What is a Double Coat on a Dog?

A double coat refers to the presence of two distinct layers of fur on a dog

A dog's double coat Undercoat

This is the dense, soft, and fluffy layer closest to the dog’s skin. It primarily serves as insulation, keeping the dog warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. The undercoat typically sheds seasonally, especially in breeds that were originally bred in cold climates.

Topcoat (or Guard Hair)

This is the longer, coarser outer layer of fur. It’s designed to repel water and protect the dog from dirt, debris, and harmful UV rays. The topcoat doesn’t shed in the same way as the undercoat; instead, it might shed a little throughout the year.


Benefits of a Double Coat

  • Temperature Regulation: The undercoat provides insulation, making it invaluable for temperature regulation.
  • Protection: The topcoat acts as a shield against external elements like rain, snow, and sun.
  • Camouflage: In the wild, the varied colors and patterns of the topcoat can help dogs blend into their surroundings.


Breeds that have double coats

  • A German Shepherd Dog with a long double coatSiberian Huskies
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Shetland Sheepdogs
  • German Shepherds (also referred to as German Shedders)
  • Samoyeds
  • Newfoundland
  • + Many many others!

Grooming a Double-Coated Dog

Female dog owner brushes Golden Retriever double coatGrooming is crucial for dogs with double coats. Regular brushing helps remove loose undercoat fur, preventing matting and promoting better skin health. During shedding seasons, more frequent grooming might be necessary. It’s also worth noting that shaving a double-coated dog is not a great idea. Shaving can interfere with the coat’s natural insulating properties and so their coat may grow back in an odd way.