From Hair to Eternity

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.

83 thoughts on “From Hair to Eternity

  1. Wow! Only twice a year full baths! Mom bathed her Sibes once a month minimum…you are fortunate. No matter what, Miss Clowie, you are always beautiful! Savvy

  2. Wow Clowie – what a wonderful, luxurious thick coat you have! You are lucky to have it to protect you from sunburn – Mum and Dad try to keep me out of the sun when summer comes (if it ever comes back this year!), because my coat is very fine and I am somewhat lacking in coat on the undersides…

    Big WOOFS from Solo 🙂

    • Thank you! I like to keep out of the sun as much as possible, I prefer to lie in the shade. It’s a shame I can’t give you some of my coat!

  3. Thanks for those answers Clowie – your bipeds do well by you.

  4. midnightangel6660

    hi sweetness i have had the privlege of meeting 2 others like yourself here in new york.
    these babys were huge.
    when i say as tall as there human while standing on there all 4s and her on her 2 iam serious.
    heres my questions is that about the normal size of you guys ? and does your human hand strip
    your lovely coat

    • Hi, thanks for your questions.
      Brushing my coat is usually sufficient. I do get some dead hairs around my rump sometimes, which they pull by hand.
      Those dogs sound very large! My head is at about waist height when I’m on all four paws. My male biped is about 6ft and if I stand on my hind legs my face is level with his. I am about average size.

      • midnightangel6660

        wondered about that iam 5 ft 5 and she was my hight i have to wonder if maybe they werent crossed with something else like say a horse ?well at least they dont have to do that my friend has a cat a main coonthat needed it done bad i was still hairy 6 mo later

  5. Oh fanks for that Clowie..You can find my hairs every where too..bol My Humoms have got use to eating their food, wiff part of me on it..bol..Be back next Wednesday :)xxx00xx

  6. Hi Clowie! Very interesting about your beautiful white coat…..I think you could have a little side business with all that extra hair of yours filling things like stuffed animals, comforters, pillows – sounds like you’re a veritable hair factory! I think white is a lovely color to be – my belly is white and the fur there is longer than on the rest of me…..I get brushed a lot too – I love it!

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  7. Clowie! Very good idea!! I loved getting to know you better.. 🙂

  8. My hairs are more like a horses…hmm I think bathing twice a year would be too much for me, better one every twice years…

  9. Nice to learn more about you Clowie. Our question for next time is how do you cope with heat in the Summer time? Have a really lovely day.
    Best wishes Molly

  10. wooo Clowie you need to have a word with your humans, Ive gone 2 years without a bath so far bol although hu’mum is starting to mention the word again and something about my white bits being off white!! I had horrible skin last year so was not allowed a bath, shame! I see your a very thoughtful girl and share your coat about. I bet the birds love it in the spring when they are lining their nests. They do here, they come and pinch it right from us as we are sleeping?!!

    • I like to share my coat about – everything looks nicer with some white hair on it. Yes, the birds love my hair, they hop about collecting it! It’s good to know that you’re generous enough to help them out as well.

  11. I’m sure I’ll think of a question later. But for now, just need to tell you how much I loved your punny title. 🙂

    BTW, have you ever thought of making Pyrenean wool sweaters from all that shed fur?

    • Thank you! I’m glad you liked it.

      They were going to make sweaters, until someone they know told them that they had one made from their dog’s coat and found it too hot to wear!

  12. Boomer and Dottie just got a bath this past weekend, they are still mad at us, and they are dropping a ton of extra fur that finds it’s way into everything.

    • I don’t mind a bath – I like going in any water! I’m not too keen on the smell of the shampoo though and I do try to find something nice to roll in after a bath.

  13. Ohh Clowie, you a blessing for black clothes lol
    You always looked to me like a polar bear, I would use you as a blanket.
    Doggy doesn’t shed at all, I’ve never found a hair at home and he gets baths every other month, he’s nasty, rolls on any water he sees.

    • My bipeds don’t wear dark clothes very often! If they do need to, they put them on at the last minute and disappear out of the door with a clothes brush.
      I’m in water a lot, but it’s mostly clean water in the rivers here.

  14. Your coat-tail (hehe) made me laugh. Our dog Buddy used to shed alllllll year round. His hair would always blow under the dining table and just stay there, or maybe he put it there to share. When ever we included friends for dinner, they got to take some home with them (on their socks). Sharing is a wonderful thing!

    • I like visitors to take a little cluster of hair home on their clothing. My hair catches round the table legs and the chair legs – it looks delightful.

  15. Wow, very interesting. Thanks for that.

  16. You so pretty, I guess they’re doing something right. I also shed like crazy. Mom says she’s going to save up all the loose hair and make a new dog and throw me in the garbage.

    Love and licks,

  17. Hi Buddy,

    It was cool to read all about your coat!! I can’t believe you get away with 2 baths a year!! I get a bath every week – yuk!! (Very mild, natural products and keeps me smelling good for my Therapy visits).

    You sure do molt a lot!! My Dad would freak out if I did that much – Mum used to have Golden Retrievers, so she’s used to it, but I’m Dad’s first Dog – I molt, but not much – it’s normally only my undercoat and it gets stuck in my long outer coat until Mum brushes me each week – she usually has a whole new little puppy of spare fur when she’s finished 🙂

    Have a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

    • I think they’d give me a bath more often if it wasn’t such a mammoth task. I’m in and out of fresh water all the time on my walks, so I think that helps.
      I always have hair to spare – I like to be generous with it!

  18. you sound all snuggle cuddly – even though I am a cat and you are a dog and we struggle in eternity for primo place in our master’s affections, I actually think that it would be very nice to curl up and go to sleep against you. Meow!

  19. Wow! That is a lot of fur. You’re lucky to have a family who is so willing to keep you so well groomed. My Labrador Maya doesn’t have long hair, but she sheds all year around too. It is probably because she is an indoor dog like you. My longer-haired dog, Pierson has only shed once this year. But I’ve only had him for 8 months and he’s only been an indoor dog for 8 months, so we will see how it goes.

  20. I “moult” at least twice a year and shed a lot too. my Mom needs to get with the program though. She doesn’t brush me nearly as much as she should! Barks and licks and love, Dakota

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