Despite being house pets for decades, Siberian husky hair still grows and sheds as if the dog will live outdoors year-round.
Siberian huskies are double-coated dogs, with a thick topcoat of harsher hair and a soft, insulating undercoat.
That undercoat sheds dramatically about twice a year for a month at a time.
This happens when temperatures change, so it usually happens in the spring and autumn.
When Do Huskies Shed?
Siberian Huskies shed their undercoats about every six months. The hair comes off in great chunks, but the husky should never go bald. Husky owners call this time “blowing a coat”. This shedding time lasts from 2-6 weeks. Brushing every day helps keep the shed from blowing all over the place.
Blowing a Coat
Husky owners have nicknamed the undercoat shedding time “blowing a coat” since it does seem as if the hair has suddenly exploded off of the dog.
It’s normal for large hunks of hair to be lost during this time.
This happens about every six months. The normal time is three to four weeks, but can be as little as two weeks or as long as six weeks.
Brushing the hair every day during this time helps keep the hair shedding in just one place. Otherwise, it sheds wherever the dog goes and drifts about.
There certainly is a lot of husky hair to deal with at this time. Some owners like to place the hair outside during the spring so that birds can use the hair to make nests.
Some creative husky owners make yarn from husky hair.
Brushing a Husky
Since huskies shed their topcoats a little bit every day, it’s good to brush your husky at least once a week to keep the shedding hair from getting everywhere.
Regular brushing also helps the dog get used to being brushed more often when he or she blows a coat.
Forever Husky recommends using a wide-toothed comb with rounded teeth before brushing a husky. This helps to remove tangles.
Brush the way the hair grows. Brush with a little pressure to help remove the dead hair and give the husky a massage.
Huskies will not always scratch when they have just picked up fleas. During grooming, use a flea comb to check for fleas.
It’s best to give a topical flea treatment or monthly chew year-round since flea eggs can survive for months in homes and hatch when the heating is on.
Husky Puppy Shedding
Husky puppies are born with only their undercoats, making them look particularly fuzzy. Their double coats appear as they get older.
The topcoat often starts growing in patches, often beginning with the head. Puppies tend to have a patchy look for their first year.
When a husky puppy is about ten to fourteen months old, it will undergo its first blow and lose all of its fuzz. They do not get completely bald.
When the coat grows back, it will be the proper double coat. If this process has not happened by the time the dog is two years old, he or she needs to see a vet.
It’s best to start grooming sessions with puppies, no matter how fuzzy or patchy they are. Starting early helps your Siberian Husky get used to the grooming process.
Give the puppy a chew treat to help keep his or her attention from trying to bite the brush. Some puppies think combs and brushes are toys.
Never Shave a Husky
Husky owners may be tempted to get their dog shaved, not only to get rid of all prospects of blowing a coat but in the mistaken belief that it will keep the dog cooler in summer.
Huskies evolved in Siberia, which has extremes in both cold and hot weather.
The double coat acts as insulation, keeping the dog warm in winter but also keeping the dog cool in summer. The topcoat is able to reflect heat off of the dog.
Shaving any double-coated dog like a Siberian husky will rob the dog of the ability to stay both warm and cool.
Siberian huskies normally have pink skin which burns easily. Shaving a coat makes the dog far more likely to suffer sunburn.
The skin is also more exposed to any passing parasite, particularly mosquitoes.
About Alopecia X
Also called black skin disease or adult-onset growth hormone deficiency, Alopecia X is a condition common to Siberian huskies that can make first the topcoat and then the undercoat fall out, leaving large bald patches.
Healthy huskies do not blow out their topcoats as they do their undercoats. Alopecia X happens to both male and female huskies and is commonly seen in neutered or spayed huskies.
The topcoat might shed dramatically, but should not be confused with a normal blowing of the coat.
The dog is left with just the soft, fuzzy undercoat until that, too, starts falling out. The bald skin often turns black.
The cause is not entirely understood but is thought to be a problem of the dog’s endocrine system.
Treatment is through medication to balance the production of sex hormones and to re-grow the lost hair. The use of glycolic shampoo helps to regrow hair and soothe irritated skin.
Since each dog is different, finding the right medications and the right dosage can be a process of trial and error.
Frequently Asked Questions About When Huskies Shed
Do Huskies Shed Their Topcoats?
Huskies shed their topcoats more like regular dogs, a little every day. However, they do not shed as much as a short-haired dog. Brushing the husky regularly helps keep the shed hair from appearing all over the house.
Should I Bathe My Husky When He Blows a Coat?
Huskies only need to be bathed once or twice a year or if they have rolled into something smelly like manure or dangerous like paint. Bathing will not speed up the process of blowing a coat. Bathing more often can strip the natural protective oils from a husky’s coat and damage it.
When Do Husky Puppies Shed Their Coats?
Husky puppies will shed their fuzzy baby coats when they are anywhere from ten to fourteen months old. They will then grow an adult double coat. If they have not done this when the dog turns two, the dog is unwell and needs to see a vet.
The Least You Need to Know
Siberian huskies are double-coated dogs. Their undercoat is shed suddenly twice yearly with the start of temperature changes.
It’s usually during spring and autumn that shedding happens. It is normal for huskies to lose vast hunks of hair during this time.
Husky owners call this “blowing a coat.”