Hair vs Fur

Dog HAIR is generally smooth, and longer and finer than fur. 

It can either be straight, wavy, or curly, but it is usually the curly hair that ends up tangling and trapping dander–which often triggers allergies. 

Breeds with HAIR only have one single layer, while breeds with FUR may have two layers, known as a double coat, or a topcoat and an undercoat.

HAIR tends to be longer in length than fur.

  • It goes through a longer growth cycle, and the longer the growth cycle, the less frequently the hair sheds. 
  • It generally feels smoother and finer to the touch than fur. It can be straight, wavy, or curly, and the curly hair is the most likely to trap hair that sheds, which can give the appearance that the dog is shedding less than it actually is because hair doesn’t float out into the environment as much.
  • It usually grows in a single layer, so the top of the hair won’t feel much different than it would closer to the skin.

HAIR—human, dog, or otherwise—grows in cycles with phases of growth, resting, and shedding. The hair on a short-coated dog will grow to a genetically predetermined length before shedding, likewise for a long-coated dog. The difference is that a long-coated dog has a slower growth cycle, resulting in longer hair and less shedding. Even long-haired dogs and humans have a limit because hair growth is cyclical and will shed in order to make room for new hair to grow from the follicle at the beginning of a new growth period.

Small and toy breeds with HAIR include the toy poodle, bichon, maltese, yorkie, mini schnauzer, shih-tzu and havenese, havenese, bolognese, Brussels griffon, Chinese crested, coton de tulear and the dandie dinmont terrier.

The widest variety of HAIR-coated breeds can be found in the medium group. With ratters, herders, companion pets, working breeds and small working hounds, this group is diverse. Curly coats can be found on the miniature poodles; wiry rough coats on the bedlington terrier, kerry blue terrier, wirehaired fox terrier and standard schnauzer; and more flowing straight coats on the Tibetan terrier,  lhasa apso, coated wheaten terrier, and the basenji which has a very short soft coat

Of the large breed dogs, the HAIR coats can be curly, flowing and straight, wiry and rough, and nearly hairless. The standard poodle, Portuguese water dog and Irish water spaniel possess curly hair coats. The bearded collie grows a flowing straight coat. Wiry rough coats can be found in the airedale and giant schnauzer.

FUR is almost always shorter in length and is denser than hair, with more follicles per inch of the skin. It also goes through a faster growth cycle, and so sheds more heavily, which in turn, leads to a greater spread of dander.

FUR It usually sheds more easily than hair for that reason, and the coat doesn’t trap the fur that sheds as much as a coat of hair would, so you will probably be cleaning more of it off of your clothes and furniture, especially during seasonal changes when a new coat comes in.

Dogs with FUR often–but not always–have a double coat, meaning they have a soft, fine undercoat that helps them regulate their body temperature and a coarser overcoat.