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Hi all. Last fall, we ended up the proud owners of a six-year old male Shetland Sheepdog (purebred). Basically, my sister-in-law got divorced and both parties moved out of town without finding a home for the dog. We took Murphy in with the intention of finding him a good home, but bonded with him almost immediately and decided to keep him.

I've never owned a dog before, so I'm a bit concerned now that the summertime heat is upon us. We live in the mid-Atlantic where temps tend to be the upper 80's - mid 90's most of July and August with decent humidity. The current heatwave is only marginally worse than the beginning of July 2010, which had a week+ of days in the 90's to start off July.

I want to make sure Murphy is comfortable in the heat. My sister-in-law lived just a few miles from us, so Murph's been through this before. He's strictly a house dog, so he should be insulated from the worst of the heat. We run the ac a lot, of course, and generally only open up the windows at night. Murph stays indoors during most of the day. We walk him and let him play in the early mornings, and put off dinner and the evening walk until at least dusk.

Right now, my major concern is grooming. Murphy last had a haircut in early April, where I had the groomer cut his hair down to about an inch. A little short for a Sheltie, but it was a warm Spring. Right now, his hair is rather long and he's got the "Sheltie butt" going on where the hair around is hind end is unmanageable.

He has a grooming appointment next Wednesday. I was considering letting the groomer cut it very short, but I'm not sure that's advisable. My sister-in-law cut his hair down to a half an inch or so at least a few times during the summer and basically had them completely cut away the "sheltie butt".

Lately, I've read that the undercoat helps them ventilate in the heat, so I'm wondering if I should leave it longer for him.

I need some advice. How long should I leave his fur and should I let them trim the butt way down? I'm inclined to have it shortened to at least an inch and really trim the behind down, if only to make him manageable to brush and check for bugs. I would never have his coat shaved, but I'm kinda inclined to have the coat cut rather short so it takes a while to grow out and is shorter during the rest of July and August.

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
 

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I've had three shelties and never had them cut. We trimmed the butt area but not because of the heat but to make it cleaner. Shelties are a hairy breed, JMO but I hate hearing about people who cut them down in the summer. You said you have AC so keep him inside like you've been doing, keep him groomed (bath, brushing, by a groomer if you can't get the undercoat out) and plenty of fresh cold water. He'll be fine. I live in NH where it can get very hot and humid and we don't have AC except in the bedroom.
 

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The butt issue is more hygiene than anything else. (I have my dog's britches clipped down, too.) Dogs that have undercoats are protected from cold and heat. I wouldn't cut it down, I'd just make sure he was well brushed to prevent matting. That's all I did with my GSD mix and he was more comfortable in the heat than my current, single coated dog.

There are things you can do to help keep dogs cool. You can buy cooling pads, cooling beds, even cooling coats, which I am considering. I'm in PA, but if I do end up moving to VA, I'm getting Kabota a cooling coat. It's a terry cloth coat that you wet down periodically, and the wet material helps wick away heat from the body.
 
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