The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. With their striking appearance, intelligence, and loyalty, it’s no wonder why they’re so popular.
The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is an all-around canine superstar, excelling in multiple roles ranging from police dog to family companion. It’s no wonder this is the second-most popular breed in America. But do you know how to keep your GSD well-groomed and looking their best?
As owners, it’s our responsibility to keep our furry friends healthy while looking and feeling their best. One way to do this is through proper grooming. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the basics of grooming a German Shepherd.
German Shepherds have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to maintain their health and appearance. It’s recommended to groom them at least once a week to remove loose hair, dirt, and debris. GSDs do shed, so one of the first things nearly every breeder will tell you is to invest in a good vacuum cleaner! But there are several ways to cut down on the shedding.
Does A German Shepherd Need Grooming?:
All dogs need grooming, including the German Shepherd! If you decide to welcome a German Shepherd into your family, you must be prepared to devote time to the ritual of grooming them. As a dog lover, it’s in your best interest to do your research on the dog breed.
Grooming is important to prevent the dog’s coat from becoming matted. Grooming keeps your dog’s skin healthy and allows you to check for any lumps and bumps, sore patches, or parasites.
A thorough brush removes dead and loose hair from their coat, helping to keep the fur healthy and shiny.
Grooming also massages your dog’s skin, helping to improve their circulation.
Best of all, regular grooming strengthens the bond between you and your dog and is a pleasurable experience for both of you.
German Shepherds can have four different coat lengths:
Short coat with an undercoat
Medium length with an undercoat
Long length with an undercoat
Long length without any undercoat
A German Shepherd with long hair has feathery tufts on their tail and ears, and they have “trousers” on the back of their legs.
A German shepherd without an undercoat has the same degree of feathering, but the outer coat is softer and not as coarse. Dog hair varies by breed, but also from dog to dog. A German Shepherd’s coat is unique to the dog itself. Longer haired German Shepherds will require much different grooming tools and techniques than a German Shepherd dog with shorter hair.
Brushing is one of the most important aspects of grooming your German Shepherd. Their thick double coats require regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. This also helps remove loose hair and dirt, keeping your dog’s coat clean and shiny.
There are so many dog brushes on the market. A slicker brush, pin brush, and undercoat rake are some of the most commonly used brushes for German Shepherds. Having the right grooming tool for German Shepherds is key.
A good grooming brush for German Shepherds will keep the German Shepherd’s fur healthy, removing loose fur and dead hair when used on the dog regularly.
Bathing your German Shepherd is important to keep their skin and coat clean and healthy. However, it’s important to not over-bathe them as it can strip their skin of natural oils. A good rule of thumb for a German Shepherd owner is to bathe your dog every few weeks, or as needed. Be sure to use a gentle, dog-specific shampoo, and rinse thoroughly to avoid any skin irritation on the outer coat and the dog’s skin.
Our pick: THE SHEDDER
German Shepherds have long hair that can easily become matted and tangled, especially around the ears and paws. A dog’s hair can benefit from trimming. To keep your pup comfortable, minimize shedding, and remove loose fur, it’s a good idea to trim the hair around the ears and paw pads regularly, or bring them to a groomer for proper technique. This can be easily done with a pair of scissors or clippers and the best grooming tools. It can also help with the excessive shedding and help keep your dog clean.
You should not shave or cut your GSD’s coat hair too short. The German Shepherd’s double coat acts as an insulator, keeping them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. So shaving them can actually cause harm. It can also cause skin problems. And also, if you do choose to shave your GSD, it’s hard to get the coat to grow back properly going forward. Many dog owners do not know this.
Regular nail trimming is important to prevent discomfort and potential injury to your dog’s paws. Overgrown nails can cause pain and make it difficult for your dog to walk or run. You can use a professional-grade dog nail clipper or a grinder to keep your dog’s nails trimmed.
The conformation of GSDs’ feet is wide-ranging, with some dogs having very thick, wide nails that are more difficult to cut and others having thinner, claw-like nails that are much easier to clip. For some dogs—particularly those with thick nails—you can use a Dremel tool for nail grinding in addition to clippers.
GSDs have tall, alert ears that stand up by the time they reach about four months of age. These ears are a signature feature of the breed and can be prone to infections if you don’t keep a watchful eye on their care. It is recommended to use wipes to clean your dogs’ ears, always making sure you are using wipes that are easy and gentle to use.
Be sure to clean your dog’s ears and check regularly for ear infections. If you happen to notice any ear infections, or an odor/discharge coming from your dog’s ear, you should always go to the vet, as such infections can be serious and require the care of a veterinary professional.
A healthy diet can also be a factor in maintaining good ear health in German Shepherds.
Our pick: THE SWIPE
Teeth Brushing Just like us, dogs need to have their teeth cleaned regularly to prevent plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Brushing your dog’s teeth with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste is a great way to keep their dental health in check.
Grooming During Shedding Season:
German Shepherds are sometimes called, “German Shedders!” That will tell you all you need to know about their grooming requirements during the shedding season!
When your dog is shedding in the spring and fall, you’ll need to brush them every day. You will notice many more loose hairs during the shedding seasons.
Heavy shedding happens in spring to allow the dog to get rid of their winter coat so that they will not overheat during the warmer weather.
In the fall, the lightweight summer fur is shed to make way for the dog’s thick winter coat.
Indoor-dwelling German Shepherds may not shed as heavily as outdoor dogs.
That’s because your central heating and living in your house will keep your dog nice and warm, negating the need for the thick underfur that an outdoor living dog would need.
Many German Shepherd owners report that their long-haired dog sheds less than their short-haired relatives. But why is that? Well, the reason for this odd phenomenon is that the German Shepherd’s fluffy undercoat gets trapped by the longer outer fur as it sheds, making excessive shedding halt.
That means less hair on your furniture, but it also makes your dog more susceptible to developing mats in their coat. Also, although a short-haired German Shepherd is less prone to matting, you will find more of their hair on your clothes and carpets.
Therefore, both long and short-haired German Shepherds require plenty of grooming, although for different reasons.
Grooming your German Shepherd is an important aspect of being a responsible pet owner. Regular brushing, bathing, trimming, nail trimming, and teeth brushing will keep your dog looking and feeling their best. Remember to not harm their natural oils by over grooming your German Shepherd regularly.
You won’t find much variety in hairstyles for your German shepherd. When it comes to looking (and feeling) good, it’s more about being properly brushed and groomed, and whether their coat is shiny and healthy. If you truly feel the need to trim your pup, purchase a pair of grooming scissors and give them very specific snips that won’t affect the rest of their gorgeous coat. With the proper grooming tools and techniques, you’ll be able to keep your German Shepherd looking great and feeling comfortable.
Remember, German Shepherds shed, a LOT. From loose fur to dog hair on your clothes and furniture, you will need to invest in the proper shedding tools and best brushes to combat grooming time in breeds that shed year round.