German Shepherd dogs are appealing. People who want an intelligent dog with natural guarding instincts would be more than satisfied with a German Shepherd. But, do German Shepherd Shed?
Yes, German Shepherds shed a lot due to the double coat. Even more than most other dog breeds.
Besides yearly shedding, they also exhibit seasonal shedding in the Fall and Spring seasons.
Let’s take a closer look at German Shepherd shedding.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Just how human skin sheds, dog’s hair also sheds. Damage, daily wear, and tear, health issues, change of seasons all make a dog shed.
It is a natural process that every dog must go through. Some shed a lot while others rarely shed.
The intensity of shedding depends on the dog’s genetics and the specific breed.
Why Do German Shepherd Shed A Lot?
Unfortunately, German Shepherds are a dog breed that sheds a lot! Not only do they wear a double-coat, but a thick coat as well.
While the innermost undercoat usually sheds during the changing of seasons, the outer (guard hair) layer will be shed throughout the year.
A German Shepherd owner will know the house cannot be hairless with this dog in the house.
Because of the intensity of shedding in a German Shepherd’s life, owners need to spend a lot of time and energy grooming and cleaning up!
If you are not up for it, we suggest getting another dog that sheds less.
If you want a large athletic dog whose shedding is less noticeable, take a look at Doberman.
German Shepherds are naturally double-coated dogs. This means their coat has two distinct hair layers. Both layers are important and play different roles.
The outer coat is longer than the inner and easily distinguishable by its colorful hairs. This layer of hair is referred to as ‘guard hairs’ because that’s exactly what they do.
The outer layer is responsible for protecting the dog. They protect against sticks, stones, UV radiation, insect bites, and weather elements.
The inner coat is short, soft, and dense, almost like a layer of cotton wool! This layer does aim to protect to some extent, but this is not its main role.
This inner layer is supposed to act as insulation. Trapping in a layer of warm air during the colder winter months.
The outer undergoes constant shedding throughout the year. But it is the thinning and thickening of the inner coat that caused excessive seasonal shedding.
Your dog’s hair will naturally fall out when it becomes old or damaged. This process occurs throughout the year and is an ongoing process.
The odd few hairs noticeable on furniture are likely to be as a result of regular year-round shedding!
As one season draws to an end and another arrives, your dog senses the change. Your dog’s coat is sensitive to temperature and sunlight intensity change.
So when the number of daily sunlight hours decreases and temperatures even drop slightly, your dog will know it.
When your German Shepherd senses these changes, his coat adjusts to his requirements.
In the fall, the coat will shed excessively a few weeks in advance. The old damaged hair will fall out to make way for a thicker layer of hair.
Before spring as the temperature and sunlight hours increase, your dog will no longer have any need for extra insulation.
This shedding during spring is called the ‘blowing out’ of the coat. Expect a few weeks of balls of hair falling off your German Shepherd’s body!
So, seasonal shedding occurs twice a year. In the fall and spring seasons.
Other Reasons For German Shepherd Shedding
Although it is the main reason, seasonal change is not the only reason why your German Shepherd will shed.
Poor health, inadequate environment, or hormonal changes can affect shedding intensity and patterns.
Suffering from a disease can be seen by observing a dog’s coat. Poor covering of the skin by hair is a sign of ill-health. Dull and brittle hair can be a sign of disease.
But, if you know how much your German Shepherd sheds, irregularities can mean disease.
If you suddenly notice an increase in shedding, you should suspect something is wrong.
Certain skin pests such as ticks and fleas can add to your dog’s shedding woes! If you notice an increase in shedding and excessive scratching or biting at his coat, it means pests.
Dog’s are outdoor animals and playing in the grass is bound to catch a few pesky pests.
These pests can deteriorate your dog’s health and even his coat of hair. You need to keep up regular treatment to keep him safe.
This includes using specific anti-flea shampoos and using tick collars or even chewable tick medications.
Mind you, once your dog gets pests his bedding should be sterilized and washed out to avoid them coming back or spreading.
If your dog is getting a poor diet, everyone will know! As soon as essential minerals and nutrients are in short supply, the coat and skin will deteriorate.
Lack of fatty acids and protein will lead to dry flaky, less elastic skin. Hair will become dull and more prone to breakages.
That’s why your dog’s diet should be majorly composed of fatty acids (containing Omega 3 and 6) and protein.
Of course with the addition of carbohydrates and other nutrients and minerals.
High-quality dog food containing these food components will stimulate follicle growth and improve elasticity.
Therefore, a good diet can decrease the amount of shedding to some extent.
Hormones can be responsible for changes in skin elasticity and hair.
When a dog becomes pregnant, the shedding will naturally increase and the underside will become visibly thinned out to facilitate feeding her puppies.
But, the changes caused to the coat by pregnancy are temporary. The dog’s coat will return to normal after the pregnancy and nursing are over.
In male dogs, hormones including testosterone can play a part in maintaining the health of hair follicles.
Just how overwhelming stress can cause humans to lose their hair at a faster rate, the same is possible in dogs.
If it is not the disease, it is something deeper. Perhaps pertaining to his environment or the way he is being treated by his owners or strangers.
What does pain look like in a dog? Here are symptoms that your dog is in pain:
- Lack of movement and energy
- Not wanting to socialize
- Unexplainable destructive behavior
- Tail tucked between legs
- Low Pinned ears
- Pacing up and down
Perhaps he is in fear of something or is not quite happy with his surrounding environment.
As an owner, it is up to you to find the issue and correct it. Not doing this fast enough can lead to the declining health of your German Shepherd.
Animals are not immune to allergies! Your German Shepherd may experience allergies that are mostly either food or environment-based.
Allergies are most noticeable on the skin or the sinuses which it mostly affects.
Symptoms of allergies in dogs are:
- Watery and red eyes
- Scratching his body
- Bare red patches on skin
- Biting at his skin
Noticing a combination of these symptoms, it is evident allergies are present. Immediately suspect an item in his food or environment is to blame.
If you cannot find what is causing the allergy, consult a vet for further investigation of the cause.
German Shepherd Puppy Coat Shedding
A young German Shepherd puppy is born with a thick and soft coat of dense hair. But, as the puppy grows his adult double-coat will replace this puppy coat.
So, at the age of 4 to 6 months, you can expect this transition to take place.
A few weeks of sudden and intense shedding are what you can expect. This is a natural process and you should not try to rush or delay the process.
How To Manage GSD Shedding?
Okay, so shedding is natural but how do you stay on top of the work it creates? By keeping up with regular grooming and having the right tools.
Even then expect a bit of hair here and there around the house.
Hair won’t have time to fall out onto furniture if you are brushing it out every day! Brushing is good for more reasons than one.
It takes off loose hair, circulates oils throughout the skin, and helps forge a bond with your dog! Sounds like one activity an owner shouldn’t skip.
Bathing your dog often (but not too often) can assist shedding problems. How exactly does it help in controlling shedding?
Loose hair and damaged hair will easily come off during bathing. Whatever is left behind can be collected when you brush your dog after the bath.
Bathing can take out loose hair on a larger scale. Meaning that when it comes time for brushing, not as much hair is bound to come off.
Not to mention less hair accumulates on the couch!
The Right Tools
If you are using the wrong tools, grooming will not be very effective at managing your German Shepherd’s shedding pattern!
Your dog will need quite a few specialized tools to deal with the outer and inner coat separately. I am sure you want your German Shepherd to look his best!
If you want a natural approach to handling shedding, look at these home remedies for dog shedding.
The rake maintains the undercoat. This tool is long-toothed and as the name suggests, looks like a miniature handheld rake.
The long teeth help to make contact with the innermost hairs without a struggle. Plus, the coat of the German Shepherd may get tangled and matted, the rake helps to get rid of them.
The good news is that your dog will love the feeling the rake brush will give him. Meaning that grooming time will not have to be a forced hostage situation!
A pet-grooming comb is a tool that is stable for every pet parent. It works on short-haired dogs and long-haired dogs. This long-toothed tool is small and easy to port around even when traveling.
Based on your specific requirements, you can find a comb with different teeth of different lengths and spacing.
Pet Hair Dryer
Our regular human hair drying machine won’t be suitable for your canine, even if the German Shepherd is not so delicate!
The heat output is not adapted for pets and should not be an option when grooming and bathing. Instead, look for canine-safe hair drying machines.
A pet hairdryer can help to blow off stubborn hair from your dog’s coat. It is very useful in seasons when he is blowing out his coat.
This is because after brushing, his fluffy undercoat hair could become static and stick to the coat.
First things first, getting your German Shepherd a healthy diet can help to reduce health-related shedding issues.
Also, it makes his skin, hair follicles, and hair stronger. High-quality dog food with protein and fatty acids as the main ingredients is highly prescribed.
Never Shave Your German Shepherd!
We understand that keeping up with a shedding dog can be very difficult, to say the least.
It may be so tempting to just shave his coat! But this is more of a con than a pro. Doing so will disturb the natural working of a dog’s coat.
A dog’s coat is his protective coat. Protecting him from the elements, bites, and even UV radiation.
Shaving his coat leaves his skin vulnerable to allergies brought about by exposure to UV rays and other harmful elements.
A dog’s coat is made so that it can adjust to temperature and weather and protect the dog. But, when you shave him, this natural ability is lost.
Furthermore, a dog’s coat may not grow back normally in time for the season’s change. This poses a direct threat to his ability to adapt and survive.
Plus there is always the chance that his coat does not grow back to its naturally glorious state! This may make his coat look odd and weird, people will notice!
If you want a smaller dog that barely sheds? Check out everything about Maltese Shedding.
Which are the German Shepherd shedding seasons?
German Shepherd dogs ‘blow their coat’ twice a year during the fall and spring seasons. During these times, expect the amount of shedding and care required to increase drastically!