When choosing a dog for you or your family, one of the big factors is coat type–how much shedding are you prepared to deal with? Do you want to avoid dogs that shed the most, or is a long coat appealing to you? Labrador retrievers, with their short coats, may seem like a good option for those who want to avoid dog hair all over their furniture. But do Labradors shed?
Because the Labrador retriever is known for its agility in the water, the breed has a very thick coat to protect it from both cold weather and cold water. So, it’s likely that your Lab will shed more than you’d expect judging by the Lab’s appearance.
Although it’s obvious that certain dogs shed more than others, it may surprise you how much shorthaired dogs actually shed. Dogs with double coats–both an inner coat and an outer coat–whether long or short, shed more than dogs with a single coat. Double-coated dogs typically were bred for colder climates, like the Akita, Alaskan malamute, or American Eskimo dog.
A Lab’s inner coat is short and dense to keep the dog warm, even when swimming, and the outer coat is longer and helps keep the dog free of dirt and water. This outer coat helps repel moisture, so the Lab can stay warmer longer. Your Lab has its own water-repellent jacket, which is why this breed is especially good at hunting and retrieving waterfowl.
Luckily, there are many Labrador shedding solutions at your disposal to keep you and your dog happy and healthy. Using the right comb or brush on your Lab, bathing regularly, and having the right cleaning supplies for your home are all important factors to help you with your Labrador shedding issues.
To see our recommendation on the best way to conquer shedding, check out: Labrador Shedding: 3 Must-Have Items to Conquer It
Labrador shedding season
Dogs usually moult twice or three times a year–once in spring and once during the end of fall, when winter is near. These are the periods when you will see the most hair around your house, and it’s crucial to brush your dog around these dog moulting seasons.
If you have a Lab puppy, be prepared for a big moulting when the dog is becoming an adult. Just like we lose our baby teeth to get our adult teeth, puppies shed their softer puppy coat to grow in their coarser, more protective adult coat.
Note that even in the heat of summer, you should never shave your Labrador retriever. You may think you are doing your Lab a favor by getting rid of the extra hair, but in fact the dog’s body temperature is controlled partially by its hair, and removing a layer disrupts the dog’s body temperature and ability to protect itself against moisture.
Golden retriever shedding and longhaired Labrador shedding
Golden retrievers, closely related to the Labrador retriever, and other longhaired Labradors may appear to shed more than shorthaired Labs. But you may be surprised to find that dogs that shed the most are not always longhaired dogs. But because longhaired dogs obviously have a longer outer coat, their hair is much more obvious and recognizable than shorthaired dogs. Just like a yellow Lab’s coat may show up more obviously on your dark furniture, longer hair is going to have a more prevalent appearance in your home than short hair.
Using the below grooming advice for Labs and retrievers, whether shorthaired or longhaired, will help you keep your Lab’s coat clean and fresh, and your home free of unwanted dog hair.
It’s important to keep up with grooming your Lab, especially during Lab shedding season, as noted above. Grooming may sound difficult and time consuming at first, like something you can only pay professionals for. But keep in mind that Labrador grooming it’s actually quite simple to do at home.
Start with the right comb or brush. Labs need a high-quality bristle body brush to really get into their double coat and clean it. Also try a brush specific to shedding, like an undercoat rake, which helps get rid of all excess hair during shedding season. These rakes, or combs, have longer bristles to get down deep into the fur to get rid of all the dead hair that would eventually end up on your furniture and floor. Especially during Lab shedding season, be sure to use this brush once a week on your dog, and clean up the hair with a vacuum or broom right after you brush.
FURminator (as pictured above) is a popular brand of combs and brushes for dogs. We recommend using the FURminator Undercoat de-shedding tool for Large Dogs (Amazon link) no more than once per week, supplemented with a light brush using the Curry Comb for Dogs, both of which help get rid of dead hair in their coats. Over use can end up hurting dogs, so be mindful of that when using these yourself at home.
Other Labrador shedding solutions
Of course having outdoor-only Labs will keep unwanted dog hair off of your furniture and floors, but given their trainability and temperament, that is an unlikely solution for most! So here are more tips for keeping your dog’s coat and your place clean:
Aside from grooming your dog with a brush each week, also consider giving your dog baths every other week at most, but preferably once a month. If your Lab is outdoors most of the day, or if you’re returning from a special day out, a regular warm water rinse is preferred if it hasn’t been at least two weeks since the last bath. Too much soaping up can have a negative effect on your baby’s skin, so we’d like to avoid that at all costs. Bathing as needed and brushing your pooch regularly will keep your dog’s coat shiny and will clean away all of the dead hair underneath the coat.
Investing in high-quality cleaning supplies for your home is crucial for you to be able to keep your furniture free of hair. If you have wood floors, be sure you sweep regularly and use a wet mop. For carpets, make sure you have a good vacuum that will pick up the coarse dog hair that your Lab sheds. Many vacuums are very effective on hard floors as well, so consider investing in one if you find you have excess hair sitting around building dust bunnies.
See Related: Labrador Shedding: 3 Must-Have Items to Conquer It
The right food
Many dog owners know that the right diet for your dog has a huge impact on the health of their coats. Talk to your veterinarian about the right food for your dog, especially during Labrador shedding season. Your vet may even suggest certain vitamin supplements, like coconut oil or fish oil, that keep your Lab’s coat shiny and healthy.
To see some of our recommended foods, check out Best Dog Foods for Labradors
So, do Labs shed? The answer is yes, but remember that shedding is manageable for any dog owner who is willing to work at it. Be sure to use the right combs or brushes on your dog, and groom them regularly to get rid of excess hair. This is especially pertinent when it is dog moulting season, which can occur twice or three times a year. Give your Lab regular baths and consult with your vet about the right food or vitamins for a healthy coat. Also equip your home with the right cleaning products and tools to keep your place spotless.
Using this advice, you’ll be able to live happily and dog-hair-free while allowing your dog to get rid of their unwanted dead coat hair.