Dog hair grows and dies just as human hair does. Some dogs — particularly hard-coated terriers and Poodles — hang on to their dead hair, thus requiring special grooming to remove it. Use tools like the furminator to remove this dead hair. Other dogs give it up quite readily, all over the house. Double-coated dogs generally drop their soft undercoats twice a year and lose their guard hairs once a year, although some individual dogs might shed constantly or only every 10-12 months. Shedding can take anywhere from three weeks to two months. A warm bath helps accelerate the process and daily (or twice-daily) grooming can help control clouds of hair that scurry into corners and under furniture.
Shedding is controlled by hormonal changes that are tied to photoperiod (day length) and is influenced by level of nutrition and general state of health. In addition to natural biennial shedding, a dog may drop its coat after surgery, x-rays under anesthesia, and whelping puppies.
Double-coated dogs that shed heavily are Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Keeshond, Siberian Husky, Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound, Collie, Great Pyrenees, Kuvasz, Newfoundland, St. Bernard, English Toy Spaniel, Pomeranian, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren, Australian Shepherd, German Shepherd, Smooth Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, and American Eskimo. The Dalmatian sheds constantly, and many dogs shed a moderate amount of hair.
Owners should be aware before purchase that a long-coated dog, purebred or mixed, will require grooming throughout its life. If the inclination to groom or the time to do so are not part of the plan, provisions should be made for professional coat care for the dog. Otherwise, a dog that can do with a lick and a promise is a better choice as a family pet.
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