Q: What are "Sashike (差し毛)" and "三段毛 (Sandanmou)"?
A: Japanese dogs have a dual coat consisting of "Gomo (剛毛)" (hard or straight guard hairs) and "Watage (綿毛)" (soft undercoat). "Sashike (差し毛)" refers to the long, curly, and glossy hairs found on the outer side of the guard coat, often on the buttocks and flanks, which have a golden sheen.
These hairs are considered as fault for evaluations in dog shows.
There is a historical anecdote that suggests people used to burn the "Sashike" with incense to disguise them.
Furthermore, for Shiba Inus, a desirable coat type is called "三段毛 (Sandanmo)".
It's described as "先赤中黒の白 (saki aka naka kuro no shiro)" , where the color of the coat changes in three stages from the tip to the base.
The colors are, in order from top, red or black (red for red coats, black for black coats), then white, black, and white.
This type of coat is also found in the fur of wild coyotes and wolves, and it contributes to the depth and subtlety of Japanese dogs' appearance, embodying qualities like sharpness, "Saeaji" (color sharpness or contrast), and the Japanese aesthetic concept of "wabi-sabi."