Shave my Newfoundland Dog?

Should you shave your Newfoundland Dog?

Short answer:


I’ve written about this issue before and in more detail (which you can read here), but the sheer number of search terms bringing people to the Soapbox made me want to revisit it with succinct clarity.

Should you shave your Newfoundland?

Should you shave your St. Bernard?

Should you shave your Great Pyrenees?  German Shepherd? Husky? Samoyed?  Pomeranian?  Tibetan Mastiff? Collie? Golden Retriever?

Your cat?

arrested no

The answer is no.

No.  No.  NO.

How do you shave your Newfoundland dog?  Easy: you don’t!

Double coats keep dogs cool in the summer the same way they keep them warm in the winter, and are imperative to your dog being able to regulate his or her temperature.  Shaving it will just make them itchy and at risk of sunburn.   If you want to keep them cool, keep them in the shade and make sure they have access to lots of fresh water.  Get a swamp cooler vest if you must.   Keep them inside.  Take them swimming.  You have lots of options; shaving your dog isn’t a smart one.

Shedding is your headache?  Then brush your dog more.  Or pay a groomer to brush them.  Shaving will just interrupt their shedding cycle and it won’t actually stop shedding – the hair will just be shorter.

And with any shaving, there’s no guarantee it grows back nicely… or even the same colour.  Shaving your dog won’t keep them cool, won’t stop shedding, and you can do irreparable harm to a double coat by shaving it.

But if anyone is still having trouble with this concept, I made something to help.

You know how I like charts and graphs, right?  Well decision trees are the most fun.

(You can click on it to enlarge.  And to save and share with all your friends.)

Should I Shave My Dog

You’re welcome.

About ThatJenK
Writing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 90% pictures of my dogs; 10% miscellaneous opinions nobody asked for.

45 Responses to Shave my Newfoundland Dog?

  1. I love this and I love your graph. It’s perfect. Why do people think it’s okay to shave their dogs. And while your on the topic, I think some of the stuff they do to poodles is downright embarrassing. Why would anyone want to do that to a pet?

    • thatjenk says:

      Haha! I think shaving style on breeds with hair is a whole other post! I see some of those poodles or porties and just shake my head.

      • I’m with you, ladies!! I grew up with poodles and I used to absolutely hate it when Mom had them groomed! And she didn’t even get them the extreme clips — just one top knot, one pom-pom on the tail, and one “bracelet” on each leg — so when I got my own poodle years later, the groomer had strict orders: puppy cut only. Only once did I allow a “dutch clip” and I regretted it every day of the 4 weeks until the hair grew back in!

        By the way, add Golden Retriever(s) to your list just before the cat, PLEASE. I can’t tell you how many shaved Goldens I have seen down here in SC! It makes me want to chicken-choke people!!!

  2. I’m still laughing at your flow chart. Very cute. I’m off to share it now.

  3. 2browndawgs says:

    Just had this discussion the other day with someone. Let’s just say, the shaving was not for mats, etc. Loved the flowchart…lol.

    • thatjenk says:

      Yeah, it’s actually a bit surprising how many people just get fed up with shedding and go to shave without thinking further about it. Surprising and a little sad.

  4. harrispen says:

    What a great post! I love the chart the best.


  5. Karyl says:

    We are about to embark upon the horror of shaving our cat (we’re letting the pros do it – sensitive skin and we’re terrified to slip). For some reason this year was BAD for mats and we couldn’t keep up with them… he’s got this weird curly fluff undercoat that makes it even worse. There is going to be so much poop in so many shoes, I know it… we had to explain to the groomer that no, we can’t drop him off and just pick him up later… if his “daddy” leaves his side in a strange place he will FLIP OUT. So we get to be up reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally early to be the first appointment.

    Still scared even letting the pros do it… I mean… it’s a vet’s office so surely they’ve dealt with hellions before… but still….. even with us there he’s going to be freaking out, and he tends to buck and roll and I’m so freaked he’s going to buck at the wrong time and it’s going to break skin or something. And the poor guy’s going to look miserable for a while… I swear there’s twice as much fur as body on that cat.

    Paranoid kitty momma. 😦

    • thatjenk says:

      Hope it worked out okay! Poor cat… shaved cats are especially ridiculous looking. But it sounds like with the matting you don’t have much of a choice.

      • Patty C. says:

        I shave my cat once every summer. She is a Norwegian Forest cat with very long hair. She is an amazingly loving and sweet tempered cat no matter what. But she mats horribly no matter what I seem to do especially around the head and ears and she hates for me to brush her. She is 3 years old right now. I had another kitty her groomed her at first so there were no matting issues. But my other kitty was 16 years old and passed. After that was when we started shaving her once annually in June. She is an inside kitty so she doesnt have the issue of getting sunburned.

        I also got a newfie last summer (2015) that her female owner passed away and the gentleman that inherited her was allergic. So he had left her strictly outside for about 3 months and she was very heavily matted and very dirty. Then about 2 weeks later my A/C went out…So off to the groomers and had her shaved with the longest groomer tool available. Now 2 and half months later her long coat still has not come back completely. But her hair is growing back in at a regular rate not patchy. She looks beautiful and is loving the marble floor on her tummy. She stays inside 24/7 here as well and only goes out in 5 minute intervals for potty breaks. I of course will not shave her as a normal thing but it was necessary this time. I can say that vacuuming at this point has only been weekly instead of every other day. So it has helped with her shedding and it also has been a major help around her butt area because she has had no hair for poops to stick to in that area.

        So on a normal basis my cat does get shaved annually, but when she turns about 5 years old I probably will only have her groomed for mats because her hair growth will not be the same as she gets older. For my newfie, I would only shave her again if my A/c went out again in the summer and it would only be her tummy. But she will have access to regular grooming throughout the year.

  6. Great post! Great chart! I cringe when I see the shaved huskies at the beach! Ugh.

  7. Dalton says:

    I love your chart!

  8. Emmadog says:

    Thank you! I always feel so terrible when i see a shaved dog that should not be shaved. That fur protects the dog from the sun and heat. Don’t know what humans are thinking!

    • thatjenk says:

      You’re telling me!

    • gforce says:

      I don’t know what some people are thinking, but I know what I’m thinking: I’ve got 2 Newfie Belgian Shepherd/lab cross dogs, that came as a package with my husband. In the beginning, before we had a childe, they we’re always well groomed. Years later, we’ve had a kid and they are now 14. We’re busy and not the best at remembering to groom the dogs. They get in the swamp, lay down in sticker bushes, roll on dead animals, and before you know it, it’s shave the dogs down time. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is.

  9. Donna says:

    I have much shorter coated dogs than yours, but I can agree on some points here. My shortest coated dog, a Vizsla, still sheds. Sometimes when she shakes, she looks like pig pen. And my double coated mix breed had her knee shaved for surgery, it took forever to grow back, and it doesn’t look the same as the rest of her coat. If brushing out tangles is the issue, then the owner should either go to the groomer, or maybe choose a breed with shorter hair next time.

  10. Sage says:

    I totally agree…especially a dog with a double coat. Sage has one and I’d never consider shaving her. When she gets hot, she finds water!

  11. Gold Price says:

    Wirehaired Fox Terriers need a daily walk or jog . If it is possible, they would love to run free in a safe area. Keep this dog on a leash if there are small animals around. The urge for these dogs to hunt is strong and they are likely to take off chasing a small animal.

  12. gold price says:

    I have several years experience with pets and their shedding. I have a corgi, whose hair fills 3 shopping bags when she sheds . You should know that if you do shave your pet the fur grows back thicker and longer and therefore should you decide not to shave again, you have created even more work for yourself. I have shaved my Poms every summer and they have never grown back any thicker of a coat then they had to begin with. I think it’s a great way to keep shedding at bay plus, it keeps them cooler in the summer since dogs don’t sweat except through panting.

    • thatjenk says:

      As you can tell, I respectfully disagree.
      Just like a double coat insulates a dog in the winter and keeps them warm, it also insulates them from the heat in the summer and keeps them cool. Shaving removes their natural ability to regulate temperature like this, and can open them up to more insect bites, sunburn, skin rashes, hot spots, and other conditions, general itching.
      And as you mentioned, then you create more work when you try to grow it back for the winter (if it grows back properly). Over-groomed dogs can develop alopecia, which will ruin their coat forever.
      There are better solutions to deal with heat/shedding. Any groomer worth their fees should discourage regular shaving of double-coated dogs, Poms included. (Trims are a different story.)
      Two Newfs shed a lot, too; it’s something we accepted when we choose to add them to the family.

      • Amanda says:

        I disagree as well. I own a great pyrenees and a newfoundland and my GP gets shaved every march for spring. We dont shave to the skin but we use a 5. Which is pretty short. She is 7 and her coat grows back beautifully. Also they are inside dogs so we only go outside for walks and potty breaks. She loves it…she gets so excited she start galloping around the house like a puppy.
        So while I would agree to not shave an outside dog or shave to the skin, its my right as a dog owner to shave my dogs. It works for me. it works for my dogs. It doesnt ruin thier coats. It may just take time for it to grow back all the way.

        • Amanda says:

          I own a great pyrenees and a newfoundland and my GP gets shaved every march for spring. We dont shave to the skin but we use a 5. Which is pretty short. She is 7 and her coat grows back beautifully. Also they are inside dogs so we only go outside for walks and potty breaks. She loves it…she gets so excited she start galloping around the house like a puppy.
          So while I would agree to not shave an outside dog or shave to the skin, its my right as a dog owner to shave my dogs. It works for me. it works for my dogs. It doesnt ruin thier coats. It may just take time for it to grow back all the way.

  13. Clowie says:

    I agree with you! People often ask why I don’t get a short haircut for the summer.

  14. well minded says:

    OMG. Funny. And great info. And the infographic is awesome.

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  17. PS. I just shared this post on my FB page…I wonder how many of my pet-owning friends will like it and how many will pitch a fit?

  18. Marc Horsbrough says:

    We have recently had to shave our beautiful Newfie as her fur and coat became so matted and dirty in spite of us brushing and grooming her a lot. Just like other dogs, she loves to go exploring and snuffling about in trees and undergrowth and LOVES water. We took her to a professional groomer who contacted us to say her coat was so badly matted, shaving was the only real way to deal with it effectively. She looks very strange at the moment but she’s had her ‘feathers’ (at the backs of her legs) shaved before and they grew back fine. Some of the comments on here make me feel like we were being cruel! But we love our dog very much and would never, ever do anything to hurt or harm her. Unfortunately, with dogs with such long coats, shaving is sometimes the only real option.

  19. Kevin Lawrence says:

    Please provide Support for your claim that Double coats keep dogs cool in the summer the same way they keep them warm in the winter. The Newf Coat was designed for an area that gets far below zero in the long winter, and rarely above 75 in the summer.

    I have been able to find exactly one study that supports your claim, but they only tested it over 10 minutes. they did not study what happens over a longer period of time.

    A double coat keeps them warm in the winter because it retains heat. So, that is the exact opposite of why it will keep them cool in the summer. During the summer, it will also retain heat and make them hot, and will also make them take longer to cool down.

    Please provide data that supports your claim. Double coats keep dogs cool in the summer the same way they keep them warm in the winter.

    • ThatJenK says:

      Please provide data that supports your claim, how about?

      The double coat traps temperature – not just heat. So it traps warmth in the winter, but cooler body temperature in the summer (when body temp is below ambient temp).

      A simple test is just to feel your dogs skin in the summer – it will be cooler than their outside coat.

      That is not to day it is okay to walk your dog in +40 degrees celsius – of course not. But that also means shaving your dog is not the answer, and is detrimental to their coat growth and natural shedding cycle.

      And it looks stupid, so there’s that, too.

      (My opinion, my blog. Don’t like it – don’t read it.)

      • Kevin Lawrence says:

        I am truly trying to figure out which is best, but no one seems to have any support. I want to make an informed decision regarding if I should shave my Newf or not. Other than the one study over only 10 minutes, no one has any support. The ASPCA could not even provide support for their statement.

        We had a black Newf that was clearly cooler when we shaved her during the hot months. We have a landseer now and I am trying to determine if we should shave her or not.

        Your claim that the coat traps temperature and that is what makes them cooler, does not make sense. If that were true, the best way to stay cool during the summer would be to wear a jacket.

        Thank you. I guess i will keep looking.

        • Karyl says:

          Fur doesn’t behave in quite the same way as a jacket, though – plus a dog’s skin isn’t made for sun exposure the way ours is, so you would want to consider that as well before shaving. While I am not sure how it applies to Newfoundland dogs, you might try looking into some of the desert mammals. Fennec foxes, for example, have extremely plush coats that insulate them from BOTH extremes (though they also have large ears to help with the cooling) so perhaps that’s part of where the idea comes from. Also consider that wolves who live in warmer climates still have an undercoat, it just gets thinned out via shedding in the summer. I have heard similar statements from people who own huskies in warm climates.

          From what I understand, because of the fact that shaving can expose more skin to sun and cause other issues, it’s usually recommended to use something like a Furminator to thin out the coat and help it to shed, rather than shorten it.

          Unfortunately I don’t have any better information for you than that, but it might give you another direction to look in trying to research it?

        • ThatJenK says:

          If you take your Newf swimming in the summer, don’t shave. The dog would lose the oily coat that makes them waterproof and more buoyant. If your dog is used to swimming with the benefit of the coat and then suddenly doesn’t have it, it can get into unexpected trouble. Same reason you don’t let the dog swimming right after a bath and the cost is stripped of its oils. It’s a safety concern. And swimming is a great way to keep dogs cool.

          Most groomers seem to agree shaving is bad. Given they’re the experts, I defer to their opinion whether or not a controlled double blind peer reviewed study has been done. My references link to groomers in my posts.

          And I maintain shaved Newfs look sad and ridiculous.

        • LOVEPLANTS says:

          I just took my Newfie gal to get shaved this week. She is cooler in the summer. She and my German Shepherd stay inside. I have a brain tumor and a lot of the time I’m not able to spend the time brushing my Newf due to not feeling good. Plus my son who is a Scientist explained the facts how she is actually cooler being shaved. And he would explain the science of it to anyone that claims differently. Does her coat come back ok? Yes. Do I feel guilty like these posts are trying to say I should? Absolutely not. She is loved and treated like my child. Bottom line is do what’s best for you and your family. And if anyone ever says anything to me about my shaved Newf well, they will get a tongue lashing to mind their own business.

  20. scuba steve says:

    There is zero scientific basis within this article making the entire post anecdotal at best. Fur growth is affected by a plethora of factors such as age, health, diet/nutrition and environment for a few. Simply cutting dead fur does not affect it’s future growth cycle, it simply makes underlying heath conditions, poor nutrition, or environmental factors more visible. Fur growth requires the consumption of energy, energy that may not be readily available due to poor nutrition, age of the animal or ailing heath due to sickness or disease. All of the examples given lack context and background; were the affected animals you experienced young, old, in good health, being medicated for health conditions, or being provided with the proper nutrition for their breed/age/condition. The real solution is to choose dog breeds appropriate for your climate and lifestyle. If you live in florida, don’t get a cold climate animal that has adapted to arctic climates and has a coat intended on keeping it warm. If you live in alaska don’t get a hot climate dog that lacks a winter coat and has no means to retain heat.

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