I have seen that a lot of websites have a section for questions and answers. I am often asked questions about me, so I have decided to start my own section of Frequently Barked Questions or FBQ for short. I am starting with the ones I have been asked about my coat.
Frequently Barked Question: Do you shed a lot of hair?
Clowie: The short answer is yes! Here’s the longer answer, giving you a little more detail.
They say that Pyrenean Mountain Dogs moult once a year. If they mean a moult that begins on the first day of the year and ends on the last day, only to start all over again the very next day then they’re right!
As for me, I moult four times a year. I’ll tell you about my three lesser moults first. Now that we live in a warm place, I have added a summer moult when the temperature hits about 30 degrees C (86 degrees F) for a few consecutive days. It thins my coat out so that I can cope better with the heat. I also moult in the autumn in preparation for growing my thick and luxurious winter coat – I like to get rid of any hair that is not up to standard before I begin growing the new hair. Then in the early winter I discover that I’ve grown a thick enough coat to live outside in Siberia and I still live in a warm house, so I have some excess hair to get rid of! Although I call these lesser moults, most dogs would be proud to produce this quantity of hair!
Now I come to the big moult I do in the Spring. I produce lovely, fluffy, soft mountains of white undercoat for a couple of weeks – this may be one of the reasons I’m called a mountain dog. They call this ‘blowing’ the coat. One Spring my bipeds started collecting the hair to make jumpers or something, but they soon ran out of room!
Don’t worry, I always have enough spare hair to leave a nice little souvenir on the clothing of bipeds I like, even when I’m not moulting!
There is no escaping the hair. Open a sealed yoghurt pot and you will find at least one of my hairs inside! I think everything looks much nicer with a fluffy white frosting.
FBQ: Do you need lots of baths to stay white?
C: My coat is very weatherproof. This means that most things brush out and I don’t need a bath any more often than most dogs. I usually have a full bath about twice a year. I am bright white after a bath and my coat feels nice and soft. The colour gradually fades, until my bipeds notice that I’m not quite as white. They start making jokes, “Where is our white dog?” And then they say it’s time for a bath. If I’m lucky they wait until it’s warm enough for me to dry naturally – this happens more frequently now we live in Spain.
I have what they call a half bath more frequently. I like water and mud a lot and so my legs and tummy gradually turn a rich cream colour (they call it muddy brown)! They say that I don’t look very nice with a tide mark and they wash my legs and tummy. I don’t see what is wrong with being a bi-colour – Mulberry our cat is cream and white. I am the other way round – white and cream, but they call it dirty!
FBQ: Do you need lots of brushing?
C: The accepted advice is that once a week is sufficient. My bipeds prefer to brush me most days. They find it much easier to spend twenty minutes or so every day than to spend a few hours doing it once a week. When I am moulting, you can spend as long brushing me as your arm can take and the brush will keep filling with hair.
FBQ: Do you have your coat clipped shorter for the summer?
C: No, I naturally shed lots of the undercoat for the summer. The remaining coat protects me from sunburn. My coat has two layers. There is the longer outer coat, which keeps me dry in the winter and protects me from sun in the summer. The woolly undercoat is very thick in the winter and I lose almost all of it in the summer. The best way to help me keep cool is to brush out as much undercoat as possible and make sure that my coat doesn’t matt, which helps the air to circulate better.
Now you know more than most people do about Pyrenean Mountain Dog coats!
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in a future FBQ, please either leave it here in the comments for me, or you can tweet it to me: @Clowie_dog
See you next Wednesday!
Addition: You may also enjoy reading “Have hair will travel” on the “Bowness bed and breakfast” blog.