The coat, or hair, of all mammals is composed of the protein keratin and dead skin cells. It grows from follicles in the dermis, or interior layer of skin. The follicles of people have one hair each.
Most hair follicles have an affiliated oil gland which works to keep the skin pliable and the hair smooth. Dog breeds that have been developed to retrieve game from water have quite active oil glands, a variable that helps to waterproof their fur and skin.
Most dogs have three kinds of coat: Undercoat, guard hair and whiskers. The undercoat lies closest to the dog’s skin and grows in bunches from one follicle. The undercoat has a soft, downy look and works to shield skin from cold weather.
The guard hairs are tougher in feel, thicker in diameter and longer in relation to the downy undercoat. Considered the dog’s primary coat, the guard hairs shield skin from superficial injuries and form yet another layer of insulating material to protect the dog from cold weather.
Dogs, like the Collie, with both an outer primary jacket and the interior undercoat, are said to have a double jacket. Dogs with a coat which is made up largely of the primary jacket, with little or no undercoat are said to have a sleek coat. Some strains, including the Pumi, have a coat composed of dense undercoat just. The guard hair of the wire haired strains is defined by a sharp, tough feel. The corded coat of the Komondor and Puli seems as though each fibril was twisted into individual mop-like cords. The Curly Coated Retriever has a coat defined by tight, soft curls and Poodles have compact, harsh textured coats that may grow nonstop if never trimmed.
The colour of a dog’s fur comes from your cells in skin that produce melanin. The hue of colour is dependent upon the dog’s genetic make-up. Some strains carry genes for a solid colour (Samoyed, Maltese). Other strains take genes for multiple colors of a particular colour (Weimaraner, Yellow Labrador). Some strains take the genetic code for a multicolor pattern (Doberman, Tricolor Collie). Other strains can come in a broad variety of pattern and colours (Cocker Spaniel, Greyhound).
The colour of a dog’s fur can be black, liver (brown), reddish, yellow, white or mixtures thereof. Dogs with dilution colour variables inside their genes will be a lighter version of these fundamental colours. Despite the fact that breeders have thought of a broad variety of descriptive terms for these primary colors and dilutions of these colours, all are really only versions of these five primary colors.
Genes additionally determine the colour designs of a dog’s jacket.
Some jacket colours and patterns are correlated with genetically connected health problems.
A dog’s coat grows in seasonal cycles. Shedding is dependent on the duration of daily sunshine along with external temperature. (Some classes, especially terriers, shed very little and can be taken by some individuals with allergies.)
Muscles in the dog’s skin can fluff up the jacket, creating even more insulating material. Shedding also can happen after a dog was given anesthesia or in females after they’ve given birth into a litter of pups or come out of heat.
No matter the colour, pattern or feel of a coat, it’s a superior barometer of your dog’s overall general well-being. A dry, dead coat and itchy, irritated skin can suggest, internal parasites, a thyroid issue, and hormone imbalance or poor nourishment. If your dog’s coat is in poor condition, talk to your veterinarian.