Once you sink your fingertips into their thick fleecy fur, you’ll know which pooch is right for you. Just keep the vacuum handy!

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There are numerous ways to describe double-coated dogs, including fluffy, poofy, and downy. And of course, totally snuggable! However, if you have your heart set on one of these breeds, do a deeper dive into their care, as each furry Fido with this unique coat requires a particular grooming regimen. We have expert advice that might help.

What Is a Double-Coated Dog?

Jerry Klein, DVM, is the chief veterinary officer of the American Kennel Club. He tells Daily Paws that double-coated dogs have two layers: a 'guard hair' outer coat (or topcoat) and a soft undercoat. The outer layer repels dirt and moisture, and also acts as an elaborate cooling system to allow air to circulate near a dog's skin. The undercoat is a type of insulation, which serves two purposes: 

  • In summer, it keeps a pooch cool and is a natural sunscreen.
  • In winter, it makes pup warm and helps their skin stay healthy and dry. 

Each type of fur grows differently, often with the undercoat coming in more quickly and longer. Thus, double-coated dog breeds shed them in a seasonal process known as 'blowing coat'. This intense fur tornado often lasts for 2–3 weeks. (Plan to charge up the vacuum for extra cleaning sessions.)

Aubrey Charles is a lead trimmer trainer at Scenthound. She says pet health should always outweigh appearance. Research not only breed attributes but also personal care before choosing a pup, then help them acclimate to their grooming routine.

"An introduction to and use of grooming tools, handling/touching of feet, ears, mouths, and underbellies should be part of early behavioral training for all breeds," she says. Add a professional dog groomer consultation to your checklist of what to do before bringing one of these gorgeous double-coated dog breeds home.

German Shepherd

German shepherd laws on dock by a lake
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Always considered a handsome breed, German shepherds are also known for their loyalty and dedication to duty and family. Charles says they have smooth double coats, with short, medium, and long topcoat variations.

Golden Retriever

Adult man shakes his golden retriever's paw outdoors
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Few doggie smiles are as inviting as those of the easy-going golden retriever, frequently a favorite pick for a furry kids' playmate. There are three different types of golden retrievers, but they all share medium-length coats ranging in color from cream to honey to red, and their fur is straight or wavy, with feathering.

Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever lying in grass with woman
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In the U.S., sweet Labrador retrievers hold the top spot as the most popular dogs, and their devotion knows no bounds. Charles says a Lab's double coat—usually in black, liver, chocolate or yellow—is smooth and short.

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd standing in profile in front of woods
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Are Australian shepherds double-coated? Yes indeed! These flock shepherds have wavy undercoats and medium-length topcoats in an artist's palette of patterns and colors as unique as their lovable, intelligent, and outgoing personalities.

Siberian Husky

black and white siberian husky on leash with owner
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Probably the first pup you think of when imagining double-coated dogs, Charles says a Siberian husky has smooth fur that can be short, plush, or wooly. A faithful Arctic breed, these talkative and delightful doggos are great companions for active people and thrive in cold weather climates due to those super thick coats.

Shih Tzu

shih tzu with a ponytail sitting in the grass and leaves
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Nicknamed 'the little lion', the regal shih tzu is a natural lap lover full of affection, wit, and charm. With her light undercoat and long, dense hair-like topcoat, you'll have a lot of fun keeping her photo ready with one of these darling haircuts.

Bernese Mountain Dog

bernese mountain dog sitting on wall
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The name says it all: as a hardy working farm breed from the Alps, the Bernese mountain dog relies on a long topcoat and wooly undercoat to protect him from the elements. A steadfast canine friend, 'Berners' make great family pets.

Border Collie

double coated dog border collie with woman in white flowers
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One of the smartest dogs ever, a border collie dazzles with bountiful energy and multiple abilities. According to Charles, this exceptional herder has two coat finishes: smoother, shorter, and coarser, along with a medium length with feathering.

Great Pyrenees

great pyrenees standing on deck in snow
A Great Pyrenees' thick white coat is perfect for cold, snowy days. It's no surprise this large breed is often compared to a polar bear!
| Credit: Anita Cline, My Three Sons Images / Getty

Another mountain dog content to cozy up by the fire is the gentle Great Pyrenees. His longer topcoat with soft undercoat makes him stand out among white dog breeds. Plus, although independent, he's unwavering in his support for all creatures in his care.

Pomeranian

Strawberry blonde pomeranian stands on sandy beach
Their lion-like coat looks high-maintenance, but it's much easier to care for than you'd think. Brushing your Pomeranian a few times a week will keep his shedding under control and his fur free of mats.
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Who brings twice the floof in a package full of sass and spunk? The double-coated Pomeranian. As the smallest of the Spitz dog breeds, your groomer will love styling new haircuts with her medium–to–long smooth topcoat and wavy, wiry undercoat.

Chow Chow

Close up of red Chow Chow
An ancient Chinese legend says the chow chow blue tongue came from the formation of the universe; the dogs licked up bits of blue sky that fell to Earth.
| Credit: Farmer / Adobe Stock

Charles says chow chows either have a rough or a smooth topcoat paired with a wooly undercoat. You won't need to bathe these deep thinkers often but regular brushing is a must. Although they don't cuddle much, beneath that massive fluff is a caring heart.

Newfoundland

black newfoundland standing in grass
Big and floofy, a Newfoundland is basically a 150-pound teddy bear. These gentle giants are ideal and patient companions for families, smaller animals, and kiddos.
| Credit: Dyrefotografi.dk / Adobe Stock

The sweet-tempered Newfoundland might look like a bear (it's that coarse and long topcoat with a soft dense undercoat that accentuates the fuzzy) but she's a big softie for her people. These dogs are also avid swimmers with a history of lifesaving.

Akita

Brown and White Akita with his head tilted
With his fuzzy coat and cute, fox-like face, it's easy to fall in love with an Akita. Especially when they look at you with an adorable head tilt!
| Credit: otsphoto / Adobe Stock

As one of Japan's six indigenous dog breeds, the studious Akita is dedicated to home and all her humans. Preferring to be the only four-legged pal near you, she'll savor all the pats and rubs you give her smooth, short topcoat and dense plush undercoat.

Keeshond

Fluffy Keeshond dog smiles off to the side with tongue out
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The rambunctious Keeshond is a good fluffy buddy for kids and adults alike, and sports a long topcoat with a wooly undercoat. Silly and inquisitive, this doggo is known to dig a hole in the ground to lie in to ward off the winter chill and summer heat.

To learn about more double-coated dog breeds not mentioned, use our nifty breed guide.

Double-Coated Dog Grooming Tips

These grooming tips from Charles should have your floofy pup looking spiffy in no time.

  • Breeds with shorter, smooth topcoats, such as German shepherd, husky, Akita, and Labrador, benefit from weekly brushing with a rubber curry comb, like a Zoom Groom, or an undercoat rake and a greyhound comb to reduce loose hair.
  • For longer or feathery topcoats, like on golden retrievers and Australian shepherds, daily brushing with a greyhound comb, slicker brush, and a de-matting tool help prevent matting. 
  • Double-coated dogs with coarse topcoats such as Cairn terriers benefit from regular brushing, but require a professional groomer to handstrip and control texture. 

"The best practice is to have a groomer perform routine monthly de-shedding treatments to prevent the undercoat from getting impacted," Charles says. "Add a light trimming to breeds that have coats with feathering to prevent minor tangles from turning into extensive mats."

Can You Shave Double-Coated Dogs?

No, as these dogs rarely need shaving to keep them comfortable. Klein says unnecessary shaving compromises a double coat's integrity and function. If you're concerned about potential heatstroke, talk to your vet about other ways to keep your thick-furred dog cool in hot weather.

However, there are some situations when professional shaving might be required. Charles says some breeds, like shih tzus, require extensive brushing to keep their long locks untangled. Unless the pet is also a show dog, it's common to cut this coat to a more manageable length.

Another reason is to provide a health makeover for rescue dogs with mats or dirty coats, or pooches who have been rescued after being left outside for long periods. "If a mat has formed, do not scissor mats out of the coat," Charles says. "It's safer to shave mats out, and best to consult a groomer to perform any minor spot shaving or removal of matting that's tight to the skin." As always, check with a professional to find out what's best for your dog's condition.