Two Samoyeds sitting in the grass while the sun is out.

Should I Shave My Samoyed In The Warmer Months?

Their thick fur keeps Sammies warm in the freezing winters of Siberia where they originate from. But their growing popularity has brought them to areas with shorter winters and long, hot summers where they may seem uncomfortable and warm in their fluffy coat. Because of this, owners often wonder, “Should I shave my Samoyed in the warmer months?”

Never shave your Samoyed in the warmer months or any time of the year. Samoyeds have a double-layered fur coat. The coarse guard hairs on top are waterproof and protect the downy undercoat that provides insulation from the cold in winter but also helps keep Samoyeds cool in the summer. Shaving their fur can impair their natural ability to adapt to changing temperatures and may cause the fur to grow back awkward and patchy.

What Does Double-Coated Mean?

Dogs that have a double-layer coat have two distinct types of fur. Each hair follicle on the dog’s skin produces 1-2 primary hairs and a varying number of secondary hairs that grow independently of each other. The primary guard hairs are thicker, longer, and coarser than the soft or wiry hairs that make up the undercoat. Dogs that look extremely fluffy usually have a higher ratio of secondary hairs. 

When they are puppies, all dogs have a dense single layer of fine silky hairs. When they reach three months old, the adult coat begins to grow in. Single-coated dogs develop a coat made entirely of primary hairs with no soft undercoat.

How Does Fur Help Regulate Temperature?

A Samoyed playing with some toys outside while the sun sets behind it.

Double-coated dogs are well protected against harsh weather conditions. They seem comfortable for long periods in extremely cold temperatures because their fur helps regulate their body temperature. Their primary layer of guard hairs keeps them dry by preventing snow and ice from settling into the fur and melting on the skin. It also forms a layer over the downy undercoat that acts as an insulator by trapping a layer of air among the hair fibers to trap the dog’s body heat to keep them warm.

To us, their fluffy coats may seem like an uncomfortable disadvantage when these dogs are raised in hotter climates. However, double coats also protect them from the heat by keeping the trapped air next to their skin at a comfortable body temperature.

What Are The Other Double-Coated Breeds? 

Other than Samoyeds, there are many breeds out there that sport a double-layered fur coat. Some of the common breeds are:

  1. German Shepherd
  2. Labrador Retriever
  3. Siberian Husky
  4. Pomeranian
  5. Shih Tzu
  6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 
  7. Miniature Schnauzer 
  8. Corgi
  9. Yorkshire Terrier
  10. Pug 

Other than these listed breeds, there are many more out there that have a double layer of fur. These dogs should never have their coats clipped short unless absolutely necessary so make sure you research your dog’s specific needs before sending them in for a trim.

What Happens If You Shave Double-Coated Dogs Like A Samoyed?

There’s more than one bad thing that can happen from shaving double-coated dogs. Here’s what they are.

They Lose Their Ability To Control Their Body Temperature

Shaving their fur to keep them cool ends up bringing more harm than benefit to our pets. Even though their fluffy coats seem like a thick blanket that would cause them to overheat in summer, their double coats actually help keep them cool even when the weather gets too hot. By shaving off their fur, we change the way the air flows over their body and impair their natural ability to regulate their body temperature. Dogs don’t produce sweat from all over their body, so shaving may not be that beneficial to them anyway. 

They May Become Prone To Skin Disease And Irritation

Without their fur, your dog’s skin is directly exposed to UV radiation from the sun. This makes them more prone to sunburn and prolonged exposure can predispose them to certain types of skin cancer.

Irritation from the clippers may encourage your dog to lick its skin. Bacteria thrive in moist environments and any minor abrasions may become infected and affect the way their hair grows back.

Their Fur May Not Grow Back The Same

After shaving, their fur may grow back patchy and uneven. It may even turn out to be an entirely different color and texture than your dog’s original coat. The top layer of fur grows much slower than the undercoat so after shaving your dog, your dog’s undercoat will finish growing before the primary guard hairs do.

How To Keep Your Samoyed Cool In The Warmer Months

If your dog seems to be very uncomfortable on hot days, other methods such as using a fan, giving them a lukewarm bath, or treating them to a homemade dog popsicle may work better than shaving off their fur.

Obese dogs are also more prone to overheating because fat acts as an insulator. Giving your dog the correct diet and regular exercise will help them shed those extra pounds to help keep them cool. Just make sure never to exercise your dog when it’s too hot outside because you may put them at risk of heatstroke. 

Brushing your dog will help remove excess undercoat and improve blood circulation to the skin. The blood carries body heat away from your dog’s core to help keep them cool. Regular brushing has the added benefit of removing loose secondary hairs that would otherwise be shed all over the house. Double-coated dogs will “blow” their undercoat once or twice a year in response to the changing seasons. Trimming a double-coated dog doesn’t actually reduce shedding because the follicle remains intact and will still follow its natural cycle, regardless of the length of the hair shaft.

In Conclusion: Should I Shave My Samoyed In The Warmer Months?

So, “Should I shave my Samoyed in the warmer months?” Samoyeds have evolved to survive in the sub-zero climes of Siberian winters, they are also well adapted to thrive in the warm summer months. Although thick and fluffy, their fur helps protect them from the sun and keeps them cool. By shaving them, we may affect their skin and coat health and hinder their natural ability to regulate their body temperature. The risks of shaving your double-coated dog outweigh the benefits. There are several other safer and more effective ways to keep your Samoyed cool in the warmer months. 

So, do you have any tips for keeping fluffy dogs cool in the warmer months? Let us know what they are in the comments below!

Dr. Umaya Gunaratne (DVM)
Dr. Umaya Gunaratne (DVM)
Umaya Gunaratne is a veterinarian plus dog and cat mum currently pursuing her PhD in small animal cardiology. Her field of interest is degenerative mitral valve disorders in small breed dogs, but her passion lies in bridging the gap between academia and the real world. She enjoys helping pet parents understand the research-backed science behind raising their fur kids. She spends her free time playing football, clicker-training her cat, Ria, and spending quality time with her many houseplants.