If you have an Australian Shepherd you already know they are some of the most loyal and friendly companions. Aussies are known for their playful personalities and their adorable look! While Australian Shepherds come in wide a range of beautiful colors, some owners often wonder why their Aussie has curly or wavy hair, is this normal?
There are many reasons why your Australian Shepherds can have curly or wavy hair! Several reasons your dog may develop this fur type include genetics, health, and grooming!
Whether your Aussie has curly hair or not, they are guaranteed to be adorable no matter what! If you are interested in knowing more about why your Aussie has curly or wavy fur and what it means, keep reading to find out more!
Australian Shepherd Puppy Curly Hair
Like a lot of other dog breeds, an Australian Shepherd puppy will eventually grow into its body size and fur type. When they are a puppy, it is oftentimes hard to tell what the fur will look like until the puppy is older.
Australian Shepherd puppies are born with soft, straight hair that can eventually become more course, and wavy as they grow older!
Typically, you can start to see what type of fur your pup will have by the time they are 3 months old. By 1 ½ years of age, an Australian Shepherd’s adult coat should be fully grown in. This newly grown coat will typically be the coat/fur type they will have for the rest of their lives!
An Australian Shepherd’s tail, however, begins to gain its fluff by the time it is around 6–7 months old, becoming even fluffier and feathered as it grows older!
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TIP: Don’t be worried if your Australian Shepherd puppy’s fur looks patchy as it begins to grow its adult coat, since these steps come in phases, they may appear to have patchy fur at times.
What Type of Fur do Australian Shepherds Have?
When looking at an Australian Shepherd, some people might not realize how much fur they have until they pet them and feel for themselves!
Australian Shepherds have a double coat consisting of a short undercoat designed to keep them warm, and a course (sometimes curly or wavy) overcoat which works great to repel water from the fur!
Aussies will normally have feathery hair on certain parts of their bodies, typically on their front legs, chest, back, and tail areas.
This dog breed is known for its silky, shiny coat, this is oftentimes caused by the natural oils that are in the fur. While their fur does contain natural oils, your dog should not have an excessive amount of oil in their fur like some other breeds tend to have.
If your dog’s fur is overly oily, it is best to visit a vet to find out if there may be an underlying health condition that your dog is experiencing. There can be many ways to rid a dog’s fur from excessive oil including certain shampoos or diet changes.
A lot of people who are interested in getting an Australian Shepherd are often curious about how much they shed, this is often a concern for people who are interested in other dog breeds as well!
Typically, Aussies shed twice per year, but they can also shed a significant amount throughout the entire year, this is something to take into consideration when getting an Australian Shepherd, especially if you or your family has allergies.
NOTE: Australian Shepherds are not hypoallergenic!
Why Does My Australian Shepherd Have Curly Hair?
Many aspects can influence whether or not an Australian Shepherd will have straight, wavy, or curly hair.
Several main reasons why Australian Shepherds’ fur texture can become curly or wavy include genetics, overall health, and bloodline.
Genetics is the biggest determiner over whether or not your Australian Shepherd will have curly or wavy hair. This factor forces their fur to be double-coated. Having this feature is great for repelling water and causes the fur not to become waterlogged.
Here are several reasons why an Australian Shepherd will develop this fur type:
- Skin Condition
- Neutered or spayed
Australian Shepherds with curly hair are very different from other dogs with curly hair such as Poodles, Labradoodles, or Bichon Frise. Australian shepherds will typically only have curly or wavy fur on certain parts of their bodies, specifically their backs and around their tails.
An Australian Shepherd’s fur can also become curly from a lack of coat growth. If they are fed too little or too much, their fur may stop growing as quickly which will then cause the fur to become wavy or curly.
Can Purebred Australian Shepherds Have Curly Hair?
A lot of dog owners are aware that a non-purebred dog may have different characteristics than a purebred. This is true for Australian Shepherds too!
Purebred Australian Shepherds typically have slightly wavy hair, especially if they have longer hair. Their fur will wave or curl up around certain areas of the body such as the back, tail, or ears.
Purebred adult Australian Shepherds typically have straight hair on their faces and legs. Oftentimes in the dense fur of the rest of their bodies, especially their backs, they may develop small masses of wavy hair that is sometimes even tight and curly.
If your Australian Shepherd has mostly flat, straight hair with no wave whatsoever as an adult, likely, your dog is not a purebred Australian Shepherd!
However, there are certain Australian Shepherd mixes that will still develop curlier hair on their legs, ears, and tails but not as much in the places where purebred Aussies will have it!
Can I Straighten My Australian Shepherd’s Hair?
In most cases, if your adult Australian Shepherd has curly hair it is likely to stay that way for its life. It may change slightly over time, but there isn’t a lot that you can do to get it straight. There are a few things however that have helped owners get a bit of a smoother look.
- Blow-dry your dog’s hair after bathing or swimming. (Be sure to use a pet blow dryer, a regular blow dryer will be too hot.)
- Use a slicker brush.
- Use a high-quality conditioner when bathing.
- Embrace the waves and curls.
Why Is My Australian Shepherd’s Hair Getting Wavy?
If your Australian Shepherd has always had curly or wavy hair, this is probably caused by genetics and is no problem that you should worry about! Although, It is often a shock to some Australian Shepherd owners when their dog’s fur suddenly becomes curly or wavy after never being that texture before.
If your dog suddenly begins to develop curly or wavy fur, there could be an issue with their coat such as fur loss or even something more serious such as an underlying health condition.
Keep in mind, however, that like humans, dogs can experience a change in hair growth and texture during different stages of their lives. It is normal to notice a gradual change in your dog’s hair texture and growth during certain phases of their lives, but if the change is very abrupt, you may want to have their health checked!
Like humans, dogs experience different hair phases during their lives, here are the three phases of hair growth in dogs:
1. Anagen Phase — Active growth of hair
2. Catagen Phase — Phase where the hair stops growing
3. Telogen Phase — Resting phase, no new hair grows, shedding begins
It is important to keep watch on your Australian Shepherd’s fur to ensure there are no sudden changes in the amount of fur your dog has, or if its texture has changed significantly.
If you notice your Australian Shepherd losing a lot of hair, there are several reasons for this including underlying health issues or even common problems such as stress and anxiety.
Several health problems can cause an Australian Shepherd’s hair to thin, or fall out, here are a few that are common:
- Lymes Disease, or tick, mite, and parasite bites in general
- Skin issues/irritation (Dry skin, allergies, eczema, mange, etc.)
Thankfully, there are many options a veterinarian can provide that will get your dog to better health in no time! A lot of these health issues require medications including antibiotics, allergy medicines, creams/ointments, and medicated shampoos among many others!
TIP: If you notice your Australian Shepherd fur has suddenly become curly or wavy, or your pup is losing hair or pulling it out, it is best to take them to the vet to check up on their health!
Improper grooming can also be a key factor in an Australian Shepherd’s hair becoming wavy or curly. If there is a buildup of oils from a lack of bathing or brushing, an Aussies fur is likely to become wavy.
NOTE: If an Aussie is not being groomed properly it can also become matted, this can become an issue if left for a long time.
A change in hair texture is also common if your dog has lost fur or has had to have a section of fur shaved (perhaps for a medical procedure).
Like humans, if a dog’s hair falls out or has been shaved when it grows back it could take on a completely different texture. This is why some owners are very cautious about shaving their dogs and become nervous if their dog has to be shaved for any reason.
NOTE: It is more likely for double-coated dog fur to grow back in a different texture than it is for a single-coated dog because a double-coat can be easily damaged, this is why Australian Shepherds are not usually completely shaved.
Learn more in this article: Shaving Your Australian Shepherd (Pictures & FAQ)
Not only can shaving an Australian Shepherd affect their fur type but there are also several other reasons why a dog owner should be cautious about shaving or cutting their pup too short. The dog could develop issues such as sunburn, insulation problems, or even skin infections.
In general, a lot of Australian Shepherd owners do not shave their dogs. It is not common for a dog with a double coat to be shaved. Not only because their fur will likely grow back different, but because their coats are specifically designed to regulate their body temperature.
How Do I Maintain My Australian Shepherd’s Fur?
Australian Shepherds have some of the best-looking fur of all the dog breeds, this is why Aussie owners tend to want to keep their dogs fur looking the best that it can be!
There are many different ways to keep an Australian Shepherd’s fur looking healthy, shiny, and overall great! Some ways to do this include proper grooming, a balanced diet/nutrition, and supplements!
Not only will a good, balanced diet keep the fur looking nice and healthy, but it can also help with your dog’s skin, shedding levels, and overall health.
TIP: One specific supplement that is great for Australian Shepherds are Omega 3’s!
Regularly grooming an Australian Shepherd can also keep their fur in great condition! It is recommended to brush an Australian Shepherd at least once a week and to bathe them every 6–8 weeks depending on how dirty they get and the length of their hair.
One of the most important parts of an Australian Shepherd’s body that should be groomed is its tail!
Tip: To learn more about grooming the tail specifically, and how to give your Aussie the popular “fan” tail, check out this article: Everything to Know About an Australian Shepherd Tail (With Pictures and Tips)
How Do I Bathe a Curly-Haired Australian Shepherd?
When it comes to grooming and bathing a curly/wavy-haired Australian Shepherd, the steps are very similar to when you are bathing a straight-haired Australian Shepherd.
When bathing a curly/wavy-haired Australian Shepherd, it is important to be a little more cautious not to scrub too hard because it will be easier to cause tangles and mats in the curly, wet fur.
There are several important steps to take when bathing your Australian Shepherd to ensure that their fur comes out looking great after their bath, here are a few key things to consider:
- Rub over the dry fur first with a wet hand to remove any loose or dead hair.
- Use a shampoo that will not irritate your dog and that helps in maintaining oil levels.
- Be sure to use a conditioner, especially if your pup has curly fur!
- Dry your dog with an absorbent towel. Double-coated, and especially double-coated curly-haired dogs hold more moisture in their fur than other dogs!
TIP: Using a wide-tooth comb, or a steel comb on Australian Shepherds is best since their fur is double-coated, this helps prevent tangles and mats, while also getting rid of loose hair, dirt, and dead skin!
While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.