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Every year, as soon as the weather gets warm, I start seeing photos of shaved corgis popping up on social media. You might be asking yourself, “Should I shave my corgi?”
It’s a trend that I have seen grow in popularity over the last couple of years.
At face value, shaving your corgi would ‘seemingly’ help them stay cool during the summer, and, as an added bonus, it would put a stop to the never-ending shedding.
It seems like the perfect solution, or so one might think…
In reality, your corgi relies on their coat to stay warm in the winter AND to stay cool in the summer.
By removing their natural insulating layer, your dog is no longer able to regulate its body temperature thus makes them chronically uncomfortable (and stressed).
Although shaving your corgi has a perceived benefit of comfort and convenience, it is not recommended.
Different Dogs Have Different Coat Types
Dogs have different coat types depending on their breed.
There are many coat types out there: short and smooth, long, double, silky, corded, curly, wiry…the list goes on.
Every coat type has unique traits that benefit each specific breed of dog.
These different coat types also have unique grooming requirements.
Some coats may require daily brushing or weekly hair cuts, while others may need little-to-no maintenance or upkeep.
All you need to know is:
All corgis have “double coats”.
Understanding Your Corgi’s Double Coat
The term “double coat” can sound complicated but it is really quite simple once it’s broken down.
A double-coated dog has two layers of fur:
1. A dense undercoat of short, wool-like hair
This dense undercoat protects a dog from both hot and cold temperatures by trapping air beneath it.
Their undercoat acts as insulation, helping them regulate their body temperature.
It’s an important part of their body’s natural cooling system.
2. A top overcoat of longer hairs called guard hairs.
This topcoat repels moisture, dirt, and pests, as well as protects their skin from the sun.
The two coats work in tandem to protect corgis from the elements and extreme temperatures throughout the year.
Why You Shouldn’t Shave Your Corgi
By shaving your corgi’s coat, you are removing their natural protective layers which:
- Expose their skin to the sun’s harmful UV rays
Beneath all that fur is sensitive skin that is especially susceptible to burning.
Constantly exposing this delicate skin to the sun can lead to severe sunburn, skin lesions, or even skin cancer
- Removes their natural insulating undercoat
Their undercoat naturally insulates them by keeping a thin layer of air between their skin and the hot or cold outside air. This thin layer of insulation can naturally circulate across the dog’s body, helping them stay cool during hot days.
- Puts your dog at a higher risk for heatstroke
Shaved dogs will experience faster and more severe body temperature changes — making them MORE susceptible to heatstroke.
- Causes discomfort and stress
The extra strain on their bodies is just downright uncomfortable.
Their inability to “cool themselves down” can lead to stress and panic which, unfortunately, only makes them hotter.
- Could cause hair follicle damage (develop bald spots)
Have you ever had an ingrown hair?
Well, ingrown hairs can happen to dogs too.
Except, with corgis, these damaged follicles can lead to permanent bald patches on your pup.
- Could cause the hair to grow back improperly
Your corgi’s hair is layered in a very specific way with guard hairs on top and the undercoat underneath.
Corgis that are shaved will often develop woolly appearances because the guard hairs can grow back tangled with the undercoat, leading to an improperly layered coat.
Long story short, shaving your corgi is a bad idea.
Corgis “Shave” Themselves
If you own a corgi, then you probably know that they shed, A LOT.
As the seasons change, a corgis double coat will also change.
This is your corgi’s way of “shaving”.
Their coats will adjust to the weather to keep them as comfortable as possible.
In the winter, you might notice that your dog is a bit fluffier and furrier.
In the summer, you might notice that they are a bit sleeker.
These seasonal coat changes are for optimum comfort for your pup.
This is Mother Nature at work!
No human interference is necessary.
Your corgi’s coat is already taking care of itself.
How to Properly Groom a Corgi’s Double Coat
Now, just because your corgi naturally takes care of its coat, that doesn’t mean you are off the hook for grooming them.
Grooming your corgi’s coat weekly is important. If you don’t groom your corgi’s coat on a regular basis, hairs in the undercoat will get caught up in the topcoat, resulting in mats and tangles.
You’ll also find that routine grooming sessions will help you manage shedding.
Here are some tips for grooming your corgi:
- To remove loose and dead hair from your corgi’s coat, you can use a Butter Comb and a wire pin brush.
- Some corgis do require the hair on their paw pads to be trimmed for traction purposes (pictured below).
- When it comes to corgis with long coats (fluffies), “sanitary trims” are considered acceptable and sometimes necessary to keep their coat clean. Sanitary trims are typically not necessary for corgis with standard coats.
- Shaving down a corgi’s body hair, irregardless of coat length, is not recommended.
Ways To Keep Your Corgi Cool In The Summer
If you’re still worried about your dog being too hot in the summer heat, here are some things you can do to keep them cool and comfortable:
1. You can provide them with cool treats such as frozen kongs or put ice cubes in their water bowl to promote hydration and keep their body temperature down.
2. You can provide them with plenty of shade, keep a fan blowing across them, and put down a wet towel for them lay on. Some owners like to use cooling vests such as these to keep their dogs cool when they are in the sun/heat.
3. Corgis usually require several hours of dedicated exercise each day. You can choose to exercise them only in the early morning or late evenings when the sun is down. This will protect their paw pads from blistering and keep their core temperature down.
Always check the temperature of the ground with the back of your hand before taking your dog on a walk. If you can comfortably leave the back of your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds or more, then it should be safe for your dog’s sensitive paw pads.
Grooming is an essential part of every dog’s life. But, no matter how hot it gets, you should not shave your corgi.
When owners shave their corgis, they often have the best intentions, but fail to realize the potential damage they are inflicting on their dog by shaving them.
I hope this post has convinced you to skip the summer buzz cut the next time your dog sees their groomer.