View Full Version : Should you clip a long hair dog in the summer?

07-09-2003, 05:39 PM
I would think a long haired dog, like collies, would suffer under the summer heat, so you should shave all the hair, but some people say that it isn't necessary to do this. Who is right?
Also, are all dog breeds from the temparate regions? All the dog breeds I know come from Europe, North America or Northern Asia.
Even my veterinarian said that the dog is primarily a temperate species, since the wolf, the dog's ancestor, is from the temparate regions. True?

07-09-2003, 05:44 PM
There is the opinion that the long hair actually serves to insulate the dog from the heat - this is what I read when I had cocker spaniels. I ended up clipping them anyway, mostly because I couldn't keep the coat looking nice all the time. If you don't really like the way the dog looks clipped and can groom it regularly, it should probably hold up ok in all but the most extreme heat (like Arizona) with a shady place to spend the day and plenty of fresh, cool water.

Many dog breeds come from Africa and the middle east, by the way: the basenji, the pharoah hound, the saluki, etc.

07-09-2003, 05:46 PM
No! No! and again, No! If you shave the hair off a long-haired dog you will remove the insulation that keeps him cool as well as expose his skin to sunburn.

To keep a long haired dog cool, allow him to stay inside in the air conditioning, or at the very least, offer lots of shade and plenty of cool water.

I have both a husky and a chow and live in hot and humid Tennesee. I would never, ever shave either one of them or clip their hair short.

07-09-2003, 09:56 PM
We never clipped our dog. He was a collie/shepherd. It seemed to itch him. So we only did it once. It didn't seem to make him any happier. We didn't have air, so we tried to wet the dog down. He didn't like that. We let him sit in the shade and gave him water.

He seemed OK with that. And we figured he was smart enuff to know what was best for him. OK so he got skunked twice maybe we were wrong :)

07-09-2003, 11:11 PM
Be very careful about clipping a dogs fur.

Old English sheep dogs have very sensitive eyes. Some owners stupidly shave off the animal's bangs during the clipping process. Some of these dogs have been permanently blinded because of this. Always consult a qualified veterinarian before attempting such a thing.

07-09-2003, 11:14 PM
Most long-haired dogs will shed when the weather gets warm enough. Get a dog brush (the kind with metal bristles) to brush away the clumps of loose hair once a week or so. Dogs loooove this. Almost as much as they love food.

07-09-2003, 11:19 PM
Originally posted by Zenster
Be very careful about clipping a dogs fur.

Old English sheep dogs have very sensitive eyes. Some owners stupidly shave off the animal's bangs during the clipping process. Some of these dogs have been permanently blinded because of this. Always consult a qualified veterinarian before attempting such a thing. I'm not sure what you're saying here. If you're saying that clipping off the hair over the eyes leads to blindness because of excessive light exposure, I'm going to have to call BS and ask for a cite.

OTOH, if you're saying some owner have accidentally stabbed their pets in the eye with scissors or clippers, well that I'll buy.

07-09-2003, 11:56 PM
This was mentioned to me by someone who owned two of these animals. Old English Sheepdogs are one of several purebreeds subject to progressive retinal atrophy. It may be that over-exposure to sunlight accelerates this degeneration.

07-10-2003, 12:54 AM
Shortening the hair to make it easier to care for is fine, as long as we're just talking about the exterior coat. The thick, dense hair underneath, the undercoat, should never, ever be cut off. This the part that acts as insulation and protection from sunburn, and should only be brushed.

07-10-2003, 02:12 AM
As a former dog groomer, I prefer to leave a dog's hair long. It insulates from the heat like the robes of an Arab or North African do.

However a lot of our customers ask to have the hair clipped very short and the dogs seem to do fine. Since a lot of them don't get brushed regularly and come in matted--some severely, poor things. In this case I will go for clipping rather than stressing the pooch with lots of brushing and pulling. I could make more money that way but I'm not willing to let the dog suffer.

I think your climate has a lot to do with whether you should have you dog clipped completely. Here the temps rarely get above the 70's. Even so, water and shade should ALWAYS be handy. Also, try putting a damp towel down for your pooch to lay on. It will help cool their bare (or nearly so) bellies and through that area, the rest of their bodies.

For anyone considering getting a long haired dog, please, PLEASE think long and hard whether you are willing to take the time to brush it thoroughly every day or two. When matting occurs, it can hide wounds, infections and ticks. They also pull uncomfortably on the dog's skin. Don't just think a collie or yorkie looks cool. They won't look cool without your help.

Oh, and on the Old English Sheepdog thing. I think some bloodlines are more prone to eye problems than others. If you're considering getting one, check into its parents' and grandparents' medical histories. If they have problems, it's likely their offspring will have them too.

My first grooming boss, with 15+ years experience, believed in leaving hair draped over the eyes. My second boss, with over 20 years of experience, believed it wasn't necessary. In most cases, I'd go with my first boss. Better to be safe than sorry.

07-10-2003, 07:35 AM
Sometimes it doesn't grow back. Check out these pictures of double coated dogs who've been shaved.
This one is all undercoat. The guard hairs never grew back:

Pomeranian (http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid23/pf2d45abf6e380c9d2ce8d2b6a6e15a46/fd9d9b16.jpg)

And here's one that has the opposite problem - no undercoat:

Sheltie (http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid23/pa66cafe296f2e5842f2b3955dc64edcb/fd9d9a40.jpg)

07-10-2003, 07:48 AM
We have an Irish terrier, who practically expires in the heat (we don't have Aircon so we suffer too on the rare occasion that it gets that hot)

We had her clipped by a professional groomer last summer and again this year (yesterday actually) and she is a changed dog. Suddenly she has energy and wants to play. I think that it is fine for the dog as long as it is not too tight and doesn't damage the undercoat and is done early enough for the coat to grow back in time for winter.

07-10-2003, 12:01 PM
I have been looking aroud at the outside dogs on our block. All of them are sitting on concrete (under shade) or in the mud. Both seem cool. The cats by the way are also on the concrete. No cats in the mud so far.

07-10-2003, 12:11 PM
My wife is a vet, and we shave our dogs (both border collies) in the summer. Less shedding, easier to find ticks after a trip to the woods, and they do seem to be cooler when running around - which they do a lot of, being border collies and all. It also makes them a lot easier to bath or dry off after a nice swim in the river or the ocean.

07-10-2003, 12:34 PM
I had a English Spring Spaniel and would get him shaved down in a summer cut ever year. It never seemed to bother him a bit and he was much easier to keep clean. He certainly looked cooler.

Damn, I miss that dog something fierce. He was the best dog in the entire world, bar none.

07-10-2003, 12:59 PM
I used to have a Norwegian Elkhound (if you're not familiar with the breed, they have coats that are similar to that of a Husky, made for very cold weather).
We used to clip most of his outer fur in the summer, and he never seemed to be bothered by it at all, and he still had his undercoat to keep him protected from the sun. It was also a lot easier to see if he had ticks on his skin, which were very hard to see with his long, thick fur.
Obviously, I couldnt' ask him if he felt cooler, but it never hurt him at all, and possibly made him cooler. I say go for it.

Also, we did this for years, and his fur always grew back in plenty of time for winter.

07-10-2003, 01:12 PM
Purists will cringe, but we shave down our Newfoundlands during the summer! Oh, the horror!

At first I was concerned about the aesthetics- they look kind of ridiculous without beautiful long coats and leg feathers. However, in the SoCal summers, they were terribly uncomfortable.

We go with #4 clippers all over. It's funny, they still look like Newfs through the head and shoulders, but they look even bigger without hair! With full coats, some people assume they are "all hair." When there is no coat to conceal their bulk, they are impressive!

We have never had a problem with sunburn or coat growing back imperfectly. In fact, their skin has improved quite a bit and we don't have problems with hot spots anymore (even with daily grooming, they still got them in the summer).

07-10-2003, 01:23 PM
Forgot to add that #4 clippers leave them with about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of coat.

07-10-2003, 02:24 PM
I vote for clipping.

It gets hot here; last week every day was 100 F or above. We have a mixed breed dog with very long fur. We always clip her fur in the summer to about 1/2 inch. Before clipping, she pants hard when outside and is lethargic. After clipping, she pants considerably less, and is much more active. She does not want to stay in the house all the time, and is quite obviously happier clipped.

Clipping also has the benefit that we don't have to wait for her to shed, which was always a mess. Ticks are easier to find too.

I have asked our vet about it and she recommended clipping.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.