Do Huskies Shed A Lot? Grooming Guide and Essential Tools

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
A close up of a Husky's face laid in the grass.

One of the most defining features of a Siberian Husky is its coat. Their wolf-like appearance makes them a highly sought after and easily recognisable breed, but what is it like to maintain them? And do Huskies shed a lot?

We’ve got everything you need to know, from the purpose of their iconic coats to the tools needed to care for them. If you’re hoping to adopt the breed, keep reading our guide to make sure you’re prepared for the amount of shedding you’ll need to handle.

ARE HUSKIES A DOUBLE-COATED BREED?

Before we ask whether Huskies shed a lot, we need to understand how their coats work.

Huskies are a double-coated breed which means their coats are made up of two layers.

The layer closest to the skin is called the undercoat and is made up of short, wooly fur that acts as insulation. The undercoat traps a layer of air next to the skin which helps the Husky to regulate their core temperature in both hot and cold weather.

The outmost layer is caller the topcoat and is made up of longer, tougher guard hairs. These repel moisture and dirt away from the skin to help keep the Husky clean and dry.

Huskies have developed these impressive double coats through years of evolution to help them survive in very cold climates. They are the reason that Huskies can thrive in temperatures that we would find unbearable, and is why you might find your Husky prefers to sleep outside – even if it’s raining!

As an owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your Husky’s coat remains in the best condition possible. At no point should you ever allow their coat to deteriorate into a condition where shaving is required.

Huskies rely on their double coats to regulate their temperatures and shaving them off can result in serious health issues. Even in warm weather, a Husky’s coat helps them to stay cool and having exposed skin could cause heatstroke.

The only reason they should ever be shaved is for medical reasons, such as surgery. If you choose to take your Husky to a groomer, make sure they have experience with Huskies and know not to shave their precious double coats!

DO HUSKIES SHED A LOT

Now let’s get into the question that everyone wants to know – do Huskies shed a lot? The short answer is yes!

Huskies shed lightly year-round, no more than any other dog. The real shedding happens during seasonal changes where the Husky will change from their winter coat to their summer coat and vice versa.

Husky laying in the grass surrounded by fur after blowing coat, do huskies shed a lot.
Fur shedded after a single grooming session. Image source.

When this happens, Huskies will purge large amounts of fur in a very short amount of time in a process referred to as ‘coat-blowing’. Owners who have never experienced coat-blowing before are in for quite a shock, even we still get surprised by just how much fur they seem to lose during this period.

Coat blowing is completely normal and perfectly healthy. It’s common for new owners to think that losing this amount of fur so quickly is related to a health condition but it’s a natural process that you will soon get used to.

Want to know more about coat blowing? Read our complete guide here!

As the Husky is losing large amounts of undercoat during coat blowing season, it will often fall out in clumps and tufts. We actually find it satisfying to sit with our pups and pick out the clumps to help speed the process up as it is painless for them!

Coat blowing normally occurs once or twice per year and lasts for around 3 weeks. The process can be slightly sped up if your Husky is cooperative and will put up with long grooming sessions with you. Once the process is complete, their double coats will remain but their undercoats will be much lighter and less dense.

So, Huskies don’t actually shed much more than a standard dog on a day-to-day basis but seasonal changes mean that we have to classify Huskies as being heavy shedders. Our advice is to invest in a good set of grooming tools (keep reading for our recommendations) and a reliable vacuum cleaner!

ARE HUSKIES HYPOALLERGENIC?

We regularly see people asking whether Huskies are a hypoallergenic breed. For a dog breed to be considered hypoallergenic, they need to have fewer allergens in their fur that humans with allergies react to.

No dogs are 100% allergen-free but some dog breeds are marketed as being hypoallergenic as they shed very few hairs and produce less dander – an allergen.

It’s a common misconception that Huskies are hypoallergenic, likely because they don’t shed much for the majority of the year and usually have a neutral scent.

Now that we know about coat-blowing, it’s clear to see that Huskies are not hypoallergenic after all and are unfortunately not suitable to live with owners who have dog allergies. Even though they only shed heavily for a few weeks out of the year, these weeks require intense grooming from the owner.

The amount of hair lost during non-seasonal changes is also significantly more than is lost by hypoallergenic breeds, meaning it could still cause an allergic response.

We want to note here that all dogs produce allergens in many ways including through their skin, saliva, and urine. Between individual dogs of the same breed, there is some variation in how many of these allergens are produced.

That could explain where the misconception that Huskies are hypoallergenic has come from. Some owners with pet allergies could have simply been lucky enough to adopt a Husky who produces very few allergens.

As a general rule though, Huskies shed too much fur to be considered a hypoallergenic breed.

HOW OFTEN DO HUSKIES NEED GROOMING?

Now we know that Huskies are unusual shedders, let’s get into our recommended grooming routine.

We personally like to give our Huskies a quick brush every day to stay on top of it. It’s not a particularly intensive grooming session, just five minutes with a pin brush to remove any loose hairs and check for matting.

We try to do this after their daily exercise when they are a little more tired as we’ve found this is when they have the most patience with us. Our daily walks and hikes are also when our Huskies get the dirtiest and giving them a quick brush helps to dislodge any dried mud from their topcoats.

Daily brushing is also great for identifying any ticks they’ve picked up, or for getting rid of tangles before they start matting into the fur.

When Huskies aren’t going through coat-blowing, you can definitely get away with once or twice weekly brushing but the benefits of daily grooming are worth the extra time for us.

A husky who is currently blowing their coat.
Huskies can look very interesting whilst blowing their coats! Image source.

During coat-blowing season, daily grooming sessions are essential. In fact, you may find yourself having to go through multiple grooming sessions a day as Huskies don’t have the best patience for putting up with brushing in our experience.

Hairs that are not properly removed from their undercoats can get tangled and cause matting, which is painful for the Husky as it pulls on their skin. To prevent matting from occurring, or to catch it early, you’re going to need the right set of tools and a good amount of determination.

ESSENTIAL GROOMING TOOLS FOR HUSKIES

We have lots of experience with grooming double-coated breeds such as Siberian Huskies and as a result, we’ve tried what feels like every tool on the market.

To make your search for the right tools easy, we’ve listed our current favourites along with how and when to use each tool in your grooming session.

Slicker Brush – We start our grooming sessions with a slicker brush to comb through the Husky’s undercoat. These are wide brushes with lots of short, tightly packed bristles that remove loose hairs effectively. We recommend starting with the areas of the densest fur first such as around the rump and the neck, as this is where tangles are the most likely to form.

Dematter Comb – As owners of Huskies, we try our best to prevent matting from occurring. Sometimes though, they can fly under our radar and it’s better to be prepared for when that happens. A dematter comb has lightly serrated blades that gently cut matted areas out of the coat.

Undercoat Rake – An undercoat rake is going to be your best friend during coat-blowing season. These efficiently remove large clumps of undercoat in a short amount of time. We recommend staying away from undercoat rakes that have serrated edges as these can damage your Huskies coat. Undercoat rakes that have non-serrated teeth are just as effective and are gentler on their coats.

Grooming Comb – A basic comb that can be used for daily brushing. We use them once we’re done with the undercoat rake to remove the remaining loose hairs and check for any missed tangles. Grooming combs are also ideal for combing more delicate areas and for working out tangles that don’t need to be cut out.

Pin/Bristle Brush – Our daily grooming tool. These are perfect for giving your Husky a quick brush to remove dried dirt and flyaway hairs. They’re also ideal for making sure your Husky’s coat is lying flat and in the direction of natural growth to encourage the production of natural oils.

FINAL THOUGHTS

So, there you have it. Huskies aren’t heavy shedders for the majority of the year but coat-blowing season is undeniably a challenge to cope with. As long as you have the right tools, a bit of patience, and a resilient vacuum cleaner, you should be able to handle the shedding that comes with owning a Husky.

If you have any questions about the content in this article, get in touch by leaving a comment below or by filling in our contact form here.

We want to see your Huskies! Send in your photos to themalamutemom@gmail.com for a chance to be featured on our site!

Header image source.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *