LABRADOR COAT: UNDERSTANDING THE TWO COATS OF HAIR

Labrador retrieving stick from water

Labrador Retriever coats are designed for retrieving game in the water, which is what the dog was originally bred for.

Labrador coats

Labradors have a double coat, which means that they have two layers of hair: an outer coat and an undercoat.

The outer coat of Labrador Retrievers is made up of coarser, longer hairs that are water-resistant.

This coat is what gives Labradors their classic shiny, sleek appearance.

The undercoat, on the other hand, is made up of shorter, softer hairs that are dense and insulating.

This coat helps keep Labradors warm in cold weather, and also helps protect their skin from the sun and other environmental factors.

Difference in coats

One of the main differences between the two coats is their texture.

The outer coat is thicker and coarser, while the undercoat is softer and more insulating.

The purpose of the two coats is different.

The outer coat is designed to protect the Labrador’s skin and keep them dry in the water, while the undercoat is designed to keep them warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather.

The undercoat “breathes” which means it lets out hot air when the dog gets too warm and keeps in heat when the dog gets cold.

This is specific to the breed because Labradors were originally used for retrieving water fowl in the cold waters of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Labrador Retrievers shed their undercoat twice a year, typically in the spring and fall, in a process called “blowing coat.” During this time, their undercoat sheds heavily, which can be a bit of a nuisance for pet owners, but it’s a natural process that Labradors go through.

The two coats of hair that Labrador Retrievers have are an important part of their evolution as water retrievers together with their signature tail.

LABRADOR COAT: UNDERSTANDING THE TWO COATS OF HAIR

Must I shave my Labrador?

You should not shave your Labrador’s coat because shaving a Labrador’s coat can actually do more harm than good.

Labrador Retrievers have a double coat that is designed to protect them from the elements, keep them warm in cold weather, and cool in hot weather.

Shaving a Labrador’s coat can disrupt the natural insulation provided by their double coat, making them more susceptible to sunburn, heatstroke, and hypothermia.

It can also damage their hair follicles and cause the hair to grow back unevenly or not at all.

Shaving a Labrador’s coat can also cause their skin to become dry, itchy, and prone to irritation. This can lead to bacterial infections and other skin problems.

While it’s understandable that some pet owners may want to shave their Labrador to help them stay cool in hot weather, there are other ways to help your Labrador beat the heat.

Keeping them hydrated, providing access to shade and cool water, and limiting outdoor activity during the hottest parts of the day are all effective ways to help your Labrador stay comfortable.

Labradors have evolved over many years to adapt to their surroundings.

This adaptation happened without the interference of humans and only started changing when breeders started breeding Labradors for specific tastes of dog owners.

These breeding changes depend heavily on fashion trends because humans are fashion-followers.

The Labrador coat has fortunately not suffered the changing fashion tastes of humans and remains the characteristic double coat.

Labrador owners should not interfere with their Labs coats as it works well thanks to nature.

Coat colors

One interesting fact about the two coats of hair of Labrador Retrievers is that they come in three different colors: black, chocolate, and yellow.

The color of a Labrador’s coat is determined by genetics, and is not related to the texture or thickness of their coat.

Labrador Retrievers are known for being active and energetic dogs, which means they need plenty of exercise and outdoor time.

While their double coat helps protect them from the elements, it’s important to keep their coat well-groomed to ensure it stays healthy and shiny.

Grooming

Regular brushing is an important part of Labrador Retriever grooming, especially during shedding season when their undercoat is shedding heavily.

A slicker brush and a comb can help remove loose hair and prevent matting. Some owners also choose to have their Labradors professionally groomed to keep their coats in top condition.

Overall, the two coats of hair of Labrador Retrievers are an important part of their physical makeup and have evolved over time to suit their specific needs as water retrievers.

Understanding the purpose of each coat and how to properly care for them can help ensure that your Labrador stays a healthy, happy, and active member of your family.