The familiar Labrador may come to mind when you think retriever. But you've also got your golden-coated, flat-coated, curly-coated and the short-but-wavy-coated Chesapeake Bay retriever. There's even one from Nova Scotia who lures ducks. They all shed, but one is truly a shedding superstar.
As a dog's fur ages, it loosens and falls out to make room for new. It's a natural process and there is no way to stop it. Some breeds shed more than others and dogs with long hair often out-shed their short-haired cousins. Most dogs also shed more in the early spring and fall; this is called seasonal shedding, or "blowing the coat." Brushing your pup regularly doesn't reduce how much he sheds, but it removes and traps the loose or dead hair before it can fall and float around your house.
The Easy Keepers
The Labrador retriever is an average shedder who loses more hair in early spring and fall but typically requires brushing just once a week to clear out the dead hair before it lands on your clothes. It won't hurt, however, to have a lint roller handy for a quick couch cleanup before guests sit down. Chesapeake Bay retrievers shed enough to remind you they're dogs, but weekly brushing is enough to keep their shedding under control. Curly-coated retrievers shed very little since they have no undercoat—just crisp tight curls over most of their bodies.
The energetic Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever—who, seriously, gets his name from luring curious ducks to shore with silly antics like dragging a ball attached to a stick—has a medium-length double coat that requires weekly brushing most months. During shedding season, daily brushing will help keep your dress pants from looking like your favorite furry slippers. Flat-coated retrievers walk a fine line between moderate and heavy shedding. These cheerful pups have long fur that falls out daily as well as seasonally. Your friend will need twice-weekly brushing during the off-season and daily sessions at the start of spring and fall if you want to keep using his favorite chair in your living room.
And the Trophy Goes To
Few pups outshine a golden retriever when it comes to leaving hair behind. These lovable goofs have a thick, soft undercoat that falls out in large clumps during the seasonal shedding months. In between “blowing his coat” every spring and fall, he'll leave some hair wherever he goes. During heavy shedding time, it's best to set aside time every day to thoroughly brush and comb your golden. After that, brushing every two days will help keep the loose hair under control and tame his tangles. Get used to buying lint rollers made especially for pets—and your pants will always look like furry slippers if you're sharing your heart with a golden.
- ASPCA: Shedding
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Labrador Retriever
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Curly-Coated Retriever
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Flat-Coated Retriever
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images