Various sized dogs looking at camera

Dog Coat Types

By Heather Russell-Revesz


There are hundreds of different breed types. Watch a dog show on television and you’ll see a wondrous variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. You’ll also find quite a few different coat types.

SMOOTH- AND SHORT-COATED

Short-coated (or smooth-coated) breeds have smooth, short hair that lies close to the body. Short-coated breeds tend to be popular because they rank as very easy to groom, so for pet parents who don’t have a lot of time, this type of coat is ideal. Short-coated breeds still need some grooming, though! A quick once-over with a bristle brush, like the Magic Coat® Flexi-Head Bristle Brush, a few times a week will keep that coat looking good and get rid of excess hair. Examples of short-coated breeds include:
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Greyhound
  • Labrador Retriever

MEDIUM-COATED

Medium-coated breeds have slightly longer hair than short-coated breeds. It’s typically about an inch long and may stand off slightly from the body. Medium-coated breeds require a moderate amount of brushing because mats are still able to form in their short coats. Brushing every other day with a bristle or pin brush, like the Magic Coat® Self-Cleaning Pin Brush, will usually take care of this type of coat. Some examples of medium-coated breeds include:
  • Border Collie
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever

LONG-COATED

Long-coated breeds have hair that can reach the floor! These breeds are often the ultimate show dogs, with their long, flowing locks floating in the breeze as they trot around the ring. But with all that beauty comes an enormous amount of effort. Long-haired breeds kept in show coat form require careful daily grooming. An unkempt long coat is not just unattractive but painful for the dog with the buildup of mats and tangles. Many people who own long-coated breeds not bound for the show ring choose to keep them in “pet cuts,” where the long hair is tastefully bobbed for much easier maintenance. Long-coated breeds include:
  • Afghan Hound
  • Shih Tzu
  • Yorkshire Terrier

WIRE-COATED

Wire coats have a harsh, wiry outer layer of rough hair. You’ll notice that the feel of these coats is quite different than the soft silkiness of a smooth or medium coat. Wire coats require a bit of maintenance beyond typical brushing. Because these coats don’t shed, you’ll need to keep them healthy and in shape by plucking out the old, dead hairs. Many pet parents leave this task to a professional groomer. Wire-coated breeds include:
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier

CURLY-COATED

Curly-coated breeds have hair ranging from soft waves to tight curls. Because the type of curls varies, there is no single way to groom them. Some are kept in tight clips, others in a looser wave, and some even grow into cords! Professional grooming for this type of coat is usually necessary. Examples of curly-coated breeds include:
  • Bichon Frise
  • Curly-Coated Retriever
  • Poodle

HAIRLESS

Although not very common, some breeds are considered hairless. They usually have a fine down on their body but no hair to speak of. While this makes grooming tasks much simpler, the hairless coat needs extra protection from the weather. Examples of hairless breeds include:

  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Chinese Crested
  • Xoloitzcuintle 

  • Four Paws®, Magic Coat®, and Wee-Wee® products are available at major pet stores everywhere in the U.S. Please check with your local retailer for product availability near you.