When many dog parents bring home their new German Shepherd, they have one important question: do German Shepherds shed? Shedding might not be one of the many fun parts of having a dog, but it’s something that can’t be avoided. Grooming and cleaning up after your dog are just parts of their daily care. Some dogs definitely shed much less than others, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that all dogs have some type of grooming needs.
Do German Shepherds Shed?
Somehow a rumor has spread around saying that German Shepherds don’t shed, but that’s not the case. German Shepherds are actually heavy shedders that shed a lot more than the average dog.
These large dogs have a dense double coat, which means they have a top layer of fur and then a thicker layer of fur underneath. Since a German Shepherd’s double coat is even thicker than most dog breeds, they shed year-round. Twice a year, they shed even more excessively to adjust to the season changes. Therefore, if you have a German Shepherd in your home, you can expect fur to get all over the place.
With proper grooming and maintenance, this shedding can be controlled and reduced, but there’s no way to get rid of it completely. Their fur will often shed in clumps, so you’ll need to clean your house even more than usual. While their shedding makes them more difficult to care for, they are still great companions. For most people, German Shepherds are worth the extra work because of their friendly nature and intelligence.
What Affects German Shepherd Shedding?
Even though German Shepherds shed throughout the entire year, there are factors that can influence the amount they shed. Some of these factors are out of your control, but it’s still good to be aware of them and do what you can to minimize your dog’s shedding. Less fur around the house can make both you and your dog happier.
Most dog coats shed differently based on the season changes. In the winter, their fur will become thicker to keep them warm and in the summer, they’ll shed more to keep themselves cool. Therefore, spring is usually the time with the most shedding as your German Shepherd prepares for summer, although they also shed a lot during the early fall season too.
The only time this routine of shedding might be different is if your German Shepherd is a puppy. You might notice that German Shepherd puppies have fluffier coats than adult German Shepherds. That extra fluff is called a puppy coat, and when your puppy is 4 to 6 months old, they will start shedding that coat off regardless of the weather.
If your dog has allergies, you might notice them itching and biting themselves more often, which could result in major shedding and even bald spots. If you notice that your German Shepherd has red, itchy skin or other allergy symptoms like watery eyes, you should talk to your vet. They could be allergic to something in their environment or an ingredient in their food. Additionally, it could be a result of fleas, ticks, or parasites, so check their skin regularly.
Believe it or not, the food that your dog eats could affect their shedding. Make sure you always look closely at the ingredients before choosing a food for your German Shepherd. Sure, you’ll have to pay more for a high quality diet, but your dog’s health and shedding will be much better overall. Pay extra close attention for ingredients with omega fatty acids in them, such as flaxseed, because those ingredients can give your dog a much healthier coat.
German Shepherds can get extreme stress just like humans, which can result in extra hair loss. If you notice an increase in shedding, along with other stress symptoms such as pacing, panting, or destructive behavior, then you’ll need to figure out what’s stressing your dog out. It could be as simple as a loud noise or something more significant like moving to a new home.
While stress could be one reason for excessive shedding, physical pain can also have a similar result. If your dog is shedding more, along with other symptoms like not eating or having a lack of energy, it could be due to an underlying problem. If you think something might be wrong with your dog, visit your vet right away before symptoms worsen. Also, after your dog gets spayed or neutered, you might notice more shedding as well, but it will return to normal after a couple months. The same is true for during a dog’s pregnancy.
How to Control German Shepherd Shedding
There’s no way to stop the excessive amount of German Shepherd shedding, but there are ways to make it easier. The following are tips on how to better manage and control your dog’s fur, which is something that needs to be done when you have a high-shedding dog.
Brush Them Daily
If you have a German Shepherd, you can’t neglect brushing. They need to be brushed about every day in order to take control of their shedding. However, since their coats are so thick, you need to do much more than just brush the surface. Make sure you brush deep enough to reach their undercoat so you can get rid of all the loose fur trapped in there. An undercoat rake is usually the best brush to use for a German Shepherd because of their double coats.
Bathe Them Often
Your German Shepherd’s grooming needs don’t just stop at brushing though. You also need to bathe them at least every 6 to 10 weeks. However, feel free to bathe them a bit more often if they tend to get dirty very easily. A deshedding shampoo is usually the best option for them because it can help you get all their excess fur out easier. Also, if you brush them right after their bath while they’re still damp, their loose fur will likely come out more easily.
Visit a Groomer
If your German Shepherd’s grooming requirements ever become too much to handle, you can visit a professional groomer for help. They can give them a good bath to help them smell extra nice, and on top of that, they can do a special deshed treatment. This usually consists of the groomer using a high velocity dryer to get the loose hair out more efficiently. It should reduce your dog’s shedding for at least a few weeks.
Some dog parents request to get their German Shepherds shaved because they think it will reduce shedding, but you should NEVER do this! Shaving a dog with a double coat can cause permanent damage to their fur. Their double coat is designed to protect them from all types of weather from snow to sun. So, shaving your dog would only put them at risk and likely even cause them to shed more.
Keep Them Healthy
A healthy dog also means a healthy coat. So, if you feed them high quality food and give them plenty of exercise, not only will they live a long, healthy life, but they will also shed a bit less. They are high energy dogs, so they need plenty of exercise each day along with food that’s high in quality protein to keep them in shape. Giving them plenty of mental stimulation is also a great way to improve their wellbeing and lower their stress levels.
Clean Your Home Weekly
Even if you get your German Shepherd to shed less, you will still have to clean your house more often than you usually would. Make sure you have a powerful vacuum cleaner and a lint roller ready. You might need to vacuum as often as every few days just to keep the dog hair from piling up too much.
If anyone ever asks you, “do German Shepherds shed?”, make sure you tell them the truth. If someone gets a German Shepherd thinking that the dog won’t shed, then they’re in for an unpleasant surprise. When it comes to choosing the perfect dog for you, never sugarcoat the facts about the breed. It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into because a dog is a lifelong family member, so they should be treated like one for their entire life.