Beautiful and elegant, the Australian Shepherd is one of the more common dog breeds around. Picture it running towards you with the wind running through its long flowing hair. Now, one of the questions asked by owners of the Aussie and those looking to raise one, is whether or not this pooch sheds a lot of hair.
Australian Shepherds do shed, judging from the length and volume of hair they typically have on their bodies, but the amount of hair that falls off this pooch’s body can be said to be manageable, compared to the volume of hair shed by dog breeds known to shed a high volume of hair, all year round.
Feeding a proper diet can help reduce an Aussie’s shedding considerably, but proper and frequent grooming is also vital in controlling the amount of hair shed by this pooch. Coat maintenance tips for an Aussie are covered extensively in this article, but before we go further, let’s see whether or not Australian Shepherds are a high shedding dog breed, and why they shed as much as they do.
Are Australian Shepherds High Shedders?
Most, if not all, dog breeds tend to shed hair every now and then, and the Australian Shepherd is no exception.
Australian Shepherds are an average shedding dog breed, but given that this pooch is a medium to large-sized dog, you may find yourself picking up more hair around the home.
Also, Aussies typically shed hair around the year, but given the double-layered nature of this breed’s coat, an Aussie typically sheds a significant amount of hair during seasonal changes such as spring or fall. And this is because they’re either shedding their winter coat or developing a coat for winter.
Apart from seasonal changes, Aussies also tend to shed more when they’re:
- Stressed or anxious
- Suffering from skin allergies or mites
- Suffering from an underlying medical condition that causes excess shedding
- Subjected to a sudden diet change or being fed food with substances they’re allergic to
Do Aussies Have Fur Or Hair?
An Aussie’s coat is typically divided into two layers – the weather-proof topcoat and the heat-retaining undercoat.
The Aussie’s topcoat generally consists of moderate length hair that can either be straight or curly, with a medium soft texture. Undercoat hairs are typically less dense than hair located on the Aussie’s topcoat, and they are also generally shorter.
That said, an Aussie’s coat is by no means hypoallergenic, and there’s every chance of this pooch triggering reactions in those with dog allergies; Hence, people with dog allergies will be better off going for one of the less allergy-inducing dog breeds.
How Do I Stop My Australian Shepherd From Shedding?
Australian Shepherds are moderate shedders, but there are several ways by which you can reduce these pooches’ shedding to the barest minimum, and some of these include:
One of the most common, and without a doubt, the easiest way to control Australian Dog shedding is by frequently brushing the pooch’s coat.
You’ll typically need to brush the Australian Shepherd’s coat, at least, once a week. But the frequency of brushing should be higher when the Aussie is in its shedding season to prevent the pooch’s hair from getting matted and tangled.
Choosing a brushing tool to brush your Aussie’s coat with is just as important as the brushing process itself. And this is why you should only go for the high-quality brushing tools.
The Furminator Undercoat Tool is guaranteed to effectively get rid of loose undercoat hair, thanks to a curved stainless steel blade that can reach through the Aussie’s topcoat. And the tool’s skin guard is designed to prevent the blade from cutting the skin, thereby ensuring the pooch’s safety.
Other methods by which you can minimise your Australian Shepherd’s shedding include:
- Regular baths, ideally once every 4 to 6 weeks.
- Feeding the Aussie an appropriate, well-balanced diet.
- Increasing the Aussie’s water intake.
- Visit the vet to get proper treatment for medical conditions such as allergies, parasites or fungal infections that may be causing an Aussie to shed excessively.
The points mentioned above will be elaborated upon in subsequent sections of this article.
How To Take Care Of Your Australian Shepherd?
Feed An Appropriate Diet
The importance of a high-quality dog diet with the essential nutrients in maintaining an Australian Shepherd’s shiny coat can’t be overstated.
Aussies that are fed a poor, unbalanced diet not only shed excessively, but their coat typically maintains a dull appearance and they also tend to suffer from skin issues such as dandruff.
That said, ingredients that promote healthy coat growth and minimise shedding in Australian Shepherds are those typically found in high-quality dog food products, like the Pet Plate diet. And these ingredients include healthy animal and plant-based proteins, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
Also, in addition to containing the ingredients needed to facilitate healthier coat growth, the Pet Plate diet can be personalised and specially prepared for Aussies suffering from different types of food allergies that may cause their hair to fall off.
Increase Water Intake
If you notice your Australian Shepherd shedding more than usual, then it may be that you’ve not been giving the pooch enough water. Failing to provide enough water typically causes the Aussie’s skin to become dehydrated, thereby leading to more hair falling off.
As a rule of thumb, you should give an Australian Shepherd an ounce of water per pound of body weight, each day. Anything less than this, and you may find yourself picking up more dog hair around the house.
The Importance Of Supplements In Controlling Australian Shepherd Shedding
Canine multivitamins typically promote healthy coat growth in dogs, and they can also be effective at reducing shedding in Australian Shepherds.
And supplementing an Aussie’s meals with multivitamins, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, is a very good way to improve the pooch’s coat quality.
That said, you should consult your vet for the correct dosage before supplementing your Aussie’s meals, as you can cause problems for the pooch by including too much of these multivitamins in its diet.
Do Australian Shepherds Need Haircuts?
Australian Shepherds don’t need haircuts, and you should refrain from shaving off this pooch’s hair unless the pooch is suffering from a skin or coat condition.
The Australian Shepherd’s coat is designed in a way that the undercoat insulates the pooch to keep it warm, while the topcoat protects the dog’s skin from dirt and excess moisture.
Consequently, removing your Aussie’s hair exposes the pooch to the summer heat and the winter cold, thereby placing the doggie at a risk of suffering sunburns or other weather related medical conditions.
And at the same time, without the protective undercoat layer, pests such as mosquitoes and ticks will have an easier time feasting on the Aussie’s skin.
How Do You Trim An Aussie?
As we’ve stated earlier, Aussies don’t really need haircuts, but if you notice that the pooch’s hair has become matted or the pooch is suffering from skin or coat conditions, then a hair trimming exercise is in order.
You don’t have to do a whole lot of trimming, apart from shaving excess hair off the pooch’s tail, feet, and ear regions. And outlined below are the steps to take, once you’ve determined that your Aussie is due for a trim:
Purchase Quality Equipment
Some of the major equipment you’ll need to purchase to trim your Aussie’s hair at home include:
- Quality clippers
- Different sizes of clipper blades
- A pair of scissors
- A grooming table can also be very helpful, but an equally good alternative is to have someone restrain the pooch while you trim its hair.
Trimming The Aussie’s Hair
- You can start the trimming process by shaving off up to ¼ inches of fur from your Aussie’s ears, using your pair of scissors.
- You should also trim excess hair around your Australian Shepherd’s footpads, and it is recommended that you do this with your clipper fitted with ⅛- to ¼-inch blades.
- If you observe that the Aussie’s tail is wispy, trim off between ¼ to ½ inches of fur to give the tail a neat appearance.
- If the weather is considerably hot or you notice that your Aussie’s fur has begun matting, you should consider trimming the pooch’s body fur. Generally, it is recommended that you start trimming the Aussie’s body fur with your largest clipper attachment, before switching over to smaller attachments to even out the trimmed fur.
- Since you can expose your Aussie’s skin to sunburn by over-trimming its coat, you should leave between ¼ to ½ inches of hair when trimming the pooch’s coat.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Aussie?
Bathing not only helps keep your Australian Shepherd clean, but when done correctly and with appropriate products, it can be an effective way of controlling an Aussie’s shedding.
That said, it is recommended that you bathe an Australian Shepherd, at least, once in three months, provided the pooch spends most of the time indoors. The case is different for working Aussies as these pooches tend to get dirty easily, and baths are needed once every four to six weeks, to keep this category of Aussies clean.
How Do You Wash An Australian Shepherd?
Australian Shepherds typically enjoy getting wet, and will have no objections to taking baths. That said, the steps to bathing an Australian Shepherd are outlined below:
- Wet and soak the Aussie’s coat with warm water, taking care to avoid the pooch’s face and ears.
- Lather the Aussie’s coat with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of a high-quality dog shampoo product, like the Pro Pet Works All Natural 5-In-1 Oatmeal Shampoo. And apart from helping keep the Aussie’s coat clean, this shampoo contains ingredients that will help to loosen and remove excess undercoat hair.
- Allow the shampoo to sit on the Aussie’s coat for between 10 to 15 minutes.
- Completely rinse out the shampoo with lukewarm water and dry out the pooch’s coat with a clean towel.
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Things To Note About Bathing Australian Shepherds
- Avoid using human products when bathing Australian Shepherds as this can lead to a myriad of skin problems for the pooch.
- Keep the shampoo on for as long as your Aussie will tolerate.
- Avoid bathing your Aussie too frequently as this causes natural oils that keep the pooch’s coat waterproof to dry off.
Do Aussies Shed More Than Labs? Yes, Australian Shepherd dogs tend to shed more than Labrador Retrievers. Both the Australian Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever are moderately shedding dog breeds. But while the Labrador’s shedding is seasonal, and only occurs at specific periods of the year, the Aussie tends to shed hair all year round.
Do Australian Shepherds Shed More Than Huskies? Siberian Huskies are a heavy shedding dog breed, particularly during fall and spring, and they typically shed more than Australian Shepherd dogs. And while both dog breeds require regular grooming to control their shedding, Huskies generally need to be groomed at a higher frequency, thanks to their reputations as heavy shedders.
Do Australian Shepherds Like The Cold? Australian Shepherds can generally tolerate cold weather, and this is thanks to their thick, double-layered coat. However, Aussies should not be exposed to extremely cold situations for long, and it is recommended that you do not leave your Australian Shepherd out in the snow for more than 20 minutes at a stretch.