Originally bred for herding and a popular choice as police dogs, German Shepherds are renowned for their courage, loyalty, intelligence and for how well they take to training.
Another characteristic of the German Shepherd breed is their thick double coat, which requires a lot of care and attention to keep them looking at their best and feeling comfortable and happy. Here are our top tips on German Shepherd grooming to help you care for yours.
German Shepherds have beautifully thick coats that need to be groomed regularly. They are double-coated breeds with a soft, thick undercoat to keep them well-insulated during the coldest months , whilst their outer layer is coarse to protect them from the elements. Because of their coat’s makeup, they are prone to shedding, so it’s important to groom them regularly to keep their coats in the best condition.
Your German Shepherd should be brushed 3-4 times a week to eradicate any loose, dead hairs and keep the fur soft and shiny. Like other breeds, you should be careful of overbathing your German Shepherd, as too many baths can create dry and irritated skin. You should also regularly check your German Shepherd’s paws and claws, trimming their nails with clippers to prevent injuries.
If your German Shepherd is healthy, although it will need regular bathing, this will only be necessary every few months. Overbathing can strip your dog’s double coat of all its natural oils, leaving it dry and coarse, so it’s essential only to bathe your dog when it is absolutely necessary. If in doubt, consult a professional groomer for guidance on how often you should bathe your dog.
When choosing a shampoo for your German Shepherd, opt for something gentle that removes dirt and dander without stripping the coat of its natural oils. A deep-cleaning shampoo is a great choice for dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, whereas a medicated shampoo is a good choice for dogs with sensitive or irritated skin.
A slicker brush is the perfect choice for a German Shepherd for regular, everyday grooming. A great option for double-coated dog breeds, they help to remove dirt and loose, undercoat hair. An undercoat rake is also a useful option for keeping on top of your German Shepherd’s soft undercoat, easily removing dead hair to prevent matting.
Before brushing your German Shepherd, make sure that it is comfortable. Remove its collar, and whilst it is lying down, take a slicker brush and run it from its neck down the course of its back towards its tail in the natural direction of coat growth. Repeat this process until little or no hair appears in the brush's bristles or until your dog becomes restless.
Next, brush your dog's hip area and then gently brush its tail, still working in the direction of coat growth. Once complete, allow your dog to roll onto its side and brush its belly. Finally, brush down through its leg hair.
Once a week, swap out the slicker brush with a deshedding tool to remove loose hair from the undercoat that could cause mats and tangles to form.
German Shepherds are year-round shedders, which can be difficult to control. As long as your dog is on the correct diet and isn't facing hair loss problems related to this, the best way to reduce the amount of hair your German Shepherd sheds is to establish a good, regular grooming routine. With regular coat brushing, a deshedding tool, and the right amount of bathing, your dog's fur should be well cared for and less likely to shed excessively.
German Shepherds have double coats that shed all year around. Each year, German Shepherds shed their undercoat twice, once in the spring and once in the autumn and during this time, the amount that they shed can massively increase. By keeping on top of their grooming routine during these periods, your German Shepherd will feel happier and healthier, you'll prevent unnecessary mats and tangles from forming, and you'll stay in control of the hair they shed in your home.
A double-coated dog’s coat allows your dog to regulate its temperature throughout the year effectively. Although it may seem like it would benefit from being shaved during the warmer months, shaving a double coat prevents these dogs from staying cool.
Shaving the hair can also damage the natural cycle of the coat, meaning that your dog’s coat could take up to two years to grow back completely and, in some cases, may never return to normal.
Unless advised to do so for medical reasons, never shave your German Shepherd. If you’re in doubt about how to care for your German Shepherd’s fur, always seek the advice of a professional groomer.