You may be looking at your Australian Shepherd one day, only to realize that he isn’t as fluffy as other Aussies you’ve seen. It turns out, that coat “fluffiness” can be affected by a few different things. This article will cover the possible reasons why your Australian Shepherd isn’t fluffy, and what you can do about it.
Why isn’t my Australian Shepherd fluffy? The most likely reason why your Australian Shepherd isn’t fluffy will be due to blood lineage and breeding. Aussies that come from a family of show dogs tend to be more fluffy compared to an Aussie coming from a working dog family.
This, including more reasons, will be explained below.
Are Australian Shepherds Supposed To Be Fluffy?
Australian Shepherds have thick double-coats that are usually long in length. This, however, varies and can sometimes be somewhat short.
The undercoat is thick, soft, and fluffy. This layer sits on top of the skin and is the layer that sheds usually twice per year (depending on the climate where you live). The undercoat is certainly the softest fur that the Aussie has, but this is mostly hidden and covered by the topcoat.
The topcoat is the outermost coat that we can physically see. The topcoat is always more coarse and rigid than the undercoat and is usually referred to as “guard hairs”. The topcoat on males is usually more frilly around the neck and front legs compared to the females.
Aussies can have a wide range of coat colors, but this does not affect the coat texture or its fluffiness.
So, are Australian Shepherds supposed to be fluffy? Well, no, not really. The double coat of an Australian Shepherd naturally ranges with its finish, some being fluffy and others, quite coarse. Not all Aussies have naturally fluffy coats.
Why Isn’t My Australian Shepherd Fluffy?
The question that brought you here! Let’s get to it. If you’re like most Aussie owners, you assume that your Aussie should be fluffy, but it may not be the case.
Check out the following reasons why your Aussie may not be fluffy. After that, I’ll run through some best practices to keep his coat healthy and strong.
1. Genes ⭐
Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about this one, but it’s likely going to be the main factor as to whether your Aussie’s coat is fluffy or not.
It’s normal not to be familiar with the parents of your Aussie, but the answer lies there.
If the parents of your Aussie were both working dogs, potentially living outside, or at least spending the majority of their days outside, their coat will develop to be tougher, stronger, and more weather-resistant. This physical trait is very likely to pass on down to offspring.
However, if there are any show dogs anywhere in your Aussie’s family lineage, you have a stronger chance of his coat being fluffy and soft. Show dogs are known for having extremely soft, fluffy, well-groomed coats.
2. Diet and nutrition ⭐
Diet and nutrition play a huge role in the overall health of your Aussie’s skin and coat.
There is certainly a chance that your Aussie’s coat isn’t as fluffy, shiny, or healthy as could be, due to an issue with their diet or nutrition.
Working dogs like Aussies thrive off a diet that’s high in protein, medium to high fats, and low carbohydrates. The quality of the dog food is SUPER important and varies dramatically depending on the brand.
On top of using premium dog food where the ingredients are as fresh as possible, the actual food needs to agree with your Aussie too. It’s true that even the best brands don’t work well with some dogs. So it’s important that your Aussie really suits the food, and this is just a matter of trial and error.
Ensure the diet is high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, and especially omega 3, which will provide your Aussie with the best chance of having a healthy coat.
Our recommendation: Orijen Original Six Fish. This is perhaps one of the best foods on the market, and due to the use of whole oily fish, it contains a lot of healthy fats, omega 3’s omega 6’s, and DHA, which again, are excellent for skin and coat health.
Recommended Read: Do Australian Shepherds Have Sensitive Stomachs? Vet Advice
3. Grooming ⭐
Double-coats require a lot of attention and manual work on your part. Let me explain the key points…
It’s not so much bathing you should be worried about, and in fact, over-bathing may be causing you some issues. The ideal bathing frequency for Australian Shepherds is only 3-4 times per year (or even less). Bathing more than this increases the chances of drying out your Aussie’s skin and coat, leaving it dry, dull, and not fluffy!
Oh, and you should only ever use a natural ingredient dog shampoo, anything else is a no-no!
Brushing is super important and should be around 3-4 times per week.
Many people make the mistake of putting off brushing until they absolutely have to, and then try to give their dog a 1-hour session. Brushing is MUCH more effective doing it little and often, so three to four, 20-minute sessions per week, is much more productive than one single brushing session for longer.
Brushing will help keep old dry, dead, and dull fur out of the coat, often giving the appearance of a fresh coat. This could improve the fluffiness after a while of consistent brushing.
Brushing also acts as a gentle massage, stimulating healthy oil production from the skin. Natural oils found in the skin and coat are essential for a healthy, shiny, and strong coat.
This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag | www.thepuppymag.com
Recommended Read: When Do Australian Shepherds Go Into Heat? FAQs + Breeding
Can You Make Your Australian Shepherd’s Coat Fluffier?
Fluffy coats are desirable, they look better and it makes your Aussie more cuddly, so is there a way you can improve the fluffiness?
Although you may be able to improve coat health and quality, there is no guaranteed method to make your Aussie’s coat genuinely fluffy.
But here are some tips to help you keep your Aussie’s coat as healthy as possible.
● Have a proper brushing routine:
As outlined above, a brushing routine is super important to remove dead fur from the undercoat as well as stimulating blood flow to the skin and encouraging natural oil to spread throughout the coat. This all plays an important part in overall coat health and appearance.
● Make fish (ideally salmon) as their main protein source:
Skip on the chicken, beef, lamb, or pork and opt for a dog food that uses fish as the main protein source. This usually digests better plus there will be a higher content of healthy fats, especially omega 3 and DHA’s. These are essential for skin and coat health
● Don’t bathe him as much:
Keep bathing to no more than 3 or 4 times per year, and when you do bathe him, use a natural ingredient dog shampoo only. Other shampoos, even regular pet shampoo contain harsh chemicals that strip the skin and coat from their natural oils.
● Keep exercise high:
Aussies are a high-energy working breed and require 1-2 hours of exercise per day. Ensuring that you keep his exercise high will keep his body fit and healthy. Overall health plays a huge part in skin and coat health.
Recommended Read: Can You Leave Australian Shepherds Home Alone?
One Thing You Should NOT Do!
Although this is now widely accepted, there are still some groomers who advocate shaving or trimming a double-coated breed. This really shouldn’t be done!
The double-coat plays important roles in both summer and winter for any breed that has one. It’s a common misconception to think that shaving will allow the dog to feel cooler. This just isn’t true.
The undercoat and the topcoat are both crucial for the health of your Aussie and shaving it could compromise that. UV blocking, insect bite preventing, skin protection, the list goes on and on.
The undercoat grows back faster than the topcoat. So when you shave the two coats together, the undercoat quickly starts to regrow before the topcoat, which leads to matting. Matting prevents air flow, leads to overheating, and many more issues.
Just don’t trim your Aussies coat, and you’ll be good!
Recommended Read: Are Australian Shepherd Puppies Hard To Train?
Australian Shepherds are not all supposed to be fluffy. Their coat has a range of textures from soft, fluffy, coarse, and even quite bristly.
Genes and blood lineage are what effects coat finish the most, and unfortunately, nothing can be done about that.
As long as you’re keeping your Aussie’s coat healthy and strong, it doesn’t really matter that much whether it’s fluffy or not. There is no “incorrect” coat finish.
⭐ Thanks for reading!
⭐ Be sure to our The Puppy Mag’s other Australian Shepherd articles!
Most Recommended For Australian Shepherds
Best Brushes For Shedding ⭐
No matter how much you brush your Aussie, if you aren’t using the correct brushes, you’re not getting the most out of each session! A simple Undercoat Rake and a Slicker Brush are by far the two best brushes to handle shedding.
Best Online Training Program⭐
Brain Training For Dogs has become increasingly popular with Australian Shepherds in the last few years. It’s now recognized as perhaps the best way to train your Aussie in the most stress-free, positive way.
Best Low-Calorie Treats ⭐
Switch out the calorie-dense dog treats and opt for something healthier. Zuke’s Mini Naturals contain only 2 calories per treat and made from natural ingredients, making these some of the healthiest treats on the market.