Short vs Long. Which Dog Sheds More?


Shedding is a normal, year-round process for dogs as the growth cycle of their fur causes old or damaged hair to fall out. But excessive shedding can create hassles for owners with dog hair covering furniture, carpets and clothing. Many dog owners wonder if coat length impacts how much a dog sheds. Specifically, some ponder if short haired dogs shed more than those with longer fur.

This article examines if coat length correlates to the amount of shedding in dogs. It provides an overview of the various factors that contribute to shedding rates and practical tips to manage the issue.

Definition of Heavy Shedding

Heavy shedding in dogs refers to excessive or abnormally high hair loss. Some breeds and coat types naturally shed more than others, but heavy shedding is defined as shedding that is substantially more than what is normal for that individual dog. Hair loss becomes problematic when it occurs in clumps and constant clouds of hair fill the home. Heavy shedders may leave tufts of hair over furniture, clothing, and throughout the house no matter how much they are brushed.

Some examples of dog breeds known as heavy shedders include Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Chow Chows, among others. These double coated and long haired breeds tend to “blow” their coat, which means they shed their entire undercoat at once, resulting in abnormally heavy shedding during that time. However, any breed of dog can become a heavy shedder due to poor health, improper diet, or skin problems [1].

a short-haired boxer dog shedding fur

Coat Types in Dogs

There are four main coat types in dogs:

Short Hair

Short-haired dogs typically have a single layer of short, smooth hair close to the skin that requires minimal grooming. Examples of short-haired breeds include the Boxer, Bulldog, Beagle, and Labrador Retriever. The coat provides insulation and protection from the elements (Source).

Long Hair

Long-haired dogs have hair that extends past the normal length for that breed or species. The coat is comprised of both an undercoat and a top coat of longer fur. Long-haired breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier, Poodle, and Afghan Hound require extensive grooming to prevent matting and knots. The long coat protects the dogs from cold weather (Source).

Wire Hair

Wire-haired dogs have a wiry, coarse outer coat over a soft undercoat. This coat type, seen in breeds like the Wire Fox Terrier and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, provides protection and insulation. The wire coat typically requires hand-stripping or clipping every few months.


Hairless or nearly hairless breeds like the Chinese Crested and Peruvian Inca Orchid lack most or all body hair. Their skin requires protection from sunburn and needs moisturizing. These dogs do not shed but may need occasional bathing.

Impact of Coat Length on Shedding

When it comes to shedding, there is a common misconception that long-haired dogs shed more than short-haired dogs. However, coat length alone does not determine how much a dog will shed.

In an interview with a professional groomer, it was explained that both long and short coats shed heavily based on the time of year (1). Short-haired dogs like Chihuahuas and Boxers shed consistently in low volumes throughout the year. Their hair falls out and regrows rapidly, so the shedding never fully stops. Long-haired dogs like Collies and Golden Retrievers tend to shed more seasonally, losing large amounts of their undercoat as the seasons change. Their long topcoat catches much of this shedding hair. So while overall hair volume is higher for long coats, actual hair loss may be comparable to short coats.

a short-haired chihuahua with a smooth coat

An additional groomer perspective is that short hair is often harder to clean up after than long hair (2). Short strands get embedded in carpets and furniture and are not as visible. Long hair tends to come out in clumps that can be swept up. So paradoxically, short hair dogs can feel messier in the home even if actual shedding volumes are similar.

In summary, coat length itself does not determine shedding amount in dogs. Both long and short coats shed heavily depending on breed, season, and other factors. The length does impact how noticeable the shedding is and ease of cleaning.



Other Factors that Impact Shedding

A dog’s shedding amount can also be influenced by factors other than coat length, including health, environment, genetics, and more. Some additional reasons dogs may shed excessively include:

– Health issues like allergies, infections, hormone imbalances, or parasites can lead to increased shedding as the dog’s body tries to get rid of damaged hair and skin cells more quickly [1].

– Environmental triggers like sudden temperature changes, exposure to cigarette smoke, dry air, or stress can all cause spikes in shedding [2].

– Genetics play a role, with some breeds being heavier shedders than others. Dogs that were bred for warm climates tend to shed more.

– Age, with puppies and senior dogs often shedding more than adults. Pregnancy and lactation can also lead to increased shedding.

– Nutrition impacts skin and coat health. Deficiencies or poor quality food can cause excess shedding.

In many cases, shedding can be reduced through treatments, environmental changes, better nutrition, and grooming. But for some dogs, heavy shedding is unavoidable based on breed traits and genetics.

Tips to Reduce Shedding

While some amount of shedding is natural for all dogs, there are things owners can do to help reduce the amount of hair around the house. Some tips include:

Regular brushing – Brushing your dog’s coat helps remove loose hair before it has a chance to shed all over your home. Using a slicker brush or an undercoat rake can help pull out dead hairs from the coat. Brush outside if possible to avoid having to clean up the hair afterwards. Brushing 1-2 times per week is recommended.

Bathe regularly – Bathing helps loosen dead hairs so they can be brushed out easier. Bathing every 2-4 weeks can help reduce shedding. Be sure to use a dog-formulated shampoo.[1]

washing a short-haired dog breed in a bathtub

Proper nutrition – Feed your dog a high-quality diet designed for their life stage and activity level. Omega fatty acids in the diet support skin and coat health. Consult your vet on diet recommendations.

Consider supplements – Supplements like fish oil or vitamin E may help soothe dry skin and coat. Talk to your vet before starting supplements.

Grooming tools – Special shedding tools with serrated blades can help pull out loose undercoat. Rubber grooming gloves also grab loose hairs. Using these tools regularly helps reduce shedding around the house.

Keep environments clean – Use lint rollers on furniture and vacuum regularly with a pet-friendly vacuum. Washing bedding frequently also helps.

Shedding in Popular Breeds

When looking at how much a dog sheds, it’s helpful to look at specific breeds to see how coat length impacts shedding.

Some popular heavy shedding breeds with shorter coats include Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Siberian Huskies. Their short but dense double coats shed heavily, especially during seasonal coat blows. Longer haired heavy shedding breeds include Newfoundlands, Collies, and Old English Sheepdogs, who all have long hair that can get everywhere when shed.

On the other end, some light shedding breeds with short hair include Doberman Pinschers, Boston Terriers, and Greyhounds. Their sleek, short coats tend to shed less than heavy shedding breeds. Longer haired light shedding breeds include Afghan Hounds, Maltese dogs, and Yorkshire Terriers. Their long, silky coats require frequent brushing but don’t shed much.

While individual factors like health and genetics impact shedding more than coat length alone, in general shorter coats do seem more prone to heavy shedding while longer coats shed less when properly maintained. However, long hair presents grooming challenges, so the length that works best depends on the owner’s lifestyle and preferences.

The Tradeoff of Coat Length

When choosing between a short or long haired dog breed, there are tradeoffs to consider related to shedding and coat maintenance. Short haired dogs tend to shed less overall than long haired breeds. Their coats require less frequent brushing and generally don’t mat. Longer fur can get tangled and matted which leads to more shedding when those mats are removed. Short fur is lower maintenance from a grooming perspective.

However, while short haired dogs shed less fur at one time, the shedding is more constant throughout the year. Long haired dogs tend to shed heavily during seasonal coat blowing periods, but shed minimally otherwise. So while long coats require more grooming, the shedding may be more manageable if concentrated to certain seasons 1.

Long haired dogs also tend to lose more hair around the house from their feathering on ears, legs, tails, and bellies. Short haired breeds deposit less stray hair indoors. In terms of allergies, some find short haired dogs cause fewer reactions since they release less dander from their coat over time.

When considering shedding, those looking for less grooming and lower maintenance may prefer a short coated breed. For owners who don’t mind seasonal heavy shedding and daily brushing, a long coat may be manageable. Weighing lifestyle factors, tolerance for grooming, and seasons of higher shedding can help determine the right coat length.

Making the Best Choice for Your Lifestyle

When choosing between a short or long haired dog breed, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and living situation. Dogs with long coats typically require more grooming to keep their hair from matting and tangling. Short haired breeds can be a better choice for busy owners or families with young children who may not have time for daily brushing.

If you live in a small space like an apartment or condo, short haired breeds will shed less around the home and be easier to clean up after. According to HGTV, small companion breeds like Chihuahuas and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with short coats are great for smaller living spaces.

a cavalier king charles spaniel in a small home

Larger homes with a backyard are better suited for long haired dogs, as there will be more space for their hair and outdoor areas for play and exercise. Busy families should also consider their daily schedule – if you are away from home for long periods during the day, a lower maintenance short haired breed may fit your lifestyle better.

The shedding and grooming required for different coat types is an important factor, but your individual preferences are key. While short coats may require less maintenance, some owners enjoy brushing and pampering a long haired dog. Think about which experience would be most enjoyable for you when choosing a canine companion.


When considering whether short or long haired dogs shed more, the key factors to weigh are coat type and density. Short hair does not automatically mean more shedding, and long hair does not mean less. Both short and long haired dogs can range from low to heavy shedding depending on their specific coat characteristics.

The biggest determinants of shedding amount are the thickness of the undercoat and whether the coat is a single or double coat. Breeds with very dense double coats like Huskies and Collies will shed more than short haired dogs with sparser single coats like Boxers or Greyhounds.

There are also steps owners can take through grooming and nutrition to reduce shedding. But coat length itself is not the primary driver. Those looking to minimize shedding should research breeds with single, low-density coats rather than focusing just on coat length. The most important factors are picking a breed that aligns with your lifestyle and committing to regular grooming and care.

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