The pelage of a show animal may be divided into different types of hair (usually known as 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. 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