Dogs come with a wide variety of coat types. You'll find long, short, curly, fluffy, straight, and wiry fur—and everything in between. Some dogs have what is called a single coat, or one layer of fur. And other dogs have a double coat with a short undercoat hidden beneath a longer outer coat. These two layers help to insulate the dog against cold weather, and they even cool the dog in hot weather by trapping cool air close to the skin. The double coat also has a waterproofing effect. In fact, many double-coated dog breeds were developed to work in cold conditions and in water.
Here are 11 double-coated dog breeds that can withstand harsh conditions.
Most double-coated dog breeds are heavy shedders and often will go through periods of excessive shedding as the seasons change. Brushing a few times a week, or even daily, will be necessary to remove loose fur and prevent mats from forming. Be sure to use a brush with bristles that are long enough to reach through the outer coat to get to the undercoat. Some very fluffy dogs with thick undercoats might benefit from being groomed with a wide-toothed comb or grooming rake.
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The Akita's double coat consists of a thick, soft, dense undercoat and a straight, harsh, short outer coat. These dogs actually don’t regularly shed much and are known to be clean with little odor. But they still need brushing a couple times a week. Roughly twice a year they will “blow” their undercoat, shedding excessively. Daily brushing during that time will help to contain the loose fur.
Height: 26 to 28 inches (male); 24 to 26 inches (female)
Weight: 100 to 130 pounds (male); 70 to 100 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Short, thick double coat that may be any color, including white, brindle (brown with tiger stripes), or pinto (white background with large colored patches)
Life Expectancy: 10 to 13 years
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The attractive double coat of the Australian shepherd consists of a medium-length, straight to wavy, weather-resistant outer coat and a shorter undercoat. These herding dogs generally need a weekly brushing to prevent mats and remove loose fur. They also go through profuse shedding periods. During that time, using a grooming rake every couple of days will help to get rid of loose undercoat fur.
Height: 20 to 23 inches (male); 18 to 21 inches (female)
Weight: 50 to 65 pounds (male); 40 to 55 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Medium-length straight to wavy double coat that comes in blue merle, black, red merle, or red, all with or without white markings
Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
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The Bernese mountain dog's double coat consists of a thick, moderately long, and slightly wavy or straight outer coat and a shorter, wooly undercoat. These dogs shed quite a bit on a regular basis and even more when they blow their coats a couple times a year. Brush them at least weekly and up to daily during their major sheds. Use a slicker brush or metal comb to remove any tangles in the coat.
Height: 25 to 27.5 inches (male); 23 to 26 inches (female)
Weight: 80 to 115 pounds (male); 70 to 95 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Tricolor, thick double coat (black base color with white and tan markings)
Life Expectancy: 7 to 10 years
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The chow chow's double coat may be long (called rough) or short (called smooth). The rough coat consists of a dense, straight outer coat paired with a soft, thick, wooly undercoat. The smooth coat has a slightly harsher texture than the rough coat, and it doesn’t have an obvious ruff (thicker hair around the head) or feathering (longer hair along the ears, legs, abdomen, or tail) like the rough coat chow does. Both smooth- and rough-coated chows need brushing at least twice a week.
Height: 17 to 20 inches
Weight: 45 to 70 pounds
Coat and Color: Rough or smooth double coat that comes in black, blue, cinnamon, cream, or red
Life Expectancy: 8 to 12 yearsContinue to 5 of 11 below.
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The Keeshond's thick double coat is naturally clean and typically has very little odor. The outer coat is long and straight, and the undercoat is thick and downy. These dogs need brushing at least weekly and are only moderate shedders. They also might need a bit of trimming on their longer fur, especially around their feet, to keep it tidy.
Height: 18 inches (male); 17 inches (female)
Weight: 35 to 45 pounds
Coat and Color: Very thick double coat in cream, black, and gray color variations
Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
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The Labrador retriever's double coat is made up of a short, thick outer coat paired with a soft, weather-resistant undercoat. This dense coat helps to protect the Lab from cold weather, water, and dense underbrush. These dogs are fairly high shedders and should be brushed at least weekly to contain loose fur.
Height: 22.5 to 24.5 inches (male); 21.5 to 23.5 inches (female)
Weight: 65 to 80 pounds (male); 55 to 70 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Short, dense double coat that comes in black, chocolate, or yellow
Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years
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The Leonberger's double coat consists of a thick, straight, and water-resistant outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat. The fur ranges from medium to long. In male dogs, the hair around the neck forms a luxurious, lion-like mane. These dogs are high shedders and prone to matting, so they should be brushed daily. Pay special attention to the long hair behind their ears and on their legs.
Height: 28 to 31.5 inches (male); 25.5 to 29.5 inches (female)
Weight: 110 to 170 pounds (male); 90 to 140 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Double coat in gold, red, reddish-brown, sand, or yellow-brown; black face mask
Life Expectancy: 9 years
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The Newfoundland's flat, thick, water-resistant double coat consists of a coarse, moderately long, straight or wavy outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat. These dogs are moderate shedders and typically require brushing a couple times a week. But they do blow their coats twice a year and will need daily brushing then.
Height: 28 inches (male); 26 inches (female)
Weight: 130 to 150 pounds (male); 100 to 120 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Commonly black double coat, can also come in brown, gray, or black and white
Life Expectancy: 9 to 10 yearsContinue to 9 of 11 below.
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The Pekingese's long, thick, double coat is profuse, consisting of a coarse, straight outer coat and a thick, soft undercoat. The coat forms a ruff around the neck like a lion’s mane. Grooming is pretty involved for these little dogs, though they are only moderate shedders. Brush them a few times a week to remove tangles and loose fur. A metal comb might be necessary in addition to a brush to work out tangles.
Height: 6 to 9 inches
Weight: Up to 14 pounds
Coat and Color: Coat commonly seen in variations of gold, red, or sable but may also be black and tan, white, cream, or gray
Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years
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The Pomeranian's fluffy double coat is made up of a long, thick outer coat and a short, dense undercoat. It forms a profuse ruff around the neck that extends over the shoulders and chest. These dogs are moderate shedders but still need brushing a few times a week to prevent mats. Be sure to use a brush that reaches all the way through the coat to groom the undercoat.
Height: 6 to 7 inches
Weight: 3 to 7 pounds
Coat and Color: Long double coat that most commonly comes in red, orange, cream, brown, or black
Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years
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The Saint Bernard's double coat may be short or long. In the shorthaired Saint Bernard, the dense, tough outer coat lies smooth. And in the longhaired Saint Bernard, the outer coat is medium length and straight to slightly wavy. Both have a thick undercoat. They need at least weekly brushing and go through more profuse shedding periods twice a year.
Height: 28 to 30 inches (male); 26 to 28 inches (female)
Weight: 140 to 180 pounds (male); 120 to 140 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Thick coat that comes in white with red, brown, or brindle markings
Life Expectancy: 8 to 10 years