What, exactly, is an "undercoat" on a dog? - Maltese Dogs Forum : Spoiled Maltese Forums


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Old 12-07-2006, 01:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm just wondering. It's amazing the difference in coats that I see on malts. I understand the malt standard says no undercoat. A bichon has an undercoat, right? Cam used to have, what I would call, a "thin" coat, but I didn't know how else to describe it--it was silky and hung straight. He did not appear to have an undercoat at all. My dad's malt puppy I swear had SO MUCH MORE hair--if I could guess what an undercoat was, this dog seems to have one. I mean his hair was so dense compared to Cam's. They did not even look like the same breed side by side.

I understand malts are sometimes bred with bishon--would that explain the difference? Somewhere along the line a bison was put in there with my dad's malt line and explains the dense fur? I don't know how this pup's coat will be once he has outgrown his puppy coat. Both our malts were from a petstore, so there's really no knowing for sure.
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Old 12-07-2006, 02:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Pam

We believe our Edgar is part Bishon. He does not have an undercoat but he is curly like a poodle. Our groomer has a Bishon and tells me that Edgar hair on his body is just like her dog but his ears and tail are Maltese. You can see him if you look back in Finally pictures of the kids. He is also about 14 pounds.

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Old 12-07-2006, 02:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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An undercoat is like a second coat of hair on a dog- it lies close to the skin under the hair you can see and feel by petting. Say on a lab if you pet going against the grain of the hair you will see a soft downy like hair that is under the coarser hair on top. Because Malts don't have it, they don't shed or produce dander (which is what people are allergic to).

I hope this helps!
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm no expert, but I have been told by Bichon owners that they do not have an undercoat. Bogie has a very thick coat, but there is no undercoat. He body hair is cottony while his tail and ears are extremely silky. I think the difference between the various coats is in the texture. My hair is very fine, where as my daughter's hair is coarser. By the way Poodles do not have undercoats. I think there are other breeds that do not. I got a Maltese specifically because it is a single coated dog. If it has an undercoat, it is not a Maltese.

Of course, since I got Bogie I notice every Maltese I see. There are hugh differences within this breed. There is a 3 pound Malt in the neighborhood, and right down the street is a 12 pound Malt. Their coats are also different. Both were sold as prue bred Maltese.

Bogie is far from show quality because he has some lemon color, but otherwise meets the standard. He has the Maltese tempermant and attitude, and that's the most important characteristic.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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According to the breed standard, Bichon's do have an undercoat.

Coat

The texture of the coat is of utmost importance. The undercoat is soft and dense, the outercoat of a coarser and curlier texture. The combination of the two gives a soft but substantial feel to the touch which is similar to plush or velvet and when patted springs back. When bathed and brushed, it stands off the body, creating an overall powder puff appearance. A wiry coat is not desirable. A limp, silky coat, a coat that lies down, or a lack of undercoat are very serious faults. Trimming--The coat is trimmed to reveal the natural outline of the body. It is rounded off from any direction and never cut so short as to create an overly trimmed or squared off appearance. The furnishings of the head, beard, moustache, ears and tail are left longer. The longer head hair is trimmed to create an overall rounded impression. The topline is trimmed to appear level. The coat is long enough to maintain the powder puff look which is characteristic of the breed.

From http://www.akc.org/breeds/bichon_frise/index.cfm

There really shouldn't be a huge difference in the appearance of Maltese. When reputable breeders breed to the standard, the differences are slight. It's puppy mills and byb's who just put two dogs together to produce puppies without any concern for following the blueprint for the breed who are responsible for these "different" Maltese.

When a Maltese gets up into the 12 pound range, twice the standard, it's pretty likely that there is another breed in there somewhere.

Remember, just because a puppy is sold as "purebred" doesn't mean it is. Papers from any registry other than the AKC are suspect and even the AKC isn't foolproof.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Remember, I'm the one that bred Lhasa Apsos for almost 30 years and had the top winning show dogs.

Well Lhasas are supposed be have an undercoat or as it is sometimes referred to, they are DOUBLE COATED.

The undercoat is not as smooth or flat or silky as the top coat and on a double coated dog, it is the undercoat that will mat. Actually the undercoat is more cottonie in texture and the top coat is like heavy oriental hair.

Maltese and Poodles do not have undercoat. Shiz Tzus do.

Tilly, who is just 6 months old, has a thin, silky coat like the one you have described on Cam. Lacie has a much thicker coat (which is actually the more proper of the two), but she still does not have an undercoat.

If you have an opportunity to examine a Shih Tzu or a Lhasa over the age of 9 months, then you will be able to see the undercoat and feel the difference. As a puppy (before about 9 months) the undercoat does not have the same texture as it does later. Both Lhasas and Shih Tzus "blow" their puppy coat (which is mostly the undercoat) at between 6-9 months of age. It is "heck" to keep them groomed during this time which lasts from about 2-6 weeks. Most bitches also "blow" their undercoat after they go out of heat.

Maltese are easier to groom because they don't have an undercoat, but the coat doesn't retain it's shape/body as easily as a double coated dog's. In other words, you have to brush them more often than a double coated dog to have them look nice.

Hope this helps some.

And by the way, Lhasas and Shih Tzus do not shed or produce dander either, so that is not the difference between a breed with an undercoat and one without.

Short coated dogs such as Labs, Pugs, Dashunds, etc. have what is called "fur" and do not actually have an undercoat as such.

Pekes have a lot of undercoat and because the Peke is brushed upwards instead of down, you can see their undercoat. That is probably the best dog on which to get a good look at an undercoat.
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Old 12-08-2006, 10:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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All I have to say is that Bogie is soooooooooooo darn cute!
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Old 01-03-2007, 07:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
All I have to say is that Bogie is soooooooooooo darn cute! [/B]
Yes i agree, he is adorable what ever kind of maltese he is. In South Africa the maltese breed is definitely quite mixed. In fact most South Africans refer to them as Maltese Poodles. They often have much curlier hair than the show dogs seen on this forum. I think i only know of one breeder who specialises in purebred Maltese in the country. I have tried to get in contact with her but she has not returned any emails.

Bentley is not pure bred but is small and has all the characteristics of a maltese except in his coat which is more curly than most. He does not have an undercoat either.

By the way. the dogs showcased on this forum are beautiful.


Take care

Sue
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