Certain breeds of dogs have double coats, called fur coats, while other breeds have single coats, called hair coats. The single-coated dog does not have the thick, furry undercoat and consequently sheds less, because it does not have to rid itself of the warm winter coat when spring arrives. Single-coated dogs are considered to be less likely to cause allergies in humans, although allergies are usually caused by dog dander (particles of skin shed by the dog) and not by shedding hair.
The Well-known Poodle
Dogs with single coats may have short, medium or long hair. Generally, the single-coated breeds originate from warmer climates where double coats are not needed for protection from the cold. The poodle is a single-coated breed that has long, thick and curly hair, and is known for not shedding its hair. Poodles do still produce dander but shed much less of it, which is why they are considered hypoallergenic.
Long-haired, Single-coated Dogs
The Maltese was bred for decoration instead of functionality, and the long, elegant smooth coat is a single coat that does little to keep the dog warm. The Afghan hound with its sleek hair originally came from a warm climate. According to the American Kennel Club's breed standard, the soft-coated wheaten terrier has "an abundant single coat covering the entire body, legs and head; coat on the latter falls forward to shade the eyes." The texture of the coat is soft and silky with a "gentle wave." In puppies and immature adult dogs, the full wavy coat is not yet evident. The Field Spaniel is another breed with a long, single coat, although in this case the coat is dense and water-repellent.
Short-haired, Single-coated Dogs
The Doberman, German and miniature pinschers are mostly single-coated dogs and have a short, hard, thick hair coat that lies close to the body. Some Doberman pinschers have an invisible gray undercoat on the neck, but the rest of the body is single coated. The standard and Italian greyhounds have thin, short, soft coats without an undercoat.
Long-haired, single-coated dogs frequently experience a problem with matted hair. Groom these dogs daily to keep them free of tangles. Spray the coat with water or a suitable anti-static conditioner, then comb the hair gently and avoid breaking any tangled hairs. Once the dog is dry, brush it with a soft-bristle brush to remove any residue and dust.