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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blow, Blow Blow Your Coat..

As is evident in the photo above we have four dogs/children. Our lives are kept interesting with our family even though 4 are of the canine variety. One of the more interesting aspects is that German Shepherds have a tendency to "blow" their coats twice a year. In regular terms that means an 80 to 100 pound dog will shed its undercoat two times per year.

Now you would think that being the same breed they would do this shedding all about the same time. We won't include our 14.5 year old Border Collie - Australian Cattle dog mix, Gypsy in the routine as she sheds all year long. We measure her by a different standard, how many bushes we have worn out brushing her. But the German Shepherds are considerate enough to all shed at different times.

The German Shepherds only blow their coat twice a year. We can tell whose turn it is by checking the rug in the photo above. If it is light grey and evenly spread over the carpet it is Sarah. If we no longer can see the color of the carpet or its design we know she is at the height of her shed. If we see clumps of white dog hair then we know it is Bozwell and if we see grey clumps of dog hair all over the house we know it is Echo. We wear out vacuum cleaners cleaners (industrial grade) often. If it gets too deep we use a rake or broom to get it into manageable piles.

We therefore have a system worked out during the shedding where we only vacuum the carpet two times a day. We don't have dust balls we have hair balls. BIG hair balls. So why do we do this? Because most of all we love each of our dogs dearly. Second it only happens two times a year, per dog. That means when Sarah is done that Echo will most likely start and then when Echo is done Bozwell will start. Then in between Gypsy will be continually shedding. Her coat is different and we don't know what is really under all that dog hair anyway.

So if anyone has a use for tons of dog hair or how we can market it we are open to suggestions. It is clean dog hair as bath day for 4 dogs is what would be called an event. I guess you can see how much we love our dogs as many people wouldn't put up with having to snow shoe across their living room due to dog hair. The benefits we derive from them far outweigh the minor shedding problems. When all 100 lbs of Bozwell gets up in my lap for some one on one time together - that creates memorable moments. Or when Echo gets part way up in my lap and lays his head on my chest, or when Sarah gets in bed and snuggles tight up against you, or Gypsy who give you a little kiss on the chin. These are tender moments. But the most rewarding is when they give you their complete attention and try to do exactly what you want them to do or how you want them to behave. Like yesterday when we had friends from Vermont for our cowboy breakfast. They conducted themselves excellent and were the perfect well behaved hosts. When you come to our house you don't need to worry about what you will be doing. You will either have a very large dog curled up next to you our you on the sofa or will get carpal tunnel petting four dogs constantly.

So shedding time can be a bother sometimes, but the rewards of having a canine family out weighs the worn out vacuum cleaners and shag carpet by far. I guess you could say we love each of our family members very much. Hmmmm, time for our morning dog walk...more later...Off to another adventure -


Barbara J. Galasso said...

Yup Bruce, that is the only negative I can think of about owning the German Shepherd Dog and that is that darn undercoat of theirs. Hairs, hairs, everywhere hairs!

DogMom said...

Your dogs are gorgeous and sound like they are big love bugs! I know how frustrating shedding can be. Thank goodness the joy our dogs bring us outweighs all that hair floating around!

doglover1918 said...

Several people I know spin their dogs' fur into yarn, and knit with it! My sister knitted Mother a hat from her GSD's fur last year.

Bruce said...

That would be really cool - especially since it is mostly their undercoat that sheds. It would go with our philosophy about recycling. Wonder if the dogs would be constantly sniffing that hat. Great idea.

Anonymous said...

I love my GSD dearly but the idea of wearing a knitted dog fur hat or scarf??? No thanks.😕