aussie short hair
Photo by Zach Jenkins

Can An Australian Shepherd Have Short Hair?

When someone mentions an Australian Shepherd, the image that comes to mind is a dog with a long, luscious, thick coat. However, you may come across or own an Aussie that is not quite as fluffy and wonder if there is something wrong. The truth of the matter is that all Australian Shepherds do not have long hair. Some can have short hair, and that, friends, is perfectly natural.

Some people may get worried if their Aussie has shorter hair than usual. But short-haired Aussies are fairly common. There is no need to worry about slightly less fluffiness.

Think of it as a pixie cut – just as fierce and stylish as long hair.

Why Do People Think Fur Length Is Important?

The difference in fur length poses an issue for some people. Short-haired Aussies are often not considered pedigrees. Their difference in genes is seen as impure or not the version of the authentic Australian Shepherd.

In fact, a lot of people believe that this want for long coats is merely an aesthetic requirement.

People like looking at fluffy dogs, and so longhaired Aussies are more sought after. Breeders will aim to produce longhaired Aussies as that is what is in demand.

Despite this, short hair on Aussies is not a cause for concern. Do not worry if your growing pup does not seem quite so fluffy. The little guy will be as healthy and active as they get.

Why Do Some Aussies Have Short Hair?

There is nothing wrong with a short-haired Aussie. They do not face any health issues and are just born with shorter hair.

Let us take a look at why and how some Australian Shepherds have short hair.

The Aussie Breeding

Australian shepherds were bred in the American West in the 1800s. They are herding dogs that have been bred for centuries. It is natural that there would be changes in the look of the dog as time goes on.

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They are from a line of dogs that produced other well-known breeds like Collies. This branching and variety make it so that you can expect to have dogs with different appearances in the same breed.

An example of differences that come from a long history of the breed can be seen in Aussie’s eye colors. Some have blue eyes; some have brown and some, both! Another indicator is their coloring. Some Australian Shepherds have spots or patches, while some are only one color. Even their size has a range, with the largest being 70 pounds and the smallest being half that.

For this reason, we can judge that their fur would be no exception to differing genes. Many dogs have long, thick coats. Many have medium-length or short coats.

Australian Shepherd Evolution

Australian Shepherd with shorter fur usually has a range of colors on their coats. Their hair is also more water-resistant.

Most dogs have a thick, smooth undercoat. The undercoat is the layer of fur which is right on the skin. It is usually very soft and dense.

On top of this coat, there is a layer of overcoat. That’s right, Australian Shepherds have double coats.

Their undercoat will shed about every 6 months. However, your Aussie will probably shed all year round. This is because of their double coat, as the top layer is a protective layer. This layer takes a lot of damage during the Aussies’ many adventures outdoors.

Aussie Ancestry

The main reason an Aussie will have short hair is because of genes. An Aussie puppy with short-haired parents will most likely also have short fur.

Dogs that are working dogs usually have shorter hair as they have to adapt to harsh weather conditions and constant exposure to the elements. This makes their fur courser and less fluffy.

If your puppy’s parents were bred to be show dogs and were trained for that, they will be fluffier. These are the type of Australian Shepherd that are considered pedigree.

Can My Aussie’s Short Hair Be Unnatural?

In a few cases, short hair on an Aussie is not natural. If this is the case, then it is a health and maintenance concern and should be addressed. A few factors can cause an Australian Shepherd’s hair to be shorter than what they are supposed to have.

Can Nutrition Affect Aussie Hair?

An Aussies coat can also be less shiny and thick because of the dog’s diet. Nutrition and diet are extremely important for dogs and can affect their coats greatly.

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If your dog is not genetically predisposed to short fur, this lack of nutrition may be the case.

Dogs who work need a diet that is high in protein and fats and low in carbohydrates.

Your Aussie needs good, healthy food. Some brands of dog food may not work for them. Pay attention to your dog’s needs and health and choose their food accordingly.

Dogs also need minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, Omega 3, and vitamins in their diets. These will keep your dog’s diet holistic and will ensure the healthiest coat possible.

Can Grooming Make Aussie Hair Shorter?

Grooming your dog can seem like a chore. An Australian Shepherd, in particular, needs a lot of time and effort for grooming.

Their double coats, while special, are hard to maintain.

There are some things you can consider when grooming your Aussie.

Over bathing your Aussie can be very bad for their coat. You only really need to bathe your Aussie 3 or 4 times a year. Over bathing can dry out your dog’s hair and harm their skin. Too many chemicals on your dog’s coat will make it dry, dull, and thin.

Natural products are best for any dog’s fur. They are also better for the environment!

How To Correctly Groom An Aussie

While you do not need to bathe your dog regularly, you need to keep consistent with brushing. You need to brush your Aussie 3 to 4 times a week.

Aussie owners often get lazy and put off the brushing for months. They then try to tackle their pets tangled fur all in one go. After this long, it can take hours to detangle all of his fur. Furthermore, it can be uncomfortable for your dog as harsh brushing can pull his hair out and hurt the skin.

If their fur gets matted, you might even have to shave your beautiful Aussie. Then you will have an Aussie with no fur.

Consistent and regular brushing is the most effective. Get comfy with your pet and give them a good brush for 20 minutes. This will not only detangle their fur but will also help remove dead skin and dislodge dirt – keeping your dog neat and clean.

Brushing will also massage your dog’s skin and help it produce natural oils. This will, in turn, nourish their coat and keep them glowing.

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Grooming sessions can be therapeutic for both you and your dog and will allow you to spend quality time together. So, get out that brush and comb away!

If your Australian Shepherd is sick, they may lose fur at a rapid pace. If this is the case, then your best bet would be to consult a vet and have your dog put on medication for their illness.

Short Fur Thick Hearts

Genes and ancestry are what affect the look of Aussies the most. As long as you keep your Aussie healthy, you do not need to worry about the length of their coats.

Aussies on any kind of variety are wonderful dogs. An Aussie with short fur may not look as aesthetically pleasing as others, but they have the same personalities.

All Aussies are loyal, playful, and loving. They deserve lots of care.

Australian Shepherds can have short hair, but that will not change anything about your dog-owning experience.

Do short-haired Australian Shepherds shed?

Some dog owners claim that short-haired Aussies shed far less than their furry counterparts. They do shed in the seasonal months, usually twice a year. However, the amount of hair shed will be far less.

Can I get a short-haired Australian Shepherd if I have allergies?

No, Australian shepherds – even short-haired ones – are not hypoallergenic. People who are sensitive to dog fur should not get these dogs. You can expect fur in all corners of your home when it is shedding season.

How rare are short-haired Australian Shepherds?

Short-haired Australian Shepherds are not rare. It is just that the popular image of an Aussie is one with fluffy coats, making it seem like less furry varieties are rarer.

Should I shave my Australian Shepherd?

It would be best if you did not shave an Australian shepherd regardless of how long their coats are. They need both the under and topcoats to regulate their body temperature. They make use of them in both the summer and winter months.

Their coats have UV blocking capabilities and help prevent insect bites. Shaving your dog can also cause the hair to grow back in an irregular manner which may cause matting of the fur.

For these reasons, shaving your Aussie is not a good idea.