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Coat, or the nature and quality of a show mammal's pelage, is important to the animal fancy in the judging of the animal, particularly at conformation dog shows, cat shows and horse shows. It may also be used as a standard to evaluate the quality of care and management used by the animal hander, such as in Horse showmanship.

The pelage of a show animal may be divided into different types of hair, fur or wool with a texture ranging from downy to spiky; in addition the animal may be single-coated or may have a number of coats, such as an undercoat and a topcoat (made up of guard hairs; also called outer coat and, sometimes, overcoat). The state of the coat is considered an indication of the animal's breeding and health.

Some considerations in judging the quality of an animal's coat:

  • Colour (coat colour other than those allowed in the breed standard results in disqualification)
  • Markings (distribution of colour, spots, and patches; for example the spotted coat of a Dalmatian and the merle coat of an Australian Shepherd are distinctive, the markings of a terrier vary.)
  • Pattern (specific, predictable markings; tabby, for example is a common pattern in cats)
  • Texture of hair (smooth, rough, curly, straight, broken)
  • Length of hair
  • Health of hair coat (shiny or dull, brittle or flexible, etc.)

Coat (also known as a rug or blanket) may also refer to a covering or garment made by humans to protect their pets from the elements.

See also


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