Yes, German Shepherds shed. In fact, they shed quite a lot and are known to be heavy shedders. So don’t be surprised if they leave a mess on your furniture, carpet, curtains, and pretty much anywhere in your home..
How Often Do German Shepherds Shed?
German Shepherds shed moderately all year round but blow their coats twice a year as the seasons change. “Blowing their coats” here refers to the natural process wherein double-coated dogs like the German Shepherd shed and switch their old coats to prepare for the upcoming changes in temperature that come with seasonal changes. During this time, expect to fill out trash bags of fur, because trust me, your German Shepherd will shed quite a bit.
Why Do German Shepherds Shed So Much?
Puppy Coat Shedding
German Shepherd puppies are born with fluffy, insulating coats, which they’ll replace with their thicker and stiffer adult coats as they grow up. So, don’t be surprised if you notice an increase in shedding when the dog is around 4 to 6 months of age. It’s all part of growing up.
There are a variety of reasons as to why German Shepherds shed a lot. But for the most part, it’s just due to their genetics and the natural shedding process.
German Shepherds are double-coated, meaning their coats consist of both undercoat and topcoat.The short and dense undercoat serves as an insulator and protects the German Shepherd from the elements. The topcoat, on the other hand, consists of long and stiff hair that repels dirt and water. All in all, these coats are essential parts of the German Shepherd’s natural defense system. The downside, however, is that being double-coated means they’ll shed more compared to other single-coated dogs.
So as part of the natural shedding process, a German Shepherd will shed all year round but will blow their coats twice a year as the seasons change. To prepare for the cold season, a German Shepherd will shed its lighter undercoat to make way for a thicker and warmer undercoat. The opposite then occurs in spring, when in preparation for the summer heat, a German Shepherd will shed the thicker winter undercoat and replace it with a lighter one.
The German Shepherd’s diet may also factor into shedding. Not only will nutrient deficiency affect a German Shepherd’s overall health, but it will also lead to dry, flaky skin, and thus, excessive shedding. So, it’s imperative that a German Shepherd have a diet that provides all necessary nutrients.
Nutrients like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, for example, help maintain a dog’s healthy skin and fur. It helps prevent dry and flaky skin, and thus also prevents excessive shedding.
Aside from nutrient deficiency, it’s also important to consider your dog’s food allergies as they are dangerous and may cause itching, shedding, respiratory issues, vomiting, and diarrhea. So it’s best to be mindful of the specific ingredients included in your dog’s diet to prevent excessive shedding and other potentially deadly complications..
Note, however, that different factors may cause allergies. Thus you’ll probably have to consult a veterinarian to determine the actual cause.
Shedding may also occur due to some of the dog’s health problems. Certain medical conditions like cancer, or hormonal imbalance from adrenal disease, for example, may cause excessive shedding.
In the same way, excessive shedding may indicate an underlying medical condition and may warrant a visit to the vet.
Pregnancy, Spaying, Or Neutering
If your German Shepherd is pregnant or was recently spayed or neutered, it will experience hormonal changes that may cause an increase in shedding. These changes are natural and will balance out through time. So, your dog will eventually revert to shedding naturally.
As with humans, stress may also cause hair loss in dogs. A variety of things could cause stress such as loud noises, overstimulation, changes in the environment, pain, and disease.
Parasites, Ticks, And Fleas
Parasites, ticks, and fleas are also factors, as they will often cause itchiness and scratching, and thus hair loss. So, if you notice an increase in shedding, do run an inspection.
If you do find ticks and fleas, consider special shampoos, or a visit to the veterinarian for removal and treatment.
How To Manage And Reduce German Shepherd Shedding
As mentioned previously, improper diet and nutrient deficiency may cause excessive shedding. Thus, it’s important to provide your dog with a balanced and nutrient-filled diet of raw, lean meats, fresh fruit, and vegetables to promote a healthy coat. Also, be sure to always provide fresh and clean water to keep your dog hydrated, as that too will prevent dry skin and shedding.
Regular brushing will stimulate the German Shepherd’s skin and remove itch-causing dry skin. Both of which promote healthier skin and effectively prevent excessive shedding.
Brushing also removes dead hair from the dog’s coat. And thus helps manage shedding in the sense that it prevents fur from getting into places where you don’t want them. It’s a preventative measure of sorts for dealing with an unnecessary and unintended mess.
So, get a good brush and take the time to brush your German Shepherd every few days or so, or at least three times a week. Not only will doing so help keep things clean, but it’s a great way to bond with your dog as well.
While excessive bathing may end up drying up your German Shepherd’s skin, an occasional bath won’t hurt, especially when using the proper shampoo. Using good high-quality shampoos will help moisturize and keep your dog’s coat healthy.
Take Your German Shepherd To A Groomer
Grooming a dog as large as a German Shepherd can be a difficult task. So, sometimes the best course of action is to your dog to the groomers. Professional groomers know how to properly de-shed and mitigate future shedding. So, why not let the experts do it?
Again, stress can cause excessive shedding, and thus it’s crucial to manage it. The best way to do so is to eliminate or remove your German Shepherd from the stressors. But other than that, you can also relieve your dog’s stress through both physical and mental stimulation.
So, have a daily exercise routine. Take your German Shepherd on walks, swimming, or simply play. Not only will that reduce their stress, but will also help keep your German Shepherd fit.
Visit The Veterinarian
As already mentioned, shedding can be caused by health issues. And thus, there are times when general grooming won’t necessarily get the work done. So, if you notice shedding along with the following symptoms, take your German Shepherd to the veterinarian:
- Dry and flaky skin.
- Itchiness and excessive scratching.
- Redness or inflammation of the skin.
- Bald Spots.
While you can do your best to minimize shedding, at the end of the day, your German Shepherd will still shed. That’s just how it goes.
So, other than minimizing shedding, it may also be a great idea to fur proof your house. Removing the carpet or covering up the furniture, for example, may make it easier to manage fur.
Have A Vacuum Ready
While you might do everything right, some fur will still find its way into unwanted places. So if you don’t have one, now would probably be the best time to invest in a vacuum cleaner. I guarantee that it will make managing fur way easier.
Should You Shave Your German Shepherd?
Given that brushing does take some effort and can take a bit of time. You may possibly consider the idea of shaving your German Shepherd’s coat. Well, don’t do it.
Again, the coats serve a purpose and are part of your GSD’s natural defense system. Shaving its coats off will rid it of that protection and compromise its health.
Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?
No, German Shepherds are not hypoallergenic, and not just in the no dogs are hypoallergenic sense. German Shepherds shed a lot, and so they tend to release quite a bit allergy-inducing dander. Thus they may not be ideal pets for those with allergies.
Do German Shepherds Shed?
To summarize, yes, German Shepherd’s do shed and they do so quite often. It’s part of their genetics and so if you do intend to get one, just note that you’ll have to put in a bit of work to manage shedding and cleaning up the mess of fur that a GSD may leave behind.
That said, it’s honestly not that hard to do. So don’t let the fact that they’re heavy shedders dissuade you from getting one. They’re awesome dogs and make for fun, loving, and just great companions.