The German Shepherd is one of the most treasured and well known breeds out there. They are loved for their fierce loyalty and energetic temperament. However, they do come with one trait that is often seen as a con for the breed; heavy shedding.
Whether you are already a German Shepherd parent or are thinking of welcoming a Shepherd into your home, you may want to have an idea of exactly how much shedding is ahead of you. We want you to have all the details possible. Let’s discuss everything you need to know about German Shepherd shedding below.
German Shepherd Coat Texture & Color
Before we get into the discussion of just how much the German Shepherd sheds, we should first have a clear understanding of the Shepherd’s coat texture and appearance. The German Shepherd is known for sporting the well-known black and tan markings that set them apart from the crowd. Most dog lovers can easily identify a German Shepherd in a crowd, even those who are not as familiar with dogs.
Not only is their most common coat color well known, but so is their plush fur. They typically have medium length fur that is extremely dense, but still manages to be quite soft to the touch. They have a thick double coat that adds to their coat thickness. However, it is also the main reason they are known to shed so much. This plush coat will shed year round even without triggers, but especially as the seasons are changing.
Do German Shepherds Shed?
As we mentioned above, German Shepherds are known to be heavy shedders. German Shepherds find themselves on the list of the dog breeds that are known to shed the most. So this is something you should automatically expect when welcoming this breed into your home. While there will certainly be a variety of triggers that will cause the Shepherd to shed more than usual, you can always expect a bit of fur shedding each day when you are a German Shepherd parent.
How Much Do German Shepherds Shed?
We know now that German Shepherds are known as heavy shedders, but just how much shedding should you expect? While every dog will vary, you can typically expect to become well accustomed with cleaning up fur if you have a German Shepherd Dog (GSD). Most German Shepherds will leave fur behind on your clothes after cuddle sessions and even eat time they are petted. Most Germand Shepherds will leave a thin layer of fur around your home that requires daily sweeping. If you have a German Shepherd in your home then you should expect to find a a trail of fur in each location they frequent.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the shedding amounts for each Shepherd can vary based on how long their coat is. For example, if you have a long haired German Shepherd in your home, you can typically expect to find even more stray fur than you would when owning a pup with medium length fur.
Do German Shepherds Shed More During Certain Seasons?
Most German Shepherds will shed a bit each day. However, there are certain times of the year that their fur loss will be more excessive than usual. Their double coat is designed to protect them from the elements and varying weather. Therefore, their coat will shed heavily twice a year to prepare for the changing seasons. These coat changes will occur in both the spring and fall months, as their bodies are preparing for both warm and cold weather. In the spring their bodies will shed their thick undercoat and prepare for the heat, while in the fall their bodies will shed their thinner fur and trade it out for more dense coat protection.
During the spring and the fall you will typically notice an influx in the amount of fur found around your home. In fact, some weeks might seem more excessive than ever. These increased shedding periods will typically last anywhere from a couple weeks to a month, but every pup will vary.
Why Is My German Shepherd Shedding So Much?
German Shepherds are known to shed consistently throughout the year. However, there may be certain periods where your GSD is shedding more than usual. We want you to better understand the possible causes of their excessive shedding, so let’s break down each potential cause of increased shedding in your German Shepherd.
Getting Rid Of Their Puppy Coat
If your German Shepherd is anywhere between the ages of 6 months to a year of age their increased shedding could be due to losing their puppy coat. German Shepherd puppies will have a plush puppy coat that is much softer than their adult coat. This will eventually transition to the thick, coarse coat they will sport as an adult. During this transition period, you will notice quite a bit of shedding.
Preparing For The Changing Seasons
As we discussed above, the German Shepherd will shed the most during the spring and fall months. Their thick undercoat will need to prepare for the approaching season. Therefore, this period will lead to an increased amount of fur found around your home. Excessive shedding due to the changing seasons will typically last anywhere from a few weeks to a month at a time.
Itchy Skin Allergies
German Shepherds are among the breeds that are most prone to developing allergies. The GSD can develop allergies to anything in the environment around them. Allergens range from plant pollen to fragrances in your home. If your Shepherd is struggling with allergies, you will often see this manifest in their skin and coat health. These pups may experience skin redness, itchy skin, dry skin, hives, fur loss, watery eyes, and red eyes. German Shepherds may lose more fur due to their impacted skin health and chronic itching. This can lead to excessive amounts of shedding.
Hormonal Changes With Heat Cycles & Pregnancy
If your German Shepherd is not yet spayed, they could experience some changes in their fur during hormonal shifts. This can include both during their estrus stage of heat or when they get pregnant, causing their fur to thin and increase shedding amounts. Their shedding amounts should decrease once their hormones are balanced once again.
Irritating Fleas and Skin Mites
If your German Shepherd has fallen victim to fleas or skin mites, you could see a significant increase in their shedding amounts. Fleas can lead to skin irritation and reactions that cause excessive shedding. Some skin mites will even attack the hair follicles which leads to patches of fur loss. If you ever see that your German Shepherd’s shedding is accompanied by irritated skin or patches of fur loss, we always suggest having them seen by a vet to rule out ectoparasites.
Underlying Stress And Anxiety
Our dogs can be significantly impacted by changes in their routine or environment. Any shift in their surroundings can lead to the potential for stress and anxiety. This can cause them to lose more fur than usual. German Shepherds can experience stress due to being left alone for long periods, the sudden absence of an owner, a new pet in the home, loud noises, a new medical diagnosis, and anything else that impacts their daily life. If you notice your GSD shedding more than usual during a period of change, this could be why.
How To Manage German Shepherd Shedding
A German Shepherd will shed consistently throughout the year. Therefore, even without shedding triggers, you will need to find ways to manage their fur loss. German Shepherd shedding can become a nuisance in your home if it is not well controlled. Let’s list a few of our favorite ways to manage shedding amounts in your German Shepherd.
Daily or Frequent Brushing
If you are a proud German Shepherd owner, you should be prepared to brush your German Shepherd a minimum of 4 times per week. By using a pin style brush on your GSD often, you can help to limit the amount of fur shed around your home. This also helps to stimulate their natural oil production on their skin. These natural oils will help to moisturize the skin and improve their coat health, which can in turn decrease shedding. If you want to really stay on top of your Shepherd’s shedding, then you can even brush them daily for a few minutes at a time.
Using Shedding Tools Frequently
Due to the amount of shedding your German Shepherd will experience, we recommend brushing them with a de-shedding tool at least twice a week. This is especially important during periods of increased shedding, as it will be impossible to keep up with their fur tumbleweeds without it. If you are not sure which de-shedding brush is right for your dog, we suggest checking out our detailed guide on the best shedding brushed for dogs here.
A Well Balanced Diet
Just as a well balanced diet can improve our skin health, the same goes for our canine friends. An AAFCO approved canine diet can not only set your German Shepherd up for a healthy future, but it can offer their skin and coat the nutrients needed to thrive. In addition to a well balanced diet, you can also offer your pup a dog approved omega fatty acid supplement to act as a lubricant for both their skin and their joints.
German Shepherds are known for being heavy shedders. However, there are a few ways to manage their shedding amounts with simple at home care. Just be sure to keep a close eye out for any signs of skin irritation or underlying health concerns. Also remember to reach out to your vet if you think their fur loss is more excessive than what we described above.
- Choosing The Best Dog Food For Your German Shepherd
- Royal Canin German Shepherd Dog Food Review
- The Best Shedding Brushes For Dogs: Reviewed For 2022
- The 6 Best Deshedding Shampoos For Professional Groomers
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Callipso/Shutterstock.com
Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?
How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.