One of the main concerns of dog owners with lush, medium to long coats like the Australian Shepherd is shedding.
However, with the right knowledge of the Aussie’s shedding, this should not be too much of a problem.
Since shedding is a normal physical occurrence in dogs, this can not be prevented but can be managed. Hence, it is best to equip yourself with the right items and the proper approach to handling this condition.
This article should give you an edge in managing Aussie shedding as it tackles topics such as how much and how often Australian Shepherds shed and how to deal with it effectively.
How Much Do Australian Shepherds Really Shed?
Australian Shepherds’ double-layer coats, which consist of medium-length hair, cause them to shed heavily and frequently. Though Aussies shed all year round, they go through a process of heavy coat-blowing twice a year during the spring and fall.
This seasonal heavy shedding period in Australian Shepherds happens when they transition from their winter fur to their summer fur.
During this period, the dense undercoat of the Australian Shepherd sheds a lot, so expect a lot of time not just with grooming your Aussie’s coat but also with vacuuming and cleaning your furniture.
Are There Australian Shepherds That Don’t Shed?
There is no exemption to Australian Shepherd shedding. All Aussies shed their thick double-coat structures.
However, like other breeds with the same coat type, some Aussie dogs may shed more or less than others.
Further, this heavy shedding in Aussies exists regardless of their gender coat colors, such as their blue merle, red merle, black, and tri-color variants, and their mixes that inherit their coat type.
On the other hand, if you have a short-haired or a toy version of the Australian Shepherd, expect its shedding to be less than how the standard Aussie sheds due to its shorter coat and smaller body size respectively.
Australian Shepherd Shedding Season: Do Aussies Shed All Year Round?
Yes, Aussies shed year-round, although they blow their coat heavily during the spring and fall.
When the climate becomes hotter, the dense undercoat of the Aussie blows out, leaving only the top coat. This allows the dog to keep their body temperature cool.
On the other hand, as the cold season approaches, it develops a winter coat where the undercoat sheds less to insulate the Aussie’s skin, keeping its body warm.
Furthermore, even with the excess shedding of the Australian Shepherd due to seasonal changes, its coarse yet weatherproof and water-resistant topcoat does not shed at all.
This top or outer coat is responsible for protecting this herding dog breed from insects, dirt, harsh UV rays, and direct heat from the sun.
How to Reduce the Shedding
Australian Shepherd shedding is a natural phenomenon that cannot be prevented. It is actually healthy for the Australian Shepherd’s coat to shed as it gives out a fresh set of dog hair.
However, it is understandable that this heavy shedder might also cause inconvenience for you, as it leaves hair all over the place.
Hence, it is very beneficial to know how to reduce Australian Shepherd shedding to keep your dog’s coat easier to manage.
Australian Shepherd owners must pay attention to the following tips on how to address the shedding habits of their dogs:
1. Regular brushing
The Australian Shepherd requires regular and consistent brushing to lessen the instances of loose fur that may otherwise cause allergic reactions in humans.
Using the right tools, like the pin brush, slicker brush, and undercoat rake, will help reduce shedding, distribute natural oils, and make your pup’s skin glow.
2. Bathe at the right frequency
Bathing your Australian Shepherd too frequently will strip it of its natural oils that are essential to prevent skin irritation and other skin illnesses.
Should this happen, expect more dog hair to shed in the irritated part of its body, especially if your dog keeps scratching the area.
Further, avoid dog shampoos that have harsh chemicals that can cause more harm to your dog’s skin, making it lose more fur.
3. Proper nutrition
Your dog’s food intake is a critical aspect that affects its shedding. Feeding your Australian Shepherd foods rich in protein and high-quality ingredients should keep your dog’s hair healthy and reduce its hair loss.
Similarly, knowing what foods may or may not be given to your Aussie Shepherd in relation to its coat quality is critical to keeping shedding to a minimal level.
Feeding Aussies nutritious food should not be difficult, especially since they are not considered as not picky eaters.
4. Provide supplements
On top of your dog’s diet, giving your Australian Shepherd essential supplements such as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids is beneficial to your dog’s skin and coat health, apart from its positive effects on your dog’s brain, heart, and joints.
Fish oils contain a good amount of these omega fatty acids that promote the silky smooth texture of dog fur.
5. Make sure your Australian Shepherd is always hydrated
Not enough moisture or hydration can cause dog hair to become dry and brittle, which will result in more breakage and, therefore, more shedding.
Ensure that your dog has access to clean drinking water the entire day to avoid dry skin and dehydration.
6. Do not shave your Australian Shepherd
The double-layered coat of your Australian Shepherd serves a purpose; that is to protect your dog from extreme weather conditions and foreign elements.
Shaving its coat entirely exposes it to these external elements, and it will not even stop shedding at all. So unless it is due to a medical condition, keep your Aussie’s double coat intact and groom it regularly.
7. Ensure your dog’s overall health
Certain health conditions, especially those that affect your dog’s skin, can make it shed more than usual.
To prevent this, make it a habit to visit your vet on a regular basis to catch these illnesses at the onset before they become worse.
As you employ these strategies to minimize shedding in Australian Shepherds, these will also boost your pet’s overall health and well-being.
Dealing With Shedding in the House
The experience of having an Australian Shepherd at home is the same as having other double-coated heavy shedding dog breeds, like the Labrador Retriever and the Siberian Husky — excess hair everywhere!
Nonetheless, regardless of how frequently this dog sheds, taking an Aussie home is a risk for allergy sufferers since it is not a hypoallergenic breed.
Hence, owning an Aussie comes with the big responsibility of cleaning your home and your surroundings every now so that your family and even your pet will not suffer from the effects of shedding.
To start, vacuuming is one of the most basic yet most efficient methods of getting rid of loose hair on your floor, carpets, and furniture, especially if your dog always stays in your bedroom, living room, or kitchen.
There are specialized vacuums with brushes and filters designed for collecting fur, which makes this task much easier for owners of heavy-shedding dog breeds.
Deep cleaning your carpets, rugs, linens, and sheets is also an effective way to keep your fabrics at home free from loose hair, irritants, and allergens. This also ensures these materials are safe and comfortable for your use.
Having a stock of lint rollers should also help you get rid of stubborn loose hair that sticks to your clothes whenever you cuddle or play with your precious Aussies.
Another way to manage the heavy shedding of a non-hypoallergenic dog breed in your home is to choose furniture or flooring that is easier to clean and maintain.
Leather, microfiber, and wood are a few of the durable yet easy-to-clean materials that you can consider for your furniture. Not only are they easy to wipe, but they can also resist punctures from your pet’s claws too.
When it comes to flooring, tile or marble is a very good option that can help you easily see loose dog fur and pick it up or sweep it away. These types of flooring work best in washing dog pee and poop as well.
Aside from these, owners of other breeds that shed a lot also suggest premium vinyl and laminate flooring as excellent options for their homes to maintain cleanliness.
Lastly, the use of air purifiers is also recommended if you have pets at home. This is very helpful in eliminating pet odors, dander, and even dog hair.
Factors That Can Cause Abnormal Shedding
If you notice your Australian Shepherd suddenly change its shedding behavior, lose more fur than it usually does, and you see uneven hair loss or bald spots across its body, you should be alarmed.
This is often an indication that there might be a more serious underlying reason behind the abnormal shedding.
Here are some factors that may cause abnormal shedding in your furbaby and how to deal with it:
Australian Shepherds tend to be close to their owners, so they develop separation anxiety when left alone for long periods.
The tension and nervousness they feel when this happens may lead to excessive shedding, but it is just temporary. Crate training is effective in easing their emotions of being left alone.
This type of reaction can also occur when there is a change in routine or family dynamics that can cause them to stress out, like the arrival of a new family member or a new pet.
Parasites or Allergies
Parasite infestations caused by mites, ticks, and fleas can lead to uneven shedding across your dog’s body and can even leave scabs that they may continue to lick or scratch, pulling out more hair in the process.
Skin allergies in dogs may also have the same hair-loss effect on their coats. It is best to consult with your veterinarian to relieve them of these parasites and allergies and bring back their normal hair growth.
Changing your Aussie’s eating routine or its dog food may not just be stressful for your pet; it might also trigger certain allergic reactions to some ingredients.
These allergens may include certain types of grains, potatoes, peas, and more, which can cause alopecia in your pet. You may also need to involve your veterinarian to relieve your dog from its food allergy.
An underlying health problem is a more serious culprit of heavy hair loss in your Australian Shepherd.
Aside from the usual allergies and parasites, hormonal imbalances can often lead to excessive shedding as well. You may also notice your dog having clumps of falling hair or red paws along with this condition.
Cancer is another medical issue that can cause unusual shedding for your pet.
No matter the cause of your dog’s excessive shedding, it is best to partner with your trusted veterinarian to address the issue the fastest way possible.
Not only will it avoid the inconvenience of even heavier shedding, but it will also prevent your dog’s condition from worsening.
How to Groom Your Australian Shepherd at Home
Regular grooming will not stop shedding from happening. However, this is an effective way to get rid of excess, damaged, and dead hair and maintain your Aussie’s overall coat health.
In terms of bathing, the Aussie’s water-repellant coat might only need one every two to three months. Doing this more often may strip it of its natural oils, leading to dry skin.
Make sure to dry your Aussie properly with a clean towel and a high-velocity dryer. This ensures that there are no damp spots left in your Aussie’s body that may be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Next, brushing once or twice a week is enough to maintain the overall quality of your pet’s skin and fur. Use an undercoat rake to remove mats and tangles in the Aussie’s dense undercoat.
On the other hand, a slicker brush is more effective as you detangle the fur on the Aussie’s toes, legs, face, and tail.
Further, trimming your Australian Shepherd’s coat is also effective in removing loose hair. This also helps avoid matting in your dog’s coat, making them more comfortable.
If you do not have the expertise or the right tools for trimming, you may bring your dog to a professional groomer. You just need to ensure that you include this in your maintenance costs for your Aussie.
Aside from this, make sure to clean your dog’s ears regularly and check for the presence of ear mites. This may cause scratching and hair loss at the back of your dog’s ears if not treated right away.
You may refer to this guide on grooming an Australian Shepherd for more detailed grooming steps and tips to help you enjoy this moment with your pet.
If you are a visual learner, here is a video of how to effectively groom Australian Shepherds for your reference:
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Australian Shepherds Shed More Than Golden Retrievers?
Although Australian Shepherds have the same double coat as Golden Retrievers, they do not shed as heavily as Golden Retrievers do.
However, maintaining a good brushing routine of once or twice a week should be an effective way of making sure that their shedding is maintained at a manageable level.
Are Australian Shepherds Low Maintenance?
Given that Australian Shepherds undergo heavy coat blowing twice a year aside from their year-round shedding, they are not easy to maintain.
Australian Shepherd owners need to dedicate time and cost not just to grooming their pets but also to the maintenance of their homes to make them safe and comfortable for living.
Do Mini Australian Shepherds Shed?
The coats of Mini Australian Shepherds are no different than the coat of the standard Aussie. They also shed twice a year heavily and constantly shed all year long.
Hence, you may apply the same principles discussed in this guide to minimize shedding in case you have a mini version of the Australian Shepherd.
What Coat Type Do Australian Shepherds Have?
Australian Shepherds are double-coated dogs that consist of a topcoat that protects them from severe weather conditions and outside elements and a soft layer of dense undercoat that serves as their insulation.
The undercoat is responsible for the heavy shedding as it adjusts accordingly to seasonal changes, while the topcoat remains intact all year round.
Are Australian Shepherds Hypoallergenic?
No, Australian Shepherds are not hypoallergenic. Their thick double coats may carry a lot of dander and allergens. They would also leave behind a ton of loose hair on your flooring and furniture since they shed a lot.
Hence, this breed is not advisable for families with members who suffer from allergies.
Do Australian Shepherds Smell?
Although all dogs may tend to smell, especially if not bathed or groomed consistently and properly, the Australian Shepherd is not known to develop a strong dog odor.
The reason for this is that Australian Shepherds do not secret as much oil from their oil glands, which contributes to the specific odor that dogs have.
Dealing with shedding is one of the most uncomfortable aspects of being a fur parent, especially if you own a double-coated breed like the Australian Shepherd.
Hence, getting this dog means you are also committing yourself to the responsibilities of regularly grooming your Aussie and getting rid of loose hair in all areas of your house and even in your clothes and furniture.
Coincidentally, dealing with the heavy shedding of this very sweet, adorable, and intelligent breed also establishes a stronger bond or connection between you and your pet.
Do you own an Australian Shepherd? We would love to hear about your experience with how much your Aussie sheds and how you deal with it. Please let us know by leaving a comment below!