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Husky with extreme haircut sparks outrage

A dramatic viral photo of a husky wearing an extreme haircut has raised an important question: Is it cruel, or just kind of goofy looking, to shave a dog like this?



Given a robust debate on this topic since the photo first came to public attention on social media about a week ago, we posed that query to to Teri DiMarino, president of the California Professional Pet Groomers Association and a groomer with more than four decades of experience.

While DiMarino began by characterizing the shaved husky as “really quite comical,” she explained that, by and large, it’s better not to shave dogs of that breed — and others on this long list — that have what’s known as “double coats.”

Double-coated dogs, as the name suggests, have two layers of fur. The bottom layer, closer to their skin, is dense and fluffy. The top layer is stiffer. You can think of the two layers as working together like the insulation inside your home’s walls, and the walls themselves — with the inner layer helping to regulate the dog’s temperature, and the outer layer protecting the animal against the elements, like rain or dirt.

“You don’t take the insulation out of your house in the summer,” said DiMarino.

But the general consensus is that huskies and other double-coated dogs shouldn’t be shaved unless absolutely necessary. Doing so won’t keep them cooler, and in fact makes it harder for their bodies to regulate temperature. It exposes the dogs to sunburn and potential long-term hair loss. (It’s also kind of silly looking, as you can see, though DiMarino suggests the groomer could have “blended the head a little better.”)

And shaving is, finally, unnecessary to minimize the amount of loose dog hair all over your house. “Brush your dog more,” said DiMarino. “If your dog is shedding and you want to keep it off your furniture, brush them.”


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