Today I would like to dedicate myself to one hot topic (in the truest sense of the word?): Can dogs be sheared in summer or not? I have been following the discussion for years and the topic is important to me. Unfortunately, it has recently developed in such a way that more and more (supposedly) scientific explanations are being given WHY should not be shorn. The dog owners who choose FOR the summer shearing are very unsettled. The claim here is that the air – if the undercoat has been brushed out appropriately – can circulate well through the outer coat and that the hair acts as additional insulation so that the dog does not overheat in the hot temperatures.
Let’s check this claim:
The dog has a normal body temperature between 38.0 and 39.0 degrees. In our latitudes, this is 99.9% warmer than the outside temperature in the shade. The dog has to give up heat almost always in summer to keep the temperature constant. He shouldn’t have to be in the sun too long anyway. Only on cooler days (not in summer) is the fur’s insulation necessary to regulate the body temperature.
Hair is made of keratin – the thermal conductivity of keratin is extremely poor (in contrast to various metals, for example). This means that little or no (body) heat can be given off through the hair. In addition, the second sentence of thermodynamics states that heat can only flow from the warmer body to the cooler body. The reverse variant is physically impossible! The fact is that very little temperature can be released from the body to the outside via the hair and that the cooler outside temperature cannot reach the body through the hair.
The coat of most dogs consists of top coat and undercoat. In summer it makes sense to brush out as much undercoat as possible. You will not be able to remove EVERYTHING – accordingly, a good air supply to the skin is never possible. Cooling down through air circulation is therefore not possible with a thick coat of hair.
Sometimes the argument is raised that dogs naturally have the appropriate fur and therefore it cannot be wrong. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true: humans have been interfering with the appearance of dogs for several thousand years. Today’s fur structure has nothing to do with the “natural” variant. In addition, more and more dogs are imported from other latitudes that are not adapted to the temperatures here – the best example of this is the popular husky. In Nordic countries, the fur dress actually has an important protective function. With our summery 34 degrees, however, the hair is a big burden.
Finally, I would like to go into the claim that the hair is “broken” after the shaving or that it grows back only very poorly. On the one hand, there is no scientific evidence for such a disease. On the other hand, you have to keep in mind that top coat grows somewhat more slowly than the undercoat (it makes sense biologically because the undercoat has to be replaced more often in the year). That is why dogs sometimes look a bit funny at the beginning of their offspring – but this does not break the hair in any way. After a while everything grows back to normal?
Conclusion, for all who want to save the long explanation: Brushing out a healthy, young dog well in summer may be sufficient if you take care of appropriate rest periods during the hot day. As soon as the dog gets a little older or sick or a very thick coat has been raised, temperature regulation becomes extremely difficult! You can clearly support the dog with a summer shear! Of course, you don’t shave the hair down to the skin, but leave enough to prevent the dog from getting sunburnt!