The spunky Australian Shepherd is a dog with bags of energy and a desire to please, making them fantastic family dogs for active families. If you plan on welcoming an Australian Shepherd into your household, though, expect to be kept active in the grooming department, too, as these dogs are moderate shedders.
In this post, we’ll give you a heads up as to how much Australian Shepherds actually shed and share some grooming tips for these double-coated delights.
How Much Do Australian Shepherds Shed?
Australian Shepherds shed moderately throughout the year and more heavily in shedding seasons, which typically occur in spring and fall. This is because Australian Shepherds are double-coated—underneath their medium-length top coat is a soft, dense undercoat that is important for insulation purposes. It helps keep your dog warm in winter and, believe it or not, cool in summer, too.
The undercoat sheds seasonally to get rid of dead hair and make room for new hair growth—this process is often referred to as a “blowout” on account of the sheer amount of hair that comes away at these times.
Some dogs with double coats shed so much at certain times of the year that the pile of fluff left behind looks like it could be a small dog itself. Naturally, this can be worrying, especially for beginner dog parents, but it’s perfectly normal for double-coated breeds.
How To Take Care of An Australian Shepherd’s Coat
Due to their shedding capacities, Australian Shepherds’ coats need a fair bit of maintenance to keep things under control. How much you’ll need to brush them depends on the time of the year—it will likely increase during shedding seasons.
If you’re outside shedding season, it’s a good idea to brush your Australian Shepherd every few days. If they’re shedding heavily, you may need to up this to a daily procedure for a while.
To properly care for your Australian Shepherd’s coat, you’ll need two things—a quality de-shedding tool and a slicker brush. A de-shedding tool removes excess hair to prevent clumping and matting, whereas a slicker brush loosens and helps remove mats, debris, and dead hairs.
Typically, you’ll go over the coat first with a brush before going to town with the de-shedding tool. If you’re new to double-coated dogs, you may be shocked at first at just how much hair a de-shedding tool can remove!
In addition to preventing mats and tangles, brushing is also a great way to improve circulation, spread healthy oils throughout the coat and skin, and bond with your dog.
Should I Shave My Australian Shepherd in Summer?
Generally, no. An Australian Shepherd’s coat is an important part of their insulation system, so shaving it off without good reason can be counterproductive. Even though it may seem like shaving a double-coated dog will reduce shedding or keep them cool in summer, this is generally not the case.
According to Dr. Jerry Klein, the chief veterinary officer at the American Kennel Club, shaving a double-coated dog can leave them open to the possibility of sunburn, heatstroke, and even developing skin cancer down the road.
In short, an Australian Shepherd’s coat is exactly how it’s supposed to be! That said, trimming in certain areas, like long hair around the ears, back legs, paws, and hair that hangs around their butt is ok as it helps keep the coat clean and cool. We recommend meeting with a professional groomer for the best possible advice on this matter.
To sum up, Australian Shepherds are considered moderate shedders, though they shed more heavily in spring and fall. To tackle the shedding, you can use a slicker brush and a de-shedding tool to keep clumps, knots, and mats at bay. Granted, the Australian Shepherd’s coat does need a fair bit of maintenance, but their endearingly enthusiastic and affectionate natures sure make it all worthwhile!
Featured Image Credit: Fotoschauer, Shutterstock