Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Does a Labrador Retriever need a Haircut

This e-mail was sent in to me by Cherie (USA). Cherie owns a 1 year 10 month old black Labrador Retriever who goes by the name of Jake, which is her first Lab owned.

Readers Email - Cherie Writes

Hi. We have a beautiful black Lab, 1 yr. 10 mos., that we adore. Have never owned a Lab, let alone a dog. Thus, we have a question (hope it does not sound stupid): Does a Labrador Retriever ever need a haircut? Thanks much! Cherie

All About Labradors Answer

Hello Cherie,

Thank you for writing and visiting the All About Labradors blog.

First off let me say, there is NO such thing as a stupid question. Congratulations on owning your first dog, and especially your first Labrador Retriever!

To help with your question, I need you to please answer the following questions:

What you say haircut, what are we talking about (shaving, trimming)?

Where areas on your Labrador Retriever do you want to cut?

Why do you think your Labrador Retriever needs a haircut? Is it because of the shedding?

Is he/she a show dog?

What is your Labradors name?

With all the email questions I receive, I always ask a favor of the person writing. If you have any photos of your Labrador Retriever, that you could email me, I would love to post them to All About Labradors and/or Labrador Retriever Pictures blog. A picture IS NOT required to get an answer to your question. I just like to post photos with the questions asked. I am also going to be starting a Labrador photo contest with monthly prizes.

Talk to you soon,

Cherie's Response

Hi Fay,

Thanks for responding. I have attached a few pictures of my furry baby Jake! He is so incredibly precious. He constantly makes us laugh and has the power to turn a bad day into a good one with just a wag of his tail, which never stops! The whole family is madly in love with him.

We give him a shower ourselves, but I was just wondering if Labs, like other dogs, get their hair cut or trimmed. We don't have a desire to give him a haircut; I was just wondering if we are supposed to! Yes, he shreds an incredible amount, but we just consider it a part of owning a dog. fits right in with the shedding from our 2 cats, William and Lewis!

I plan to visit for site for tips, etc...It's a lot of fun to be friends with others who own Labs. Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

All About Labradors Answer

Hi Cherie,

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

Thanks for being patient waiting for your reply, and thanks so much for the wonderful pictures of baby Jake. He is just so cute!!!

To answer your question about cutting Jake's hair, the answer is no. Trimming of your Labs coat is unnecessary (although I do know of show competitors who do try to tidy up their Labrador Retrievers). I have also seen Labs that have been shaved (will get to this big NO in a minute).

Instead of hair cutting or shaving what you want to do is groom thoroughly.

Labrador Retrievers shed year round and then twice a year (spring and fall), they "Blow Coat", with the hair coming out in CLUMPS.

I like to brush/groom mine about twice a week to help keep them clean. You will probably have to brush Jake more when he is blowing his coat. Successful tools are a slicker brush or shedding blade. I also like to use a bristle brush as it helps distribute the oils in your Labrador's coat, and it’s not stressful on their skin. Many fellow Labrador owners love a product called the Zoom Groom (it's a rubber brush with flexible rubber "fingers" that help to collect loose hairs), made by Kong. I myself keep meaning to purchase this to give it a try.

I'm also experimenting with a tool called the Furminator which I’ve been using for a few weeks, and I do like it, but wouldn't use it all the time. I will be posting my thoughts on this tool soon on the All About Labradors blog.

As far as shaving goes, this is a BIG DEFINITE NO, NO! Some people feel that by shaving their Labrador Retrievers, it will keep them from shedding or keep them cooler in the warm weather. What they don't realize is that the Labrador will still shed, and that the undercoat that they are shaving actually helps to keep your Labrador Retriever cool. The only time your Lab will need to be shaved is if your veterinarian needs to for "Hot Spots", in which case all the fur covering and immediately surrounding the lesion must be shaved, or for some other surgical procedures.

Here is a good article for you to take a look at: Why you shouldn't shave your long haired double coated dog.

As far as bathing Jake goes, I recommend it only be done when absolutely needed. The only time I bath my Labrador Retrievers is if they if they rolled around in something offensive or something has caused them to smell horrible (which means I bath them very, very seldom). Sometimes, it not even a full bath, it might just be a spot bath.

Shampooing them too often will tend to strip the natural oils from their coats, as a properly oily coat will repel dirt and shed water easily. If you brush then regularly, it will keep them clean.

It's great to read letters from the readers of this blog and hear the love that a Labrador provides. You couldn't be more correct with your statement “he constantly makes us laugh and has the power to turn a bad day into a good one with just a wag of his tail ". No matter what kind of day I could have, or the members of my family could have, I can always count on my Lab girls to make us all smile!

If you have any other questions on this matter or anything else, now or in the future, please don't hesitate to e-mail me.

One last thing Cherie, it sure is great being friends with other Labrador Retrievers owners. I receive so many beautiful letters from fellow Lab owners like you and get to share many wonderful stories and advice. Last but not least, I've just added Cherie as another friend.

Thank you for enjoying the blog and remember I'm just a click away.

Take care of yourself and Jake

Cherie's Response

Hi Fay!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all the wonderful advice! I just printed your email and plan to buy the correct brushes for Jake tomorrow. I have been using a shedding blade; he thinks grooming is a big game!

I also plan to read the article later. You have been incredibly helpful. I NEVER considered shaving him and NEVER would. When we got him, the breeder had shaved him (it was August), and Jakey did not look too happy. That's partly why I grabbed him up...wanted to bring him home and cheer him up. He is now a big bunch of shedding black fur, and that is fine with us! :)
I had heard that they fur keeps them cool as well as warm and it needed. Thanks for confirming what I heard.

I will keep in touch and plan to visit your site often to share stories, get advice, share advice, and just have fun.

I will talk to you soon. Where do you live? I too feel as if I've met a very nice friend and fellow Lab lover! Have a great night.


Click Jake 5/16/07, to see some photos of the way to cute, Jake


Anonymous,  June 09, 2012 6:11 PM  

Thanks so much for this information about haircut/no haircut for a lab. I to was wondering the same thing and started searching the web and came across your blog. The info was very helpful and welcomed.

Thanks again,
Linda Jones

Indira,  August 25, 2012 5:41 AM  

Hi, Im owning a fawn colored lab, his name is Bhairav .. Im having a tuf time with his hair shedding thy roll into cotton ball like stuff anf keep flying all around.. the main problem is lotta fine hairs stick to me all over my dress, bag, sofa every otr thing, we do vacuum but i wantd to know if it cud be stopped, coz it doesnt happen onece or twice a year but all days!.. he still has his coat fine and intact inspite of so much hair loss. My doc said, it might be a skin infection, he wa on medicine for a while but hair shedding dint stop. My doc is asking to tri his hair, which im scared of trying. can you please suggest wat can be done.

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