Which Dog Breeds Have Double Coats?

By Laura Payne

There are many breeds of dogs in all shapes and sizes who have double coats. A double coat is made up of an outer layer of long, smooth guard hairs and an undercoat of thick, fuzzy hairs. The undercoat protects a dog against the extreme temperatures of both summer and winter. The outer guard coat protects the undercoat by repelling moisture and dirt. Dogs with double coats shed their undercoats in the spring and fall each year in what is called a “coat blow.”

Working Group and Herding Group Dogs

Saint Bernard laying on grass field.

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Both working and herding group dogs were bred to perform specific chores, whether it be pulling sleds, guarding property or herding cattle. Dogs in the working group with double coats are Saint Bernards, Tibetan mastiffs, black Russian terriers, Kuvaszs, Newfoundlands, Leonbergers, Entlebucher mountain dogs, komondors, Great Pyrenees and Bernese mountain dogs.

Herding group dogs with double coats are German and Australian shepherds; rough, smooth and bearded collies; Old English, Belgian and Shetland sheepdogs; Polish lowland sheep dogs; Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh corgis; rough and smooth coat border collies; Beaucerons, Belgian malinois, Belgian tervurens, briards, bouvier des flanders, pulis, canaan dogs, Swedish vallhunds and Australian cattle dogs.

Sporting Group and Hound Group Dogs

Labrador laying on grass field.

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Dogs in the sporting group were bred to be active participants in the water and the woods for hunting and other outdoor activities. The double-coated sporting group dogs are Labrador, golden, Chesapeake Bay and Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers; American water and boykin spaniels; and wirehaired pointing griffons.

Hound group dogs also are used for hunting because they are able to track animals with their increased sense of smell. The plott hound and the otterhound each have double coats.

There is also one, nonsporting group, double coated breed, the bichon frise.

Terrier Group and Toy Group Dogs

Shih tzu laying in a flower field.

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Terrier group dogs were bred to hunt small nuisance animals on farms. The terriers with double coats are Australian, Irish, wheaten, cairn, Scottish, Lakeland, Parson Russell, Dandie Dinmont, Tibetan, Norfolk, rat, Sealyham, Skye, wirehaired fox and West Highland white terriers. The miniature schnauzer is also a member of the terrier group who is double coated.

A common place to find a toy dog is sitting on someone’s lap. Shih tzus, Pomeranians, Havanese, Yorkshire terriers, Tibetan spaniels and wirehaired fox terriers are the double coated toy group dogs.

Spitz-Type Dog Breeds

Japanese Spitz dog in grass field.

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Spitz is not an AKC recognized dog breed or dog group; it is a term used to categorize several breeds who have similar characteristics. Spitz dogs are known for their extra fluffy double coats, pointed ears, strong jaws and fluffy tails that curl upwards over their backs. Several breeds from different dog group types are considered spitz dogs. The breeds that are categorized as spitz are Alaskan and Siberian huskies; Finnish and Swedish lapphunds; German and FInnish spitz; Samoyeds, Pomeranians, Icelandic sheep dogs, Akitas, Alaskan malamuts, Chinooks, American eskimos, chow chows, keeshonds, Shiba Inus, Korean jindos, Norwegain elkhounds and Norwegian lundehunds.