- Coat Care
- Grooming Tools
- Health & Wellness
- Home & Travel
- Expert Advice
Posted by Daryl from Groomers the Professional Choice on August 01, 2019
The Science Behind Canine Hair Structure
The physical structure of canine hair is varied, as you might expect. For example, German Shepherd hair is on average three times thicker than Shih Tzu hair. Different breeds and hair types need different care and treatment. Ultimately however, all canine hair has a similar base structure, and is subject to the same type of damage.
The canine hair shaft is made up of dead, hardened protein called keratin, as well as water and a small amount of oils called lipids. These combine to form three key sections in canine dog hair:
The Damage Grooming can do to Canine Hair
Hair damage is usually gradual. The hair cuticle is usually affected first, becoming raised and chipped. With repeated mistreatment the cuticle can completely wear away, making the hair weak, dry, and subject to breakage. Once the cuticle has completely worn away there is no way to repair the damage. The interior cortex will start to shed, leading to broken hair and spilt ends.
There are a number of ways that professional dog grooming can actually damage the structure of canine hair. Over-enthusiastic brushing, high velocity dryers, harsh detergents and heat from water/dryers can raise the cuticle, making hair more susceptible to damage.
Sun, wind, indoor heating and static electricity can also cause hair damage, as well as health and hereditary factors.
How Damaged Hair Appears
Damaged hair appears to us as:
What You can do to Prevent Canine Hair Damage
Hair damage is inevitable, but you can reduce the amount of damage by considering and employing the following:
Information in this blog was sourced from Barbara Bird’s talk “Canine Hair & Coat Damage: A Close-Up View“ at the Festival of Grooming 2012.