Just like your own hair, a dog’s coat is a reflection of a healthy dog. A dull coat of fur is a sign that your pet may be suffering from some internal or external issues.

Healthy coat's appearance: A healthy coat is soft and relatively smooth even on short or wirehaired breeds. The coat is shiny but not greasy, and it does not have a strong odor.

Unhealthy coat's appearance: An unhealthy coat is dry and brittle with lots of loose hair in the coat. The coat itself may also be greasy or have a dusty appearance and include bald spots and an unpleasant oily smell.

Dogs have different types of fur. The amount of care your dog coat needs varies based on their fur type.  Even if you think it's not that important, but all dogs need a good grooming regimen. Knowing your dog's coat type will help when you cut their hair, bathe them, or comb their hair.

Types of fur

Coat care basics include brushing, bathing, regular inspections and a healthy diet.

Wiry coat

This hair type is considered such when it reaches and exceeds 10 centimetres (four inches) of length and shows a distinctive thickness. Sometimes we also talk about a wiry coat when referring to a dog with a beard or large eyebrows, fur that is preserved and groomed into a unique and distinctive trait. Some examples of dog with this hard fur are the Schnauzer or West Highland Terrier.

As new hair grows, the old hair dries and becomes trapped in the thick fur of the animal's coat. Your wiry-coated dog will need daily brushing to remove the dead hair. Some dogs with a wire coat have two layers of hair, a wiry, hard one and a second shinier and smoother layer.

Ways to care: In addition to daily brushing you must clip the fur with hair clippers that allow you to maintain a selected length typical of the breed or by using stripping combs, which will make the hair grow even stronger and harder. Choose a shampoo without oils or softeners so as to maintain the fur's natural features. Washing every three to four weeks will suffice.

For a dog that participates in shows, you should turn to a professional who has mastered the techniques of trimming and stripping.

Curly coat

Curly hair is very special and unique, and it grows continuously. For this reason, it will need frequent cutting and grooming by those who best know about this type of hair. Curly fur is characteristic of the Poodle, the Spanish Water Dog or the Kerry Blue Terrier.

Ways to care: A curly coat needs more frequent bathing than other types of fur as it is more likely to get dirty; for that reason, it is recommended to wash it every 20 days or so. Use a special moisturizing shampoo as this hair tends to become dry. During the bath make sure to protect the dog's ears and afterward dry them properly. Avoid using conditioners that reduce hair volume. Drying should be thorough.

A curly coat should be brushed daily as any knots that may appear will be very annoying to both the animal and you as you will have to devote much time to remove them. As for cutting, this should be done with scissors except for some areas where you can work with clippers. If you have no experience, then it is recommended that at least for the first time you go to a dog salon to observe the procedure and take note.

Short coat

The short coat is that with a length that ranges from one to four centimeters. This type of hair has a smooth appearance, and it's common in many breeds such as the Pit Bull, Doberman, and Boxer.

Ways to care: This type of dog fur is the easiest coat to care for and maintain. Bathe your dog regularly but not too often - once every month and a half - or you could damage the natural protective structures of the fur.

Brush your dog's short coat once or twice a week with a soft brush and pay special attention during hair moulting periods in spring and fall.

Long coat

A long coat is easy to identify, obviously, because of its length. This group includes the Yorkshire Terrier, for example. Long fur is shedded continuously throughout the year, although in molting periods the fall intensifies.

Ways to care: This fur requires daily brushing to avoid tangling. Should this occur, you should cut out the entire strand as untangling it is often difficult. As for the washing, once a month is enough to keep your dog's coat shiny and healthy. Use a shampoo with softener to try to prevent the appearance of tangles and to make the coat silky and smooth. When finished, dry it with a hairdryer, a hair clip or accessory can be used, but we must be careful not to hurt the dog. Scissors should be used to trim a long coat. As is the case with curly hair, if you are not an expert in cutting we advise you go to a dog salon to observe the professional technique to do this and then replicate it at home.