It takes about six to twelve weeks for a dog’s hair to grow back after a cut. However, different breeds have different hair growth cycles. Short-haired breeds such as Boxers will grow their hair back to normal length faster than long-haired breeds like a Border Collie.
There has been surprisingly little official scientific research done on dog hair growth. Naturally, this means that there are conflicting opinions about a lot of the details.
Here’s what we know for sure.
Regrowth After Shaving or Cutting
Dog’s hair can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months to grow back after shaving or cutting, depending on the dog.
Some of this has to do with the dog’s health and diet, but it’s mostly determined by breed and genetics.
Most dogs have hair growth cycles of 130 days, during which hair is either actively growing or in a “rest” phase before it sheds and is replaced by new hair.
Other dogs (like poodles) have longer growth cycles, during which the hair grows for years before resting and shedding.
Hair Growth Cycle
All animals with hair or fur, including humans, have hair growth cycles predetermined by genetics.
The three stages of hair growth for dogs and any other animal with fur or hair are:
- Anagen – active growth phase, hair grows to predetermined length
- Catagen – phase is when the hair stops growing
- Telogen – resting phase in which the hair doesn’t grow, and starts to fall out during shedding
Puppies start to shed their fuzzy puppy fur and replace it with an adult coat about three to six months into their lives.
Because this happens in phases rather than to all hairs at once, it can result in a patchy looking coat until the transition is complete – usually within a year.
Difference in Breeds
Dog’s hair grows at about the same rate (about a third or half an inch a month), but different dogs have longer growth cycles that result in longer hair.
Most dogs have what is known as telogen-predominant growth cycles, meaning that their hair grows for a short time and remains at a fixed length for a longer period.
Dogs with predominant anagen cycles, such as poodles, have hair that grows for a long period of time, with a very short resting phase. This is why they require cutting – although their hair will eventually reach its predetermined length, the length is excessive enough to be impractical for both dog and owner.
The Debate Over Shaving
As mentioned in the introduction, there hasn’t been much scientific research into dog hair growth, so much of what owners know is based on trial and error, educated guesses, or hearsay.
Some people regularly shave their dogs, while others feel that there’s no reason to do so and that it may actually be bad for the dog.
Below are some of the reasons people are for or against shaving their dogs. Be sure to do your research and talk to your vet before deciding what works best for your dog.
Pretty much everyone agrees that it’s necessary to shave dogs with continually growing hair, like poodles. People who shave their shorter-haired dogs usually do so for the following reasons.
Cooling the Dog in Hot Weather
If you live in a hot climate, you might shave your dog to keep him cool during the summer months.
People who advocate this use the rationale that a thick coat of fur is the same idea as a human wearing a thick coat in the summer, resulting in more discomfort than necessary.
For this reason, it’s best to book dog grooming appointments well ahead of time in the summer months because business tends to pick up when the weather heats up.
Not everyone thinks that shaving dogs in the summer is a good idea, which we’ll discuss below.
Keeps Fur Manageable
Some people shave or cut their dog’s coat to keep it free of matting, pests, and dirt.
While longer haired dogs require more upkeep than shorter-haired dogs, be sure to regularly wash and brush the dog, rather than using shaving as the only solution to fix an unsightly coat.
It’s harder to spot pests like fleas and ticks on longer coats, making shaving or cutting a possible solution if your dog spends a lot of time in wooded areas.
On the other hand, the shorter hair allows the pests easier access to the skin, so be sure you check for pests regularly.
If you or your dog suffers from allergies, it might be tempting to cut his fur to make it easier to remove pollen and dust from his coat before he comes inside.
Be sure to give him a quick brush outside if you can, to remove as many allergens as possible before he comes back inside.
Dog owners will do almost anything to keep their belongings free from dog hair, including shaving the hair off. While this won’t actually reduce shedding, it will make the hairs that fall out shorter and less of a nuisance.
The best way to minimize shedding all over your house, though, is regular bathing and grooming.
If a dog is injured or otherwise requires surgery, it’s almost certain that the vet will need to shave the area they’re working on.
Obviously, it’s not a matter of preference at this point, but something that just needs to be done.
The vet will provide you with tips for letting the site heal as quickly as possible, after which the hair will likely return in a few weeks or a couple of months.
For every pet owner that shaves their dog, there is one who prefers not to. Below are some of the main reasons that people choose not to shave their dogs.
Although many people shave their dogs to relieve them during hot weather, many others see the dog’s thick coat as insulation.
They argue that shaving the dog actually makes it more susceptible to overheating, since the coat’s insulating properties have been removed.
Naturally, insulation in winter is also helpful in blocking out the cold.
Shaving a dog’s coat too close to the skin can open the skin up to fungal and bacterial infections.
If you choose to shave your dog, don’t do it right up to the skin – leave a little to avoid accidental irritation or cuts.
Hair Won’t Grow Back
Several people say that if you shave a dog, there’s a good chance the hair won’t grow back.
However, some experts say that if a dog’s hair fails to grow back after shaving or cutting, there’s a good chance of an underlying condition. They argue that the hair would have fallen out and not regrown eventually, and shaving it just exposed the problem sooner.
Increases Risk of Sunburn
If your dog is exposed to a lot of sun, think twice before shaving him. The dog’s coat acts as a natural sunscreen, so shaved dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors are at higher risk of sunburn.
There are plenty of sunscreens out there specifically formulated for dogs, though, so if you’ve already had him shaved, you might consider picking one up.
As you can see, there are countless reasons why people shave their dogs, and an equal number of reasons that people advise against it. When it comes to your dog’s wellbeing, your best bet is informing yourself as much as possible. Read articles like this one, talk to your vet, and ask other experts too.
If you decide to shave your dog, make sure you do so safely, and inspect his skin regularly to make sure it’s healthy. Proper diet, skin, and fur care will ensure your dog’s hair will quickly grow back into a full and healthy coat.
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