Australian Shepherds are known for their beautiful coats with various patterns, colors, and lengths that catch everybody’s eye. An Aussies luxurious coat comes with a bit of extra work collecting fur around the house. But just how much do Australian Shepherds shed?
Aussies are a double-coated breed that shed moderately year-round compared to other long-haired breeds. Around spring and fall, you will begin noticing a significant increase in shedding from your Aussie as the temperatures shift.
Although they shed year-round, they shed the least amount in winter as they try to preserve as much of their undercoat as possible to stay insulated. There still will be some loose fur falling off, but not as much as you will see during fall and spring. Depending on how long your Aussies’ fur is, or how often they are groomed, the amount of fur shed will range from moderate to heavy.
What causes my Aussie to shed?
Australian Shepherds were bred to live and work in outdoor conditions where they face varying temperatures and climates year-round. They have been used as ranch dogs for herding cattle for years, and over time have adapted to cold weather with a double coat to keep them warm and dry.
Just like humans, dogs lose dead hair daily and constantly grow new hair to replace it. But Aussies have good reason to lose an additional amount of hair compared to us.
Aussies use their double coat year-round to stay warm and dry, but during spring and fall, they dramatically shed their undercoat.
As autumn shifts into winter, Aussies shed their springtime undercoat to make room for denser fur. This is commonly called “blowing their coat” and every other double-coated breed does the same routine as the seasons change. During this period, you may observe extra fur around the house, or feel it easily pull out into your hands as you pet them.
Australian Shepherds’ double coat is comparable to how we layer jackets in cold and wet weather. You can think of their undercoat as a dense insulating layer that keeps their body warm in winter temperatures, similar to how we wear baselayers in the cold.
An Aussie’s topcoat is made of coarse, longer fur that wicks off water efficiently, comparable to a rain jacket. Just like us when we get too hot in our jackets or coats, they begin to shed a layer to cool down.
Aussies can sometimes have sensitive skin so it is not uncommon for them to have skin allergies or reactions to different environments, foods, or medicines. If your Aussie is shedding an excessive amount of fur it is a good idea to get a Vets medical opinion to rule out any inflammatory issues, allergic reactions, or bacterial infections.
Note: If your female Australian Shepherd is in heat or pregnant, it is not unusual to see short-term hair loss. This is due to her hormones trying to balance out the physical changes she is experiencing. Your Aussie should be able to regenerate their hair in 1-2 months, sometimes longer, but visits with your vet can provide clarity and medication if needed.
How can I stop or at least manage my Aussie from shedding?
There isn’t a solution to stop your Australian Shepherd from shedding, but there are several ways to manage it and make seasonal coat changes easier. Read on and check out the related post Caring for an Aussie’s Coat.
If you live in an area that is warm year-round and does not experience changing seasons, you may not have as many issues with shedding since there is no need for a warmer undercoat. That being said, it depends on every Aussie and how they handle warm or cold weather so they very well could shed in a warmer climate, but learning how to manage it is key.
According to the AKC, it’s best to brush Aussies 1-3 times a week starting with an undercoat rake and finishing with a wire brush. If you only focus on the top coat, it won’t help thin out the undercoat, which sheds the most. At least a weekly brush out to remove loose fur, prevent mats and keep the skin healthy.
When they are blowing their undercoat during spring and fall, you should use a de-shedding brush to make it a smoother process. A de-shedding brush will rake out any loose or dead fur from the undercoat, as well as collect any loose fur or debris in the top coat.
Maintaining a bathing routine for your Aussie will benefit their coat, skin, and smell and wash away any free-standing fur. It is recommended to bathe your Aussie about once a month, but since Aussies are so active and enjoy the outdoors you may find yourself bathing or rinsing them off more often. Many groomers recommend monthly grooming visits on a recurring date that will keep your Aussies coat maintainable and clean.
Depending on the Aussie and their particular sensitivities, bathing more than twice a month may be too often as it can strip the natural oils from their fur. Aussies are known to have sensitive skin so using natural shampoos with oatmeal or vet recommended products can help soothe their skin during bath time.
Talk to your veterinarian about a proper diet and/or supplements that can assist in maintaining a healthy and shiny coat year-round for your dog. Food that is rich in Omega three and fatty acids will give your Aussie the nutrients it needs to grow a healthy coat. Giving your Aussie supplements and food will not solve shedding issues, but it will certainly aid in a healthy coat making easier shedding cycles.
Australian Shepherds striking colors and flowing coats will catch anybody’s attention, but owning one is a different story. Although they shed moderately compared to other breeds, you can still expect weekly coat management and daily shedding during fall and spring. Aussie’s dense undercoat and beautiful topcoat must be managed with brushing and grooming, bathing, and proper nutrition.
If you stick to a weekly grooming routine and prepare for Aussie coat blowout seasons, you will have an easier time maintaining their gorgeous coats.