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Scottish Terrier Coat Color Changes


Four Scottish Terriers sitting on a bench




Scottish Terrier puppies and adult Scottish Terriers may experience a change in coat color due to various reasons, most of which are harmless. Schulte's Scotties cannot guarantee the coat color of a puppy as it may change after leaving our kennel.


The most common color transformation that occurs in Scottish Terriers is a change from black to brindle after grooming. The second most common color change is seen in wheaten Scottish Terriers, where the coat color shifts from a deep red to a lighter, more blonde shade.

These changes are due to:

  • Sunlight

  • Undercoats

  • Grooming

  • Health

  • Stress levels

  • Age

  • Nutrition

Let's get into these reasons and see why and how they happen.


Sunlight can lighten your Scottish Terrier hair color

Just like it happens for human hair, sunlight can lighten a dog’s hair considerably. If you’ve noticed your hair getting blonder after a beachside vacation or a summer spent outdoors, you can bet the same thing happens when a dog bathes in sunlight. Hair is bleached by the sun, and it’s completely normal. Shades of brown may turn to light hazel and even blonde. Black may turn into brown, and red into an orange shade.

If you’ve noticed these lighter shades in your puppy’s or dog’s coat color, it is likely due to the sun. The opposite happens during the colder seasons. Your dog’s hair may become darker during autumn and winter, and this is perfectly normal.


Your puppy’s undercoat is a different shade of color

It may be a surprise to hear this, but puppies and dogs don’t have the same shade of color for both undercoats and outer coats. Breeds with double coats typically change colors during shedding seasons and this is because, for a little while, their undercoat becomes more visible. The changes aren’t dramatic, and, in some breeds, they are barely noticeable, if at all.


Grooming and shaving can change your puppy’s coat colors

This may also come as a surprise, but the more you shave your dog, the more its coat texture and color may change. This doesn’t happen for all dogs, but it is a strong possibility. After a dog is shaved, its hair can become lighter in color and softer in texture. It can also change from straight to slightly wavy or even curly as it grows. Your dog’s groomer may tell you this before shaving your dog. Be sure to ask your dog’s groomers about the possible coat changes if they don’t tell you first.


Some health problems can lead to color changes in puppy coats

Pigment changes can be caused by underlying health problems, but these are rare and sometimes difficult to identify. Conditions such as cancer, infections, hypothyroidism, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (caused by tick bites) can cause changes in your dog’s or puppy’s coat color. If you suspect any of these, it is best to visit your dog’s veterinarian for a checkup.



Vitiligo is possible in dogs too

Vitiligo, although rare, can cause color changes in puppy and dog coats. The discoloration typically happens around the eyes, lips, and nose. Although not always permanent, the changes are quite obvious. Melanocytes are the cells that aid color pigmentation in dogs, and when these cells don’t work properly, discoloration occurs.

Vitiligo can be caused by a number of factors, some of which can’t be pinpointed. These include autoimmune problems, genetics, infections, or the presence of a virus.


Stress levels can manifest in color changes of the coat

Stress is another factor that can manifest itself in color changes in a dog’s coat. This typically manifests as excessive shedding or thinning of the hair. When the coat begins shedding more intensely, the undercoat becomes exposed. And seeing as how the undercoat is usually a different color than the topcoat, it


can be seen as an obvious change in color.


Four Black Scottish Terrier Puppies Laying on a couch

Age plays a big part in the discoloration of senior dog coat colors

Just like you see signs of aging in a person’s hair color, you


can notice it in a dog’s coat color. The discoloration of coat colors in dogs typically occurs around the eyes and muzzle, and it’s more visible in dogs that have a darker coat. Other parts of the dog’s fur can become lighter/grayish as they age, but the most visible parts are around the face.

Nutrition has a say in your puppy’s coat color

Nutrition can also play a big part in your puppy’s color changes. It happens for adult dogs as well. Puppies and dogs need a balanced diet, one that includes minerals, protein, and vitamins. If your dog has any deficiencies due to nutrition, this can manifest itself in coat color changes. The color typically becomes less intense or even appears faded. The hair may also become thinner and begin to shed more noticeably.


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