Double Coat Grooming Guide

What to expect from your visit and how to maintain at home

s well as differing in colour, texture and length, a dog’s coat also falls into one of two categories – single coated or double coated. In this blog, we will discuss the characteristics of a double coat and some of the breeds that typically have a double coat. We’ll also explain what you can expect if you book your double coated dog in for a groom at The Pet Retreat.

What’s covered in this blog?

What is a double coat?

In double coat breeds, two layers of coat form a double coat consisting of a dense undercoat and a longer protective topcoat.

As a general rule, the fluffier your dog is on the outside, the denser their undercoat is and the more grooming is required to prevent matts and tangles from forming.

What breeds have a double coat?

This is a functional type of coat and is often seen in working and sporting dog breeds as it provides much needed protection against the elements.

Many toy breeds also possess a double coat, with the fluffy appearance and texture being easy on the eye.. Example of breeds with this coat include:

  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Chow Chow
  • Husky
  • Akita
  • German Spitz
  • Pomeranian
  • Shiba Inu
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Australian Shepard

Benefits and drawbacks of a double coat

Below are some important things to consider about double coat breeds:

The double coat is very functional

The top coat repels dirt and moisture, whilst the undercoat helps to protect your dog from both hot and cold weather. This is particularly useful for working dogs, such as herding dogs who need this type of coat to provide insulation when the weather is bad.

Be mindful of shedding

Double coated breeds tend to shed a lot, so proper grooming is important. If a proper grooming routine is not maintained, hairs from the undercoat will get caught in the top coat, which will lead to matts and tangles that will be uncomfortable for your dog and sometimes difficult to remove.

Never shave a double coat breed

You must not shave your double coated dog. This type of coat protects your dog from the heat and is an important part of the natural cooling system, as well as protecting the skin from sun damage.

About Double Coat Grooming

To ensure your dog’s double coat stays in the best possible condition, you should make regular visits to the groomers, backed up by a solid and consistent home grooming routine. Here’s what you can expect on your visit to The Pet Retreat.


Our groomer will use a deep conditioning shampoo and conditioner on your double-coated dog. This will best prepare the hair for the de-shedding phase of your appointment. They will finish off with a conditioning spray, which will loosen the undercoat, making it easier to comb out as well as adding a healthy shine to your dog’s coat.


The brushing part of your dog’s appointment is particularly beneficial for them as it removes dead hairs and distributes the natural oils in the coat. This helps to prevent itching.

The groomer will ensure that they use the most suitable brushes for your dog. For a double coat, this will typically include using a slicker brush to brush through the soft undercoat, removing loose hairs. They will then use an undercoat rake to remove hairs from the undercoat that are ready to be shed.

Next, the groomer will use a grooming comb to run through the coat to carefully remove any remaining loose hairs and identify tangles or matts that have been missed. Finally, they will use a bristle brush to smooth the hair so that it lies in the direction of growth. This encourages the spread of natural oils in the coat, improving coat condition.


Some double coated dogs such as the husky and malamute require minimal to no trimming, whereas long-haired German Shepherds can have feathering and their feet trimmed.

Cutting of the top coat and undercoat will damage the hair and can result in a condition called coat funk. As mentioned before, it is also vitally important to not shave a double coat, as in doing so you would remove the dog’s natural protection from heat and sun rays.

Instead, your groomer will use de-shedding tools such a Furminator and Coat King to remove the bulk of the undercoat and allow the dog’s skin to breathe and to keep cool.

For best results, our groomers will use a high-velocity blast dryer to pull out undercoat following your dog’s bath.

Other maintenance

The groomer will also conduct a number of important body checks during your appointment, as outlined below:
Feet – we will check the nails and condition of pads, clearing dirt from between the claws. We can also offer pawdicures to help maintain their foot and nail health.

  • Body – we’ll check for any lumps or bumps as we’re grooming your pet
  • Teeth – checking the teeth and gums for tartar or inflammation
  • Ears – overhanging ears will be folded back and checked for wax
  • Eyes – the groomer will check the eyes and clean out any sticky deposits using warm water on a cotton pad.

Finishing touches

At the Pet Retreat, we like to make sure that every dog leaves the salon looking and feeling extra special. Therefore, we finish most grooms with some shining spray and doggy cologne for that final wow factor.

What is required to maintain a double coat at home?

We recommend visiting The Pet Retreat every 6 – 8 weeks with a double coated dog. In the meantime you’ll also need to maintain a strict home grooming regime to keep your dog’s hair mat free and healthy.

To prevent matts and tangles, you should try to brush your dog at least two or three times a week. Regular grooming also helps you build a bond with your dog and gives you the opportunity to check for any skin conditions or parasites.

Below are some tips for keeping your dog’s coat in top condition between visits:

  • An undercoat grooming rake is a useful tool for removing dead hairs from the undercoat. To remove dead hairs from the top coat, you should use a pin brush or a comb
  • A slicker brush should be used on areas where the hair is longer and thicker
  • Pay close attention to any areas that are becoming matted. To get the matted sections out of your dog’s hair, focus on freeing up the ends of the matted section first to reduce discomfort and pulling on your dog’s skin. As the hair frees and the ends gradually start loosening, begin brushing more hair and working closer to the skin until the whole section is matt free. A wide-tooth comb is useful for removing matts from a double coat
  • Using a bristle brush over your dog’s coat once you have removed matts and tangles will help add a healthy shine.

How Do You Groom Other Types of Dog Coats?

To ensure your dog stays happy and healthy, a regular grooming routine is required both at home and by professionals. The products used and frequency of these appointments can vary depending on the type of coat your dog has, so it is important to speak to professionals and have an understanding of your dog’s needs. Book a free consultation with The Pet Retreat to learn more about your dog’s coat or read our guides below.

Wiry Coat

If your dog has fur that is thick and bristly, they probably have a wiry coat. Even though they don’t shed like most other dogs, they still require a strict grooming routine involving hand stripping, as described in our recent blog. To get this process right, you should be aware of the growth cycle of your dog’s hair, which we have provided an in-depth explanation of in our wiry coat grooming guide

Combination Coat

Dog breeds that fall into the combination coat category include Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers and Border Collies. As these dogs have multiple textures within their coat, they require multiple brushes and combs to maintain the coat at home. You can find out more about this in our combination cat grooming guide

Long Coat

Long haired dogs are more likely to become dirty more often due to their fur commonly reaching the floor. You should have a consistent grooming routine both at home and with professional sessions to ensure that your dogs are as clean and happy as possible. We have a guide to grooming long haired dogs available where you can find an in depth guide to maintaining their coat.

Wool Coat

As dogs with wool coats were originally water dogs, their curliness allows water to bead off easily, however, this makes grooming frequently essential as they can become matted and tangled more easily. Attend regular grooming sessions with your dog and follow a strict home routine by referring to our comprehensive guide for wool coats.  

Smooth Coat

If your dog has a smooth coat, you are in luck as these are considered the easiest to maintain. Checking regularly for ticks and other pests is also easier as you can see them more clearly on your pet’s fur. We have a guide available so you can take care of your dog’s smooth coat and keep your dog happy and healthy throughout the year. 

Book a Double Coat Appointment

We set the standard in pet grooming at The Pet Retreat and our whole team are experts in the different types of dog coats and their needs. When you book your first appointment with us, we provide a complimentary consultation to find the best natural products to use for your dog’s coat.