Labrador Grooming: Do Labs Get Haircuts?

“Do Labs get haircuts?” is one of the things that first comes into mind for many canine owners who are looking to get their first Labrador Retriever.

After all, lots of new Labrador owners get their canine buddies for their short coats. Many believe that they will be easier to manage compared to long coats.

However, the truth of Labrador coat maintenance is still debatable. While they do have short coats, they also shed profusely.

Consequently, some Labrador Retriever owners end up shaving a Lab to reduce shedding.

However, should Labs really get haircuts?

The rest of the article will break down Labrador haircuts into manageable scientific chunks so that you can make an informed and objective decision.

The special Labrador Retriever coat

Before we answer the question “do Labradors get haircuts?”, let’s talk about the Labrador coat.

Understanding what makes the Lab coat so special is crucial in understanding why there are certain cons to giving your Lab a haircut.

There are specific purposes that a Labrador’s coat plays in the overall well-being of your dog.

A Labrador’s coat is made up of two layers. The outer layer and the inner layer.

The outer layer is intended to be a water repellent and is reminiscent of the Labrador’s ancestry as a fishing dog in cold waters. This layer is quite firm and abrasive to the touch.

In comparison, the inner layer is composed of fur that is lighter and downier. The inner layer helps to insulate and keep a Lab warm in cold seasons while keeping them cool in the summer months. Additionally, the inner layer has special oils that will help repel water as well.

With the two layers, a Labrador will get enough protection from the elements and from the heat of the sun. The special double coat provides a Lab with sufficient insulation and cooling when needed.

The double coat sheds a lot in certain parts of the year (i.e., spring and autumn) because the Labrador will gear up for the change in climate. With that, Labrador shedding can sometimes be difficult to manage without the proper grooming and care.

This eventually leads owners to think that giving their Lab a haircut is the solution.

Why do some owners want their Labs to get haircuts?

There are many disputes as to whether giving Labradors haircuts is good for them.

However, for the most part, taking your Lab to a groomer for a haircut is frowned upon, as it has several consequences.

Nevertheless, there are still some Labrador Retriever owners who choose to do so for the following reasons:

1) To help with shedding

Lab shedding, especially during molting season, can get overwhelming really quickly. To try to fix this problem, some pet owners resort to trimming their Labrador Retriever’s hair.

However, while shedding can be a taxing process, most of the helping can actually done with regular Labrador grooming. Instead of turning to haircuts, taking your Labrador Retriever to a grooming for Labrador grooming is perfectly fine and will work just as well.

2) To relieve their Lab from the heat

Another reason why some owners prefer to have their Labradors get haircuts is that they believe that it will relieve their dog from the summer heat. All the layers of fur makes some of us think that getting some or all of it off is a good idea.

3) To give their Lab a cleaner appearance

For some, some owners choose to trim their Labrador’s coat because they feel that it gives their canine companions a sleeker and cleaner appearance. They believe that giving their Labs a haircut will make their Labrador Retriever’s coat look shinier and more well-kempt.

However, not all of these reasons have valid bases. Some of them can even prove to be harmful for the wellness of your Lab.

Why should Labs not get haircuts?

While the reasons listed above may seem reasonable at first glance, there are a couple of other reasons why giving your Lab a haircut could be bad for your Labrador.

First off, the Labrador Retrievers’ double coat is there for a reason. They meant to protect your Labrador from harmful elements and extreme temperatures. Even in the summer, the coat serves its purpose in protecting your Lab.

Therefore, taking away that protection will also lead to a host of other problems, such as the following:

1) Labs should not get haircuts because it may lead to sunburn or other skin problems.

Instead of helping them feel freer because they no longer have a heavy, bulky coat, you will just be taking away their extra protection from the sun in times when they need it.

Plus, the coat itself is intended to keep your Labrador cool in the summer months. In fact, the reason why they shed so much during spring is because they shed off their bulky winter coat in favor of their new summer months coat.

2) Making your Labs get haircuts causes texture changes in their coat.

Shaving a Lab to reduce shedding actually causes a problem instead with regrowth changes. Your Labrador Retriever’s coat will no longer grow the same as before they were shaved.

This will cause problems because it messes with the original intentions of the undercoat to become thinner in the summer. What usually happens instead is that the growth of the two layers will be imbalanced and stray away from their natural growth pattern.

In effect, this will even make your Lab feel hotter since their fur is growing in ways they are not accustomed to.

3) Making your Lab get haircuts worsens shedding cleanup.

Trimming Lab hair will, of course, result in shorter hair. However, this shorter length of hair can actually cause you more cleaning problems in the future. It will be difficult for vacuums or other cleaning materials to catch all the smallest hair, so the effect of trimming and shaving is counterintuitive.

To add to that, according to this research paper, some Labrador coat colors are prone to getting ear and skin disease because of the limited gene pool that they are from.

So, if I cannot shave my Lab’s coat, what can I do to make my Lab stop shedding?

Instead of subjecting your Lab to harmful situations, you have different options on how to help them with the shedding.

However, the only answer you really need is giving them proper grooming. If you groom your Labrador properly and efficiently, there will be little need for other things. Take note, though, not to groom them more than necessary, as that could be counterintuitive.

During regular days, you will only need to brush your Labrador’s hair once or twice per week. This will keep the shedding at bay during the times that they are not shedding most of their coat.

For the few weeks in spring and fall that their coat sheds excessively to make room for a new form of the coat, you can brush their coat at least 4 times a week, or even every day if necessary.

It is important to recognize that not all Labradors will shed the same. Some will shed more than others, and you may have to brush their coats more often if your Lab is one of those that sheds way more than others.


The short and simple answer to the question “can Labs get haircuts?” is no.

There are no benefits if you have your Labrador get haircuts. For the most part, giving your Lab a haircut can be harmful instead for your Labrador.

There are different ways you can approach problems with shedding and other coat problems. So, try to keep that into consideration instead of jumping into haircuts immediately.

Furthermore, you should do further research on the effects of giving your Lab a haircut. Talk to your vet about it and see what they say.

If you do decide against it, proper grooming will do you just fine. Good grooming habits are all your Lab needs to keep their coat healthy and shiny.

Authored By

John Lab

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