German shepherds are arguably the most recognizable dog breed in the world. These wolf-like, large dogs are renowned for their high levels of intelligence and immense loyalty. If you’re considering this dog breed and wondering …. do German Shepherds shed, the short answer is yes, and quite substantially. This shouldn’t put you off the breed, but you should know what to expect and how to manage the shedding before you decide, so let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- 1 Do German Shepherds Shed A Lot?
- 2 Reducing German Shepherd Shedding Tips
- 3 Managing German Shepherd Shedding
- 4 German Shepherd Grooming Tips
- 5 Summary
- 6 FAQ
Do German Shepherds Shed A Lot?
A German Shepherd sheds frequently, because of the nature of its coat. As the name indicates, German Shepherds were bred as herding dogs around the late 19th Century, in Germany. Working in the fields all year long requires some protection, and that is why this dog has a thick double coat.
Most people will know this dog as having a black and tan coat, the most common coat color within the breed. Some of you may not be aware, that these dogs can also have white hair, or even blue.
Regardless of what color coat the dog has, you can guarantee a whole lot of shedding, all year long. These dogs lose so much hair that some owners even refer to them as ‘German Shedders’.
When Do German Shepherds Shed?
German Shepherds shed year-round, with a steady flow of dead and loose hair falling from its coat. They also have what is known as shedding season, twice a year, during which time the dog will blow its coat. Blowing the coat means shedding the undercoat.
This happens in springtime and in the fall, during which time owners can expect heavy shedding. Some owners dread this time of the year, because of how much cleaning is required. Most owners, however, have a slick system they employ to cope with hair loss.
Why Do German Shepherds Shed?
The reason a German Shepherd dog will blow its coat is to protect it from the coming seasons. In fall it will shed its undercoat, to make way for a new, thicker coat that will protect it from the cold, the increased precipitation, and heavier winds.
In the spring they will once again blow that undercoat, as the thick, winter coat is no longer needed. A lighter, less dense undercoat will grow through in its place.
German Shepherds may not need insulation during summer, but they do still require protection from the sun’s harmful rays. It is the outer coat that will steadily shed throughout the year and the undercoat that blows out during these two seasons.
Even if you live in a climate that doesn’t change much between summer and winter, your dog will still blow out its coat. This is simply an instinct and is very much built into the dog’s DNA.
Reducing German Shepherd Shedding Tips
Owners of German Shepherds learn very quickly how important it is to reduce any increase in shedding behaviors. Reducing shedding means less hair to clean up, and a happier, healthier dog. To reduce shedding, we first need to look at the factors that could cause excessive shedding in German Shepherds.
To keep a German Shepherd’s fur healthy, they must have a balanced lifestyle. This involves what they eat, how active they are, and making sure that they are clean and well-groomed.
This is the same no matter what breed of dog you have. Given how much loose fur a German Shepherd generates, owners know only too well the importance of reducing how much this dog sheds.
Diet & Nutrition
A German Shepherd’s well-being starts with a healthy diet. Much like other breeds, the German Shepherd’s coat reflects its health and its mood.
An anxious dog with a poor diet and minimal exercise will have a visibly less healthy coat than one with a great lifestyle. As you’ll probably know, these are big dogs, so what do they need to eat?
Just like other dogs of its size, a protein and fat-rich diet is the best option here. An adult German Shepherd’s dog food should have between 18-22% of protein. In terms of calories, they should consume between 1,500 and 2,100 per day.
A German Shepherd’s calorie intake will be based on age, general health, and activity levels. It is always best to speak with a vet about this when you first get your dog.
A German Shepherd owner should always ensure that these nutrients come from high-quality sources. High-quality dog food should contain a range of meat, poultry, bone, and fish such as salmon.
German Shepherd pups should begin eating an adult diet at the 6-month mark. Most dogs will not start eating an adult diet until they are 1 year old. This is because the German Shepherd sheds its puppy coat earlier than other dogs, as well as its growth rate.
Overweight, underweight, and generally unhealthy dogs shed a lot faster than those eating a healthy diet. Additionally, an increase in hair loss could be down to a health condition. Any owner that sees excessive shedding in a healthy dog, should take the dog to the vet.
These big, strong dogs were bred to spend hours outside each day, and that need for exercise remains. German Shepherds should get at least 2 hours of exercise each day.
Regular exercise helps reduce shedding in many ways. The most important of which is managing stress levels. Dogs, by nature, are anxious creatures and exercise is a way for them to relieve that anxiety.
When dogs run around, they are burning off the natural steroids that the body releases when it is stressed. Heavily stressed dogs shed excessively, and exercise is the ideal tonic for that problem.
Weight management is another reason for frequent exercise. Overweight and obese German Shepherds shed a great deal more than healthy dogs. There is also an increased risk of diabetes when overweight, which can also cause shedding.
Many dog owners will also tell you that the more the dog is outside running around, the less dog hair you’ll find around the home.
If the thought of bathing this big canine companion worries you, fear not, as they don’t have to be washed very often. Just 2 or 3 baths a year is enough for most German Shepherds.
Double-coated dogs like these do a great job of staying clean. The soft fur underneath protects the body temperature, and that outer coat prevents dust and dirt particles from getting in.
Coat health is also ensured, thanks to the natural oils in the dog’s skin and fur, acting as a cleaning and protection mechanism. The German Shepherd’s shedding level may increase if it is washed too often. Bathing strips away those essential oils, leading to a range of potential health conditions.
Managing German Shepherd Shedding
Now that we have a better idea of how to reduce German Shepherd shedding, we’ll look at some tips as to how owners can manage hair loss around the home.
Pet Hair On Flooring
The best way to deal with loose hair on hard floors and carpets is to use a vacuum cleaner. Given the amount of hair these animals leave behind, owners should invest in a vacuum that is specifically designed for pets. The best option is a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Pet Hair On Clothing
Dog hair on your clothes is not a good look and can make even the cleanest outfit look dirty. Something German Shepherd owners know only too well. The solution to this is simple, and that is to buy a pet hair lint roller to keep with you around the house or a mini travel-size one to take on the go.
With a roll of an adhesive strip on a plastic handle, this product effortlessly pulls loose hair from your clothes. To remove loose hair, all you do is roll the product over your clothes, and as the reel spins it sticks to the hair.
Lint rollers have replaceable heads, so when the adhesive strip is finished, simply take it off and put the refill on. Our pro tip is to keep one by the front door, to make sure that you’re hair free before heading out.
Pet Hair on Soft Furnishings
Given how much these dogs shed, owners need to be consistent with their cleaning habits. If not, that hair will build up and bed into smooth fabrics pretty quickly.
To get German Shepherd hair off the sofa, cushions, and chairs, use a pet hair remover tool. This is a simple and highly effective product that will remove hair, lint, and debris that gets ingrained in fabrics.
As you take the product over the surface, the scraper grabs the hair and pulls it away. Such is the design of the product, the hair will be gathered together, making it very simple to throw away.
No Access Zones
German Shepherd dogs will want to go everywhere with their owners, but giving them free roam of the house will not be a good plan. Given the scale of the dog’s shedding, it will cause mayhem, especially during shedding season.
Consider setting up no-access zones for a German Shepherd, which will help to contain the excess fur. This may be tough for dog lovers, but those who do the cleaning will be more than happy.
German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent, and can easily be trained as to where they should and shouldn’t go. If training is an issue, leaving the dog outside or gating off areas of the home is another solution.
German Shepherd Grooming Tips
Regular grooming of a German Shepherd is a great way to minimize shedding and reduce the level of dog fur in the home. German Shepherds also love getting their coat brushed.
These dogs need to be brushed 3 or 4 times a week with a grooming tool such as a de-shedder brush. During shedding season, owners will need to brush the dog daily.
Because of that thick double coat that German Shepherd dogs have, pin or stickler brushes struggle to cope. A de-shedder brush gets right into the dog’s coat, removing loose and dead hair.
Owners shouldn’t be too rough on the dog’s coat, as pulling on the hair can result in skin irritation. With proper grooming, most of the hair will come away with ease.
Grooming the dog regularly also makes life easier for owners, as all the hair removed will be in one spot.
Because of the German Shepherd’s shedding, haircuts aren’t recommended for this breed. Additionally, the dog’s coat should never be shaved, as doing so can present very real health risks to the dog.
It is important to have a clear idea as to what you can expect when you have a German Shepherd. With this being said, you shouldn’t be discouraged from getting one, simply because it sheds a lot.
There are so many simple and effective ways that you can reduce shedding and manage it around the home. The rewards of owning a German Shepherd are far greater than the downsides, as these intelligent and loyal dogs are an asset to any home.
Let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the German Shepherd dog breed.
Is a German Shepherd a good family dog?
This is one of the best dog breeds for families. German Shepherds have the instinct to protect the family, yet they are also playful and loving. This combination makes them an ideal choice for families.
Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?
The dog’s undercoat produces a lot of dander when this breed sheds. As a result, they cannot be considered hypoallergenic. Allergy sufferers will have adverse reactions from the hair, dander, and dead skin cells in the air.
Do German Shepherds leave hair everywhere?
With a regular grooming routine and a good approach to managing dog shedding at home, you won’t see hair everywhere. If a German Shepherd is allowed to roam everywhere, they will leave hair wherever they go. The answer is very much down to the type of pet ownership the dog has.