What's that you say? You're losing sleep at night wondering what a double-coated dog is (and why you should care)? Fret no more, friends. We're about to drop some pretty cool knowledge here.
Did you know, first of all, that there is a distinction between coat types? Yep, there are basically two types of dog coats (besides the one Cruella DeVille wanted to make out of the 101 Dalmatians): single-coat and double-coat. What kind does your dog have? Part his fur a bit and see!
Double coat: Two (duh) types of fur: the longer, stiffer "guard hairs" and, underneath, a layer of softer, shorter, downy fur (the undercoat)
Single coat: same fur throughout (just the top coat)
If your pup has a double coat, there are several things you should know. First, he'll shed (or "blow out") that undercoat seasonally (in places other than hot, sunny Florida, it's usually twice a year). Second, because he's got more hair to shed, he's gonna require a lot of brushing and grooming to keep debris and mats out. Third, and this is really important -- and much misunderstood -- that undercoat, while it may seem hot to you, actually insulates your pup from heat (as well as helping him stay warm in winter). Remember, dogs don't cool themselves off through their skin (like we do when we sweat). Plus, those outer "guard hairs" protect him from the sun and from insect bites and other environmental terrors, so if you shave him down he'll lose that protection as well. And there's no guarantee that his coat will grow back in normally -- sometimes, in older dogs, the outer coat never really returns to normal!
The better plan is to bathe and brush your pup regularly to help his fur function the way it was meant to. If you don't like the shedding, there are other ways to reduce the fur all over your couch.
Stay tuned for more on the different kinds of fur and how to care for each. (See, you're becoming a better human every day!)