Any good breeder, dog trainer, or self-proclaimed dog expert will tell you not to choose your puppy based on appearance. Yes, there are more important qualities to look for, such as behavior, temperament, and energy.
Still, we all have certain physical qualities we prefer in our dogs. For breeds that come in both long and short coats, hair length is often an important factor for prospective dog owners.
But since all puppies have baby fur to begin with, how can you tell if a puppy will have short or long hair?
How to Tell If a Puppy Will Have Long Hair?
Your puppy’s coat can usually tell you whether or not it will have long hair when it’s older. A long-haired puppy will have a more furry, fluffy puppy coat than its short-haired siblings. The ears and the legs are also a good place to check for longer hair or “feathering” which is an indication of a long coat.
Of course, one very clear clue to your puppy’s future hair length is its breed. Some breeds of dogs always have long hair such as poodles, pomeranians, Siberian huskies, and samoyeds. Others always have short hair, such as pugs, greyhounds, and labradors.
Still, there are other breeds of dogs that are both short and long haired breeds. Some popular breeds of dogs that come in long hair as well as short include border collies, chihuahuas, German shepherds, and dachshunds.
For these breeds of dogs, you’ll need to figure out which coat type you puppy will have by either inspecting your puppy and its parents, asking the breeder, or even administering a DNA test.
If you want to figure out your puppy’s coat type by simply inspecting it, you’ll probably have to wait until it is at least a few weeks old. In fact, it is almost impossible to tell which puppies will have long coats and which ones will have short coats when they are first born. However, by eight weeks, when most puppies are ready to go to new homes, it should be quite clear.
Long-haired dogs will have a more fluffy, full coat of hair. In addition, if the litter of puppies has a mixture of long and short coats, it will be pretty easy to compare the puppies. You may even be able to tell around four weeks old or so, but in general, the older the puppy is, the easier it is to tell.
Another way to decide about the length of a puppy’s coat is to look at the parents. Long hair in dogs is typically a recessive gene while short hair is dominant. So if both parents have a long coat, all the puppies will have a long coat.
On the other hand, if one or both of the parents have short hair, it is still possible to have a few long haired puppies as long as both parents have at least one long coat gene to give to offspring.
So the parents can be a clue, but unfortunately, you can only be absolutely certain of the puppies having long hair if both parents have a long coat.
Probably one of the best things to do if you are not getting a puppy from a shelter or rescue group, is to ask your breeder. If you’re buying a puppy from a responsible breeder, he or she should be able to show you the parents and give you a pretty good idea of whether or not the puppy will have a long coat.
If your breeder isn’t sure or if they don’t let you see the mother and father this may be a sign that he or she is not a reputable breeder.
A final way to find out your future puppy’s coat type is through DNA testing. This can be done on a dog of any age to see if the dog is carrying one or both recessive long genes. Remember, your puppy needs two long hair genes to have long hair. Breeders can also use these tests for dogs they are planning to breed to see if the litters will be long-haired, short-haired, or possibly a combination of both.
Do Puppies Shed Their Baby Fur?
Yes, puppy hair does change from the smooth, fuzzy puppy coat into an adult coat as your puppy matures. All puppies are actually born with a single coat even if they later develop two coats such as in double-coated breeds.
Puppies then usually shed their baby fur around four to six months. Sometimes they can begin shedding even as early as three months or as late as a year or two years depending on the breed.
This process sometimes results in so much shedding that puppies develop bare patches and go through an ugly-looking stage. Don’t worry, your puppy will get through it looking as handsome as ever.
How Fast Does Puppy Hair Grow?
Puppy hair has a much shorter growth cycle than human hair, with an average of 130 days. Of course this also depends on the breed. Some breeds, like poodles, take years to complete their growth cycle.
That’s why they are not considered dogs that shed. In general though, your puppy should be able to grow their coat out completely (for example, after getting shaved) in around three or four months.
Does Puppy Hair Get Longer?
Puppy hair does generally get longer as the puppy grows and replaces its puppy coat with an adult coat. For a long-haired breed, its coat will certainly get quite a bit longer as an adult. For all types of dogs, the fur also changes textures as your puppy grows. Generally the adult fur is thicker and will feel less smooth than the puppy fur.
Comparison Between the most common Dog Breeds – How to tell if their Coat will be long or short.
How to Tell If Your Border Collie Puppy Will Have Long Hair
By eight weeks, a border collie with a rough (long) coat will usually have fluffier fur compared to puppies with a smooth (short) coat. The smooth coat will look shorter, as well as shinier and smoother. Some breeders say they can tell at five weeks or earlier which puppies will have a smooth coat and which will have a rough coat.
At What Age Can You Tell If a Chihuahua Will Have Long Hair
Some chihuahua breeders say that about two weeks old, you can start to be able to tell if a chihuahua will have a long or smooth (short) coat. Their coat overall all looks a bit more fluffy than the slick, smooth-coated puppies. If you’re not sure, you can also check the ears and the paws for the longer fur.
How to Tell If a German Shepherd Puppy Will Have Long Hair
A German shepherd puppy that will grow up to be a long coat will be fluffier looking than its short or medium-length coat siblings. Look at the fur around the legs and the ears for clues. Long hair puppies will have longer, fluffier fur there.
You can probably tell what coat type the puppy will have beginning at around four weeks or so, but by eight weeks it should definitely become obvious. German shepherd owners also say that a long hair puppy will have a slightly different looking head. It has been described as schnauzer-looking, chipmunk cheeked, or as having a refined head.
Like the border collie and chihuahua, long hair is also a recessive gene for the German shepherd and is therefore much less common. It’s also not as common because it is considered a fault according to American Kennel Club breed standard. Still, many owners love long hair German shepherds and this coat type seems to be gaining popularity.
How to Tell If a Dachshund Puppy Will Be Long Haired
To tell if a dachshund puppy will grow up to be long haired, check the typical places such as the legs and ears which will be feathered. Their coat overall should be fluffier, but the ears and legs are good places to look if you’re not sure.
You won’t be able to tell when they are first born, but after a few weeks old, most breeders will probably be able to tell if a dachshund puppy will be long haired or not.
Although appearance is certainly not the most important factor in choosing a puppy, many dog owners tend to be pretty particular about the way their puppy will look as an adult. Fortunately, when it comes to coat types, there are some fairly sure ways to find out if a puppy will have long or short hair.
Besides knowing your breed coat types, you can ask your breeder, examine the puppy for a fluffy coat, or even get DNA testing. All these are helpful tools to find out if a puppy will have long hair.