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Should we be clipping dogs with a double coat?

Tim Ryman |

There are around 330 recognised domestic dog breeds in the world and each breed has its own specific characteristics. One of the characteristics that defines a breed is coat type and these range from smooth, short coats to combination and double coats.

Dogs with double coats require a lot more care to keep the coat in the best possible condition. Regular grooming is optimal to ensure the coat is not only kept clean and tangle free, but to ensure it can perform properly to protect the dog against the elements.

Popular dog breeds with a double coat are: Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Spitz, Pomeranian, Shiba Inu, Siberian Husky, Swedish Lapphund, Old English Sheepdog, German Shepherd Dog, Bearded Collie, Rough Collie, Bernese Mountain Dog, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Leonberger, Saint Bernard and Tibetan Mastif.

These breeds have developed their double coats through adapting to their environments. The majority of these breeds are original working and herding dogs, living in harsh, cold, wet climates.

A first layer of the double cat is a short, soft, down like undercoat which acts as an insulating layer. This not only keeps the dog warm in the colder months but is also involved in temperature regulation, keeping the dog cool in the warm summer time too. The second part of the coat is made up of longer guard hairs that serve as a water and dirt repellent layer. This is the most important factor why dogs with double coats should not be clipped. Owners may feel that by clipping the coat, the dog will stay cooler, but it will actually interfere with the dog’s ability to thermoregulate themselves. Also, removing the hair can leave the sensitive skin exposed to the damaging UV rays of the sun. Instead, there are alternative ways to help a double coated breed keep cool whilst retaining their coat.

Brushing daily ensures that loose, dead hair is removed from the coat and prevent matts and felting of the coat. A slicker brush and metal combination comb are ideal and essential grooming tools for this. Another great tool which is particularly useful during moulting is a coat rake. These are wonderful at removing the undercoat whilst retaining the guard hairs allowing the dog to feel a little cooler without losing the protective qualities of the coat.

Coat rakes can be purchased from our website here: https://masterclip.co.uk/product-range/productgroup/grooming-accessories

For dogs that tend to matt, even with regular grooming our dog breed specific clipper sets are ideal for thinning out the coat in the areas that are the most densely packed with hair, such as the chest, throat and belly. These sets are not intended for full body clipping, but instead feature a skip tooth body blade which thins the coat like using thinning scissors rather than cutting the hair all to one length. The second close cutting blade is ideal for sanitary clipping, trimming around the head and feet and also for removing matts.

You can find a comprehensive list of our clipper sets by breed here:


In some cases, where a dog with a double coat must have the full coat removed for veterinary reasons, or is so badly matted, we can offer a suitable clipper that has the extra power to clip through this most challenging coat. All enquiries for complete coat removal for a double coated breed should give us a call on 0116 2796900.

Here is a video from our You Tube channel featuring rescue dog Chika the Chow Chow, who required clipping due to skin issues.


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