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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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