Difference Between Dog Hair and Fur (With Table)

Have you ever wondered whether your companion at home has a hair coat or fur? The terms hair and fur may be used interchangeably. They have scientifically similar compositions made from keratin. But do hair and fur essentially consist of similar texture, length, or appearance?

Dog Hair vs Fur

The difference between Dog hair and fur lies in the cycle through which hair grows. The length of each phase in the cycle is a conclusive factor of thickness, shedding, or texture. Hair goes through a longer cycle than fur. Hair grows continually in the entire cycle and does not shed often. Fur, on the other hand, went through a shooter cycle and hence shed often.

Dog hair is made up of keratin. It goes through a longer growth cycle. Hair usually grows longer with a longer anagen phase. Due to the continuous growth of hair, it tends to be wavy and less allergic to reactions. Dogs with hair shed less often. Hair tends to be thinner and finer.

Fur goes through a shorter phase of hair growth. Dogs with fur shed more often, and hence, the fur tends to be thicker and denser. In winters, fur grows denser to protect from the cold weather and produce warmth. Some of the breeds with fur are kuvasz, Akbash, American Eskimo, Maltese, etc.

Comparison Table Between Dog Hair and Fur

Parameters of Comparison
Dog HairFur
Growth cycleDog hair goes through a lengthy growth cycle.Fur goes through a shorter growth cycle.
TextureIt has a fine texture making hair wavy.It is thicker than hair.
SheddingIt sheds less often as wavy hair traps shredded hair.It sheds constantly.
Allergic reactionAs the shredded hair gets trapped, it is less likely to produce an allergic reaction.It is more likely to produce an allergic reaction.
BreedSome of the dog breed with hair includes Yorkshire terriers, Poodles, Shih Tzu, etc.Some dog breed with fur includes Pomeranian, Bichon Frise, etc.

What is Dog Hair? 

Dog hair goes through an extended cycle of hair growth. The hair grows longer, finer and may differ in texture ranging from straight to wavy. Dogs with hair go through a longer duration of new hair growth or anagen phase. This duration makes their hair shed slowly and hence trapping any excess hair shedding. The dirt particles and follicles are trapped in the coats. Usually, they have a single coating that does not support adapting to a colder environment. 

Some of the breeds include

  • Poodles: Poodles vary in their size. A toy poodle is 10 inches in height, miniatures are utmost 15 inches, and standards are at most 15 inches tall. They have short hair and minimal shedding.
  • Shih Tzu: Shih Tzu has silky, long, and elegant hair. They do not shed hair all over the house. Their hairs are trapped by an undercoat which produces short hairs. 
  • Yorkshire Terriers: They are toy-sized, having silky hairs. Their coats are thick and need regular grooming. They are less likely to cause allergic reactions.

Some of the most famous breeds of dog known for their long silky hairs are Afghan Hound, American Eskimo, Bearded Collie, Skye Terrier, English Setter, Coton de Tulear, Shetland Sheepdog, Tibetan Terrier, Briard, Havanese, among others. These breeds of dogs are found in different places and vary significantly in size. The most common trait is their long, silky, and elegant hairs marking their beautiful appearance.

What is Fur?

Dogs with fur go through a shorter cycle of hair growth. The hair grows thicker in texture. The dogs with fur go through a shorter duration of new hair growth or anagen phase. This shorter duration makes their fur shed quickly and thus shedding undercoats during spring. Usually, they have a double coating to adapt their body to a colder environment. Undercoat gives them warmth in winters and makes them appear soft and fluffy. The fur dogs adapt well to cold climates.

Some of the breeds include

  • Samoyed: Samoyed found their origin in Siberia. They are cute and fluffy. Their double coat fur shredded continuously, needing extra care.
  • Old English sheepdog: Old English sheepdogs have long and fluffy coats. They weigh around 90 pounds and shed heavily. Their whole body is covered in fur. Their eyes and face are fully covered, making it difficult for them to see objects. They need to be groomed frequently.

Some of the most famous breeds of dog known for their smooth and fluffy fur are German shepherd, Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, Tibetan mastiff, Siberian husky, among others. They adapt to cold climates. They need regular brushing and grooming as their fur is heavily shredded.

Main Differences Between Dog Hair and Fur

  1. Dog hair passes through the extended anagen phase, while fur goes through a shorter anagen phase.
  2. Dog hair is lengthier, turning into a curly or wavy texture. On the other hand, fur grows quickly and hence sheds rapidly.
  3. Dog hair has a single coat, i.e., without an undercoat, whereas fur is protected with a double coat.
  4. Dog hair is nonallergic, whereas fur is more drawn to allergic reactions.
  5. Dog hair is not able to control outer temperatures, while fur has denser coats that provide warmth and control outer temperatures.

Conclusion

The breeds of dogs with hair and fur have different textures, hair length, growth stages, and thicknesses. Hair and fur are made from the same component, keratin, which is also found in claws and nails. 

Dogs with hair tend to cause fewer allergic reactions as they shed less often. But due to a similar reason, they need regular grooming. The particles and dirt trapped in the hair may cause infections. A clear understanding of the differences will help you to identify whether your dog has hair or fur. Both breeds have their benefits as well as drawbacks. 

All the breed needs care and attention. Dogs serve as loyal friends and great companions.

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2222.1985.tb02260.x
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304401707006620
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