Shaving A Double-Coated Dog

Shaving A Double-Coated Dog

Most dog owners are usually unsure when it comes to grooming or shaving a double-coated dog breed. From the neat Labrador Retriever to the shaggy Old English sheepdog, most dog owners find it challenging to maintain and groom. With their fur being longer around the neck, and tail area creating waves on lateral parts of the limbs, double-coated dogs need to be shaved whenever they have a skin condition that requires treatment.

What is a Double Coated Dog?

Before we get to how to shave a double-coated dog, lets first get to understand what it means when we say a dog is double coated. It typically means that the dog’s coat is made up of two layers, the short woolly textured underneath coat and a protective upper layer overcoat, which is longer.

Precautions to Take Before Shaving your Dog

1. Prepare the dog for shaving

This should be done for several days before the actual planned date for shaving. Why? This is to ensure that he is accustomed to the sound of the shaving equipment to be used. Doing so will also calm down your fury friend and reduce the chances of being anxious during the shave. In case you are using clippers, start by carefully approaching the dog with the clippers then gently place them close to him. Let the dog smell and toy around with the device. Without switching it on, pass it lightly several times over the dog’s coat while keeping him calm. Reward him with a treat if he stays quiet, this will also help in reassuring him. Doing this several times before the actual shaving will give you an easy time while shaving him.

2. Get the right equipment

It is essential that you have the right equipment for shaving and grooming the dog. For instance, you must know the difference between clippers used for dogs and those used for humans. Human clippers are highly unsuitable for the thick hair of a dog. For a double-coated dog, if convenient, use high-quality professional-type clippers. If unsure of which shaving tool to use, consult a professional dog groomer.

3. Groom the dog, it makes shaving a lot easier

Before shaving your pooch, brush and comb the dog’s coat with a dense comb. Doing so will help get rid of the tangles, matted hair, and small leaves that may be stuck in the dog’s fur that could damage the trimmer and make the whole process cumbersome.

4. Be gentle

It’s a great idea to know in advance where and how you’re going to shave your best friend then make your dog safe with the location. An off-head improvisation of the place may alarm the dog.

5. Leave Some Hair On; Don’t Overdo It

Most first-timers to shaving dogs are usually tensed, and the tension may lead to taking off too much hair

or uneven shaves, which may make the dog look rather ugly. To avoid such a situation, take your time and be as calm as you can be. I bet you’d rather a shallow shave, and if you find the hair is too long after the shave, you can go back and cut some more.

Steps to Shaving a Double-Coated Dog

Once your dog is accustomed to the trimmer and doesn’t seem to get anxious around it, he is ready to be shaved. With everything set in place at your predetermined location, you are prepared to start the shaving.

Procedure to shaving your double-coated dog:

Start by soothing your dog till it calms down, to keep the pup motionless, place your hand on its back, or shoulders then proceeded with cutting the hair around the calmest part of its body, the neck. Then move to its back and the top of the head. Be sure to stretch the skin on the neck to get all the troughs of its skin.

Afterward, proceed to the sides, belly, and finish with the legs.

To get everything right the first time, place the trimmer parallel to the skin of the dog then move the trimmer in the direction of the hair. When shaving the belly, start from the nipple and circumnavigate from there to avoid hurting the dog

While shaving the legs, keep them extended and hold them firmly. Be gentle so that you don’t inflict any injuries on the joints. If you are not using a specific trimmer for detailed work, use scissors for in-between the paws. Hold the paws tightly and shave carefully to avoid pinching the skin.

The most delicate part of this exercise will be shaving the face, throat, abdomen, and inner thighs. These parts have short hair, so use scissors or specialized narrow trimmers.

There are two methods for shaving a double-coated dog;

1. The Leave Some Hair Behind Method

2. The Naked Hair Method.

  The Leave Some Hair Behind Method

Tools: Scissors, Pin Brush, and Clippers.

Step 1:

Use the pin brush to brush the dog’s coat to remove tangles, small mats, dirt debris, small sticks, leaves, and anything else that may be hiding in it. Since it’s a double-coated dog, it may take you a while to thoroughly brush its entire body. Therefore, one should take their time while doing so.

Step 2:

Lubricate your clippers; it helps in cooling the clippers and ensures that the hair is properly shaved.

Step 3:

Trim the dog’s hair down to his undercoat; this is the shorter denser coat designed to protect his skin. Depending on the length of the topcoat, you may go over it in one round or two.

Step 4:

Stop at the guard coat (undercoat). Leaving the dog with the undercoat at least leaves the dog with some protection from the elements.

Step 5:

If, for any reason, you need to go deeper, change the guide on your clipper, blow out the hair, and lubricate the blade. The guide can be short enough to trim the undercoat down to the skin, and this will make treating the skin conditions easier

When done, give the dog a bath to wash off any unwanted hair and then give him the treat to show him that he has done a great job staying calm.

The Naked Dog Method

Equipment for this method includes shampoo, scissors, pin brush, and clippers.

Step 1: Bathe your dog

Most double-coated dogs don’t like bathing using shampoo, so you will have to work the shampoo into his coat using your finger. This may take a while since it’s a double-coated dog. Rinse him thoroughly using your finger to make sure you remove all the shampoo. Let him dry thoroughly and adequately before going ahead to shave him.

Step 2: Brush him out

Using a pin brush, brush the dog’s entire coat, and be sure to take your time to remove all the tangles. In case of mats that are unable to untangle, leave them until you are ready to shave and use the clippers to remove them.

Step 3: Shaving the dog.

The dog, being a double-coated, will require you to work through trimming the coat in layers. Depending on the length of the topcoat, you will need to work through it twice or thrice before reaching the level of the undercoat.

Step 4: At the undercoat

Once at the undercoat, you will need to change the guide to the ‘skin’ level guide, it being the shortest one in the kit (it will have the largest number). Applying light pressure shaves the undercoat off to the skin level. Incase of crevices, you will have to stretch the skin to get all the hair without cutting his skin.

Step 5: Finishing.

Once you have shaved the dog, give him a quick bath to remove leftover hair. Rinse him properly, dry him, and be sure to apply skin conditioner or canine sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 50 to protect his skin from sunburn.

Also, be sure to give him a treat as a reward for keeping calm and let him know he has done a great job.


Don’t shave a double-coated dog unless advised to do so by a veterinarian, or his hair is so matted that you cannot groom it off.

Be sure to have the right equipment, that is, proper heavy-duty dog clippers with appropriate guides and sharp blades to get satisfying results as the coat can be difficult or hard to get through.

Use shears/ scissors to cut around trying to reach area so that you don’t cause injuries. In case the hair has tangles, pinch them as close to the skin as possible before cutting them to avoid cutting the skin.

To get an even coat all around, you may need to shave off areas that grow faster than the rest, while the coat grows out. Remember only to shave a double-coated dog if necessary.