Most dogs shed, that’s just a fact.
However, not all dogs shed the same amount – some shed only at certain seasons, while other shed all year long.
So, what’s the case with German Shepherds?
Even though some dogs shed next to nothing, most dog owners have to be prepared on a certain amount of shedding. When you’re buying a new dog, you have to take various aspects into consideration – size, energy level, if they can be left alone and – grooming needs.
So if you’re thinking about getting a German Shepherd you’re probably asking yourself the following question:
Do German Shepherds Shed A Lot?
If you’re looking to buy a dog that doesn’t shed much, this is definitely not a breed for you. German Shepherds shed a lot, and they do it all year long. Of course, there are variations in shedding even among the same breed, but the general rule is – yes, German shepherds are heavy shedders.
There are certain factors that can influence the amount of shedding. For example, poor diet, stress, dehydration or skin allergy and irritation. Having these aspects in mind could help if you want to reduce your dog’s shedding.
As you scroll down, you’ll discover why German shepherds shed this much and how to reduce and maintain it. But before you continue reading, check out the video below and find out the basic information about this beautiful breed!
Why Do German Shepherds Shed So Much?
German shepherds are one of the heavy-shedding breeds. However, it’s not a coincidence and it can be explained. So, here’s why this breed tend to shed so much:
- Double coat. German shepherds, just as malamutes and huskies, have a double coat. This kind of coat includes a soft and woolly undercoat and an outer coat made of thin and long protective hairs. The coat’s purpose is to defend the dog from disease, infection and injury. This is the reason why you shouldn’t shave your German shepherd.
- Year-round shedding. Some dogs shed only seasonally, when their new hair grows out and they replace the old one with it. German shepherds, however, grow hair all year long. While the new hair is growing out, the old one is on the point of shedding. That way, the dog always has pretty much the same amount of hair, even if it seems like he or she’s shedding an awful lot.
- Seasons. Even though this breed sheds all year long, unlike some breeds, the shedding is stronger at fall and summer. In order to prepare for winter, the dog will shed a lot of the overcoat during fall. On the contrary, when it gets warm, he or she will shed a lot of its undercoat. This massive shedding is called coat blow, which can last for weeks with German shepherds.
- Overall health. Even though it’s completely normal for this breed to shed a lot, it can be increased because of other factors – stress, health problem etc. If you think that your dog is shedding more than usual, something else could be behind it. Take him or her to the vet and see if something is going on.
What’s The Purpose?
Now that you can understand why it’s happening, you may ask yourself what the point is. Well, the three main purposes of shedding are:
- Regulating the body temperature.
- Protecting the skin from disease and injury.
- Helping with sensory perception.
When Is The Shedding Season For German Shepherds?
Although German Shepherds will shed all year, there is a time when you can expect even more shedding. And that’s, obviously, the shedding season.
You can expect your dog to shed the heaviest in the summertime, when coat dump reaches its peak in order to regulate your dog’s body temperature. Following the same logic, the shedding will also decrease as winter approaches.
Your German Shepherd will however continue to shed before and after the shedding season, but it will occur in a much more controlled way.
Can I Minimize The Shedding?
Fortunately, there are various things you can do in order to reduce the shedding. Naturally, you won’t be able to eliminate it, or even reduce it to a low level, as German shepherds will always shed much. However, you can reduce it by trying some of these things:
1. Change Diet
Unhealthy and/or cheap dog food is one of the main reasons behind heavy shedding. Namely, cheap dog food is mostly made out of corn and grain – ingredients dogs don’t digest well and that don’t reflect well on their skin. Instead, you should choose dog food whose main ingredient is meat or feed your dog a healthy, raw diet if that’s your choice.
A healthy diet doesn’t only lead to reduced shedding, but also helps with dry skin and improves the overall immune system. Changing, or improving, your dog’s diet is one of the most effective ways toward reduced shedding. Just remember to consult your vet before and don’t do it overnight, but gradually. Finally, make sure you know what dogs can eat and what’s bad for them, especially if you’re feeding raw food.
2. Add Oil
By adding olive or flaxseed oil to your dog’s food, you’ll improve the coat texture and calm inflamed skin. The reason behind it are omega-3 fatty acids contained in oil. You can also buy omega-3 supplements and include them in your dog’s diet. Finally, you can feed your dog tuna, salmon or some other fish. Consult with your vet about the appropriate amount.
3. Provide Water
Dehydration is really bad, for us and for dogs. One of the main reflections of not drinking enough water is dry skin. As a result, dry skin leads to increased shedding and even sickness in severe cases. Make sure your dog always has water to drink or feed watermelon or similar “watery” food in case your dog doesn’t drink that much water.
4. Give Human Food
Even though dogs don’t have the same nutritive needs we do, they can still benefit from healthy food – just like us. Fruit, vegetables and lean meat can be really healthy for dogs and their skin, in moderate amounts of course. Once again, make sure you’re not giving something harmful.
5. Groom Regularly
Even though German shepherds are heavy shedders, they’re not that high-maintenance when it comes to grooming. A reason why you shouldn’t neglect your dog’s grooming needs!
First of all, remember to brush its coat on a regular basis. This will remove excess fur and will reduce shedding. When you’re brushing, use a rake appropriate for the length of your dog’s coat.
You should also give regular baths as it will wash away unnecessary hair. But – don’t overdo it with baths, as it can cause dry skin. In general, three or four baths per year are enough. Finally, use dog shampoo when you’re giving baths – never human shampoo as it will dry out the dog skin!
As mentioned, German shepherds tend to shed more before it gets cold and warm. So, in order to reduce the amount during these times, use de-shedding tools. They will definitely reduce the shedding, even if it will still be a significant amount.
Also – don’t forget to kill the fleas in your dog’s coat. Fleas make dog scratch, which makes hair fall off. Not only is it irritating to clean that much, it’s also making your dog uncomfortable. For tips on how to clean up dog hair, read these great tips.
Good to know: German Shepherd mixes usually tend to shed a lot as well, such as King Shepherd
How Do I Know What Too Much Shedding Is?
By now, you’ve probably figured it out – German shepherds shed a lot! However, even they shouldn’t shed excessive amounts at all times. So, when should you worry and what’s “too much”?
Namely, various skin conditions could be behind the heavy shedding. Sometimes they can make your dog shed so much he or she loses entire patches of hair. So, if you notice any of the signs below it’s time to take you shepherd to the vet.
- Bald spots
- Excessive scratching and shaking
- Red and inflamed skin
- Skin discharge
- Dry and flaky skin
- Wounds on the skin
Besides, if you don’t notice any of these signs, but still consider the shedding to be a bit too heavy, take your dog to the vet and check it out. Nothing wrong with being on the safe side!
Now you know all the facts – German shepherds are heavy shedders, but it can still be kept under control. However, if you don’t want your dog to shed much, this breed might not be right for you. To sum it up, we’ve put together a list of qualities German shepherds have which can help you determine if that’s the right breed for you!
If you want a dog who is…
- Really intelligent and loyal
- Can learn almost anything
- Strong and athletic
- Active and enjoys exercise
This might be the perfect breed for you! On the other side
If you don’t want a dog who…
- Requires a lot of activity and exercise
- Sheds a lot, all year
- Can be destructive when bored
- Can be aggressive if not trained properly
You might want to consider getting another breed!
Because of their double coat, German shepherds shed a lot – all year long. Even though this can’t be eliminated, or even reduced to a low level, there are still some things you can do in order to minimize the shedding.
For instance, you should feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet, give a couple of baths per year and brush your dog regularly. You can also try adding omega-3 supplements to your dog’s food, as this improves the overall skin health.
However, this breed has a lot of great qualities you can ask for – loyalty, intelligence and strength. So, if the shedding is something you can live with this could be a great breed for you. On the other hand, don’t get a German shepherd if you don’t want to deal with hair all over the place – there are plenty of other breeds that shed less!