Whether you have a dog who sheds all of the time or you’re looking to adopt, you might wonder: do all dogs shed? How can you stop a dog from shedding?
In this article, we’ll discuss whether all dogs shed, how often dogs should be groomed, and what to do if your dog sheds too much!
Table of Contents:
Do Dogs Shed All Year Long?
To determine how often your dog will shed, you need to know what kind of coat they have. These include:
- Double coat of fur
- Single coat of fur
Dogs with a Double Coat of Fur
Double-coated dog breeds have shedding seasons. However, this title is misleading! Dogs don’t only shed during their shedding season, but rather, these are the times they shed the most.
Dogs with double coats have a dense undercoat beneath their outer layer of more visible fur. During the shedding season, this undercoat sheds dramatically, typically to restructure a dog’s coat for a change in season.
These breeds will shed year-long, typically with a heavier shedding season in the spring and fall. Some breeds have just one shedding season, and there’s not an exact date to expect your dog to shed their undercoat. It varies both by breed and by individual dog.
Examples of breeds with double coats include:
- Siberian Husky
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
Dogs with a Single Coat of Fur
Dogs with a single coat of fur will shed year-round, but won’t have a profuse shedding season where they blow out their undercoat. This is, of course, because they don’t have one!
Some breeds with single coats of fur are:
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Boston Terrier
Dogs with Human-Like Hair
Lastly, dogs with human-like hair are said to be “non-shedding.” This isn’t quite true—instead of shedding like most dogs, they shed like humans.
Just like you find your own stray hairs around the house, you’ll find your dog’s. These pups also have much longer fur that grows continuously, requiring either daily combing or regular haircuts.
Dogs with hair are also said to be hypoallergenic, meaning they’re the best breeds for those with dog allergies. However, no dog is allergen-free. I suggest spending some time around these breeds before committing, to see if your allergy symptoms decrease enough to allow you to have one in your home.
The following are some breeds with hair instead of fur:
- Shih Tzu
Do Short-Haired Dogs Shed?
You might think that short-haired dogs shed the least of any dog, but the opposite is often true instead. Short-haired dogs typically shed the same as long-haired dogs, with the exception of the hypoallergenic dog breeds we discussed above.
These “non-shedding” breeds shed the least of any dog and also have the longest hair of any dog!
When it comes to short-haired dogs, you can expect a year-long shed. If your dog has a double coat, they’ll also have a shedding season in which they shed more profusely and require more brushing to keep their coat healthy. Typically, you’ll want to brush your dog once a day to once every few days during shedding season, depending on their breed.
Short-haired dogs do have other benefits, however. They typically need to be brushed less often, and won’t develop painful mats in their fur if you miss a grooming session or two. They might also require less bathing because their fur isn’t dragging on the ground collecting debris.
Which Dogs Shed the Most?
Dogs with double coats tend to shed the most. These dogs have coarse outer coats and softer undercoats. The top coat is designed to be resistant, while the undercoat acts as insulation.
Double coats keep the dog protected from the weather, injuries, parasites (like ticks), and more. They act to keep the dog warm in the winter months and cool in the summer months—which is why their coats should never be shaved unless medically necessary.
You’ll also notice more shed fur from your dog if they are a large breed, and if their coat is long. Though these things don’t cause them to shed more heavily, they provide more fur to be shed!
Some of the highest-shedding dog breeds include:
- Chow Chow
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Siberian Husky
Which Dogs Shed the Least?
As we discussed above, there are so-called “non-shedding” dog breeds. These pups have human-like hair that grows continuously and sheds less than other breeds.
These dogs are often marketed as hypoallergenic, but people with allergies can still have a reaction to them. Please take this into account before adopting one! Spending time with the breed you’d like to adopt will help you to see if they’re truly the right pet for you.
Also, keep in mind that the length of these pups’ hair makes them very high maintenance despite the lack of shedding!
They’ll need regular haircuts, which typically means a regular bill from the groomer, or they’ll need to be combed daily. This can become very time-consuming.
Some of the dogs that shed the least include:
- Poodle (not Poodle mixes!)
- Shih Tzu
- Lhasa Apso
- Bichon Frise
- Brussels Griffon
- Chinese Crested
How Often Should I Groom my Dog?
Grooming frequency varies by breed so much that we can’t give an exact answer here. However, here are some general rules:
- Short-haired dogs typically need to be brushed once to twice weekly.
- Medium to long-haired breeds vary, anywhere from a thorough combing once weekly to once daily. Brush down to the skin to prevent tangles and mats from developing. When in doubt, combing more than needed won’t hurt anything (unless you’re using a deshedding brush, which can harm the undercoat when overused). But brushing less than required can leave your dog in pain.
- Breeds with human-like hair should typically be brushed daily with a comb down to the skin. This will prevent mats from forming.
- Medium to long-coated breeds can be trimmed, but double-coated breeds shouldn’t be shaved or cut shorter than one inch. This can damage their undercoat, leaving them susceptible to sunburn, parasites, and heat stroke.
When brushing longer coats, be gentle and never pull the comb through tangles or mats. Instead, work through the tangled fur with your fingers.
If this isn’t possible, maneuver the comb under the mat and hold it against the skin. Then, cut the mat out with scissors. The comb will block the skin so that you don’t injure your pup, and is especially helpful if the mat has developed very close to the skin.
In addition to brushing, most breeds should be bathed as needed or once every few months, but dogs with hair should be bathed once every few weeks. Always use a dog shampoo, not one designed for human use.
How to Keep up with Dog Shedding
Here are some tips to keep up with dogs that shed a lot!
- Brush them regularly. The more fur you get off of your dog directly, the less you’ll find around the house. Deshedding brushes that reach the undercoat are awesome for double-coated breeds.
- Use the right brush or comb. Different fur types require different brushes. For instance, double-coated breeds require a deshedding brush to target the undercoat. Using another brush might only hit the surface, not removing all of the shed fur.
Long-haired breeds must be combed rather than brushed, to ensure all tangles are removed before they form mats.
- See a professional groomer. Dog groomers can often do a more thorough job than the average person! They also know which brushes to use on your dog and can give you advice on grooming your dog in between sessions.
- Purchase a reusable lint roller. Trust me, it’ll save you money—and also helps the environment! These can remove fur from your clothes, carpets, and furniture.
- Vacuum regularly. Depending on your dog’s breed and how many pets you have, vacuuming might be a weekly chore or a daily one. Attachments that can reach the tops of furniture, beneath furniture, and in tight corners are a must when you have pets. Don’t forget the stairs if you have them, either!
- Use covers. Cover the places your dog hangs out the most to make clean-up easier. This can be as simple as placing a blanket on their favorite chair and washing it weekly. Covering your car seats is also a good idea.
- Provide a high-quality diet and constant access to fresh water. This will promote coat health and limit the chances of excessive shedding due to health problems.
- Limit your dog’s stress. Dogs shed more when they’re feeling stressed. You might have noticed this while at the veterinarian, for instance. Limit stress to keep your dog’s coat, mind, and body healthy.
What if my Dog Sheds too Much?
Sometimes, our dogs shed an irregular amount. If you see this, first determine if they’re in their shedding season.
During the shedding season, dogs shed their undercoat. For those with especially thick fur, you might notice clumps of fur on their body that can be easily pulled away. Or, you might brush off so much fur that it feels like they’ve birthed a second dog!
This typically occurs during the spring or autumn months. Most breeds have a shedding season once to twice yearly. Over time, you’ll get to know how much is normal for your dog to shed during shedding season. But if you’ve just adopted them within the past six months to a year, it can be more difficult to determine.
Other causes for a dog shedding more than normal include: