Do German Shepherd Dogs Shed?


Do German Shepherd Dogs Shed?

Did you decide on having a German Shepherd join your family? Congratulations! These loyal and smart dogs are wonderful companions as well as excellent watch dogs. Before getting a puppy you should inform yourself about any requirements of the breed, and this includes if – and how much – a German Shepherd can be expected to shed.

The quick answer: Yes. German Shepherds are medium to heavy shedders. They are not hypoallergenic and they will shed year-around.

Let’s look in detail at the makeup of their coat as well as what you can do to keep the hair under control.

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How bad do German Shepherds shed?

Like all kinds of shepherds, German Shepherds have a thick double coat. This means that their fur contains two types of hair: guard hair and undercoat.

Guard hairs are the hairs that we see when we look at a dog. They have the typical brown or black coloring and are straight and thick. This hair does not shed heavily and mostly stays the same year-around.

The undercoat consists of thick, wooly hair close to the skin. When looking at a dog we can usually not see the undercoat. You have to actually part the fur with your hands in order to see these hairs. The undercoat is the type of hair that actually “sheds”.

German Shepherds lose this undercoat especially during the season changes. You can expect to find handfuls of hair lying around your home in the spring and fall. But also outside of the season changes your dog can and will shed.

It’s practically impossible to live with a German Shepherd and not find hair lying around occasionally.

Most German Shepherd owners are surprised at the intensity of their dog’s shedding. If you have not yet experienced a German Shepherd who is blowing his coat, spend some time around one before committing to buying this breed.

Shedding will be a constant event in your home.

german shepherd shed

Managing the hair

The most important step you can take to manage your German Shepherd’s shedding is to keep on top of it. The longer you let it go on without taking care of it, the worse the shedding will get.

Brushing will be the most effective measure to remove the undercoat. You should brush your dog ideally every day. Just 5 minutes every night are sufficient to keep the shedding at bay.

If your dog gets dirty a lot (for example because you live in a dry and dusty climate or he enjoys rolling in the dirt) you need to bathe him regularly. It is much harder to brush dirty hair than to brush clean hair. The dust particles can settle in the undercoat and make it impossible for a comb or brush to get through.

After bathing your dog you can blow-dry him. Professional-grade grooming blow dryers are an expensive, but worthwhile investment for any shepherd owner. They will literally “blow out” the dog’s undercoat and drastically reduce the shedding.

How do I get my German Shepherd to stop shedding?

There’s nothing you can do to completely stop your German Shepherd from shedding. However, here are several ways to reduce the amount of stray hairs in your home:

  • Daily brushing
    Shedding is basically dead undercoat falling out onto your floor. If you can remove this undercoat through brushing before it falls out, your dog will shed a lot less!
    Just 5 minutes of daily brushing will noticeably cut down on the amount of hair lying around.
  • Keeping your dog inside
    Especially if you live in a colder climate you should not let your dog be outside unsupervised for many hours a day. The more time your dog spends outside, the thicker his coat will grow. This means that when it is time for the season change, he will shed extra badly!
  • Spay your female dogs
    Female dogs are notorious for shedding badly after they have been in season. Unless you are planning on breeding your female, there are no health benefits of not having a spay surgery done once the dog is finished growing.
    If you are experiencing especially heavy shedding after your dog’s heat, consider having her spayed.
    Male dogs often also get a lighter coat after their neuter surgery.

Many owners decide to let a professional groomer take care of this. This can be a convenient way to reduce your dog’s shedding without having to bathe and dry him at home! If you are planning on having a groomer work on your dog, you should introduce him to this as early as possible – ideally as a young puppy.

Establish a set schedule (such as every 4 weeks) for taking your dog to the groomer. The more consistent you are with this, the easier it will be to keep the stray hair at bay!

Do German Shepherds shed constantly?

Unfortunately yes – German Shepherds shed constantly, year around. While their shedding is especially intense during the spring and fall, they can and will lose their undercoat during the remainder of the year as well.

Managing your dog’s shedding will be an everyday task just like feeding and walking your dog. By making it a routine, it will be easy for you and your dog to keep up with it.

Is there a German Shepherd that doesn’t shed?

While there is no purebred German Shepherd that doesn’t shed, crossing them with Poodles will produce dogs that shed minimally. 

The advantage of all Doodle mixes is that they get the non-shedding trait of their Poodle parent. In the case of the German Shepherd, this mix would be the Shepadoodle. 

As with all dog breeds however, you should never decide on a puppy due to his coat quality alone. 

Grooming and dealing with shedding is only one aspect of dog ownership and should not be the deciding factor in picking a breed.

german shepherd running

The Bottom Line

German Shepherds will shed. Most owners are surprised by the amount of fur they lose every day. 

They are absolutely not hypoallergenic dogs. If you suffer from dog allergies, it is nearly guaranteed that a German Shepherd will trigger those. Before committing to these dogs, realize that owning them will come with daily coat maintenance.

If you are consistent with brushing them every day however, the shedding can be kept under control. Most Shepherds only get really bad with their shedding once owners fall behind on their grooming schedule.

If you are busy and cannot fit your dog’s monthly baths and blow-drys into your routine, a local professional groomer will be able to help you keep your Shepherd in tip-top shape. These are not always cheap – consider this when looking at the cost of a German Shepherd puppy.