Newborn puppies are born helpless. Their eyes and ears are sealed shut, they have no teeth and they are unable to walk. They are not, however, completely undeveloped as they have fur when they are born. Puppy fur develops late in the mother’s pregnancy, after the organs, limbs and skin.
Newborn puppies have coats quite unlike what they will have as adults. Most puppies are born with approximately the same color fur that they will have as adults. However, newborn puppies have soft coats that consist only of the secondary (undercoat) hairs. Newborn coats lack the longer, harder outer hairs called primary hairs, which will develop as they mature. Because they lack the primary hairs, newborn puppies have short coats regardless of how long their coats will be in adulthood.
As with any rule, there are exceptions. Hairless and semi-hairless breeds exist. Newborn puppies of these breeds are only born with hair in the areas they will have it as adults. Chinese crested dogs, for example, may only have puppy hair on their ankles, on their heads and on the tips of their tails.
- Breeding Dogs for Dummies
- PetEducation.com: Skin & Hair Anatomy & Function in Dogs
- The Puppy Dog Place: All about Hairless Dogs
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