive daily brushing to keep their coat healthy.

What is an undercoat on a dog?

If your dog has a double coat, the undercoat is the soft, short coat hiding beneath the coarser, longer outer coat. This soft undercoat serves as insulation for your dog. As such, they will “blow” this part of their coat when the weather gets warmer to regulate their temperature.

Can I de-shed my dog at home?

To de-shed your dog at home, you first need brushes that are specially designed to reach your dog’s undercoat. Before de-shedding your dog, though, you’ll need to thoroughly comb, brush, and de-mat your pup’s coat. The entire process is very time-consuming, and for large breeds, you may be looking at 2 hours or more to thoroughly de-shed the undercoat.

All dogs shed. The amount and frequency of shedding, however, varies considerably from dog to dog. This is important to take note of because breeders of “designer” dogs sometimes sell their dogs as “no-shedding” or “hypoallergenic” dogs, giving a false sense of security to pet parents with allergies. While it is true that low-shedding breeds are much better for owners with allergies, the risk is not entirely gone.

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