German shepherds have long been used as police and military dogs, but they’re great companion dogs, too. The German shepherd dog (GSD) is one of the most popular dog breeds out there — according to the American Kennel Club, this breed ranked fourth in the country last year.
It’s no wonder the German shepherd is so beloved. These dogs are active, loyal, friendly pets who make great canine best friends for those who can give them the exercise and attention they need. But for all their great qualities, the German shepherd has one drawback: They’ll leave a lot of dog hair around your home.
Do German shepherds shed? Yes, these dogs are considered moderate to heavy shedders. Keep reading to learn more about why these dogs shed so much, when you can expect the most shedding, and how to care for your German shepherd’s coat.
Why Do German Shepherds Shed So Much?
Every dog sheds to some extent, but some give off a lot more hair than others. German shepherds land on the heavy-shedding side of the spectrum. But why do German shepherds shed so much compared to other dogs?
The answer lies in the type of coat. Most German shepherds have a double coat, and double-coated dogs tend to shed more than single-coated dogs thanks to the seasonal shedding cycle. Here’s why they have a coat with two layers:
- The topcoat or outer coat is made of longer, coarser hair and serves to guard your GSD against the elements.
- The undercoat is softer and fluffier and serves as insulation to keep your dog warm in winter and cooler in summer.
There are short-haired German shepherds (sometimes called medium-length coats) and long-haired German shepherds. The short-haired GSD is more common and has a double-coat. Long-haired German shepherds sometimes lack an undercoat, making them single-coated dogs, but they shed about the same amount of fur as their double-coated counterparts.
Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?
Is the German shepherd a good choice for allergy sufferers? No, not in most cases. These dogs are not hypoallergenic because the more hair your dog gives off, the more likely they are to spread their dander and trigger allergies.
But do German shepherds shed so much that they’re completely off-limits for allergy sufferers? No, not necessarily. Plenty of people with dog allergies still own German shepherds. You’ll just need to take some extra steps to keep allergies at bay, like using air purifiers, cleaning regularly, and maintaining your dog’s healthy coat (we’ll learn more about that shortly).
Causes for Excessive Hair Loss
German shepherds shed seasonally. Dogs with double coats, the German shepherd included, shed all year round but especially during specific shedding seasons. It’s how this dog’s coat prepares for the changes in weather.
This is why your German shepherd will likely shed a greater amount of hair in the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the “coat-blowing” or coat thinning helps prepare for the coming heat. In the fall, the summer coat sheds and a thicker winter coat starts growing to protect against the cold. This is perfectly natural — but it will result in some excess hair on your floors, furniture, and clothing.