Having an Australian Shepherd may make you wonder why there are so many opinions about shaving. Some say it might harm your dog, while on the other hand, you see lots of owners do not bother to shave their pets. And you get confused by retrograde opinions.
Here is the detailed guide full of advantages and disadvantages of having shaved Australian Shepherd. Remember, before proceeding to shave your dog, it is better to consult a local veterinarian for understanding the pros and cons of Australian Shepherd and try to check shaving dog related tips.
In summer, you see your dog panting, and you start to think his thick fur is responsible for overheating. You think shaving may help him cool down. There are reasons why you may think shaving your Australian Shepherd is a good idea. However, you should learn the advantages of shaving. It helps them feel cooler.
What Doctor Say to Shave Your Australian Shepherd
It is a general idea that you should not shave your Australian Shepherd. The doctor says you can shave the doggie only for a medical reason, and sometimes this is a must to stop excessive matting.
Anyway, before having your Australian Shepherd shaved, you should check out why fur is required and how it grows and functions. This breed is a double-coated dog, which means they have two layers of hair-the top or outer layer and the bottom or inner layer. Both work together to protect the skin from the harsh weather and hits. The top layer protects the body from outside adversity as well as protects the undercoat.
Top layer: The top layer is hard and thin; it is also water-resistant. This outside layer saves the dog from dust, dirt, scratch, or rain. You may call it ‘guard hair.’
Bottom layer: The bottom layer is adjacent to the skin. It is thick and fluffy. The layer functions as insulation and protects from heat and the cold. Thus, it helps to control body temperature.
Now we will check what the roles of the two layers are during summer and winter.
Roles of Layers in Summer: During the summer, the bottom layer holds a layer of air. Air is a poor heat conductor. The thin layer of air works like a cloth to save the skin from overheating. Well, that does not mean running all day under the hot summer sun will not make your dogs tired. The outer layer protects from sunburn.
Roles of Coats in Winter: In winter, both layers grow much thicker than in summer. The overcoat again protects the bottom layer from the cold and snow outside. The undercoat helps to keep your dog warm in the same way it does to keep cool in summer. The thin layer of air interrupts the cold from entering the skin and keeps the dog warm.
How does Shaving Really Help Your Dogs
Now we will look at how shaving harms or benefits Australian Shepherds.
Growing time is not the same: the bottom layer of hair grows fast than the top layer. When you shave, you do the same height to both layers. As the undercoat grows faster than the upper coat, it makes a shedding cycle.
Coat damage: After shaving, when the outer layer starts to grow back, the smoothness may not be the same as before. It is prone to attract objects like sands, seeds, burrs, which cause damage to the undercoat. The existence of foreign objects at the hair root causes hair fall and baldness.
Does Shaving Stop or Slow the Shedding
At the end of winter, Australian Shepherds start to shed hair. It is a natural cycle; the hair will grow back by the summer. Many people are bothered by the falling of lots of hair and think shaving can be a solution.
However, remember that shaving can not stop the natural cycle of shedding. The hair will grow back. Sometimes you may face more shedding of hairs after the shaving is done.
The undercoat falls and grows a few times every year, and it grows faster while the topcoat sheds less. It is a natural cycle. So when you shave your shepherd, you just interrupt the regular phase. The undercoat grows and sheds more than the topcoat, which creates issues.
Reducing Shedding in Your Australian Shepherd
You may get irritated at the excessive far shedding, especially by the end of the winter. Regular rubbing, grooming, weekly bathing will prevent excessive shedding; combining care, including all these processes, will clean the loose undercoat. Continuing a regular grooming process will keep your dog’s hair clean, healthy, and shiny. Regula rubbing prevents hair matting. Remember that when you take your dog to a groomer, ask him specifically not to shave your dog. It is a common practice that grooming means nowadays shaving and a little bathing with shampoo.
Does Shaving Cool Him Down?
During summer, your dogs started panting more than any other season. It seems that shaving will help them cool down. However, the idea does not work well because shaving removes all the hairs that hold a thin layer of air, which prevents outside heat or cold from entering through the skin.
Another problem happens to your dog when you shave the overcoat. When sunlight falls on a smooth surface of the hair, it reflects almost all the rays. However, on an uneven surface of the hair, the reflection rate is reduced due to different angles of hair-producing random reflected rays. As a result, the overcoat gets more heated. This event happens when the texture of top layer hair does not grow back evenly after shaving.
How to Keep Australian Shepherd Cool
Your dog’s coats are enough to make him cool naturally during summer. Keeping him away from direct sunlight for long hours will keep him comfortable during the hot summer. You can also add some more comfortable ways to give him extra ease.
Give water: Water is the main adverse to heat. Give him plenty of cool water.
Shady accommodation: keep a shady resting place in the backyard where he can stay whenever he needs some peace.
Invite him inside: Some Days are too hot during summer with hot air. Allow your dog to stay inside the home; a cooler atmosphere will make him grateful.
Morning works: Morning and evening are the cooler parts on summer days. Do some physical exercise with your dogs.
Reduce car riding: Do not take him for a ride or leave him inside the car unaccompanied.
Use scarf: you can use a scarf to protect from overheat
Clean body parts: the inside joints or groins hold on more heat as they get more dirty and oily. Clean those areas, including paws
Why Proceed to Shave
Now we will check when shaving becomes an option; even applying all the tasks cannot do better.
Extremely Matted Furs
Matted coats are the most common reason why handlers decide to shave their Australian Shepherds. All the dogs found abandoned have matted hair. Therefore, sometimes shaving becomes the only option to save your dog.
You should not shave the dog yourself when you find extremely matted hair, as this may be painful for him. Consult a specialist or groomer who will perform the shave with specialized instruments.
Health Issues of Older Dogs
Regular grooming sessions take a considerable amount of time and energy. Plus, an older dog gets tired easily. But without trimming the fur, the condition will get worse. That is why sometimes shaving will be a life-saving option for an older Australian Shepherd. Keep it inside the home when it is shaved.
Shave Certain Parts, not the Whole Body
We can check another option of shaving hair from only a few parts of the body, not the whole body. The top layer of hair is not equal throughout the body; also, in some areas, combing is difficult to do. You can check the following lists where you can trim:
Hair on the Pads of the Feet:
Hair between the pads does not matter as they cannot grow long and they walk.
Genital area: Having little hair, this area is almost clean; and does not even need shaving.
Hair at Anus: The hairs around the anus only need a little trim, simply to keep the area clean.
How Long It Takes to Grow Back
Do not get frightened or nervous if you have already shaved your Australian Shepherd baby or if your groomer did not pay heed to your objection and shaved your little dog. The hair will grow back. However, there is no precise idea of how long it may take to grow back the full-length hair. It may generally take one full season; as you shave in summer, it may fully grow back before winter.
After growing back, the texture may not seem even and smooth like before the shaving. Sometimes a full year might take to have the same fur as earlier. The undercoat becomes exposed to outside dust and dirt while the top layer grows back and becomes matted badly, so it is important you do the combing to the undercoat every day to be matt-free.
Half Shaved Australian Shepherd
Same as an above point of half-trimming, brewers also like to go for a half-shaved dog. There is no valid research on how half shaving will help the dog during summer. Anyway, a half shave is required if only the top layer of hairs around the body and sides is tangled.
Shaved Australian Shepherd Before And After
A shaved Australian Shepherd is more prone to health issues as his skin becomes exposed to direct heat during summer. Before shaving, you can try to cool him down in various ways. However, when shaving is necessary for your dog, make sure he is not allowed outside the home during the hottest part of the day. Your shaved Aussie needs more than just to stay inside the home.
Australian Shepherd Coat Stages
First, we will look at the phase of hair growth. Basically, the hair is an extended hair follicle or bead that lies inside the skin. Its life cycle includes 3 phases.
- Primary stage: It is called the active growth stage. This phase continues for 2 to 5 months. During this period, the hair is formed and grows.
- Secondary stage: The hair does not increase anymore. The root of the hair comes closer to the surface of the skin. This stage can last 2 to 6 weeks.
- Final stage: this is called the loss phase. A new hair starts to grow just below the hair root; the root almost rises to the skin surface and falls. The length of this phase is around 1.5 to 12 months.
Shaved Mini Australian Shepherd
Miniature Australian Shepherd, which is also known as the mini Australian Shepherd, has now become a popular dog breed. Having a similar appearance with long, thick fur, they are smaller than their taller version, the Australian Shepherd.
Mini Australian Shepherd has two layers of coats; they need more care in grooming compared to their bigger version sibling breed. For shaving during summer, you can follow the guideline as same as for the Australian Shepherd. We have discussed this thoroughly in earlier paragraphs.
Australian Shepherd Pros and Cons of Hair Shaving
Now, briefly check out how hair shaving holds the pros and cons of Australian Shepherds:
- Shaving can be helpful for aged dogs who cannot stand a longer grooming session.
- For dogs, who have arthritis or hip bone problems, taking them several times to the groomers may be a painful experience. Shaving is a help to them.
- Rescued dogs who have extremely matted furs have no option but to be shaved to clean them.
- Australian Shepherd has two layers of coats for a reason.
- The bottom layer holds the body heat, which is important for the doggie’s health. But shaving harms this purpose.
- Shaving uncovers your dog from the extreme heat that causes sunburn.
- It can take a whole season to grow back the shaved hair.
- It changes the texture of the top-layer hairs.
Trimmed Australian Shepherds
As shaving has some health issues, you can consider trimming your Australian Shepherd instead of shaving. When you decide to go for a trimming, leave at least one-inch long fur.
They have different lengths of hairs in different body parts. We will check how to proceed for each major part.
Australian Shepherds have long hair on their legs. Trimming helps for a clean look and comfortable running. There is tiny hair between the paws, and you do not need to cut it as it cools your dog from friction while walking and running.
The bottom side of the ears is prone to more matting due to sweat. Trimming furs beneath the ears is a challenging part, as the dog may be uncomfortable with the sounds of trimmer. Firstly, you have to even the oversized hair, then make an equal haircut. You may find some thicker hair, for which you have to spend extra minutes trimming them one by one.
Feathers are long smooth hair on all four legs of Australian Shepherd. These hairs touch the ground; become tangled easily. Hence, these take much grooming; most of the handlers like to trim feathers.
Hairs grown on the backside of rear legs are often called britches; these furs are thick; require trimming regularly. In addition, you should use thinning shears to trim the hair that grows below the tail and the anus.
It is not a requirement to trim the body hair that grows on the back and sides. However, you can trim those hairs with an electric clipper; use the trimmer in the direction the hair rises. Never trim hairs to the skin; keep at least 1 inch.
Best Thinning Shears for Australian Shepherd
Thinning shears for Australian Shepherd are customized to make the long hairs thin and blended. They thin out the hair in dense areas where regular scissors cannot function easily, which causes uneven cutting and hair losses.
These scissors have an arm with an indentation, and the other arm is a regular blade. The scissor is helpful as it only takes a little tip of the hair, leaving most of the length intact. For well-performed hair thinning scissors, you can check Amazon and other eCommerce sites.
Dog Grooming Equipment for Your Australian Shepherd
Your Aussie needs a clean and presentable look; you can use various tools that will help with different functions. Grooming with the correct tools will keep your dog free from lice, fleas, and ticks.
You only need a few tools for a good, trimmed look. A simple grooming list can include below tools:
- Brushes and Combs
- Dematting Tools
- Deshedding Tools
- Striping Tools
- Nail Care Tools
Brushing is the main part of a regular grooming routine. In addition, it is required before scissoring hair. Removing loose hair from your doggie’s coat requires a good brush with a comfortable and easy handle. Use two types of brush –Pin brush and Soft brush.
Combs remove knots and tangles from hair; removes dust. You should use the steel comb, not the plastic ones, which produce more heat from friction. Always use two types of comb- one with a wider comb and a thin/fine-toothed comb. The reason for using a bigger comb is to break the hard knots; you can use the smaller toothed comb for removing smaller knots and rearranging the hairs. Some combs are available with two-sided teeth, and you should check it is comfortable before purchasing one.
Scissoring is a must if you do not allow your Australian Shepherd’s hair to grow much longer. To perform a balanced clipping, you have to use only two variations of scissors. First, you have to use thinning scissors that will only cut a little part of the top of the hair. Then you can use a regular trimming scissor set with different widths and tips. Regular scissors are used to cut the unnecessary long hair on the body and legs. Use a narrow-tipped scissor to clip the smaller hairs around the paws and ears.
Grooming rakes are required to take out a lot of loose hair in a short time. You can use it before bathing your dog.
Untrimmed nails can cause injuries to your Australian Shepherd. Hence a fine nail cutter plays a good role in safety. Trim nails regularly, but do not do it much; after cutting, you can give a rubbing to the rough edges.
Australian Shepherd Grooming Before and After
You may skip one or two grooming sessions every month, thinking there will be no difference. However, we suggest not missing any sessions. Australian Shepherds are an active breed and love to roam outside the home; they are prone to external environments. The groomed Australian Shepherd will need a lot of care to keep its top layers clean and smooth.
You will definitely see the results of grooming before and after if you do not miss the schedule.
Best Australian Shepherd Hairstyle
The Minimal Trim
The standard haircut for a shaved Aussie Shepherd when you do not want much of a different look after body trimming.
Australian Shepherd Teddy Cut
While you want a rounder shape with a dilute look, a teddy cut may be a preference. A regular Snap-on comb is good enough to teddy cut; just make sure to cut even in a circled idea. Trimming will require deeper attention; the hairs on the back, body, belly, and sides need to match with a haircut. Keeping the backside fluffy and less trimming will make your little puppy more adorable.
Australian Shepherd Lion Cut (Simba Haircut)
Australian Shepherd’s long, thick hair goes better with Simba’s look if you can do it properly. To have a glorious look like the great character from The Lion King, trim the body hairs shorter from all sides, including the back, sides, legs, and tails; keep the hairs untouched at the neck, ears, and throats. For a more realistic look, do not trim hair under the knees of both front and rear legs; in addition, keep the tail end hairy.
Shaved Dog Tail
So you believe in the tailless Australian Shepherd like many other people? Though the breed is known as tailless, actually, they have tails. While most of them have fluffy natural tails with long hair, some of them have bobbed tails that grow only 4-5 inches. As the tails are prone to matting and tangling, breeders mostly prefer to trim them. Some breeders think that shaving only the tails during the summer may help to cool down their bodies. However, it looks like a strange idea; the tail hair will lose the texture similar to body hair.
Aussie Short Haircut
Some handlers do not like to shave or trim their Australian Shepherd at all. They prefer a half trimming, like reducing the average hair length by half an inch.
Australian Shepherd Haircut or Summer
While shaving has health issues, you may choose to trim your Australian Shepherd with a nice haircut. To have an adorable look on your pet, you may choose some of the popular haircuts. Let’s have a look at how you can get a good haircut. According to experts, you should try to brush your dog at least once a week to get rid of dead hair.
Shaving is not a necessary or life-saving option for your Australian Shepherd; their two-layer coat functions nicely to protect them from heat, cold, and foreign objects. I hope you already have the idea that shaving creates more issues than good. Taking precautions and extra care during the summer will not require shaving a lot. We have covered a lot of other dog breeds, like the Beagle. You can take a look here.