The primary function of the dog’s hair is as a protective and insulating coating.
But if the eyes are the gateway or the window to the soul, the skin and hair are both gateway and window to the embodiment of an animal’s inner health and well-being. Shiny hair, that is, a hair coat that exudes a healthy and lustrous sheen, is an indicator of overall health of the animal. In contrast, a dull coat that lacks luster is an indicator that the animal isn’t as healthy as she could be.
Breeds and individuals within every breed shed and regrow hair at varying rates. Dogs who live indoors, with little exposure to natural light or cold temperatures, tend to shed in a more or less continuous fashion.
In contrast, dogs who live outside, exposed to natural light and cold temperatures, are more likely to shed for several weeks in the spring and fall. In the fall, their short, light coats shed as they grow a thick, warm undercoat and long, weather-resistant guard hairs to prepare them for winter. In the spring, the winter coat is shed to make way for new, shorter, and lighter coats. The hair coat changes in appearance and texture but the absolute numbers of hair follicles and hair do not.
For more information on what your dog’s skin and coat are telling you, purchase Whole Dog Journal’s ebook, Healthy Skin & Coat.