Should I Shave My Great Pyrenees?

There’s no doubt that Great Pyrenees dogs are loyal and lovable in equal measure, and they make fantastic pets.

They were bred centuries ago and were originally meant to look after livestock and keep away dangerous animals so they are natural protectors.

But even as great as these dogs are, they do come with a downside. 

They are heavy shedders and their hair is likely to be found all over your house, this trait can be frustrating for some Great Pyrenees owners.

And additionally since their coat is so thick many people worry that the dogs get too hot in warmer weather.

Today’s article will be to inform you about this breed’s coat so that you know how to take care of it properly, and handle this one downside of theirs so that you can enjoy this otherwise fantastic breed.

How many coats does a Great Pyrenees have and why?

Great Pyrenees dogs have two coats, the topcoat and the undercoat.

The topcoat (which is the layer that you’ll see) is made of long and thick hair that can either be straight or wavy, and the undercoat is dense with a wooly texture.

The undercoat is grown in order to protect them from cold weather, which makes sense when you think about the fact that they were bred to live outside in potentially harsh winters.

The overcoat helps the undercoat by adding additional insulation in the cold months, but also protects the dog and keeps it cool during the warmer months after the undercoat is shed.

Does a Great Pyrenees shed their coat?

This breed is labeled as a heavy shedder for a very good reason, and you can expect them to shed quite a bit all throughout the year.

All dogs shed to some extent but you’ll be finding this breed’s hair all over the place, and unfortunately there is a time of the year where they will be shedding even more than normal.

During the springtime they will shed more than in any other season, but there is a good reason for it.

Because their undercoat is meant to keep them warm in cold weather it is best suited for the fall and winter months.

If these dogs kept their undercoat all year long they would get far too hot during the spring and summer.

So in the beginning of spring your Great Pyrenees will be shedding its undercoat in addition to its normal shedding, but this is a necessary process that’s needed to keep them comfortable.

Can I shave my Great Pyrenees?

You can technically shave your Great Pyrenees but it isn’t a good idea for several reasons.

Their coat doesn’t just protect them from cold temperatures, it also protects them from other things such as injuries while they play or even fight with other dogs, bites or stings from insects, and it keeps them from getting sunburned. 

And as far as the temperature goes, shaving them even in the summer can result in them getting too cold in certain environments including an air conditioned room.

In addition to keeping your dog warm, the double coat also keeps your dog cool in a way.

Basically a dog’s coat insulates it from cold and warm weather by trapping air close to its body, the air that is trapped will be regulated to the same temperature as your dog’s ideal body temperature. In this way, the coat is indispensable and by shaving your dog you’re interrupting its natural body functions.

Do keep in mind that although the topcoat keeps your dog insulated and helps keep your dog cool, the undercoat would get in the way of this.

Although the undercoat is naturally shed before the summertime you can help your dog by grooming it thoroughly in order to make sure all of the undercoat is cleared out.

The undercoat is only needed for extra insulation in the winter and would be too much warmth in the summer.

So although you can shave your Great Pyrenees you probably shouldn’t, and there are other ways to manage shedding and keep your dog cool which we’ll be discussing after we go into a few more details about why shaving them isn’t a good idea.

Will a shaved coat grow back?

The coat will grow back after you shave it, but it could take a while.

This means that if you shave your Great Pyrenees in the warmer months it may not have the time it needs to grow back for the winter.

This will leave your dog with no way to stay warm during the colder months which could be really damaging.

It is way more difficult to keep a Great Pyrenees warm without their coat than to keep them cool with it. Allow me to explain…

Are dogs cooler when shaved?

It seems like a given that a dog would feel cooler without all that fur, but actually the fur doesn’t really affect their temperature at all.

And in fact by shaving a Great Pyrenees you could actually make them warmer instead of cooler because they don’t have any insulation.

And the insulation that their coat provides helps keep them warm, but also keeps them cool.

So if you shave your dog to keep them cool then you may actually be doing the exact opposite.

How to keep your dog cool in hot weather?

In order to keep your Great Pyrenees, or any dog for that matter, cool during the warmer months you basically just need to make sure that their coat is working at its maximum efficiency. To achieve this you’ll need to make sure to do several things. Firstly keep your dog’s coat brushed out as this will prevent matting and let the air circulate freely. And secondly you’ll need to keep your dog’s hair trimmed on the stomach, legs, and paws. It’s especially important to keep the paws trimmed because dog’s sweat glands are located on their paws and you don’t want anything blocking those glands.

To cool your dog down temporarily while you could consider giving it a cool bath. And of course make sure that your dog always has cool water available. If you can, also try to avoid taking your dog out for walks during the warm parts of the day and absolutely never leave them in a car alone.

How can I untangle matted fur?

If your dog does form some mats then you can untangle it safely with your fingers to a certain point then take over with a comb. You never want to use scissors as there is a high risk of cutting your dog by accident and this is obviously painful for your dog, it could also cause an infection if you don’t notice it. You can also get an oil-based detangling spray to help with the process, this will be helpful once you start combing the mats after you’ve used your fingers to break them up a bit. After you’ve combed out some of the mats you can also use a slicker brush to finish out the routine and make sure all the mats are gone. You want to make sure to be gentle during this whole process since the pulling of the mats could be potentially painful for your furry friend and you want to make the experience as pleasant as possible for both of you. 

How can I stop my Great Pyrenees from shedding?

So we’ve discussed the cooling part of why you might want to shave your Great Pyrenees, but what about if you’re concerned about the shedding. Let’s get into that now…

Unfortunately there is no real way to keep a Great Pyrenees from shedding. If a dog is prone to shedding then you really can’t stop it, and it’s something that comes along with this breed. They’re more than worth the trouble of the extra hair in your home though, and the good news is that you can cut down on the shedding if you follow the grooming practices listed above in the article. Brushing your dog’s fur will help a great deal as it will keep them from scratching as often and loosening even more hair in the process. So it’s a good idea if you’re worried about shedding to spend at least half an hour a week working on your dog’s coat.

Why do some dogs shed excessively?

The reasoning behind why some breeds of dogs shed more than others are varied to say the least. It really depends from case to case and breed to breed why some dogs shed more than others. Individually speaking, some of the reasons why your dog may be shedding more than normal could be related to diet, stress, or a less than ideal grooming routine among other things.

Great Pyrenees dogs shed a lot because of the amount of hair they have, and also because they have a double coat. Anytime a dog has a double coat you can expect a lot of shedding from them.

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To summarize the main points in this article, Great Pyrenees dogs are heavy shedders and there isn’t much you can do about it aside from keep good and healthy grooming practices and knowing when to expect the worst of it. You shouldn’t shave your dog for a few different reasons and should stick with alternative forms of cooling them down as shaving isn’t the most effective anyway. And finally… even though your Great Pyrenees will shed a lot this dog breed is still very much worth it and will soon win your heart with it’s loyalty, loving attitude, and beautiful coat.