When Do Terriers Go Through Coat Changes?

by Valerie A. Modreski
This West Highland terrier has a nice cool cut that will be comfortable for the summer.

This West Highland terrier has a nice cool cut that will be comfortable for the summer.

Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Mother Nature has outfitted terrier dogs with the precise coat for the climatic conditions for their region of origin. Like most dogs, terriers shed in summer and grow heavier coats for the colder months. Human intervention, and a variety of other circumstances, has interrupted this process to the degree that some dogs' physiology has changed.

Nature Made

The terrier group of dogs is the most diverse, with 30 different breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Although every kind of fur coat contingency is possible within this group, most terrier coats thicken when the climate turns cold and daylight shortens, and thin out as days become longer and warmer. Research shows, however, dogs kept mostly indoors may shed and grow new coats more frequently than dogs living outside, due to exposure to artificial light.

Groom and Groom Again

Long-haired terriers require regular grooming because they don't naturally shed. Many of their cut coifs that fit the breed standard make certain terriers easily identifiable, including the miniature schnauzer, Bedlington, Scottish and Skye terriers. Some terrier coats are so short that the only recognizable sign of fur changes is an increased amount of seasonal shedding. Because light plays a role in canine coat changes, longer periods of daylight in spring activate a shedding process that lasts four to six weeks. In fall, as the daylight hours grow shorter, many dogs may again shed their coat.

Dog's Just Wanna Have Fun

Some emotional and physical conditions can trigger changes in a terrier's fur composition. Many dog experts agree, stress and boredom can initiate a change in a dog's coat. When dogs are overly anxious for an extended period, it causes a hormonal deviation that can result in hair loss. Other than the 70 percent of the day when they are sleeping, most terriers intrinsically want to work or keep busy. When he is bored, a terrier may consistantly chew, scratch or rub various areas of his body and cause coat changes.

What's Up Doc?

Coat changes can have medical or dietary origins, as well. Lack of nutrition can result in hair loss. Dogs have nutritional requirements that have to be met to ensure a strong and healthy coat. Allergies, a reaction to medicine, or disease can also influence changes in their coats. Only a qualified veterinarian will know for sure, and hair loss is a great indicator that a dog needs to see his vet.

Photo Credits

  • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Valerie A. Modreski has been a professional writer since 1982. She studied English literature at Broward College, and has written for a variety of publications. Modreski holds certifications in canine behavior and has worked extensively in the field of obedience. She also has hands-on experience in all issues related to canine welfare, including veterinary medicine, rescue and activism.

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