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Double Coated Dogs: Shiba Inu Essay

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Updated: Apr 29th, 2022

There are many different types of dogs, and they all have a unique coat or fur. Not only has there been natural breeding, but professional shows and dog enthusiasts have also increased the numbers even further.

The coats of today’s dogs differ in length, colors, and make-up that are distinct and attributed to the origins of each dog. Double coat dogs have two seemingly separate fur layers which are not the same as single coated dogs.

The first one is closest to the skin and has its characteristics while the second or top coat, is of rough consistency. Dogs with a double coat should not be shaved, as it is unhealthy and unneeded.

There are many physiological problems, as well as visual and functional which will be discussed in further detail.

The vast amount of kinds of dogs has been a topic of much speculation. The origins go back very far in history and unfortunately, it is close to impossible to say precisely where it all began. It is interesting, but the origins of dogs are almost as unspecified, like those of humans.

Just as people, dog’s ancestors, wolves, have developed different characteristics, about the area they inhabited. The most common and accepted view is that dogs evolved from wolves by interbreeding.

The modern research has provided information that wild animals would get domesticated as far as ten to fifteen thousand years ago. Speculation and reasoning suggest that animals were used by civilized human beings for many reasons.

Some of them include working in partnerships as guard dogs, cattle shepherds, aided in hunting, transportation, fur and in some cases, a food source. Companionship was another reason, as certain species have proved to be reliable and of “good company.”

It took many thousands of years domesticating wolves, foxes and other types of dog-like wild animals for modern dogs to emerge.

Since wolves would often eat people’s leftovers, they became acclimated to the presence of humans, and it is suggested that some of these traits were genetically passed on to the next generation of wild animals.

It was a slow process, but nonetheless, wolves and wild dogs became one of many animals that were domesticated (Ostrander 11).

A large part of animal’s qualities is attributed to the unique climate and general geographic location that have created specific characteristics allowing for most adaptation and assimilation.

Some species that were in the northern region had to adapt to cold conditions and thus, have developed an intricate system of heating and cooling down, as well as the uniqueness of fur. Shiba Inu is one such example that originated in Japan, and it has a double coat.

It is considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the modern world. The ancestors of Shiba Inu were used for hunting many types of game. Supposedly, they could be effective for hunting smaller animals and birds but also larger ones, such as boar, dear or even bear.

This shows that the breed is very diverse and can be trained to fit certain qualities that people need. At one point during the Second World War, the breed almost became extinct but was later saved by interbreeding bloodlines.

The dog is of small to medium size and varies in color, from red and sesame to black, brindle or a mix of several colors and white patches. The unique features include loyalty, best guarding abilities, reserved but at the same time, friendly manners.

They are courageous and like exercise which is fun and healthy for them. They also have strong endurance and can walk great distances without getting tired.

The name of the breed has several interpretations—the word “Inu” means dog in Japanese, but there have been few suggestions of what was meant by “Shiba.” Some people say that it meant “brushwood,” in referral to the terrain or the reddish coloring that the trees had.

Others explain that “Shiba” means small, in specific relation to the animal’s proportions. As with any other type of dogs, they have a unique coat that must be treated with certain care and attention (Shiba Inu).

A dog’s coat is one of the most valuable and major features. Even though domesticated dogs evolved from wild animals, specifically wolves, the amount of types of fur is much greater.

This is because dogs have been numerously interbred for purposes that were needed by humans, such as hunting, guarding and surviving in extreme conditions.

A dog’s fur serves a specific and important function, it must be treated with certain care, and one of the rules is not to shave their coats. As previously mentioned, Shiba Inu is one of the types of dogs that have a double coat, and it is strictly disallowed to shave off such fur.

The unique nature of the dog’s hair is specific to the organism and species. Not only is it used as a natural camouflage but it serves as a protective barrier and a part of functioning which is key to the dog’s health.

One of the most general rules, why certain types of dogs should not be shaved, is because they develop a coat that best suits their environment. The amount of light absorption which gets transformed into heat is less or greater, depending on the pigmentation.

If a climate is moist or dry, as well as warm, hot or cold, the dog will have fur that will be most acclimated to the location. The coat will often be used in the way of the inside temperature regulator that will allow for the dog to stay cool or warm up according to the outside conditions.

When looking at the specific breed of Shiba Inu dogs, they must never be shaved, as there are several reasons for this. Most often, people assume that shaving the dog with a long fur or a double coat will prevent it from overheating.

There has been a lot of speculation that dogs that are grown for cold and mild climates should not be taken to warm or hot places. It might seem reasonable because the same can be thought of a person wearing a warm jacket in the summer when it is scolding hot.

The difference is that when a human puts on a coat, it prevents the heat produced by the body from escaping. Jackets are made in such a way that the fabric blocks the heat waves and traps them in the layer between the body and the jacket.

It would be possible to think the same as the long or thick dog fur, but this is not exactly true.

Even before domestication, wolves’ coats have been created by many thousands of years of evolution, and it is very much evident that nature has purposefully made animals and their fur in such a way that best suits their needs.

Some professionals argue that if a dog is moved to a location that is not native to the species or the breeding ground, some of the furs must be cut. This does not mean to completely shave off all of the coat but to trim it just enough to let for air circulation (Thornton and Eldredge 48).

Whereas the supposedly positive effects of shaving dogs are doubtful, the negatives ones are truly severe health detriments. The major one is that the fur acts as a thermostat and helps the dog feel and be cooler.

The top coat which is rougher, straight and thick, acts as a form of shade and a layer that lets for easy circulation of air. Because the distance between hairs is greater and it is straighter, the wind currents have a better chance of moving through the fur.

Therefore, the dog manages to keep its temperature despite the change of the environment or the climate changes, which is extremely important, seeing how dogs are very susceptible to such outside factors as a shift in temperature, especially towards a warmer environment.

It is necessary to keep in mind that with a steep rise of the air temperature, a dog can easily have hemiplegia (a heat stroke). Also, while the top layer gets heated up by the sun rays, the lower one, closest to the skin is thinner and denser, not letting the heat through to the skin.

The wavy texture of the undercoat also adds to the insulation barrier that does not allow passage. A myth that dogs cool themselves down like people, by sweating through their skin, is incorrect. The only places on the dog that sweat is the paws, pads in particular.

The major mechanism that keeps the dog cool is panting, so shaving will not changing anything. The same benefits of the fur are used for keeping the dog warm in the winter, as the inner layer does not let the heat to escape.

Due to these specific qualities of the dog’s coat, shaving it in the summer might be dangerous because when winter comes around, and the animal needs its coat, it is not there.

This happens because when shaving, the fur’s growing mechanism will get disturbed and the process will be slowed down. Another possibility is that the coat will grow in patches, leaving certain areas exposed (Thornton and Eldredge 61).

A dog’s coat not only protects the internal organs and overall health of the animal but its skin as well. In both summer and winter, the sun can be very damaging to the upper layer of the skin. Sunburns and heat strokes are the main problems that an unprotected dog might have.

Not to mention the microscopic damage that shaving can cause which can lead to infection and parasite attraction. In case the dog is used for active lifestyle, hunting or going through the wooded area, the protective layer provided by the fur will be absent on a dog that has been shaved.

This will make it more susceptible to external damage by physical objects and in some cases, other animal’s attacks. The best advice that is given to people, who worry that their dogs are hot, due to their fur, is regular combing.

Especially with double coat dogs, it might become troublesome as the inner layer gets messy and tangled. Shiba Inu’s coat is thought to be rather problem free, as it is clean and coarse. The upper layer is waterproof which can be attributed to the nature of the species.

This fact makes the animal even more protected with all the included benefits. The layer closest to the skin is also thick, and so, the insulation from cold is very well established.

As will the majority of other dogs, Shiba Inu sheds and it is a natural process of hairs replacing the old ones with stronger hairs. There is a significant increase in shedding during the summer season, so brushing can help deal with the problem (Payton 13).

Overall, most people know that double coated dogs should not be shaved. There is no denying that there are much more benefits to dogs having their natural fur present.

A far out option would be to provide a form of a human-made coat that could offer protection from the environment, in case the dog was indeed shaved.

Over the last decades, a lot of studies have been conducted that took a close look at the genetics and behaviors of dogs about the conditions and specific locations of the breeds.

It is unfortunate that technology has only allowed studying genes and ancestry information while little progress has been made with the actual intelligent communication between dogs and humans.

In any case, it is better to trust nature that has had much more experience in creating and maintaining different types of life forms, than for humans to experiment with live subjects, even animal ones.

In conclusion, dogs have been one of the first animals to be domesticated by people, and for very good reasons.

Not only tracking and carrying the game, but also helping people when they need to cover a long distance across a snow desert (huskies, Samoyeds, Eskimo dogs), not to mention the fact that dogs can be trained to save people’s lives (St. Bernard, Newfoundlands, collies, etc.), dogs have proven to be a man’s best friends.

Their loyalty and companionship have been a large part of human life, and it is important to make sure that they are kept healthy and free of any unnecessary stress.

Therefore, it must be admitted that shaving double-coated dogs must be prohibited once and for all unless a specific medical condition of the dog demands so. Wkvbikj.

Although one might argue that shedding is likely to become a major problem for the owners of double-coated dogs, shedding can be easily dealt with by using various grooming tools, such as different types of brushes, to keep the dog’s coat neat and clean.

Despite the existing alternatives, such as human-made coats, natural fur is still preferable for a double-coated dog, since shaving can easily lead to overexposure to heat and, therefore, an illness or even death.

Preserving the dog’s double coat will make the dog resistant to the change of temperature since the air trapped between the hairs of the coat serves as an air cushion regulating the temperature.

Natural protection from the outside factors, a dog’s double coat is not to be shaved under any circumstances.

Works Cited

Ostrander, Elaine. Genetics of the Dog. Cambridge, United States: CABI, 2012. Print.

Payton, Laura. Shiba Inus: Laura Payton. Hauppauge, United States: Barron’s Educational Series, 2003. Print.

. Dogtime. 2012. Web.

Thornton, Kim, and Debra Eldredge. The Everything Dog Health Book. Avon, United States: Adams Media, 2005. Print.

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