The best way to tell if a puppy will have long hair is to consider the parents. If both parents have long hair, the puppy will also have long hair. You can also examine the paws and ears. If you see long hair growing between the toes or behind the ears, the puppy will likely have long hair.
If you are getting ready to “shop” for a new puppy, one of the first things you’ll want to consider is the hair length.
Certain breeds have long hair, while other breeds have short hair. However, each dog within the breed will have a different hair length. This is especially true for mixed breeds. Some puppies will get more of the mother’s hair, while others will get more of the father’s hair.
Here are a few ways to tell if a puppy will have long or short hair when they grow up.
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The Three Ways to Tell if a Puppy Will Have Long or Short Hair
We will start by saying none of these methods are 100% accurate. As we will discuss in the next section, there’s a big difference between puppy hair and adult hair. This means a puppy may show signs of having short hair, but it can still grow long once adult hair develops.
With that said, following the tips below will increase your chances of “guessing right.”
Consider The Breed
Let’s start with the most obvious method. As mentioned above, some breeds are short-haired breeds (examples include boxers and german shorthaired pointers). Other breeds are long-haired breeds (examples include labradors and golden retrievers).
Do a quick search on whether the breeds you are considering have short or long hair. If it’s a mixed breed, be sure to do research on both the parents.
Look At The Paws
Look at the hair on the paws, especially between the toes. If you see long hair growing between the toes, that likely means the puppy will have long hair.
Check Behind The Ears
Another way to find out (and perhaps an easier way) is to look behind the ears. If the fur is longer behind the ears, the puppy will probably have long hair. However, this tip might not work on puppies less than six weeks old. It can take time for the hair behind the ears to grow.
Differences Between Puppy Fur and Adult Fu
At the start of the previous section, we mentioned that there’s a big difference between puppy fur and adult fur, making it impossible to say with 100% certainty if a puppy will have long or short hair (unless it’s a purebred).
One of the big differences between dog fur and puppy fur is that puppies have only one coat. This coat is usually fluffier, softer, and wispy. Puppy fur is a layer that protects them and keeps them warm.
As they grow older, they will lose the puppy coat as their adult coat grows. Don’t be alarmed if your puppy’s hair changes colors during this period. It is perfectly normal to see hair color and even fur patterns change.
Adult dogs can have one or two coats of fur. If your dog has two coats, the underlayer will be shorter fur, and the outer layer will be longer.
If you have a long-haired dog, the outer layer is considered hair, which differs from dog fur. The dog’s hair can be straight or curly.
It is important to know the difference between dog fur and hair and what it means for puppies.
Hair Vs. Fur – What to Expect When Your Puppy Grows Up?
Most people think dog fur and dog hair are the same. While they are both grown with the same chemical, they are not the same.
Dog hair and fur have different growing cycles. Fur has a shorter growing cycle and is usually what dogs shed during the winter.
As mentioned above, if you have a long-haired dog, it may have two coats, one being the under layer, which comprises fur. The other is the outer layer, which is made of hair.
If your long-haired dog is shedding, what you are finding is most likely the dog fur underneath the long hair. Although dog hair does shed, it sheds far less than dog fur. Dog hair is also less allergenic than fur.
What does all this have to do with your puppy selection? If you are looking at dog breeds with short hair because you think they will shed less and give you fewer allergies, think again. Short-haired dogs shed just as much as longer-haired dogs.
If you have allergies or want to select a dog that doesn’t shed as much, look for single-coated dogs.
When to Expect Puppy Hair to Change in Color and Length
We know we can look for signs that your puppy will have long hair or short hair around six weeks. We also know that if your dog has long hair, there’s a chance it will have two coats.
But when should you expect your puppy’s fur to change? When will they shed their puppy coat and develop their adult coat(s)?
Depending on the breed, you can expect your puppy to lose its first coat between twelve weeks and one year. Most people see this happen in the 4 to 6 month period.
If your puppy is going to be a long-haired dog, expect them to go through what has been nicknamed the “ugly stage.” This is when your puppy will look patchy and spotty.
As your puppy loses its fur, new adult hair will grow and take its place. When the new hair comes in, it might have different colors and shades. With some breeds, you might even see new patterns or spots develop. This is all normal as your puppy transitions to its new adult coat.
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