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Do double coats grow back?

Many dog owners wonder if their dog’s double coat will grow back after being shaved or trimmed. The double coat is an important part of a dog’s body that helps regulate temperature and protect their skin. Understanding how double coats work and what impacts regrowth can help dog owners make informed grooming decisions.

What is a Double Coat?

A double coat refers to the two layers of fur that many dog breeds have. The outer coat is composed of tougher guard hairs that are relatively straight and help repel water and dirt. The undercoat is soft, dense, and helps insulate the dog’s skin. Double coats help dogs regulate body temperature in both hot and cold weather. The undercoat insulates while the outer guard hairs reflect heat and provide protection from the elements.

Breeds with Double Coats

Some common dog breeds with double coats include:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Samoyed
  • Chow Chow
  • Akita

There are many other breeds that also have double coats of various lengths and thicknesses. Herding breeds, sporting breeds, hounds, and many other dogs likely have double coats if they originated in cool or temperate climates.

Do Double Coats Grow Back?

In most cases, yes, a dog’s double coat will grow back after being shaved or trimmed. However, there are some important factors that impact regrowth:


Some breeds are more prone to having permanent coat changes after shaving. Nordic breeds like Siberian Huskies and Samoyeds often have their coats permanently altered or even stop growing altogether. Their double coats are specifically adapted to handle cold weather, so interfering with it can disrupt regrowth.


Puppies and adolescent dogs are still developing their adult coats. Shaving or closely trimming their coats at this age can sometimes lead to permanent changes in texture or density.

Time of Year

Dogs shed their undercoats seasonally in the spring and fall. If a dog is shaved during a heavy shed, they may shed unevenly when the coat starts to regrow. It can disrupt their regular shedding pattern.


Frequent shaving or close trimming can damage hair follicles over time. Hair growth may slow down and the coat may become patchy if a dog’s double coat is shaved too often.

Clipper Burn

Using dull clipper blades or pressing too hard while shaving can irritate the skin. This clipper burn and skin damage can lead to patchy regrowth.

Underlying Conditions

Dogs with skin conditions, hormonal imbalances, or health issues may have problems regrowing their coat evenly. Veterinary care may be needed to address the underlying problem.

How Long Does it Take to Grow Back?

If shaving doesn’t impact the follicle health, most double coats will grow back fully within 6 to 12 months. However, the guard hairs tend to grow back faster than the soft undercoat. It often takes at least 8 to 10 months for the full density of the undercoat to return.

Initial Regrowth

Within the first 1 to 3 months, owners will notice the guard hairs growing back. This includes the longer, straighter outer hairs. At this stage the coat may appear scruffy.

Filling In

Around 3 to 5 months, the soft fuzzy undercoat starts to grow back. But it likely won’t reach full density until around 8 to 10 months after shaving.

Full Regrowth

At 10 to 12 months, the double coat should be fully grown back if the follicles are healthy. The guard hairs and undercoat will return to normal density.

Impacts of Shaving

Shaving a double coat has several impacts and risks that owners should consider:


Removing the double coat eliminates the insulation the dense undercoat provides. This can cause dogs to feel every temperature extreme. Lack of coat leaves them vulnerable to heat stroke or chills.


With no coat protection, a shaved dog’s skin is vulnerable to sunburn, especially light colored areas. Sun exposure can damage hair follicles.

Skin Irritation

Without the coat barrier, shaved skin is open to scrapes, bites, scratches, and irritation from foxtails, grass seeds, dirt, and other hazards.

Behavior Changes

Some dogs may act anxious, stressed, or fearful when their coat has been shaved. The coat change can be alarming and may impact their confidence.

Slow Regrowth

If done incorrectly or on unsuitable breeds, shaving may impede proper coat regrowth. This leaves the dog without their insulating, protective coat.

No Coat Equalization

Contrary to myth, shaving does not make the coat grow back thinner or cooler. Double coats help dogs adapt to all seasons.

Alternatives to Shaving

Because shaving a double coated dog has many risks, experts recommend alternatives to trimming down the coat:

Regular Brushing

Frequent thorough brushing removes dead undercoat and prevents matting without cutting hair.

Bath and Blow Dry

Bathing followed by brushing and blow drying loosens the undercoat so it can be removed.

Undercoat Rake

An undercoat rake is a grooming tool that allows you to pull out loose undercoat hair without cutting it.

Cooling Vest

A vest that holds cold packs can help prevent overheating instead of shaving.

Hydration and Shade

Access to water and shade are essential to help the coat work properly in warm months.

Professional Help

In some cases, professional help may be needed:

  • Severely matted coats may require shaving for humane reasons.
  • Veterinarians can shave specific areas if needed for medical treatment.
  • An experienced groomer can trim overgrown feathering on certain breeds.

But routine body shaving should be avoided. Only cut down the double coat when absolutely necessary and with proper tools.


For most dogs, the double coat will grow back after being shaved or trimmed close. But full regrowth can take up to a year. Breed, age, time of year, frequency, and other factors impact whether coat regrowth is affected. Shaving down to the skin is risky and provides no benefits. Regular brushing, proper hydration and cooling, and professional medical trims are safer alternatives for managing a double coat.