The Siberian Husky
Image source www.akc.org/dog-breeds/siberian-husky/
Originally bred by the Chukchi people of eastern Siberia, the Siberian Husky has been genetically designed to withstand even the most frigid of temperatures. The thick covering of hair on the interiors of their ears function as natural ear muffs. Their almond-shaped eye sockets allow them to squint to the point of barely exposing their sensitive eye tissue to the falling snow, yet, still able to see with full vision. And with a furry, fox-like tail that is just long enough to cover their nose, traps the heat of their breath when curled up for a sleep in the snow.
The Iconic Feature
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What truly separates the Siberian Husky from other dog breeds, marking them as the true iconic symbol of their artic heritage, is their luxurious coat. Even having a coat with the largest range of color combinations, the Siberian Husky is still among the most recognizable dog breeds known throughout the world. Beneath that beautiful coat, you?ll find an even furrier layer which characterizes the Siberian Husky as a double coated dog.
The Misconceptions of a Double Coat
Other recognizable dog breeds such as the German Shepherd, the Shetland Sheepdog, and the Golden Retriever are also carriers of a double coat. However, the stereotypical reputation of the snow-loving Siberian is targeted with misconceptions that can lead an uneducated Husky owner to shave a dog?s coat thinking that it will; keep the dog cooler in summer temperatures, decrease shedding cycles, grown back to its regular length before winter, or alleviate human allergies
The TRUTH is, shaving a double coated dog causes irreversible damage that can physically harm your dog?s overall health!
What?s Really Inside the Double Coat?
The double coat structure is composed of two parts, the top coat, and the undercoat, both working together to provide the necessary protection for the dog?s skin.
The Top Coat
The straight top coat, also referred to as guard hairs, are the visibly longer hairs that repel elements such as dirt, water, harmful sun rays, and insect bites.
The dense undercoat consists of shorter, softer hairs hidden beneath the top coat that keep the dog protected in extreme temperatures-both hot and cold.
The Anatomy of a Properly Groomed Double Coat
Image source http://www.siberescue.com/breed/dont-shave-your-husky
The natural anatomy of a double coat acts as an insulator during the winter months, guarding the skin with a thick undercoat that traps warmer body temperatures, preventing the buildup of snow and ice that could cause frostbite and or hypothermia.
In warmer temperatures, the undercoat will undergo a series of shedding cycles, where the undercoat becomes noticeably thinner. This allows the internal body heat to escape more easily while the existing top coat still protects the dog from environmental elements.
The double coat of a Husky must properly cycle through the necessary stages; making regular grooming an utmost importance by Husky owners in order for their dog to maintain a healthy coat. Depending on the current living conditions, the Siberian Husky should shed its entire coat at least once a year. This process averages six weeks from start to finish and during that time, requires daily grooming. Click here for more helpful tips on grooming your Siberian Husky.
Damages Caused by Shaving a Double Coat
Permanent Damage to the Coat
Shaving the coat of a Siberian Husky will permanently damage it as well as interfere with the shedding process. The hairs do not simply grow back to normal. Because the top coat isn?t meant to shed as extensively as the undercoat, the layers will grow back at a different rate of speed, not allowing for a proper blending process. Especially seen in older aged dogs, the hair regrowth will appear patch-like and could possibly lead to painful matting.
Unable to Self-Cool
Unlike humans, dogs of all breeds and coat types do not sweat through their skin. Instead, they cool themselves by sweating through their paws, show a panting of the breath, and can even change the temperature of their blood in their ears. Huskies rely on their undercoat to keep them cool in the summer just as they do to keep them warm in the winter.
Cancer and other Skin Issues
The Siberian Husky has no skin pigmentation. The act of shaving will expose the unprotected skin to the suns burning UV rays and will increase the possibility of skin cancer immensely. Also, without a guard against insects, a shaved Husky is more prone to suffer from irritating bites and more vulnerable to allergens and disease-carrying parasites.
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The Siberian Husky was bred to adapt to all environments. The Husky relies on their double coated coat to protect them no matter the living situation their owner provides. Therefore, shaving your Husky should NEVER be considered unless advised by a veterinarian due to a medical emergency. This goes for all interested pet owners when I say, do your research. Before bringing a new dog into your home, know the facts on how to care for your new loved one safely and compassionately.
What techniques do you use to keep your double-coated dog comfortable all year round?
Armstrong, Amy. ?How Do Huskies Survive the Cold?? Dog Breeds , The Nest , 14 July 2016, pets.thenest.com/huskies-survive-cold-12236.html.
Bishop-Jenkins, Jennifer. ??Shave Down? Not The Best Option For Your Dog.? Love Fur Dogs , 13 June 2017, www.lovefurdogs.com/dont-shave-dog/.
Gillis , Katelyn. ?Let?s Face It?SHED Happens?And It BLOWS!? The Welder?s Writer, 18 Dec. 2017, thewelderswriter.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/lets-face-it-shed-happens-and-it-blows/.
?Groom Me, Please.? Forever Husky, 2018, foreverhusky.org/husky-101/grooming.html.
Rice, Kerry. DON?T Shave Your Husky. Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue, www.siberescue.com/breed/dont-shave-your-husky.
?Siberian Husky Dog Breed Information.? Siberian Husky, American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017, www.akc.org/dog-breeds/siberian-husky/.