Long-hair dogs are the supermodels of the dog world and we love to pamper them! Let’s explore some of their characteristics and discover what it takes to groom and care for them properly.
What are the characteristics of a long-haired dog coat?
Long-haired dogs have coats of fur that continue to grow past a couple of inches in length, and in some cases, all the way to the ground! The texture and length of the coat differs depending on the breed of dog.
Some long-haired dog breeds have flowing silken coats with fur that resembles human hair, like Yorkshire Terriers and Afghan Hounds. You can enjoy combing and styling it, and may need to tie part of it up out of the way so that the dog can see clearly.
Other long-haired dog breeds, like the Pomeranian and Poodle, have fluffy or curly fur that when left to grow out long gives the dog a teddy bear-like appearance. These coats need regular clipping to maintain their shape.
Long-haired dog coats become unruly and shaggy looking when left to grow out. Luckily, having a dog with beautiful long fur offers us many options when it comes to styling, grooming and everyday maintenance and care. Sometimes we can choose to maintain the length and texture of the coat or have it cut short for an easier home life.
Dog breeds which have long-hair types of coat
You can see from this list of dog breeds that the appearance of dogs with a long-hair coat type can vary greatly from cute and cuddly to tall and majestic.
- Afghan Hound
- Bearded Collie
- German Longhaired Pointer
- Irish Setter
- Lhasa Apso
- Long-haired Dachshund
- Old English Sheepdog
- Rough Collie
- Shih Tzu
What purpose do long haired coats on dogs serve?
To understand why a dog’s coat looks the way it does we have to go back to the breed’s original purpose.
Dogs were originally bred for a variety of different working roles, like herding livestock, hunting or retrieving prey, or flushing out animals like badgers and birds from burrows and undergrowth.
Long hair was often fit for purpose. For example, the Afghan Hound’s long silken coat is very thick providing protection from cold weather and windy mountain climates. Some herding dogs that spend hours out in open fields have developed long fringes helping shield their eyes from the sun.
Coat characteristics of various dog breeds became more exaggerated over time as they began to be bred for the show ring or as lap dogs.
How to care for the coat of a long-haired dog
Your dog’s long-hair coat may require specialist care due to the type of fur. One thing is the same for all long-haired dog breeds though - they require a high amount of time, patience, and consistency to keep them looking and feeling good. Matts and tangles on a dog with a long coat causes discomfort, and even pain.
No matter what long-haired breed you have, here are some universal tips to help you care for their coat at home and with the help of your groomer.
- Invest in the right tools
- Brush daily to detangle and remove debris
- Teach your dog to relax and enjoy the grooming experience
- Allow plenty of time for grooming to reduce stress
- Exercise and feed your dog first so they are relaxed and comfortable
- Focus on problem areas like the armpits where friction causes matting
- Detangle before washing, and dry thoroughly afterwards
At the groomers
Your groomer will determine what type of fur your dog has and what kind of care it needs.
Double-coated dogs may not be able to have a close shave, whereas poodles and doodles can be clipped in a variety of styles and the fur can be kept short to prevent matting. Wire-coated coats need to be hand-stripped instead of clipped.
Useful grooming products
The right tools make home grooming much easier. Here are our recommended essential products.
Use Redberry Everyday Performance Wash or Blueberry Whitening Shampoo to degrease and deodorise, helping to reduce staining on your dog’s fur.
Pro tip: Apply the shampoo by squeezing it through the coat in a downward motion. After washing, avoid rubbing the fur dry. Instead blot the body and squeeze excess water from the ears, legs and tail, and dry the fur in layers, section by section, using a brush to help smooth the fur. Glide Conditioning Spray helps add shine and moisture back into the fur towards the end.
Always use a pin brush or a very soft slicker brush like the Super Brush to protect fine hair from being damaged during brushing, and also reach through thick fur easily to remove debris.
Pro tip: Apply Scissor Mist Styling Spray while brushing to help reduce static.