Coat (dog)
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The coat of the domestic
dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended from an ancient, extinct wolf, with the modern grey wolf being the dog's nearest living relative. The dog was the first ...

dog
refers to the
hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Phy ...

hair
that covers its body. Dogs demonstrate a wide range of coat colors, patterns, textures, and lengths. As with other mammals, a dog's
fur Fur is a thick growth of hair Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. The human body, apart from areas of glabrous skin, is covered in follicles ...

fur
has many uses, including thermoregulation and protection from cuts or scratches; furthermore, a dog's coat plays an important role in the showing of purebred dogs.
Breed standards In animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, animal fiber, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and the raising of livestock. ...
often include a detailed description of the nature and attributes of that breed's ideal coat. A dog's coat is composed of two layers: a top coat of stiff
guard hairs Fur is a thick growth of hair that covers the skin of many different animals. It is a defining characteristic of mammals. It consists of a combination of oily #Guard hair, guard hair on top and thick #Down hair, underfur beneath. The guard hair ...

guard hairs
that help repel water and shield from dirt, and an undercoat of soft
down hairs
down hairs
, to serve as insulation. Dogs with both under coat and top coat are said to have a ''double coat''. Dogs with a ''single coat'' have a coat composed solely of guard hairs, with little or no downy undercoat. The terms
fur Fur is a thick growth of hair Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. The human body, apart from areas of glabrous skin, is covered in follicles ...

fur
and
hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Phy ...

hair
are often used interchangeably when describing a dog's coat, however in general, a double coat, like that of the
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
and most
livestock guardian dog A livestock guardian dog (LGD) is a dog type bred for the purpose of protecting livestock from predators. Livestock guardian dogs stay with the group of animals they protect as a full-time member of the flock or herd. Their ability to guard ...
s, is referred to as a ''fur coat'', while a single coat, like that of the
Poodle , nickname = , stock = , country = Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , ...

Poodle
, is referred to as a ''hair coat''.


Genetics

Domestic dogs exhibit diverse coat colours and patterns. In many mammals, different colour patterns are the result of the regulation of the
Agouti gene Agouti-signaling protein is a protein Proteins are large biomolecules and macromolecules that comprise one or more long chains of amino acid residue (biochemistry), residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, includi ...
, which can cause hair follicles to switch from making black or brown pigments to yellow or nearly white pigments. The most common coat pattern found in modern wolves is
agouti The term agouti ( es, agutí, ) or common agouti designates several rodent Rodents (from Latin , 'to gnaw') are mammals of the Order (biology), order Rodentia (), which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors i ...
, in which the upperside of the body has banded hairs and the underside exhibits lighter shading. The colour yellow is dominant to the colour black and is found in dogs across much of the world and the
dingo The dingo (''Canis familiaris'', ''Canis familiaris dingo'', ''Canis dingo'', or ''Canis lupus dingo'') is an ancient (Basal (phylogenetics), basal) lineage of dog found in Australia (continent), Australia. Its taxonomic classification is deba ...

dingo
in Australia. In 2021, a study of whole genome sequences taken from dogs and wolves focused on the genetic relationships between them based on coat colour. The study found that most dog colour
haplotypes A haplotype ( haploid genotype) is a group of alleles in an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, propertie ...
were similar to most wolf haplotypes, however dominant yellow in dogs was closely related to white in arctic wolves from North America. This result suggests a common origin for dominant yellow in dogs and white in wolves but without recent gene flow, because this clade was found to be genetically
basal Basal or basilar is a term meaning ''base'', ''bottom'', or ''minimum''. Science * Basal (anatomy), an anatomical term of location for features associated with the base of an organism or structure * Basal (medicine), a minimal level that is neces ...
to the
golden jackal The golden jackal (''Canis aureus'') is a Evolution of the wolf#Wolf-like canids, wolf-like canid that is native to Southeast Europe, Southwest Asia, South Asia, and regions of Southeast Asia. Compared with the Arabian wolf (''Canis lupus arab ...

golden jackal
and genetically distinct from all other canids. The most recent common ancestor of the golden jackal and the wolf lineage dates back to 2 million years ago. The study proposes that 35,000 years ago there was genetic
introgression Introgression, also known as introgressive hybridization, in genetics Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.Hartl D, Jones E (2005) Though heredity had been observed fo ...
into the
Late Pleistocene The Late Pleistocene is an unofficial age in the international geologic timescale The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, ...
grey wolf from a
ghost populationA ghost population is a population that has been inferred through using statistical techniques. Population studies In 2004, it was proposed that Maximum likelihood In statistics, maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) is a method of estimating the ...
of an extinct canid which had diverged from the grey wolf lineage over 2 million years ago. This colour diversity could be found 35,000 years ago in wolves and 9,500 years ago in dogs. A closely related haplotype exists among those wolves of Tibet which possess yellow shading in their coats. The study explains the colour relationships between modern dogs and wolves, white wolves from North America, yellow dogs, and yellowish wolves from Tibet. The study concludes that during the Late Pleistocene, natural selection laid the genetic foundation for modern coat colour diversity in dogs and wolves. During evolution of the dog from their wolf ancestors, coat colors in dogs were probably the inadvertent outcome of some other selective process, and were not likely initially selected for intentionally by humans. Research has found that tameness brings associated physical changes, including coat colouring and patterning. Domestic dogs often display the remnants of
countershading Countershading, or Thayer's law, is a method of camouflage in which an animal's coloration is darker on the upper side and lighter on the underside of the body. This pattern is found in many species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, and insects ...

countershading
, a common natural camouflage pattern. The basic principle of countershading is when the animal is lit from above, shadows will be cast on the
ventral Standard anatomical terms of location deal unambiguously with the of s, including s. Terms used generally derive from or roots and used to describe something in its . This position provides a definition of what is at the front ("anterior"), be ...

ventral
side of the body. These shadows could provide a predator or prey with visual cues relating to the movement of the animal. By being lighter colored on the ventral side of the body, an animal can counteract this, and thereby fool the predator or prey. An alternative explanation is that the
dorsal Dorsal (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...
and ventral sides of an animal experience different selection pressures (from the need to blend into different backgrounds when viewed from above and below) resulting in differing coloration.


Nomenclature of colours and patterns


Colors

The same colour may be referred to differently in different breeds. Likewise, a same term may mean different colourations in different breeds.


Brown, chocolate, liver

Brown, chocolate and liver are the most common terms used to refer to the bb-dilution of black pigment to a dark brown. Depending on breed and exact shade, terms such as mahogany, midtone brown, grey-brown, blackish brown are used. ''Sedge'' and ''deadgrass'' are used to describe the desired Chesapeake Bay Retriever color that resembles "that of its working surroundings" as closely as possible. File:Chesapeake Bay Retriever1.jpg, Brown
Chesapeake Bay Retriever The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large-sized dog breed, breed of dog belonging to the Retriever, Gundog, and Sporting Breed Groups (dog), breed groups. The breed was developed in the United States Chesapeake Bay area during the 19th century. Histor ...
File:Hilu the Australian Kelpie dog.jpg, Red
Australian Kelpie The Australian Kelpie, or simply Kelpie, is an Australian sheep dog A sheep dog or sheepdog is generally a dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended fr ...
File:Chocolate Labrador Retrievers pair.jpg, Dark and light chocolate
Labrador Retrievers The Labrador Retriever, often abbreviated to Labrador, is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other org ...


Red

Red refers to reddish shades of orange, brown, and tan. Terms used include orange, red-gold, cinnamon, alanine kay, tan, and ruby. Genetically a dog called red is usually a clear sable (with little to no eumelanin tipping on hairs) or a ruddy recessive yellow. In some breeds, "red" refers to what would usually be called brown, chocolate, or liver. A "red merle" is always a liver-based merle. In
Australian Cattle Dog The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), or simply Cattle Dog, is a breed of herding dog backing sheep. working with sheep. ,Fairlie, New Zealand A herding dog, also known as a stock dog, shepherd dog or working dog, is a Dog type, type of dog th ...

Australian Cattle Dog
s, blue stands for a densely ticked liver-based colouration with an overall red-grey appearance. File:Seter irlandzki profil 5o899.jpg, Red
Irish Setter )Irish Red Setter , country = Ireland , image = Can Setter dog GFDL.jpg , image_caption = Irish Setter , kc_name = Irish Kennel Club , kc_std = https://www.ikc.ie/dog-ownership/types-of-dog/breeds/native-breeds-of-ireland ...

Irish Setter
File:01 Chow Chow.jpg, Red
Chow Chow The Chow Chow is a dog breed originally from North China, northern China. The Chow Chow is a sturdily built dog, square in profile, with a broad skull and small, triangular, erect ears with rounded tips. The breed is known for a very dense doubl ...

Chow Chow
File:Owning the back step (3641313887).jpg, Red File:Ariel Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.jpg, Ruby
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small breed of spaniel classed in the toy group of The Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club,
File:Australian Cattle Dog red.JPG, Red Australian Cattle Dog File:A Shiba Inu.jpg, Red
Shiba Inu The is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the same species. In literature, there e ...

Shiba Inu
File:Basset Fauve de Bretagne portrait.jpg, Red
Basset Fauve de Bretagne The Basset Fauve de Bretagne is a short-legged hunting breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms ...
File:Cocker spaniel angielski zlotyy.jpg, Red
Cocker Spaniel Cocker Spaniels are dogs belonging to two breeds of the spaniel dog type: the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel, both of which are commonly called simply Cocker Spaniel in their countries of origin. In the early 20th century, C ...

Cocker Spaniel
File:Vizsla-profile.jpg,
Vizsla The Vizsla () is a dog breed A dog breed is a particular strain of dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended from an ancient, extinct wolf, with the ...

Vizsla


Gold and yellow

Gold refers specifically to a rich reddish-yellow and its variants, whereas yellow can refer to any shade of yellow and tan. Terms used include yellow-gold, lion-colored, fawn, apricot, wheaten, tawny, straw, yellow-red, mustard, sandy, honey, apricot, blond, lemon. Dogs called golden or yellow tend to be recessive yellow, but can also be sable. File:Agility Poodle.jpg, Apricot
Poodle , nickname = , stock = , country = Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , ...

Poodle
File:3 Golden Retrievers in the water.jpg, Dark File:Stretched Dachshund.jpg, Yellow
Dachshund The dachshund ( or ; German: "badger dog"), also known as the wiener dog, badger dog, or sausage dog, is a short-legged, long-bodied, hound-type dog breed. They may be smooth, wire, or long-haired. The standard-sized dachshund was developed to ...

Dachshund
File:YellowLabradorLooking.jpg, Yellow
Labrador Retriever The Labrador Retriever, often abbreviated to Labrador, is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other org ...

Labrador Retriever
File:Golden retriever.jpg, Dark Golden
Golden Retriever The Golden Retriever is a medium-sized breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the same s ...

Golden Retriever
File:Milù 050.JPG, Orange
Pomeranian (dog) The Pomeranian (often known as a Pom) is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the s ...


Cream

Cream refers to a pale yellowish or tannish colour which can be almost white. File:Poodle, white standard 01.jpg, Pale cream File:FrenchBulldog.jpg, Cream
French Bulldog The French Bulldog (french: bouledogue or ''bouledogue français'') is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it ...
File:Yuki and Branca - Japanese Akita.jpg, Cream Akita


Fawn

Fawn typically refers to a yellow, tan, light brown, or cream dog that has a dark melanistic mask. With
Weimaraner The Weimaraner ( ) is a large dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended from an ancient, extinct wolf, with the modern grey wolf being the dog's nearest li ...

Weimaraner
s, ''fawn'' refers to their typical brownish grey colouration that with other breeds is usually called lilac. File:Pug 600.jpg, Silver Fawn
Pug The pug is a breed of dog originally from China, with physically distinctive features of a wrinkly, short-muzzled face and curled tail. The breed has a fine, glossy coat that comes in a variety of colors, most often light brown (Fawn (colour ...

Pug
File:Westgort Anticipation.JPG, Fawn
English Mastiff The English Mastiff is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the same species. In liter ...

English Mastiff
File:Malinois puppy.JPG, Fawn Belgian Shepherd Malinois File:Male fawn Boxer undocked.jpg, Fawn
Boxer Boxing is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent ...

Boxer
File:HuntHillBoerboelsGunston1.jpeg, Fawn
Boerboel The Boerboel , is a large, mastiff A mastiff is a large and powerful type of dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended from an ancient, extinct wolf, wit ...

Boerboel


Black

Black is a pure black that can get grizzled as the dog ages, or have a tendency to gain a brownish cast when exposed to the elements. File:Newfoundland dog.jpg,
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
File:Black Labrador Retriever portrait.jpg, Black
Labrador Retriever The Labrador Retriever, often abbreviated to Labrador, is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other org ...

Labrador Retriever
File:Schipperke image 001.jpg, Black File:Crni Patuljasti šnaucer.jpg, Black
Schnauzer A Schnauzer (, plural ''Schnauzer'', lit. translation "snouter") is a dog breed type that originated in Germany from the 14th to 16th centuries. The term comes from the German language, German word for "snout" and means colloquially "moustache",< ...

Schnauzer


Blue

Blue is a cool-toned, metallic grey. It typically means a ''d/d'' dilution of black pigment, a grey colouration that is grey from birth, but has a wide range of breed-specific meanings. In
Kerry Blue Terrier The Kerry Blue Terrier (also known as the Irish Blue Terrier) ( gle, An Brocaire Gorm) is a dog breed, breed of dog. Originally bred to control vermin including rats, rabbits, badgers, foxes, otters and hares, over time the Kerry became a general ...

Kerry Blue Terrier
s,
Poodle , nickname = , stock = , country = Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , ...

Poodle
s, and
Bearded Collie The Bearded Collie, or Beardie, is a herding Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group (herd A herd is a social group of certain animals of the same species, either wildness, wild or Domestication, domestic. Th ...

Bearded Collie
s, "blue" refers to colouration that is black at birth and progressively greys out as the dog matures. In
Australian Shepherd The Australian Shepherd is a breed of herding dog from the United States. Developed in California in the 19th century, it is claimed the breed descends from a variety of herding breeds including collies imported into California with sheepdogs from ...

Australian Shepherd
s,
Rough Collie The Rough Collie (also known as the Long-Haired Collie) is a long-coated dog breed of medium to large size that, in its original form, was a type of collie used and bred for herding sheep in Scotland. More recent breeding has focused on the Coll ...

Rough Collie
s, and
Shetland Sheepdog The Shetland Sheepdog, often known as the Sheltie, is a breed of herding dog backing sheep. working with sheep. ,Fairlie, New Zealand A herding dog, also known as a stock dog, shepherd dog or working dog, is a Dog type, type of dog that eithe ...

Shetland Sheepdog
s, blue means a blue (black-based) merle. In s, blue means a saddle-type black and tan pattern, where the black parts of the coat progressively fade to a steel grey as the dog matures and in
Australian Cattle Dog The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), or simply Cattle Dog, is a breed of herding dog backing sheep. working with sheep. ,Fairlie, New Zealand A herding dog, also known as a stock dog, shepherd dog or working dog, is a Dog type, type of dog th ...

Australian Cattle Dog
s, blue stands for a densely ticked black-based colouration with an overall blue-grey appearance. File:Standing_Neo.jpg, Blue
Neapolitan Mastiff The Neapolitan Mastiff or is an Italian breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the same sp ...
File:PastorBelga-AlemaoDSC 2788.jpg, Blue
mixed-breed dog File:Mongrel_dog.jpg, Spinone Italiano-German Shepherd, German Sheperd mixed-breed dog A mongrel, mutt or mixed-breed dog is a dog that does not belong to one officially recognized Dog breed, breed and is not the result of intentional Dog breed ...

mixed-breed dog
File:Australian Silky Terrier Karlyermai Classic Touch.jpg, Blue File:Australian blue cattle dog 04.JPG, Blue Australian Cattle Dog


Grey

Grey simply means a grey colouration of any shade. It can be used as an alternative synonym of blue, but tends to mean some other type of grey than the ''d/d'' dilution of black. Synonyms include silver, pepper, grizzle, slate, blue-black grey, black and silver, steel. Greys of a dusty or brownish cast are often lilac, a ''d/d'' dilution of liver, and this colouration does not have much of a commonly recognised name. Across various breeds, it is called lavender, silver-fawn, isabella, fawn, café au lait or silver beige. In Poodles, a blue is a very slowly fading, very dark steel grey, whereas a silver is a quicker to clear, much lighter grey that can range from a pale platinum to a steel grey. Both are black at birth with minimal markings to indicate future change. Similarly, café au lait is a slower and darker and silver beige a quicker and lighter progressively greying brown, i.e. liver. File:Waterloo 027 4x6.JPG, Lighter and darker fawn
Weimaraner The Weimaraner ( ) is a large dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended from an ancient, extinct wolf, with the modern grey wolf being the dog's nearest li ...

Weimaraner
s File:Miniature Schnauzer 2.jpg, Silver
Miniature Schnauzer The Miniature Schnauzer is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the same species. In l ...

Miniature Schnauzer
File:Pudel Zwerg SilberShow.jpg, Silver
Miniature Poodle , nickname = , stock = , country = Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , ...

Miniature Poodle
File:Doberman Fawn 001.jpg, Isabella/fawn
Dobermann The Dobermann, (; ) or Doberman Pinscher in the United States and Canada, is a medium-large breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristi ...

Dobermann


White

White: Such a light cream that it is seen and described as pure white, making them distinct from
albino Albinism is the congenital absence of any pigmentation or colouration in a person, animal or plant, resulting in white hair, feathers, scales and skin and pink eyes in mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish and invertebrates as well. V ...
dogs. A white dog, as opposed to an albino one, has dark pigment around the eye rims and nose, often coupled with dark-colored eyes. There is often some coat identifiable as cream between the dog's shoulder blades. Extreme piebald dogs can also appear all white, but are caused by a separate factor. File:American Eskimo Dog.jpg, White
American Eskimo Dog The American Eskimo Dog is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the same species. In ...

American Eskimo Dog
File:Bichon Frise 600.jpg, White File:A top winning Maltese.JPG, White
Maltese dog The Maltese is a dog breed, breed of dog in the toy group. It is thought to have originated in south-central Europe from dogs of spitz type. Despite the name, it has no verified historic or scientific connection to the island of Malta. Histo ...

Maltese dog
File:Coton de Tulear puppy.jpg, White
Coton de Tulear The Coton de Tuléar is a dog breed, breed of small dog named for the city of Toliara, Tuléar (also known as Toliara) in Madagascar. This breed is thought to have originated from a group of small white dogs that swam across the Malagasy channel f ...

Coton de Tulear
puppy File:Bruno spitz japones.jpg, White
Japanese Spitz The is a small to medium dog breed, breed of dog of the Spitz dog type, type. There are varying standards around the world as to the ideal size of the breed, but they are always larger than their smaller cousins, the Pomeranian (dog), Pomerania ...

Japanese Spitz
File:Samoyed Image 001.jpg, File:Westhighlandterrier.jpg,
West Highland White Terrier The West Highland White Terrier, commonly known as the Westie, is a from Scotland with a distinctive white harsh coat with a somewhat soft white undercoat. It is a medium-sized , although with longer legs than other Scottish breeds of terri ...

West Highland White Terrier


Patterns

The same pattern may be referred to differently in different breeds.


Length and texture

Dogs demonstrate an enormous diversity in coat length and texture, from the very short and smooth coat seen in the
vizsla The Vizsla () is a dog breed A dog breed is a particular strain of dog that was purposefully bred by humans to perform specific tasks, such as herding, hunting, and guarding. Dogs are the most variable mammal on earth, with artificial s ...

vizsla
s, to the wiry coat of a
Scottish Terrier The Scottish Terrier ( gd, Abhag Albannach; also known as the Aberdeen Terrier), popularly called the Scottie, is a breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous Homogeneity and heterogeneity are concepts often ...

Scottish Terrier
and the corded coat of the Puli and the . Generally, coats vary along three categories: length (long vs. short), texture (curly vs. straight), and coarseness (wire-haired vs. non-wire). These three categories all interact with one another; thus, one can see a short, curly, and wired coat in the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, and a long, straight, and non-wired coat in the Pomeranian. Additionally, breeds show variation in patterns of growth - that is to say, parts of the dog's body where the coat may be longer or shorter. The same gene that controls wiriness of hair also causes furnishings to be present (e.g. beard, moustache, eyebrows) - compare the
bearded collie The Bearded Collie, or Beardie, is a herding Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group (herd A herd is a social group of certain animals of the same species, either wildness, wild or Domestication, domestic. T ...

bearded collie
, furnishings present, to the
border collie The Border Collie is a working and Herding dog, herding dog breed developed in the Anglo-Scottish border region, for herding livestock, especially sheep. Considered highly Dog intelligence, intelligent, extremely energetic, acrobatic and athl ...

border collie
, which lacks furnishings. Some breeds show feathering: fringes of longer hair on the ears, belly, tail, and back of the legs (e.g.,
Saluki The Saluki is a standardised breed developed from sighthound : characteristic long legs, deep chest, and narrow waist of a sighthound Sighthounds, also called gazehounds, are a Dog type, type of dog, hounds that hunt primarily by sight and sp ...

Saluki
and any of the
setters Setter is a type of gundog. Setter or Setters may also refer to: *Mutator method, usage of the term in object-oriented programming *Setter (volleyball), volleyball position *Setter (crossword), the British crossword compiler *Setters (film), ''Sett ...
). Dogs also vary in the thickness of the undercoat. Some dogs have only a single (rather than a double) coat, or a very reduced undercoat (e.g. the
Vizsla The Vizsla () is a dog breed A dog breed is a particular strain of dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended from an ancient, extinct wolf, with the ...

Vizsla
), which results in a thinner coat. Certain breeds, especially , tend to have a thicker undercoat, which helps retain heat in cold and wet weather. Furthermore, complete hairlessness on parts of the body is present in breeds such as the or the
Xoloitzcuintli The Xoloitzcuintle/Xoloitzquintle/Xoloitzcuintli (), or Xolo, is one of several breeds of hairless dog. It is found in Estándar (Standard), Intermedio (intermediate), and Miniatura (miniature) sizes. The Xolo also comes in a coated variety totally ...
.


Shedding

Shedding of hair can occur continuously, but in many breeds is strongly influenced by hormones. Seasonal shedders shed most in spring and fall, following an increase or decrease in day length, and least in summer and winter, in response to constant day length. Cold temperatures stimulate hair growth, so that the heaviest shedding is in spring on dogs living in cold climates. Artificial lighting can alter the seasonal shedding pattern of dogs who live indoors. Other hormonal influences include dietary factors, reproductive hormones in intact dogs, and various medical conditions and disorders. Shedding that is done in a short period of time is known as "blowing the coat" or "blowing coat". Among the other coat types, dogs with fine silky coats (e.g., spaniels) are generally moderate shedders, those with an intermediate coat texture (e.g., mountain dogs) are generally heavy shedders, and those with thick stand-offish coats (e.g., spitzes) are generally very heavy shedders. "Non-shedding" dogs have greatly-reduced shedding due to alterations to the hair follicle growth cycle: * homozygosity for the
furnishings ] The decorative arts are arts or crafts whose object is the design and manufacture of objects that are both beautiful and functional. It includes most of the arts making objects for the interiors of buildings, and interior design, but not usuall ...
(wire) allele - Most breeds with facial furnishings (including ones whose faces are usually shaved removing the furnishings) are low-shedding, but they must be homozygous, so dogs of mixed wire/non-wire parentage (e.g., terrier crosses or breeds with wire and non-wire varieties) can be heavy shedders. There are a few furnished breeds that shed more (e.g., Old English Sheepdog, Bearded Collie, Briard,
Otterhound The Otterhound is a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territ ...

Otterhound
); * at least one copy of the single-coat (non-shedding) allele - Most dogs with a smooth coat are low shedding, as well as the fringed or flat coat. There are breeds with a very short coat that shed more (e.g., Basset Hound, English Bulldog, Pug, Toy Fox Terrier, Dalmatian, Vizsla, German Shorthaired Pointer); * single coat (no undercoat) plus furnishings (homozygous) - These breeds shed the least (e.g.,
Poodle , nickname = , stock = , country = Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , ...

Poodle
, Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier).


Hypoallergenic coat

" gs are a relevant source of allergens, but diagnosing dog-related allergies may present difficulties .." Some dog breeds have been promoted as hypoallergenic (which means ''less allergic'', not free of allergens) because they shed very little. However, no canine is known to be completely nonallergenic. Often the problem is with the dog's saliva or dander, not the fur. Although breeds such as
poodles , nickname = , stock = , country = Germany or France (see Poodle#History, history) , height = , maleheight = , femaleheight = , weight = , maleweight = , femaleweight = , ...
, ,
bichon A bichon is a distinct Dog type, type of toy dog; it is typically kept as a companion dog. Believed to be descended from the Barbet (dog), Barbet, it is believed the bichon-type dates to at least the 11th century; it was relatively common in 14th ...

bichon
s, , and wire-haired
terriers Terrier (from the French word ''terrier'' , meaning "burrow") is a Dog type, type of dog originally bred to hunt vermin. A terrier is a dog of any one of many Dog breed, breeds or landraces of the terrier Dog type, type, which are typically small ...

terriers
are commonly represented as being hypoallergenic due to reduced shedding, the reaction that an individual person has to an individual dog may vary greatly. In a report, describing dog allergen extracts of dog hair, belonging to patients' dogs or from dogs of the same breed, with low molecular mass that are absent in extracts of commercial allergen test kits, it has been found that " ctors related to individual dogs seem to influence the allergenicity more than breed or gender."


Show coats

The nature and quality of a
purebred dog A dog breed is a particular strain or dog type Dog types are broad categories of domestic dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended from an ancient, ext ...
's coat is important to the
dog fancy Animal fancy is a hobby involving the appreciation, promotion, or breeding of pet or domestic animals. Fancy may include ownership, showing, Animals in sport, animal sports and other competitions, and Selective breeding, breeding. Hobbyists may si ...
in the judging of the dog at
conformation show A dog show is an event where dogs are exhibited. A conformation show, also referred to as a '' breed show'', is a kind of dog show in which a judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, oft ...
s. The exact requirements are detailed in each breed's
breed standard In animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching t ...
and do not generalise in any way, and the terminology may be very different even when referring to similar features. See individual breed articles for specific information.


Nutritional impacts on coat

A dog's coat is an outward indicator of internal well-being. For this reason, coat health is an important aspect of pet care to many dog owners. Dog coats can be impacted by nutritional components from the diet. Below is a table that summarizes the effects of several nutrients (minerals, vitamins) on the domestic canine coat, based on current evidence:


Trace minerals


Zinc

Zinc contributes to hair growth and can prevent hair from becoming dry and brittle. In addition to, zinc when supplemented in combination with linoleic acids has been found to improve the coat of canines by reducing water loss in the trans-epidermal layer of the skin. Dogs can obtain zinc in their diet, through the addition of various ingredients, including; red meats, whole grains, poultry by-product meals, and fish meals.


Copper

Copper is a trace mineral that is required in the diet of canines at 7.3 mg/kg. Copper is involved in multiple enzymatic pathways. In dogs, a lack of copper in the diet, leading to a copper deficiency, results in incomplete keratinization. This leads to a dry coat, hypo-pigmentation, and discoloration of the coat.


Selenium

Selenium is another one of the many trace minerals essential for a dog's diet. Selenium is typically required in lower levels in comparison to other minerals. It is involved in the prevention of oxidative damage as well as the production of anti-oxidants. Selenium aids in the promotion of coat growth. Lack of selenium in the diet of a dog can contribute to the occurrence of sparse coat growth. Dogs can obtain selenium in their diet through the addition of various ingredients including; tuna fish, halibut, sardines, beef, chicken, and egg.


Vitamins


Vitamin A

Vitamin A Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds that includes retinol, retinal, (also known as retinaldehyde), retinoic acid and several provitamin A carotenoids (most notably Beta-Carotene, beta-carotene). Vitamin A has mul ...

Vitamin A
deficiency can lead to rough coat, scaling of skin, and other
dermatitis Dermatitis is inflammation of the Human skin, skin, typically characterized by itchiness, erythema, redness and a rash. In cases of short duration, there may be small blisters, while in long-term cases the skin may become lichenification, thick ...

dermatitis
issues like
alopecia Hair loss, also known as alopecia or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from part of the head or body. Typically at least the head is involved. The severity of hair loss can vary from a small area to the entire body. Inflammation or scarrin ...

alopecia
. It is also essential for cells to properly proliferate keratinocytes, which are epithelial cells that produce keratin on the outermost layer of the skin for the cortisol cells of the hair follicle. A deficiency in vitamin A can cause the common symptoms of dermatitis (dry, scaling skin and dull coat).


Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Vitamin B7, also known as
biotin Biotin, also called vitamin B7, is one of the B vitamins B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamin A vitamin is an organic molecule , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any c ...

biotin
, is a water-soluble nutrient that is known to play a role associated with the maintenance and development of hair starting from the . Although it has not been clinically shown to improve hair growth with supplementation alone, it has been shown to reverse deficiency in dogs born deficient. Symptoms of biotin deficiency include
alopecia Hair loss, also known as alopecia or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from part of the head or body. Typically at least the head is involved. The severity of hair loss can vary from a small area to the entire body. Inflammation or scarrin ...
and achromotrichia. A clinical study of biotin showed the importance of biotin in coat pigmentation. There different stages of hair development, as shown in clinical studies using mice. Each stage of hair development has a different sensitivity to biotin present in the body. For example, the shaft development is not greatly affected by biotin access. During the last stage, the amount of biotin available for use by the body will alter the success of that development greatly. Throughout the hair development, most stages of growth are completed, but it was found that in the last stage, where biotin levels were insufficient, there was an incorrect keratinization of the root of the hair, causing the hair to fall out of the body. The supplementation of biotin cannot reverse affects caused by deficiency, but as soon as supplementation is given and biotin levels are restored to adequacy, the body begins to produce the usual hair growth and color it would before the deficiency took place.


Essential fatty acids

Polyunsaturated fatty acidsPolyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are fatty acids that contain more than one double bond in their backbone. This class includes many important compounds, such as essential fatty acids and those that give drying oil A drying oil is an oil that ...
found in the diet play a critical role in the maintenance of a healthy coat in dogs, and have even been shown to improve coat condition when supplemented in the diet. Furthermore, diets lacking essential fatty acids in their diet will manifest as unkept, matted coat. Omega fatty acids 3 and 6 are highly unsaturated fatty acids, making them especially metabolically active. The proper combination of these omega fatty acids is crucial to achieve optimal benefits. Proper omega 6:3 ratios have been shown to diminish allergy triggered immune responses, thus improving overall coat condition. The National Research Council (NRC) recommends a 2.6:1 to 26:1 omega 6:3 ratio for adult dog maintenance diets. The proper ratio of these fatty acids is crucial because each has an opposing role in inflammation within the body and both compete for the same enzymatic pathway. Dogs, like many mammals, lack the Desaturase, desaturase enzymes capable of interconverting omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Therefore, the amount of inflammation in the body is dependent on the ratio between omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Too little inflammation suppresses the immune system and the body's ability to heal, however excessive inflammation can irritate the skin and reduce the coat's overall appearance. Aside from omega fatty acids, lipid content in the canine diet is an important aspect of coat health. The Fat-soluble vitamins, fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) require lipids present in the diet for absorption, transport and deposition in canine adipose tissue. The specific role of vitamins A and E for coat health are explored elsewhere in this article, as they pertain to immune function. Another pet food regulating body, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), recommends that Vitamin E supplementation increase as polyunsaturated fatty acids are added to diet in order to counteract lipid oxidation and maintain the potency. In addition, high fat diets in dogs were shown to dramatically improve coat sheen and appearance. It is thought excess cholesterol esters are incorporated into the hair follicle, leading to the improved coat appearance. The same study, by Kirby, Hester and Bauer (2007), stated the optimal approach to an improved coat in dogs is a combination of increased dietary fat and the proper amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids.


Omega 3 (linolenic acid)

Omega 3 fatty acid, also known as Alpha-Linolenic acid, linolenic acid, is an anti-inflammatory compound. Linolenic acid is found in the oil from flaxseeds, soybean and canola. Some better known examples of linolenic acid are the metabolic derivatives eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid, docosahexanoic acid (DHA). EPA inhibits the enzyme delta-5-desaturase, which prevents the synthesis of Arachidonic acid cascade, arachidonic acid which is an inflammatory omega 6. DHA acts even earlier in omega 6 metabolism, by inhibiting Delta 6 desaturase, delta-6-desaturase. The anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3s stem from their ability to inhibit the inflammatory action of omega 6 fatty acids. A functional minimum has not been set forth by AAFCO, as one has yet to be determined. A reduction in inflammation of somatic tissues, skin especially, supports coat health.


Omega 6 (linoleic acid)

Omega 6 fatty acid, also known as linoleic acid, is found in poultry fat and the oil from safflower, sunflower, corn and flaxseed. Arachidonic acid is a well known metabolic derivative of linoleic acid, found only in animal sources. As mentioned above, arachindonic acid is a pro-inflammatory compound. It is critical to note once again that canines are unable to interconvert between omega fatty acids and over supplying linoleic acid promotes excessive inflammation in the body, which can potentially reverse the coat benefits seen by supplying omega fatty acids in the diet. In contrast, linoleic acid is also required for Epidermis, epidermal lipid function and water retention, which benefits coat shine. Having linoleic acid present in the diet has demonstrated a positive effect on skin, and thus by extension, coat.


See also

* Chiengora * Dog grooming * Dog skin disorders * Hypoallergenic * List of dog breeds * Merle (coat color in dogs)


References


Further reading

*


External links

* {{Dog nav Animal coat colors Animal hair Dog anatomy