One thing I didn't know in my life BH (before huskies) was that some dogs have double coats. Huskies, like most Arctic breeds, have a undercoat of thick, soft fluff, and a topcoat of long, coarse guard hairs. It's a pretty incredible system actually, providing wonderful insulation all year round, a level of waterproofing, and a certain dirt repellent quality too.
I certainly notice this with Bolo and Czar. Because they spend weekdays in a pen in our backyard, which doesn't have the best drainage, they regularly get wet and muddy. Of course, if they decided to sit on their beds undercover, they might not, but who'd want to be comfortable? Bolo, in particular, is really happy to lie half in a puddle, or on wooden boards with his head hanging off the side, or squash himself between Czar and the mesh. Dog logic, eh?
Even after all the rain this week, Bolo and Czar were rarely wet to the skin. The mud and wet toweled off easily, or just disappeared as they ran around the yard.
Of course, the double coat has some downsides too. THE FLUFF!!!! Stroke a husky and watch the fluffy undercoat detach and waft on the air. It sticks to clothes, upholstery, carpet, eyelashes and gathers in dust bunnies in every nook and cranny. A friend recently asked how often people vacuum out their couch cushions and it quickly became apparent that many husky folks have resorted to leather furniture to minimize the fluff issue. Theoretically, huskies will only drop their undercoat twice a year, over a couple of weeks, and then have minimal shedding for the rest of the year. But with four in the house, we seem to have constantly got someone about to "blow coat", mid "blow" or finishing up a "blow".
(Except Frankie, who's coat seems to just refuse to blow.) When they're in full blow, they have tufts of undercoat hanging out all over. Looks like mange, but plucking the tufts is actually really nice at that point, because it slides smoothly out.
Most folks we know through racing will only bath their huskies once or twice a year. During racing season, the wet and mud is so constant that it doesn't seem worth it. This has been a little hard for me to adjust to, after a weekly regime of expensive hypoallergenic shampoos with my previous dogs. Who am I kidding? I love not having to wrestle a dog into the bathroom, get the whole place filthy with dog hair and mank, dealing with the wet hyperactive dog racing round the house rubbing themselves on the furniture and then heading outside to roll in the dirtiest stink they can find!!
But, every so often, I decide that it's time for the dreaded bath. As part of my effort to insert myself into J's pack, I took on grooming really early on as my responsibility. Even before we were living together, I'd go to his place for tea and while he was cooking, is give each pup a quick brush. I believe handling dogs in this way is a great way to desensitize them to being touched. These days I brush the pups out while sitting in front of the telly, very relaxing... For me. Bolo loves it, the others not so much.
Brushing them out last week, I discovered that Bolo, usually the softest, had some rather coarse patches in his fur. Time for the bath!! We loaded up Bolo and Czar on Saturday afternoon and headed to the shops for the local hydrobath.
While I don't rush to spend money on a groomer, I do believe in a (smaller) splurge on a hydrobath. Having the attachments for clipping a chain on the collar to prevent escapes, the door for easy dog loading and the high pressure hose is amazing. Not to mention that we get to walk out and leave the mess behind!!
Both boys behaved really well, and it was a nice sunny day, so we didn't have to dry that double coat all the way through. My jeans dried out pretty quickly too!