Golden retrievers have many amazing assets that may dazzle you every time you find out something new. One of them being the fact that they have a thick fur double coat. This breed never fails to impress when t comes to beauty & uniqueness.
This post will take you through the ins and outs of why golden retrievers have double coats and what purpose it plays in their lives. For those of you who landed on this post not knowing what a double coat is…I got you covered too, as the next section will clearly explain just what that is.
What's in this Guide?
Do Golden retrievers have a double coat?
The short answer to this question is yes. Golden retrievers do have a double coat that helps to protect them from outside bacteria penetrating their outer coat and damaging their skin. Their double coat also functions as a water repellent helping them to swim better and stay warm during adverse weather conditions.
What is a double coat?
When the term double-coat is used in this pet industry, we are talking about an animal with 2 levels of a fur coat. One will be the undercoat which is used to keep a dog warm and the other being an outer coat which is referred to as the guard coat.
This will help to maintain protection to your pet’s skin and undercoat. Between the two coats, you are guaranteed to get a lot of shedding around the house. So if your dog has a coat like this, then be prepared for cleaning up behind them.
One of the false beliefs is that you can shave down a double-coated dog during hot weather conditions. Which is not true as the double coat is there to protect your dog from the elements, whether hot or cold.
So that means that even when you find that your dog is in hot weather. They are still protected by their undercoat as this coat will then help to cool them down. Make sure to be careful with who you listen to and if you ever find that you are unsure then contact a professional veterinarian.
Why are golden retrievers double coated?
The answer to this question is more from on angle of looking at the uses of a double coat for a golden retriever over why they have a double coat. To sum this up, there are 3 main uses that I have found for a Goldens coat that are hugely beneficial to them throughout their lives. These are the following:
- Keeps them cool in hot weather
- Keeps them warm in cold weather
- Helps them to swim
- To protect them from dirt and debris outside
Whilst some of you may have a few more to add onto this list. I believe these 4 to be the most important. There are many great aspects to having a dog with a double coat and so in the next section, I will go into more detail on each of the above-listed benefits.
A few pros to a double coat
Firstly if we talk about the hot and cold weather, then it is safe to say that your Golden will be just fine most of the time. The ideal temperature you should be aiming to keep your dog within should be 60 to 80°F. There you can find all the tips on how to deal with a retriever in cold climates.
A golden coat is built to help them to stay cool or warm up when needed. So when its hot their hair will deflect the heat whilst allowing heat to escape from the body. The basic science is that a golden will produce more zinc in their coat which will help them to prevent water loss in the skin.
This then acts as a foundation to help produce healthy natural hair as well as prevent hair from becoming brittle. Wikipedia also has a great article going through this top too! Another pro to this type of coat is the fact that goldens are heavily protected from water penetrating their coat.
This means that your golden will swim very comfortably without them getting too soaked underneath. They also have webbed feet that help them to swim well too.
So what are the cons?
The one and only con to the list of pros is the fact that Golden retrievers and any dog with a double coat will shed, shed and shed.
This will occur throughout most of the year and for one particular month or so throughout each year, it will common heavier than usual. So it is highly recommended that you groom them on a regular basis. And that’s exactly what I am going to cover next.
How to groom a double coated retriever
Goldens will build up a lot of tangled hair because of the excessive rate that their hair will grow. Their coat can grow to be straight or curly but thick and long for the most part.
This means that you will need to be grooming them at least once per day if possible. But you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools and tips to follow first though. And I have a great post explaining everything you need to know here.
Most of the time a simple brush down and rake will help to maintain untangled hair and reduce dirt and debris from entering their coat. This will be what you will need to do daily but it is also highly recommended that you bathe you’re retriever at least once every few weeks to prevent them from getting dirty and smelly.
Do double coats smell?
Like with anything that is not clean a double-coated dog will smell if you do not bathe your pup. If you are wanting to know whether they smell more than other dogs then the answer is usually YES and here’s why. Double coated dogs build up a lot more heat which also picks up a lot more dirt and because they have more hair it is more difficult for the hair to breath.
So you may find that your golden smells a little more than other breeds but it does not mean that it has to be that way. Everything will depend on how often you wash them. Because if you notice that they smell really bad and you do nothing then you can expect the worse.
What I would recommend is that you wash them more often if you notice that they tend to smell bad in a short amount of time. And if you take them out on any outdoor activities, then I would recommend an immediate bath straight after.
How long do double coats take to grow?
You will find that retriever hair does not grow any different in speed to any other dog. This means that you can expect them to start growing hair that is healthy and long anywhere from 3 to 6 months old as a pup.
Which, can then continue on for around another year thereafter. It is not advised that you completely shave a golden retriever so you should not have to ever worry about the time length of hair growing back.
But the generic average of time that most dogs will take to grow the full coat back will be 3 to 6 months. With a double-coated dog, you can most definitely expect a whole lot of hair and cleaning to follow up to.
The pace of how fast your dog’s hair will grow does not determine how much they shed. Instead, if we take a look at the specific breed, then you will have a more clear understanding of what to expect with shedding.
Again, some dogs may shed more than others and so it can vary on what breed is worse for this. So having the right tools and knowledge will take you a few yards of the way. You may be wondering what breeds actually have a double coat, right? In the following section, I’ll be going through a list of the most popular breeds that do.
What other breeds have double coats?
This may not have every single dog on the planet with a double coat, but it certainly does have some of the most commonly known breeds.
If you are on the fence about choosing a new pet pooch and would like a double-coated dog, then here is a list of them:
- Alaskan Husky
- Shiba Inu
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Great Pyrenees
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Siberian Husky
- Australian Shepherd
This should help you to know what dogs have double coats and who doesn’t. There are no other types of coat aside from one or 2 coated dogs.
There is no right or wrong dog to select as it is more a choice based around preference. So I encourage you to select any breed that you feel has the characteristics that you are looking for instead of their coat.
This post covered what double-coated dogs are and why goldens have double coats specifically. You can also find all the information on the most common breeds that have double coats and how you should be grooming them too. There are plenty of tips and links to useful guides to help you better understand this topic.