Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blowing coats

With all the warm weather that we've been having, I'm really hoping that my dogs hold their coat for the upcoming specialty shows. It has been like summer for the past week. The dogs are in good coat right now but I'm not sure what will occur over the next month or so.

I've read that daylight really triggers the shedding process. In other words, as the days get shorter the winter coat comes in. The reversal occurs in spring. However, there are other factors that affect the coat such as heat cycles and whelping. Essentially, hormones affect the shedding process. And there are certain lines that tend to carry very heavy coat regardless of the time of year, while others don't have much coat.

Coat is such an important attribute of the Labrador. And it's essential that the coat be a good double coat and not an open coat. The top image shows a good coat in a Labrador. It's okay for there to be some wave to the coat. The bottom photo shows an open "fluffy" coat. Such a coat will allow water to penetrate and get to the skin. A good double coat that is harsh basically insulates the dog when in the water.

It's important when examining coat to not only look on the back of the dog but along the sides. An undercoat is essential. It's usually the first thing to blow and will generally turn brown on blacks. Getting that dead hair out will help the new coat to come in quicker and will prevent itchy skin and hot spots.

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