View Full Version : Coat changes after neutering ?

1st September 2011, 06:02 PM
I have read on here about the previously soft silky coats of puppies, changing after neutering to become coarse and curly. Is this the case and is it the same for males and females after neutering ?

Thank you


1st September 2011, 06:05 PM
I think for some dogs it is, others don't change at all. I've also heard of the coats becoming much thicker after neutering. Coco is not spayed and has a very fine, straight, silky coat.

1st September 2011, 06:24 PM
There are many past threads on this topic which might be good to search. First -- all puppies lose their soft puppy coats (often they come out all at once -- 'blowing' their coat is the phrase -- and can look pretty ratty til the adult coat comes in!) so the issue of neutering is separate to that.

In general -- some dogs are affected, some are not. The change at any rate, even when it does happen in some dogs, is a very minor cosmetic element and most people would not even know the difference. I think most people mistake normal changes from puppy coat to adult coat for a neuter coat, myself, when it is simply due to the age of the dog and the fact it coincides with when people often neuter -- most puppies lose their really soft fine coat for a coarser adult coat around 9-18 months. Some dogs genetically have a coarse, drier and/or curlier coat as well. Some colours -- tris and B&Ts with black -- often have thicker, coarser, heavier coats. Extra weight or trimming the dog often produces these kinds of coat changes. MOST cavalier I see are overweight and I have seen lots of unspayed females in particular that have dry curly coats likely due to being overweight. Diet can affect coat. Genes play the dominant role.

Many -- me included -- would argue the health, behaviour and related benefits of neutering outweigh leaving them intact, for reasons noted under a thread in the Library section. This is especially true for females, which run a very significant risk of mammary cancer over their lifetime if left unspayed (1 in 4 chance) but even more of a concern perhaps in this breed -- statistically around a 40% risk of the often fatal, expensive to treat uterine infection pyometra, which is often not spotted until it is too late for the dog to be saved and is extremely distressing for the dog (and owner). Cavaliers have amongst the highest rate of any breed for this infection and its risk is one of the key reasons vets argue for spaying.

Of the five cavaliers I have owned, all neutered, only Lily has a poor cottony coat and she already had that when I got her from the pound; Kept neatly trimmed, she hardly looks any different from the others or any of the intact females around my area (I bought a handy thinning shears for her coat and funny thing is, many people think she is the cutest in part BECAUSE of her fluffy coat! :lol:). The intact tri female up the street had a far curlier and coarser coat than any of the other four have ever had as did two rubies owned by someone who kept both (M and F) intact to show. My males have very straight, silky coats and both were neutered before 12 months. Genetically their lines are known for straight, not very heavy coats. Lucy (blenheim) had a very thick, wavy coat and she had that before she was spayed (as a mature adult). Tansy (B&T) has a long and heavy coat, that is no different really from before she was spayed (again as an adult). Lots of cavaliers naturally have wavy or curly coats -- it makes not one jot of difference unless you are showing the dog in which case you can dry them out to be straighter but IMHO it is a bit of a stupid element of the breed standard as probably most cavaliers are at least wavy coated to some degree. I think wavy coats look lovely and full.

In general simply using a conditioner that has a form of silicone (any ingredient ending in '-one') in it will give a nice shine and finish to a dog's coat. Finishing conditioners that you spray on and do not wash out and also help the coat repel dirt.

1st September 2011, 06:34 PM
A very full and detailed reply thank you Karlin. My query bears no relation to whether to neuter or not. I made the decision to neuter before even buying my dog. I just wondered if this was the case and whether it might happen to males as well as females. I have a male.

1st September 2011, 06:35 PM
Good question!
Toby already has a bit rougher patch along his spine from the middle of his back on to the back of him. Its not not like needles just feels a bit different from the rest of him. But its also thicker than the rest of him too. Using conditioner has made a huge difference in how it feels back there. Of course he feels so soft overall. I wonder what he will be like after the snip.


1st September 2011, 06:47 PM
It's a regular query! :lol:

For many people, concern about a possible coat change seems to be the main reason they decide not to spay. There may always be reasons to consider for any owner, but coat changes should not be amongst them. I have literally seen hundreds of cavaliers from years of taking them into rescue and the intact ones and the neutered ones are not much different and in many cases no different in terms of coat. I am sure people who show more readily notice the possible differences when they are there however as they see intact dogs all the time.

I have been to many of the annual national shows and can honestly say if you lined up my neutered dogs against the ones in the ring, the coat differences would really be minimal (well except the show dogs are clean and groomed beautiful show dogs and mine usually have swum in a muddy ditch or rolled in something horrible...!) except with Lily and who knows what might have been the cause of that -- could be her spay before I got her in the pound, or that she was grotesquely fat when I got her (fattest dog I had ever seen for her shape and size :eek: -- she got cavalier boot camp right away :lol:).Trim away the longer cottony bits when her coat gets longer and she is actually nice and shiny underneath. She's a good example of a dog that really benefits from a thinning shears (easy to use too -- hard to really make them look terrible... :p).

1st September 2011, 07:09 PM
The furminator brush is also a really good tool for helping thin out those thicker coats! I was a dog groomer for about 3 years and the furminator was one of my favorite brushes.

Kate H
1st September 2011, 07:57 PM
I would second what Karlin says about thinning shears - they're a cross between scissors and combs and very easy to use. Aled (neutered Blenheim) had a terrible coat when I got him - thick and cottony. After a long course of flax oil and a twice-weekly raw egg, plus good food, some lost weight and plenty of fresh air and exercise, most of his coat is beautifully silky and his tail is a spectacular plume; still a bit long and cottony on his hind legs, but the thinning scissors keep that under control.

Oliver (unneutered) on the other hand has the most peculiar coat I've ever seen! Gorgeous colour but quite short (except for ears and feathering) and very dense - it's almost waterproof, as if he's got a thick undercoat. Takes ages to get him wet through for a bath, but useful when caught in a heavy shower - he rarely gets soaked to the skin! So coats seem to be the luck of the draw...

Kate, Oliver and Aled

1st September 2011, 09:44 PM
So Happy to read about the thinning shears! Looks like I need to pick up a pair!

As far as coat goes here is what I have experienced ~

Holly ~ Since she came to me after just weaning a litter of pups and overall very poor condition I can't tell you how her coat changed after being spayed. She was spayed right away. Her hair in general grows very fast! She has thick, straight hair all over EXCEPT her hind legs. Her hind legs are are like a giant powder puff! The hair is SUPER thick and plush. It also mats very easily there! I can't wait to take the thinning shears after this part because it makes her look a little funny with an extra puffy bum! :lol:

Blitz ~ Overall he has a thin curly coat. I *think* the extra thin coat may have been due to him having heart worms when he came here but even though his body condition has improved he still has fairly thin fur. I don't believe neutering had any effect on his hair. Aside from growing just a tiny bit longer his coat has not changed much since I got him. Still short, curly & thin. He was neutered right away. I have tried all kinds of things to get the curls out even a drying coat. It helps a little at 1st but within a day or two the curls start to return. On the plus side he has the most beautiful, full & fluffy ears. He also has really long feathering on his legs.

Flash is the pup of the two above and his coat is completely different. He has very straight, silky, fine hair. Unlike Holly his coat is growing very slow. At 17 months old I really expected him to have more coat. This *could* be due to the fact we have had 100+ degree weather all summer but I'm not sure. Hoping this winter he will blossom out a beautiful cavalier coat! He was neutered at 12 months of age and I have seen no change what so ever in his coat. Looking back at photos his hair maybe grew 1/2" but that's it. Texture is still silky smooth and shinny black.

1st September 2011, 11:28 PM
I've only had a couple out of my 12 total that had heavier coats after neutering/spaying - most of mine still had nice straight silky coats after altering.

I highly recommend these thinners - I use them for the "baby bird" fur on top of Tucker's head -


They are wonderful - you will never see a scissor mark. Dubl Duck has a lower priced thinner which is probably okay. I like Geib and Dubl Duck brands. You want at least a 44 or 46 toothed thinner.


I use these curved shears a lot, and they are inexpensive as far as good shears go -


They are good for scraggly ears and feathering - my "street girl" that I adopted that is scrawny with a scraggly coat looks much nicer if I trim her ears and feathering a bit to make them look fuller. Curved shears are very good for neatening up - especially if you have novice grooming skills as I do!

I also have a Furminator and a Mars Coat King - but I don't use those for my current Cavaliers who both have nice silky coats. I've had a couple in the past with really thick coats, and those tools were helpful for those dogs.

I've really enjoyed having halfway decent shears (my groomer friend has shears that were hundreds of dollars each) and I find that they do a much better job than super cheap shears. I am careful not to drop them and I keep them in their cases.


2nd September 2011, 08:00 AM
Some brilliant information here. Thanks everyone for your input :thnku: