It’s quite common to hear groomers, breeders and dog owners talking about “Puppy Coat”. Supposedly, it refers to a transition stage between puppy hair to adult hair. It’s often more difficult to manage and a lot of dog owners will use this theory as an excuse for why their pup has become so matted. But is there such a thing as “Puppy Coat?”.
At an early age, puppies can go through a sort of excessive growth phase where most of their hair follicles are in the growth (anagen) phase for a very long time. This means that most of their hair is not shedding, it’s just growing. IF a puppy is going through this type of coat phase they can begin to grow a significant amount of undercoat as the phase lasts roughly 4-5 months and sometimes longer.
As the puppy develops a large amount of undercoat without shedding any or most of it, brushing and drying becomes more difficult. The texture of “undercoat” is far more fine and flexible than their primary coat, this is what causes the grooming difficulties associated with “Puppy Coat”. Fine, flexible hair is easier to knot, easier to break, more likely to matt and more difficult to brush through and keep disentangled.
Not all puppies will have a dramatic undercoat growth phase as explained above. Often, you would never notice that your puppy has undergone an extensive growth phase.
SO, IS IT REAL?
Not really. It’s certainly not a transitional stage between “puppy hair” and “adult hair”. Referring to this phenomenon as “Puppy Coat” implies that every puppy goes through this change and that during the early months of your pups life it’s inevitable that you will struggle to tame their coat but I don’t believe this to be true.
You can absolutely get through this growth phase without struggling and as I mentioned before, YOUR puppy might not even have any noticeable changes. It’s important to be aware of the possible changes your pup will go through but it’s more important to remember that this, in particular, is determined by your individual pups genetics, breed, lifestyle, current grooming procedure, health and more.
If you have a young puppy and you are really struggling with knots and/or matting, speak with a groomer for advice on grooming. That’s literally what were here for!
Have you heard that “you shouldn’t have your puppies hair trimmed/cut/clipped until they are “x” months old?” Also, a myth. It’s super important that you expose your puppy to all the sensations of grooming as soon as it is safe to do so. (eg.: fully vaccinated.) In breeds that require haircuts, trimming your puppies hair will NOT affect the growth or texture.
In breeds that DO NOT require haircuts, obviously, ignore the above. Most of the time, your puppies first grooming sessions will only involve a bath, dry and sanitary trim anyway.