Dog hair and dog fur are terms tossed around together too often. This leaves pet parents wondering if there is even a difference between the two words. Because these terms can be mistaken for one another, it can make understanding them very confusing.
So what’s the difference between dog hair and fur shedding anyway?
Dog Hair vs. Fur Shedding
Dog hair and fur are not the same things. In fact, there are some key differences between the two.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Fine and usually straight
- Can be a variety of colors
- Often found on the head, ears, and legs
- Coarser than hair
- Usually curly or wavy
- Primarily found on the body
- Protects against the elements
Let’s take a more in-depth look at each term.
Dog Hair: An Overview
As mentioned, dog hair is finer and usually straighter than fur. It’s also shorter, which is why you often find it on your pet's head, ears, and legs.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all dogs have hair. In fact, some breeds are completely hairless. The American Hairless Terrier and the Jonangi are two examples of hairless dog breeds.
Hair can come in a variety of colors including black, white, brown, red, and gray. And while it doesn’t protect against the elements as fur does, it does serve other purposes.
For instance, hair helps dogs regulate their body temperature. It also acts as a sensory tool, allowing dogs to feel things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
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Dog Fur: An Overview
As we mentioned, dog fur is coarser than hair and is usually curly or wavy. It’s also longer, which is why you primarily find it on the body.
All dogs have fur, though some breeds have more than others. The Chow Chow and the Keeshond are two examples of furry dog breeds.
Fur typically has a darker color than hair, but it can also come in lighter shades such as white and gray. And while fur doesn’t have the same sensory capabilities as hair, it does protect against the elements.
For instance, fur helps dogs regulate their body temperature in both warm and cold weather. It also provides protection from UV rays, insects, and other environmental hazards.
What it means for dog allergies
Because they don't shed as much, dogs with hair are referred to as hypoallergenic dogs and are frequently preferable to those who have dog allergies. But if hair and fur are the same, how can someone be more allergic to one than the other?
It's crucial to remember that people are truly allergic to the dander found in hair, not the fur itself. Dogs with fur shed more frequently, releasing more dander, which increases the likelihood that you will be harmed. While allergy reactions to dogs with hair do exist and can be severe, they are often less extreme.