Caring for non-shedding dogs
3 CommentsThursday, 10 January 2013 | Kate
The definition of a non-shedding, or non-moulting, dog is a little tricky; there are no dogs that do not outright shed any hair whatsoever. There are breeds that shed very little hair at all though and these are commonly known as 'non-shedding' dogs.
Non-shedding dogs are generally favoured by allergy sufferers because they cause significantly less allergic reactions than other dogs due to the lack of shed hair. If you're thinking about getting a non-shedding breed due to allergies however you should spend some time around them beforehand to make sure that you're not also allergic to dog saliva.
The obvious advantage of non-shedding dogs is that there is little dog hair to clean up around the house so you don't have to run a vacuum cleaner around four times a week. Non-shedding dogs do require far more grooming though to keep their coats clean compared to shedding breeds. The frequent grooming does mean that it is harder for parasites to settle on the dog's coat however. Dogs that are properly groomed often will tend to have healthier coats and skin as well and a professional dog groomer is often a popular choice.
Dander is the dead skin that dogs shed in addition to hair. The dander is actually the cause of most dog allergies in humans; the hair simply sheds at the same time as the dead skin. Non-shedding breeds generally create less dander which is why they're favoured by allergy sufferers.
Why dogs shed hair
While the temperature in a dog's environment contributes to their shedding pattern it is actually the length of the day that is the major factor in determining how much a dog sheds its coat and when. The seasonal changes in daylight hours actually determine when a dog begins to shed their coat. Come springtime a new shedding cycle begins which can last from four to six weeks. As the amount of light in a day (i.e. the length of the day) governs when a dog will shed its coat, dogs that mainly live indoors (therefore a differing light cycle) may shed year round.
Some breeds of non-shedding dogs (like Ronnie and BB, our family Bedlington Terriers) have non-shedding curly coats. Instead of shedding their hair, it mats into their coats which can become very uncomfortable and unhygienic. This is why it's important to maintain regular grooming for non-shedding dogs. Other breeds have what is known as a double coat. The outer coat is usually made up of longer, thicker hairs while the undercoat contains softer, thinner hairs.
When breeds with a double coat begin to shed the outer coat it can often come out in random patches and tufts. The appearance of a dog at this stage can, quite alarmingly, resemble a dog with a skin disease, however it is normal and regular grooming will help the dog with their shedding process. Thicker coats will benefit from a good bath to remove shed hair but it is a good idea to brush the dog down beforehand to avoid matting.
Tips for handling a dog's coat