How to Tell if A Dog Has a Double Coat?

If there’s one thing that you should know about dogs, it’s that they are different. Some breeds are short while others are tall – others have a lot of hair while others don’t. Some are even more aggressive than others – hello there, chihuahuas. But do these pets have different coat types?

More specifically, do some dogs have several layers in their coats? Well, this is what we’re going to talk about today. Not only will we cover how many coat layers dogs have but also how to determine this in your own dog. Beyond that, we will discuss which breeds of dogs have one or more coat layers. 

We will even delve into other dog coat features. So sit back, relax, and get ready to be thoroughly informed. By the time you’re done reading this, you will know all about dogs’ coats and how to identify them. 

What Is a Double Coat?

A double coat is a coat that has two layers. While the inner layer is usually thick and has short woolly hairs, the top coat is thin and has long hairs. These hairs are usually called guard hairs. Their main job is to protect your dog from dirt and water. 

On the other hand, the inner layer aims to keep your dog at the right temperature – it protects them from getting too hot or too cold. Also, it is usually softer than the top coat. Generally, dogs who look fluffy have a thicker undercoat than others. This means that they require more time and effort when it comes to grooming. This may even cost you more money in the long run.

If you don’t groom them appropriately and regularly, hairs from your dog’s inner coat can easily get stuck in the top layer, causing tangles and mats. This can also make your dog shed more often, exasperating any dog-related allergies you already have. So ensure you brush your dog’s coat regularly and even give them a trim when need be. Whatever you do, though, don’t shave off your dog’s double coat – this will just make it hard for them to regulate their temperature and keep clean. 

Are All Dogs Double Coated?

No, not all dogs are double-coated – others are single-coated. Single-coated dogs have only one layer of hair and are generally less fluffy than their double-coated counterparts. However, don’t let the lack of hair fool you though – they also need regular grooming. Without it, these dogs’ hairs keep growing uncontrollably. 

There’s some good news, though – single-coated dogs don’t undergo massive shedding twice a year like their double-coated counterparts. There are some single-coated dogs that rarely shed at all throughout the year. On the other hand, some single-coated dogs shed a little bit at different times of the year. As such, taking care of a single-coated dog is easier to take care of in between salon visits.

It’s, therefore, not surprising that some first-time dog owners opt for single-coated dogs. Keep in mind, though – a dog’s coat can’t have more than two layers. Also, there are other types of coats apart from single and double-coated ones. As such, knowing the number of layers in your dog’s coat isn’t the only thing you should know about it. 

How do I know if my dog is a single or double coat?

For the most part, you can tell whether a dog is single or double coated by looking at them – if they have a lot of fluffy hair, they are double coated. On the other hand, single-coat dogs have a thin flat layer of hair. Another way to tell whether a dog is single-coated or double-coated is to brush their hair. If you do this, you will notice that a double-coated dog will shed two types of hair – some will be thin and long, and some will be short and dense. 

The former are hairs from the top coat, while the latter is from the undercoat. On the other hand, when you brush a single-coat dog, they probably won’t shed. If they do, they will just shed their thin and long hairs. These are components of the only coat layer that these dogs have – the top coat. 

If after you’re still not sure whether your dog is double coated, you will need a professional to help you with this determination. So you can choose to take them to the vet or the groomer’s office. They can easily tell you everything about your dog’s coat and even advise you on how to take care of it. 


What Dog Breeds Are Double Coated?

Double-coated dog breeds include Newfoundland, Havanese, Miniature Schnauzer, Akita, Shiba Inu, Alaskan Husky, Great Pyrenees, and Australian Shepherd. Others are Siberian Husky, Shetland Sheep, Great Pyrenees, Bernese Mountain, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature, and Pomeranian. On the other hand, single-coated dog breeds include Dachshund, Dalmatians, Great Dane, Greyhound, Poodle, Samoyed, Whippet, and Yorkshire Terrier. There are other breeds of double and single-coated dogs out there, though. 

Keep in mind, though – dog breeds usually fall into seven main groups. These are sporting, non-sporting, herding, working, terrier, hound, and toy dogs. Another thing that you should know about dogs is that they have 9 other types of coats. These are smooth, corded, curly, wire, silky, heavy, combination, and short coats. 

While some of these coat types are easy to recognize, others are not – one of the easiest ones to notice is the combination of coats. These coats have areas that have short hairs and others that have long hairs. Two other coat types that are easy to notice are heavy or curly ones. Generally, the type of coat your dog has will determine which approach you’ll use to groom it. 


When it comes down to it, telling whether your dog has a double coat is easy, especially if you’ve ever had a dog before. Generally, it should take you just a few minutes. If you can’t do this by yourself, though, you can get a professional groomer or vet to do it for you. They are much more effective and will do it in almost half the time you would. 


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!