PROVET EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS

RESPONSIBLE PET CARE

Subject : Biological variation in pets - hair coat

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Children should be aware of the wide range of biological variation in animals. Pets are a good population to study because most children are in daily contact with at least one pet. Approximately one in every 2 households have a pet in the UK, and one in 4 households have a dog or a cat. The third most popular pet in the UK is the rabbit.

The following areas can be discussed and explored verbally, or in written form in a class. When appropriate the examples can illustrated with photographs.

1. Pet animals have a wide variety of hair coat types including :

The main purpose of hair is protection against adverse environmental conditions 

Other Pets do not have hair including :

Variations in coat type are genetically controlled within specific breeds. The appearance of a coat can be affected by accumulations of dirt, grime, and other debris. Occasionally a breed can have more than one hair coat type eg short-haired and wire-haired dachshunds.

 

2. Pet animals have a wide variety of hair coat (skin, scales or feather) colours including :

Single coat (scale, skin or feather)  colours :

Multiple coat (skin, scales or feather) colours and patterns :

Variations in hair coat (skin, scales and feather) colour are genetically controlled. In domesticated species there may be no rational reason for the colour patterns. In pets that are essentially wild the colour pattern often serves a serious purpose :

Hair colour can be abnormal in some cases of :

Sometimes injured hair grows back a different colour eg in some cats black hair grows back white after it is clipped. Scars on fish often appear white.

Most breeds only exhibit a small range of colour variations eg German Shepherd dogs may be :

BUT others only have one colour variant, eg Dalmatians are white with black spots, Samoyeds are white .

Sometimes the hair coat is specially prepared for showing certain breeds. 

 

Guidelines for keeping pet's hair coats in good shape

CLICK HERE  for more detailed information about grooming.

PROVET CLASS ACTIVITIES RELATED TO HAIR TYPES, QUALITY AND COLOUR IN PETS

1. Study into different hair types in pets

2. Study into different coat colours in cats

3. Study into different coat colours in dogs

4. Study into family care of pet haircoat - grooming, brushing and shampooing