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Double, Silky, Corded, Curly, and Wiry Coats

There are other types of coat in addition to straight, short, medium and long. Some of the following categories cross over with those other types, so take this as a useful grouping of breeds rather than a scientific definition of fur type.


Dog drinking Border collie drinks outdoors
The Border collie has a Double coat - perfect for the all-year-round outdoor life

Dogs With Double Coats

Double coated dogs have a combination of short, thick undercoats and long overcoats. This mix keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer.

These dogs require quite a bit of attention, especially when they’re wet. The double coat prevents their skin from getting wet, but the hair stays wet for a long time. They also tend to have a ‘wet dog’ smell unless they are washed properly and regularly. They are prone to overheating in hot weather, too, and you will need to remove dead hair by “stripping” with your fingers or using a hair-stripping dog brush.

Dog breeds with double coats include Alaskan Malamute, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Australian Cattle Dog, Bearded Collie, Beauceron, Border Collie, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Chinook, Chow Chow, Finnish Spitz, Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, Norwegian Elkhound, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Shih Tzu, Siberian Husky, and West Highland Terrier.


Breeds Red Setter on grass running tongue out
The Irish or Red Setter has a long, silky coat, and a lot of grace and energy

Dogs With Silky Coats

Silky dog coats are long, soft and flowing. These coats require quite a bit of attention to avoid matting and tangling. They need daily brushing to keep them maintained, but remember to always brush with the lay of the coat and be gentle when teasing out those tricky tangles.

Breeds with silky coats include Afghan Hound, Chinese Crested (half silk and half hairless), Cocker Spaniel, Irish (or Red) Setter, Silky Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier (who also has a long, parted coat, as mentioned above).


Breeds Komondor aka Mop Dog shaking corded hair dreadlocks
The Komondor, aka the Mop Dog, is the dreadlocked Bob Marley of the dog world

Dogs With Corded Hair

These are amongst some of the most amazing-looking dogs. Their coats resemble an old-fashioned mop… or perhaps a dreadlocked member of Bob Marley and the Wailers.

The dreadlocks are only usually carefully maintained if the dog is going to be displayed in show. The dreads form naturally, but need plenty of attention to stop them turning into one tangled mass. Like mops, this hair has a tendency to pick up all kinds of debris from the ground.

Keeping them looking good is a frequent but not very difficult job. Knots and tangles should be removed daily with the fingers, and the roots should be massaged to keep the coat and skin healthy. Brushes can only be used on corded breeds when the dog is young and the cords have not yet developed. The ears, legs and tail require the most attention.

There are not many breeds with this type of coat, the Komondor and Puli being the commonest. The Havanese and Poodle may also have corded hair for showing.


Breeds Poodle black rolling on grass curly coat
A curly Poodle in playful mood

Dogs with Curly Hair

When you think of a curly coated dog, it’s probably a Poodle. And that’s a pretty accurate picture – thick, tight hair, a little on the long side, and very curly.

These dogs need plenty of grooming, as the coat can easily become matted, tangled and dry. A spray conditioner added before brushing will minimize hair damage, and clipping the coat every month or two is advisable.

The different curly-coated breeds have different grooming needs, so speaking to a vet or professional dog-groomer is advisable, to understand how to best groom your dog’s curly coat, as it can vary dramatically between breeds.

Curly coated breeds include Bichon Frise, Curly Coated Retriever, American Water Spaniel and, of course, Poodle, including the Toy Poodle variety, along with the many poodle-derived crossbreeds such as Labradoodle and Cockapoo.


Breeds Wire Haired Dachshund barking howling woofing
This Wire Haired Dachshund has lots to say for himself!

Dogs With Wiry Coats

These are like curly dogs with close-cropped coats – or like a scouring pad and wire brush, depending on the breed! Some of the coats in this group can be rough and bristly, others quite smooth. They are sometimes known as broken coats.

These dogs do not shed, which is great news for anyone with an allergy or a dislike of a home full of dog hair. Grooming is necessary, in spite of the short length of hair, to remove stray tangles and stimulate the skin and hair follicles, all of which will keep the dog looking its best.

Wiry-coated dog breeds include Affenpinscher, Border Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Irish Terrier, Otterhound, Scottish Terrier, and the appropriately named Wire-haired Fox terrier.

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