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Discussion Starter #1
I was talking with a regular GSD owner who goes to the dog park with me and we were talking about our dogs coats, blowing coats and the general summer heat. The topic came up where I was explaining that you can't shave a Siberian Husky (Which is what I have right now) because their fur will never grow back the same. He wanted to know if the same was for GSDs (His boy is only 6 months) and I couldn't really say because I didn't know too much about the breed specifically.

So, are Shepherd coats the same as Siberians in that aspect? Or only the double coated shepherds? I'm just trying to learn what I can about them.
 

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I believe it applies to any coated dog. There is more than the coat not growing in correctly as well. The same undercoat that keeps them warm in the winter helps keep them cool in the summer. A shaved dog also runs the risk of sunburn, besides the over-heating. It also makes them an easier target for mosquitoes and other parasites.

Since dogs don't sweat, shaving doesn't actually do anything to make them cooler, just makes people feel better.
 

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As a groomer, it totally bothers me when people ask me to shave dogs that are not meant to be shaved. Dainnera, I SO AGREE, that shaving does not make them cooler, it makes the owners feel better. It is frustrating when clients come in an say that there dog is shedding alot of fur and they want them shaved. (Most of the people who want this are the ones that don't want to take the time to brush them out themselves, so they figure by shaving it will somehow miraculously make the fur not fall out). When you shave a dog that is not meant to be shaved you are doing more harm then good. The fur protects from ALL the elements, that also includes heat. If you don't want to deal with the brushing, then by all means, take them to a groomer. A good brush out, bath, and blow out will help keep the shedding down and keep the fur and skin healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Long Coat Shepherds don't usually have an undercoat, do they? So if you shaved them, it wouldn't be as damaging, would it? (Like shaving a retriever?)

And about the heat control, yeah, I just came from California and I have to constantly explain, "No, it's not cruel owning a Husky in California. That coat doesn't just insulate from cold, but from heat and sunburn. They're less likely to have heat stoke than a short coat dog like a labrador." :rolleyes:
 

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The vast majority of Coated Shepherds do still have an undercoat. So I wouldn't make the blanket rule that it's OK to shave a LC. There are some without one, but they are a minority and a very major fault.

As far as the shaving goes...I still don't think I would do that...although if I had a coated Shepherd with no undercoat I might consider a clip- In part just to keep the mats at bay.
 

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Where I work at we shave a lot of labs, shepherds, huskies ect. It always upsets me when we have to do this. Most of the time the coats never grow back the same, in texture, color and other things as well. My best example of this is a black shepherd that we do. When I was a bather he always got a bath and a brush out, since I became a groomer they started to shave him. He just to have the jet black coat that would just shine, now he's gray.. When they get shaved over and over again you take the chance that the coat will never grow back at all. I try to get people to do the deshead on their dogs instead but most of the time their minds are set on getting them shaved.
 

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I wish more people would understand that the coat serves a function, and that is to protect from the heat as well as the cold. Dainerra's post said it really well. If people are truly worried about the dog "overheating", they can always buy a cooling vest for the dog. That is a lot more useful and makes more sense than shaving!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, it really irks me when I see Sibes that have been shaved. :(

I wouldn't shave any of my dogs unless they were a curly hair like a poodle or a cocker spaniel that don't shed a lot. (Sort of backwards, isn't it? People shave the dogs that shed when it's the ones that don't that need the shave!) I'd never just be too lazy to brush and go get that done.

It's good to know though! I was just uncertain if it were the same for Shepherds as it was with Sibes in that aspect. Their coats are about the same texture with the waterproof guard hairs, especially when a Sibe has their summer coat their fur resembles more of that which the Shepherd has.
 
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