Guard hairs are one of the many types of hair that dogs have. They play an important role in protecting the dog’s skin from external damage. In this article, we will discuss what guard hairs are, their function, and how they differ from other types of hair on a dog’s body.
What Are Guard Hairs?
Guard hairs are the long, wiry, and stiff outer coat of hair that covers a dog’s body. They are the first line of defense against external elements such as dirt, rain, and sun. Guard hairs are usually longer than the undercoat, and they stand out from the dog’s body.
The color of guard hairs can vary depending on the breed of dog. Some breeds have guard hairs that are the same color as the undercoat, while others have guard hairs that are a different color. For example, a German Shepherd’s guard hairs are usually black or tan, while a Siberian Husky’s guard hairs can be white, gray, or black.
Guard hairs are also responsible for giving a dog its distinct appearance. They can be straight or curly, and they can have various textures. For example, a Labrador Retriever’s guard hairs are usually short and straight, while a Poodle’s guard hairs are curly and wiry.
Function of Guard Hairs
The primary function of guard hairs is to protect a dog’s skin from external elements such as dirt, rain, and sun. They also help to regulate a dog’s body temperature. In cold weather, guard hairs trap a layer of air against the dog’s skin, which helps to keep them warm. In hot weather, guard hairs reflect the sun’s rays, which helps to keep the dog cool.
Guard hairs also play a role in waterproofing. The outer layer of guard hairs repels water, which prevents it from reaching the dog’s skin. This is particularly important for breeds that are bred for water activities such as swimming, like the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever.
How Do Guard Hairs Differ From Other Types of Hair on a Dog’s Body?
Dogs have different types of hair on their bodies, each with its own function. In addition to guard hairs, they have undercoat, whiskers, and tactile hairs.
The undercoat is the soft, fluffy layer of hair that grows close to a dog’s skin. It is responsible for providing insulation and keeping the dog warm. The undercoat sheds twice a year, which is why some breeds are known for “blowing their coat.”
Whiskers are the long, thick hairs that grow around a dog’s muzzle. They are highly sensitive and help a dog to navigate its surroundings. Tactile hairs are the short, thick hairs that grow around a dog’s eyes, ears, and nose. They are also highly sensitive and help to protect a dog’s face from injury.
Guard hairs differ from these other types of hair because of their texture and length. They are longer, stiffer, and more wiry than the undercoat. They also stand out from the dog’s body, while the undercoat lies flat against the skin. Whiskers and tactile hairs are shorter and thicker than guard hairs, and they serve a different purpose.
How to Care for a Dog’s Guard Hairs
Caring for a dog’s guard hairs is important to ensure that they continue to perform their function effectively. Regular grooming is essential to keep the guard hairs clean and free of tangles. Brushing a dog’s coat regularly helps to remove dead hair, dirt, and debris, which can cause irritation to the skin. It also helps to distribute the natural oils in the coat, which keeps it healthy and shiny.
It is also important to feed a dog a healthy diet that is rich in essential nutrients. This helps to promote healthy hair growth and keeps the coat looking its best.
Guard hairs are an essential part of a dog’s coat. They play an important role in protecting the dog’s skin from external damage, regulating body temperature, and waterproofing. Understanding the function of guard hairs and how they differ from other types of hair on a dog’s body is important for any dog owner. Regular grooming and a healthy diet are essential to keep a dog’s coat healthy and looking its best.