Australian Shepherds are wonderful herding dogs with friendly attitudes. They are known for their long, thick coats that can shed quite often. And well, Australian Shepherd shedding can be a big problem for some dog owners.
Let me start by saying that Australian Shepherd shedding is an important part of the Australian Shepherd’s health and well-being. It’s perfectly normal for Aussies and any other dog breeds to shed. Even humans shed and that’s a-okay!
However, Australian Shepherd shedding might become annoying and it is an ongoing problem for many Aussie owners.
Today, we’re going to talk about how much an Australian Shepherd sheds, what are normal shedding amounts, how to manage and prevent all the fluff flying around the house.
Additionally, you will learn how to keep your Aussie looking his best!
Do Australian Shepherds Shed?
Of course they do!
Shedding is a part of life for any dog. But it’s important to differentiate excessive shedding from hair loss which is most likely connected to health problems (we will get to that later).
For many owners it is also important to know how to control the Australian Shepherd shedding process.
Purebred Standard Australian Shepherds and Toy Australian Shepherds are known for their good temper and their ability to be trained easily. But like other dogs, they do shed and need regular grooming sessions.
Here’s how to do it properly.
How Badly Do Australian Shepherds Shed?
It’s quite difficult to answer this question with a simple answer. Australian Shepherds don’t shed as bad as German Shepherds do, but they still lose plenty of hair throughout the day.
The most correct way to answer is by saying that Australian Shepherds shed moderately each day. But, excessive shedding is noticeable during seasonal changes.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a red, red merle, black, or blue merle Australian Shepherd, it will be a shedder. And if you have ever owned any dog or cat, you know that shedding is an everyday thing you have to deal with.
Looking to cut down on shedding and make your Australian Shepherd’s coat look its best? Continue reading this helpful guide to figure out how to groom your Aussie, especially during shedding season!
What Is The Average Shedding Season For Australian Shepherds?
The length of Australian Shepherd’s excessive shedding varies by season.
Both male and female Australian Shepherds shed their medium to long coats twice a year — spring and fall.
Spring marks the season when an Aussie sheds its winter coat and gets into its new spring outfit. The new spring coat gets the fashionable Aussie on the cover of the Dogue magazine!
Once it gets into a lighter coat, the Aussie stops shedding as much as it did when it was getting rid of the winter coat.
However, when fall knocks on our door, the beloved Aussie sheds again. This time, the Aussie is getting its spring coat off and replacing it again with a winter coat. Similar in appearance to Aussies are Border Collies that shed the most during seasonal changes.
Now that we got that right, let’s learn more about the Australian Shepherd’s coat type
Australian Shepherd Coat Type
Firstly, let’s double check the fact that Australian Shepherds are one of the most beautiful dogs in the world. They have a natural double coat consisting of a thick, soft undercoat and a coarser, longer top coat.
Australian Shepherds are known for their unique coat colors that cover both layers of fur.
Besides coat layers, Australian Shepherd dog’s coats are medium-length, straight or slightly wavy with guard hairs that serve as the top coat. Aussies have short hair on their muzzles but their ears and neck are very fluffy! The rest of the body is covered in a wavy and thick coat.
The Aussie’s double coat serves as a highly-functional waterproof garment that aids in thermoregulation. In other words, Aussie’s double coat keeps this herding dog warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.
A very special thing about the coarse top coat is that it keeps the Aussie protected from the Sun! It’s like a hairy canine sun protection factor!
As we previously mentioned, the waterproof Aussie coat property helps protect this pooch from the natural elements like rain and snow.
Therefore, its coat allows the Aussie to adapt to almost any weather condition.
How Do I Keep My Australian Shepherd From Shedding?
I mean, you can’t keep an Aussie, nor any dog from shedding. They simply must shed every day. But there are things that you can do to minimize dog shedding amounts. And yes, it includes some time and effort, but believe me it will pay off in the end.
Although Aussies are moderate shedders and their coats are quite long, they are still relatively easy to maintain. So, you don’t have to worry about brushing your Aussie all day long.
To minimize and maintain Australian Shepherd shedding, you’ll have to brush, bathe, and keep your Aussie healthy.
Here’s what, when, and how!
Preferably, Aussie owners should brush their dog every day. But, if you are one of those busy dog owners, you should brush your Aussie at least once a week.
Besides the fact that brushing your Australian Shepherd being the most satisfying thing ever, the Aussie pup will benefit a lot from it. Here’s why:
Keeping its coat clean: Daily brushing will help remove dirt, tangles, and mats from Aussies thick coats. It will detangle all mattings which will aid in skin’s natural oil distribution. This means that the fabulous medium long Aussie coat will be shiny and healthy!
Flea detection: Fleas are pesky external parasites that leave brown poop dirt on Aussie’s clean coat. When you’re regularly brushing your Aussie, you can notice if there is a flea infestation. Besides flea dirt, you may stumble upon alive fleas jumping up and down on your Aussie’s coat. Most of them are located on Aussie’s tail, tummy, neck, or ears.
Identify skin lesions: Brushing your Aussie thoroughly will reveal its skin. While brushing the coat of your Australian Shepherd, you can look for bald spots, bumps, hot spots, or rashes. If you happen to spot any skin changes make sure to contact your veterinarian.
Although Aussie brushing is a rather straightforward procedure, it can take some time to finish. In my experience, it’s best to schedule short periods of time each day for brushing your Aussie.
This way you Aussie will not lose its patience and it will not associate brushing with a bad experience.
What Are The Best Dog Brushes For Australian Shepherds?
An Australian Shepherd should be brushed every day to avoid needing a lot of brushing all at once. It usually doesn’t require more than 15 minutes per day, but with these tools brushing your Aussie will be as fast as lightning!
If you own, or plan to own an Aussie puppy, I highly recommend you opt for high-quality deshedding tools. Most deshedding tools can be found on Amazon and you can search for:
• Undercoat rake – helps detangle Aussie’s thick undercoat and get rid of dead hairs
• Furminator – helps get rid of Aussie’s loose hairs and should be used once or twice per week
• Slicker brush – great for matting prevention on your Aussie’s fabulous top coat
Due to the fact that the Australian Shepherd is a herding dog (and it has shepherd in its name), any dog brush used for shepherd-like dog breeds will do.
For instance, quality German Shepherd brushes get the job done perfectly well!
Normally, you will want to bathe your Australian Shepherd once a month.
But, here’s the thing. Bathing your Aussie is usually more beneficial to you as a dog owner, rather than for the dog itself.
Aussies can go days without being washed. I mean, they’re dogs, and they don’t usually go bathing in the wild (except when they chase prey). Plus, Aussie’s waterproof double coat basically maintains itself and stays clean.
Most Australian Shepherds inherit the basic doggie instincts and hurry towards the closest animal carcass to roll in it. This is when you must bathe your Aussie because it will stink really bad.
If you own an Aussie puppy that happens to have diarrhea you will want to wash it every time it poops. Not to mention washing your carpet from puppy diarrhea. Or when your Aussie puppy rolls in mud, gets wet from rain, hangs out with another stinky dog, etc.
Another reason why you would need to frequently bather your Australian Shepherd is if it’s suffering from mite infestation or skin issues (using medical shampoos and ointments).
Regular grooming appointments have lots of benefits for both you and your Aussie.
Sometimes owners are uncertain about grooming their Australian Shepherd, or they just don’t have enough time to fully dedicate themselves to get the job done. Sometimes Aussies don’t like brushing and bath time.
In these cases, it’s best to find a professional dog groomer for your Aussie pup.
Professional groomers are great at giving Australian Shepherd haircuts in all shapes and sizes. They have more tools that are specially designed for your Aussie’s coat and they handle these puppies with ease.
Moreover, taking your Aussie for regular grooming can help identify potential health problems before they cause your pup undue discomfort.
What Are The Causes Of Excessive Shedding And Hair Loss?
Excessive shedding is normal for Aussie pups. Causes of excessive shedding are seasonal changes. But, hair loss in Australian Shepherds and other dog breeds is something else.
Hair loss is when your Aussie’s coat falls out in chunks of fur, leaving bald spots on its body. Most causes of hair loss in Australian Shepherds have a lot to do with the dog’s metabolism.
Hair loss in dogs is also called canine alopecia. While it can be acquired, canine alopecia can also be a harmless hereditary condition.
Here’s what causes your Aussie’s hair to fall out excessively:
In order to keep their thick coats and soft skin healthy and shiny, Australian Shepherds require a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. If an Aussie puppy is given a bad diet, its immune system will weaken, making it more vulnerable to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, as well as parasitic infestations.
For example, zinc deficiency in Aussie dogs results in hair loss, dry skin, skin ulcers, thickening and cracking of some skin areas.
Besides that, an Australian Shepherd may experience hair loss if its diet doesn’t have enough protein or fatty acids like omega 3. The hair can even become lighter and drier, leaving your Aussie puppy looking unhealthy.
External parasites in dogs are also known as ectoparasites. You’re probably familiar with most of them, but did you know that these parasites can cause major hair loss in Australian Shepherds?
External parasites such as fleas, lice, ticks, and mites are very common in all dog breeds, but they are very tricky when it comes to big fluffy dog breeds such as our Australian Shepherds.
Dog fleas are visible to the naked eye and they are usually removed with spot ons and oral medication. However, microscopic mites are the cause of canine scabies or mange in Australian Shepherd dogs and they’re harder to get rid of.
Canine Demodicosis is caused by the Demodex parasite that literally eats the hair follicle, leaving your Aussie dog’s skin hairless.
All of these parasites make your Aussie dog uncomfortable and, if left untreated, may result in hair loss. These parasites may also carry diseases that can harm humans and other animals.
Internal parasites in dogs are invasive organisms that, if left untreated, may lead to hair loss. Wondering how?
Well, internal parasites feed off of anything an Aussie dog eats. Worms can make a major havoc within the dog’s intestines, causing diarrhea and weight loss. Besides that, internal parasites can cause anemia and dehydration which is directly linked to pale gums and dull hair.
Malnutrition causes your Australian Shepherd to lose chunks of hair. Once parasitic infestation gets to this level, the infested Aussie is going to be very weak and lethargic.
Australian Shepherd hair loss or thinning of the hair may be brought on by bacterial infections. Most bacterial skin infections in dogs are secondary to an ongoing health problem.
For example, if your Australian Shepherd dog is suffering from flea infestation it might scratch itself quite a lot. This will cause mini open wounds that are going to be a perfect feeding ground for bad bacteria.
Fungal skin infections are also very common in Australian Shepherds, and all other dog breeds. They are so annoying and hard to treat!
Some of the most common fungal skin infections in Aussies include Canine Malassezia dermatitis and Ringworm. Oh and these types of skin infections smell very bad! Most Aussies suffering from fungal infections have oily skin with an unbearable odor.
To recognize a fungal skin infection in your Aussie dog, look for scaly, red, and dry skin around the neck, ears, lips and between toes and paw pads.
Underlying diseases in dogs can cause change in every segment of the body. Usually, health problems linked to hormonal imbalance are to blame for hair loss in Australian Shepherds.
These health problems include:
• Adrenal gland diseases
• Cushing’s syndrome
It is typical to see excessive thirst in Aussie dogs with such health problems. We can see hair loss along the back, tail, and hind legs of Australian Shepherds that are suffering from any of these diseases.
When bathing your Aussie dog, choosing the correct dog shampoo is crucial!
Low quality dog shampoos can cause your Aussie dog to develop rashes and hives across its skin, resulting in hair loss.
Even high-quality dog shampoos can cause hair loss if your Australian Shepherd is allergic to some chemical components. So, the best thing is to test the new dog shampoo on one part of your Aussie’s body and make sure your dog didn’t have any allergic reaction to it.
Aussies can find themselves in many stressful situations. Whether these working dogs are having trouble with meeting new canine friends, or just find moving to a new home very frustrating.
Some Aussies don’t like to travel and will start panting in the car. Others develop separation anxiety because their beloved owner just left for work.
Well, all of these stressful situations can cause the Australian Shepherd to lose its rich fur. But, how?
Aussie’s stress is linked to hormonal change. During stressful periods, adrenaline levels in Aussie’s blood are higher and this is what causes excessive hair loss.
Hair loss plus itchy skin, equals possible skin allergy in your lovely Australian Shepherd. Don’t worry, skin allergies are very frequent in the doggie world, but they should be supervised. Like most dogs, Australian Shepherds can be allergic to food ingredients, fleas, polen, and even dust.
Aussies with skin allergies lose patches of hair that reveal dry and inflamed skin.
If your female Australian Shepherd is pregnant or just had her puppies, she may lose some of her rich fur. This happens because of changes in hormones, as well as minerals within the female Aussie’s body.
It’s not easy carrying 6 to 7 Aussie puppies! They receive Aussie mother’s calcium and minerals which leaves her coat looking dull and dry. Pregnancy in female Aussies might cause excessive shedding rather than hair loss.
When the time of pregnancy and nursing is over and female Aussie’s hormones revert to non-reproductive levels, the hair loss typically stops.
Are Australian Shepherds Good For Allergy Sufferers?
Sorry to disappoint you but Aussies are not good for allergy sufferers. Australian Shepherds are not hypoallergenic, therefore they can cause allergies.
However, paw lovers aren’t allergic to the Australian Shepherd’s hair. Dog allergy sufferers are allergic to a specific protein that is found in Aussie’s dander and hair. Additionally, the dog’s saliva is considered a bigger allergen than its hair.
But, all dogs produce saliva, right? This makes us wonder if any “hypoallergenic dog” is really hypoallergenic.
The purebred Australian Shepherd sheds more than these dog breeds so it is most likely to trigger allergies because its dander and saliva doesn’t stick to its hair — it spreads everywhere!
Luckily, there are some interesting Australian Shepherd mixes that shed less than the purebred Aussie.
How Does Australian Shepherd Shedding Affect My Home?
Get ready to have a good amount of Aussie dog hair on your clothes, sofa, bed, living room, kitchen table, carpet, food — everywhere! Dog fur is quite visible indoors, especially if you have a black Australian Shepherd in combination with white furniture!
But, if you are determined to get yourself an Aussie that you will love and adore, it doesn’t really matter how its shedding will affect your home.
Here’s what you can do to keep your home Aussie dog-hair-free:
• Replace carpets with hardwood or tile
• Invest in a high-quality vacuum that you will frequently use
• Invest in high-quality lint rollers for your clothing
• Buy your Aussie its own bed so you don’t have to sleep in all the dog hair
Learning how to manage the shedding and maintenance of your Australian Shepherd’s coat will help in keeping your home clear from dog fur.
What Is The Best Way To Care For An Australian Shepherd?
Aussies are active herding and working dogs that need lots of physical and mental activity. This means that you will have to run with your Aussie every day! Lots of quality playtime and interesting tricks are what makes the Australian Shepherd going.
The best way to care for an Australian Shepherd puppy is to give it the best start possible. Most reputable Australian Shepherd breeders are already in charge of that, but once you take your eight-week old Aussie home, it fully becomes your responsibility.
That said, it is crucial to know exactly what you’re feeding Aussies with. Incorporating high quality dog food and supplements into Aussie’s diet will help maintain its rich coat healthy and shiny.
Keeping an eye out for causes of dry and itchy skin or other symptoms of food allergies and sensitivities will help prevent further skin conditions that lead to hair loss.
Managing the Australian Shepherd shedding is like a whole new skill to be proud of!
You can expect an Aussie puppy to be a moderate shedder; not as heavy shedder as the Corgi, and not as low-shedder as the Havanese.
Generally speaking, Australian Shepherd shedding is easy to maintain — you just need the right tools and the right tips.
Hopefully, this article showed you some of the best methods of keeping your Australian Shepherd’s coat in tip-top condition!