Dog breeds come with a wide variety of coat types. From short and sleek, to long and luxurious, curly, fluffy, straight, wiry, and everything in between. Though some dogs have what is called a single coat, the coat of others is made up of not one, but two types of hair.
Double-coated dog breeds have a short undercoat and a longer outercoat. The undercoat, hidden beneath the longer outercoat, acts as insulation, protecting the dog from cold weather. It even helps to keep them cool in warm weather too by trapping cool air close to the skin (and this is one of the reasons you should never shave a double-coated dog).
Most double-coated dogs shed much of their undercoat seasonally in the spring or summer to help them stay cool in hot weather. This means that a lot of brushing, and vacuuming, will be required during periods of heavy shedding. Some double-coated dogs, like the Goldendoodle crosses, can have curly-double coats that develop thick matting quickly and they will have an even more intensive grooming schedule.
You will need to brush your double-coated dog at least a few times a week to remove loose and shedding hair, and to prevent mats from forming. They will benefit from daily brushing during periods of heavy shedding.
When brushing your double-coated dog, be sure to use a brush with bristles that are long enough to reach through the longer outercoat to get to the undercoat. It’s all too easy to accidentally brush just the top layer of hair while leaving mats within the undercoat. Some very fluffy dogs with thick undercoats may benefit from being brushed with a wide-toothed steel comb or grooming rake.
Here are 11 double-coated dog breeds for your consideration.
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The dignified and alert Akita originated in Japan where it was used as a guard dog and family protector. The Akita is what is known as a spitz breed, which is a term used to describe a type of dog with a wedge-shaped head, triangular upright ears, a tail curved over the back, and a thick double coat.
The double coat consists of a thick, soft, dense undercoat and a straight, harsh short outercoat.
These dogs are unfailingly loyal, but they can be strong-willed and don't always get on with other dogs.
HEIGHT: 24 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 70 to 130 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Large and powerful, with much substance and heavy bone. The short, thick double coat may be any color, including white, brindle (brown with tiger stripes) and pinto (a white background with large colored patches).
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Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd has its origins in the United States. Using sheepherding dogs of various origins, California ranchers developed the Aussie into the ultimate herding dog.
The attractive double coat consists of a medium-length, straight to wavy weather-resistant outercoat and a shorter undercoat.
Australian Shepherds are friendly, highly intelligent, athletic, full of energy, and are best suited to an active home.
Height: 18 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder.
Weight: 40 to 65 pounds.
Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized, muscular and agile with a medium-length straight to wavy coat that comes in blue merle, black, red merle and red, all with or without white markings.
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The Bernese Mountain Dog was developed near the Swiss city of Berne, where the dogs were used as general-purpose farm dogs, watchdogs, property guards and carting dogs. The breed is one of four related Swiss mountain dog breeds (the others are the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Entlebucher Mountain Dog and the Appenzeller).
The Berner’s long double coat consists of a thick, moderately long and slightly wavy or straight outercoat and a shorter, wooly undercoat.
This breed is known for being intelligent and devoted to their family, but they are, obviously, very big and can be prolific droolers.
HEIGHT: 23 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 70 to 115 pounds
Physical characteristics: Large, sturdy and balanced. The thick coat is tri-colored (jet black ground color with white and tan markings).
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The Chow Chow has been prized in China as a companion, guard dog, and all-purpose working dog for many centuries. It’s known for its distinctive blue-black tongue.
The double coat may be long (called rough) or short (smooth). The rough coat consists of an abundant, dense, straight and offstanding outercoat paired with a soft, thick, wooly undercoat. The smooth coat is hard and dense with a definite undercoat.
Watchful and aloof, Chow Chows are wary of strangers but form tight bonds with family. The Chow Chow’s coat is naturally clean and has little to no doggie odor.
HEIGHT: 17 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 40 to 70 pounds
Physical characteristics: Medium-sized, powerful, sturdy and squarely built. The rough or smooth double coat comes in black, blue, cinnamon, cream, or red.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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The Keeshond is another spitz breed (sometimes referred to as a Northern breed). It hails from Holland, where the dogs performed vital work as watchdogs on river boats, barges, and farms.
The thick double coat is naturally clean and has very little doggie odor. The outercoat is long, straight and harsh, the hair standing well out from the thick and downy undercoat.
The Keeshond is friendly, curious, active and playful, but they do need a lot of exercise and can be prolific barkers.
HEIGHT: 17 to 18 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 35 to 45 pounds
Physical Characteristics: A well-balanced, short-coupled body; very thick double coat in cream, black and gray color variations
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Friendly, active and highly trainable, the Labrador Retriever has long been used as a hunting dog and is revered as an outstanding family breed.
Originating in Newfoundland, they were used to retriever ducks and assist fishermen. The double coat, which is made up of a short, hard outercoat paired with a soft, weather-resistant undercoat, helps protect the Labrador Retriever from cold weather, dense underbrush and while swimming.
HEIGHT: 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 55 to 80 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Muscular and athletic; the short, dense double coat comes in black, chocolate, or yellow.
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The Leonberger is a multi-purpose working dog that was created in the 1800s in Germany by a man named Heinrich Essig. He used Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards and Pyrenean Mountain Dogs to create the ideal family, farm and draft dog.
The double coat consists of a thick, straight, and water-resistant outercoat and a soft, dense undercoat. The hair ranges from medium to long. In males, the hair around the neck forms a luxurious, lion-like mane.
The Leo is loving, loyal, confident and gentle. You just need to consider their size and be willing to tolerate a bit of slobber.
HEIGHT: 25.5 to 31.5 inches tall at the shoulder.
WEIGHT: 90 to 170 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Large, muscular and agile. The double coat come in lion-yellow, golden, red, reddish-brown, sandy, or yellow-brown. Dogs of all colors have a black mask on the face.
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The Newfoundland, or Newfie to his friends, is massive, muscular, and slobbery, but this breed is the gentle giant of the dog kingdom.
The Newfoundland hails from Canada, where it assisted fishermen and helped with water rescues in icy waters, and put its strength and size to work on land pulling carts and acting as a family protector and home guardian.
The flat, thick, water-resistant double coat consists of a coarse, moderately long, straight or wavy outercoat and a soft and dense undercoat.
HEIGHT: 26 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 100 to 150 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Large and heavily boned, but well balanced; in addition to black, the double coat comes in brown, gray, or black and white (Landseer)Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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The small, long, squat Pekingese is a very ancient breed, cherished for centuries by Chinese emperors and other royalty. Content to be cuddled and stroked most of the day, the Peke’s main job was a treasured lapdog, something the breed still excels at today.
The long, thick, double coat is profuse, consisting of a coarse-textured, straight, stand-off outercoat, and a thick, soft undercoat. The Pekingese’s coat forms a ruff around the neck like that of a lion’s mane.
They are affectionate and bond closely with their human family but can be strong-willed. This flat-faced, brachycephalic breed can also overheat easily, so care needs to be taken when the temperatures rise, especially when exercising.
WEIGHT: Up to 14 pounds
HEIGHT: 6 to 9 inches tall at the shoulder
Physical Characteristics: Compact and stocky with a rectangular body. The coat is commonly seen in variations of gold, red, or sable, but may also be black and tan, white, cream, sable, or gray.
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The Pomeranian is the smallest breed in the spitz family. The Pom may be tiny, but this friendly, playful breed is absolutely packed with personality and charm. Just be prepared for their strong will and, sometimes, vocal tendencies.
The fluffy double coat is made up of a longer, abundant, stand-off outercoat and a short, dense undercoat. The Pomeranian’s coat forms a profuse ruff around the neck that extends over the shoulders and chest.
HEIGHT: 6 to 7 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 3 to 7 pounds
COAT AND COLOR: Compact and square with a shirt back. The long, double coat comes in many colors, though the most common are red, orange, cream, sable, black, brown, and blue.
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The Saint Bernard is instantly recognizable as the dog that rescued stranded travelers in the frigid mountain slopes of the Swiss Alps. The breed is massive, yet gentle, loving, and laidback. Just be prepared from some champion-level drooling!
The double coat may be short or long. In the shorthaired Saint Bernard, the dense, tough outercoat lies smooth. In the longhaired Saint Bernard the outercoat is medium length and straight to slightly wavy. Both have a thick undercoat.
HEIGHT: 25.5 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 130 to 180 pounds
Physical characteristics: Powerful, proportionately tall, strong and muscular. The coat comes in white with red, brown or brindle markings.
If you’re trying to find the right breed for you and your family, the type of hair and the breed’s grooming requirements are just part of the equation. Double-coated dog breeds can vary greatly in their size, energy levels and temperaments. Before bringing home a puppy or adopting an adult dog, do some research and soul searching to identify the traits that are the most important to you and your family.