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English Cream Golden Retriever & Red Doberman mixed with Black Lab
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I have always taken my dogs in to groom them. But I want to try this myself. I know how to wash my dog! I've done that a million times over. About cutting / trimming / shaving their hair.. Ive read articles where people say, no just skip it. Some people like to shave ALL the dogs hair off, for summer. Others just trim it up. How do you guys do it? What are the bad things about shaving them? Not a 'buzz cut' more like, put the shaver on the longest choice and just go over their body. My dog Snow, her hair is long like, really long. I fear she will have a hard time during Summer. At the same time, I also don't want to ruin her coat. What is best?! ... Honestly I live in Washington state. Near Seattle. So its not Florida weather. But I can tell she gets to hot.

Thanks for the HELP! :) :) Here's lillte Snow when i got her. About a year and a half ago.
Dog Dog breed Vertebrate Wood Carnivore
 

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The standard reads:
Coat — Dense and water repellent with good undercoat. Outer coat firm and resilient, neither coarse nor silky, lying close to body; may be straight or wavy. Untrimmed natural ruff; moderate feathering on back of forelegs and on under-body; heavier feathering on front of neck, back of thighs and underside of tail.

Coat on head, paws and front of legs is short and even. Excessive length, open coats and limp, soft coats are very undesirable. Feet may be trimmed and stray hairs neatened, but the natural appearance of coat or outline should not be altered by cutting or clipping.
 

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This is very helpful:


I’m in South Carolina — much hotter than Seattle — and I would never dream of shaving my Golden Retriever. Their double coats work to both cool and warm them.

 

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I am in Seattle too. Use a cooling jacket during super hot days. A frozen cooling mat helps too. I would never shave a Golden. I know people who shaved their Goldens and their never grew back the same. It's not a good idea to mess with their double coat.
 

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There is a reason wolves and coyotes blow their winter coats. A heavy coat does NOT help keep them cooler in the summer. I've given summer clips to many dogs. My poodles, of course, also my heavy-coated golden girl, and several long-haired mixes (2 husky/sheps and 1 white and orange dog that might have been a border collie mix). They were always much more energetic after losing a heavy coat.

You'll need a grooming table, a pair of dog clippers (human clippers don't cut it; pardon the pun), and a few blade sizes.

The most important areas to clip to help a dog lose body heat are the belly, the underside of the chest, and the inner thighs. Clip those areas fairly close, with a #10 blade. Clipping in the direction of the fur will leave a bit of a longer cut and reduce the chance of razor burn. I like to clip between the toes and pads in summer to make it easier to check for grass seeds and to reduce the amount of mud. However, feet are ticklish and the hardest part of a dog to clip for a beginner.

The rest of the body doesn't need to be clipped as close as the underside. If she's been spayed and has a "spay coat" with a lot of cottony hair, a clip will make it easier to brush to the skin. For the body, use a longer blade, like a #4 or #5, maybe with a comb attachment if you want to add length. Keep in mind that it is easier to nick skin folds with a longer blade. Be careful around areas of loose skin. A skip-tooth blade will cut through thick fur easier than a fine tooth, but will make a more uneven cut.

The first time you clip a dog, the results may be, umm, less than stellar. My first poodle spent a lot of his first year looking rather moth-eaten and that curly hair hides a lot of mistakes. It's harder to make a straight-haired dog like a golden look good clipped. But, the only way to learn is to pick up the clippers and do it. The hair always grows back.
 

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So, I am a professional groomer. If I had my way double coated breeds would never be touched by a scissors or clippers except for their feet, ears and maybe a sanitary trim (clipping the belly area between the hind legs). But for those clients who want lower maintenance, I will trim up feathering a bit. I absolutely will NOT shave a double coated breed (which is what goldens are) unless there is a note from the vet stating a medical reason or there is matting so severe it is the only option.
The double coat works like the insulation on your house-keeps them warmer in winter and cooler in summer. This of course works best when the dog is brushed regularly. Tangled coats with impacted undercoat can’t work like they are supposed to so that is why regular brushing is so important. While a Golden’s coat is different than a wolf or coyote, they both still have a double coat. Nobody is out there shaving wolves and coyotes! Nobody is even brushing them and they are fine!
 

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"The double coat works like the insulation on your house-keeps them warmer in winter and cooler in summer."
I see this statement repeated over and over on the internet as a justification for forcing a heavy-coated dog to suffer in hot weather. A heavy coat does NOT keep a dog cooler in summer. Dogs, like all mammals, generate metabolic heat, even if they are only lying around. Dogs have two major ways to lose heat: by panting and by heat loss through their body surface if the air temperature is lower than their body temperature. (Dog body temperature is normally about 101 F.) Air passing over the moist surfaces of a panting dog's mouth carries heat away by evaporative cooling.

If a dog has a heavy, insulating coat all over, very little of the heat they generate internally (metabolic heat) can be lost through their body surface. They must rely solely on panting. In dogs with heavy jowls or short faces, heat loss through panting can be compromised. The modern Newfoundland is one of the worst-case scenarios. They have a huge, heavily insulated body. Their muzzles are so deep (jowly) that when they open their mouths to pant, there is little cross-ventilation from the side. Newfies move slowly because moving slowly generates less metabolic heat. Unless it is very, very cold, they cannot lose heat fast enough to avoid heat stroke if they try to move fast. They drool massive quantities trying to lose heat by evaporative cooling. Another breed that has difficulty adequately losing heat is the Pekingese. In their case, it is a heavy coat combined with a very short muzzle.

Goldens are not nearly as bad as Newfies, but many of them have a heavy coat and such deep muzzles that, like Newfs, they don't get much cross-ventilation when they open their mouths in a normal pant.

Most 4-legged mammals have coats that are thinnest on their undersides, particularly their bellies, inner thighs, and where forelegs meet body. Animal physiologists sometimes call these areas "heat windows." When the animal is running, air flowing under the body passes over the areas where insulation is minimal and helps carry away the excess metabolic heat created by working muscles. When the animal is resting and may need to conserve heat, they curl up and "close" the heat windows, so to speak. Usually, the fur on the upper part of the body is denser, which does help protect the animal from solar radiation if they are out during the day and provides insulation when they curl up at night.

So, if you want to help your dog lose summer heat, you don't have to clip them short all over if you don't want to. Clipping the underside, especially the belly and inner thighs, will help a lot. Clipping the hair on the underside of the chest will help air flow pass belly and inner thighs.

"While a Golden’s coat is different than a wolf or coyote, they both still have a double coat. Nobody is out there shaving wolves and coyotes! Nobody is even brushing them and they are fine!"

Wolves and coyotes are fine because they undergo a massive coat blowout at the end of winter, like huskies. Picture of a coyote blowing coat. (Random photo picked up from the internet; plenty more if you search for images of wolves and coyotes shedding):

Dog Jaw Carnivore Dog breed Small to medium-sized cats


If you truly believe a heavy coat will keep a dog cooler in summer, I invite you to pull on the parka, snow boots, and winter hat when you go outside on a hot day.
 

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Well, we will just have to agree to disagree I guess. 🙂 No hard feelings?

I am a professional groomer and had the opportunity to work with a certified canine esthetician, which is a person who specializes in working with a dog’s skin and coat-they can sometimes help problems even a vet wasn’t able to help. I learned a ton from her. I used to shave down goldens and other double coats if the owner asked for it-I never liked it but didn’t realize all the issues shaving can cause. Now that I know, I won’t shave down double coats anymore. I will trim up feathering if the owner desires lower maintenance and/or they always come in with matted feathering; I will also do a belly shave if the owner wants, but no full body shaves.

A double coated dog, when properly brushed out, de-matted, and free of loose undercoat (attained through regular baths and forced air dryer blow outs and/or brushing thoroughly at least once a week with an undercoat rake) is not at all the same as us putting on a parka in the winter. Dogs undergo a pretty major coat blow in the spring too. Some exceptions might be dogs who were previously shaved or who have some sort of medical issue.The double coat does indeed work like the insulation in a house. It works best with a clean, well brushed coat.

Some issues with shaving are that a close clip can cause the dog to actually be more likely to suffer from heat related issues (over heating, heat stroke, etc.) It can also cause the skin to be more easily irritated by bugs, weeds, etc. It also lowers the dogs critical temperature (meaning your dog will go into shock sooner if something tragic happens).

Also, undercoat grows back much faster than topcoat. Without topcoat, the coat can’t function like insulation so a dog with say 1-2+ inches of undercoat growing back in is essentially baking in his coat. Sometimes, topcoat doesn’t ever grow back at all, sometimes it grows back splotchy and mangey looking, but even if it all grows back, it is still slowly being damaged. Shaving changes the coat texture and color, sometimes after the first shave, but more often slowly after many shaves such that the owner is unaware the change has even happened. And remember how I said undercoat grows faster than topcoat? Well it also tends to kinda go into shock when it is shaved and grow in even thicker, so that pretty much defeats the purpose because your dog will grow an even thicker, harder to manage, damaged coat. Again this usually happens gradually after many shaves such that the owner doesn’t notice, or more rarely it happens pretty quickly and obviously.

I will admit that before I knew this info I definitely damaged several dogs coats in such a way that they must continue to be shaved to prevent overheating because their coat is so badly damaged. It feels oily, crunchy and nasty even after a good scrub with high quality shampoo and conditioner. My own golden Autumn had to be partially shaved in the same area of her back and side twice for cyst removal and I could tell that her coat had changed slightly after just those 2 surgery shaves.

Anyway OP, you will find that this can be a hotly debated topic. Read up on both sides of the issue and research for yourself and see what you think. I don’t wish to start that debate here, only to give you the info I have learned and you can see the info already posted here on the other side of the debate, so you can take it as a starting point for you research and make an informed decision.
 
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