German Shepherds are an incredibly intelligent and loyal breed of dog, which is what makes them such great service dogs.
However, when it comes to grooming, German Shepherds have a medium-length double coat that requires specific care and attention. If you’re thinking about adopting a German Shepherd, you need to be prepared for their specific grooming requirements.
In this article, I’ll cover some key information about grooming a German Shepherd. From how often you should brush your German Shepherd to a step-by-step guide on how to brush them, I hope this article provides you with some useful tips!
Keep reading to find out more.
This dog breed has two layers of coat: a topcoat or guard coat and an undercoat. Their topcoat is usually thick, straight, and coarse and lies close to their body. In addition, the topcoat can be wavy and wiry in texture. On the other hand, the undercoat is soft and thicker than the topcoat.
How often to brush your German Shepherd
Due to their dense outer coat and soft undercoat, it’s essential to brush your German shepherd frequently to combat shedding. You should be brushing this breed at a minimum of three times a week. However, it’s worth noting that this breed sheds year-round, and generally sheds a lot of hair at once or ‘blows’ like a snowstorm around twice a year.
That being said, how often you brush your German Shepherd will depend on what season it is.
The coat blowing season is in spring and fall and will require you to step up the brushing regimen until this intense molting period is over. This is usually for around 1 to 2 weeks, and will require your consistent attention to stay on top of it.
In this time period, daily brushing of at least 10 to 15 minutes is essential to ensure that your German Shepherd isn’t shedding all over your house! It’s essential to their health that you get rid of all the dead hair.
Benefits of brushing your German Shepherd
There are many benefits of regularly brushing your German Shepherd that include but are not limited to:
- Regularly brushing your German Shepherd keeps your dog’s skin and coat in good condition. Brushing your dog’s coat removes dead hair, stimulates the surface of the skin, and gets rid of dead and dry skin.
- Brushing allows you to remove the shedding undercoat. This ensures ideal airflow throughout the hotter months and means that your dog’s coat is less likely to become matted.
- Brushing allows you to become familiar with your dog’s body so that you’ll notice early on if anything is unusual and needs veterinary attention.
- Grooming acts as a light massage. Massage is a natural way to release stress for your pet. And less stress helps your dog feel relaxed and happy.
- Brushing is a time for bonding! Life is busy for a dog. From new smells and new places to explore, they’re on the go a lot of the time. Use your time while brushing your German Shepherd to talk to your pet and build a bond with them. This is especially important when they’re a puppy and you’re first getting to know your dog.
- A brush also helps distribute natural oils produced by the skin. This leaves your dog’s coat looking shiny and glossy. It makes dogs look nice and healthy and also prevents hair from knotting or clumping.
A guide on how to brush a German Shepherd
- Step 1:
Begin by asking your German Shepherd to lie down, and remove his collar for a thorough grooming session. Stroke him to make him relaxed and happy.
While grooming him won’t take a super long time (usually only five to 10 minutes) it’s always easier if your pup is calm and cooperative. Reward him with treats if he’s struggling to sit still for the duration of your grooming session.
- Step 2:
Begin by brushing from the back and hindquarters, as this can significantly help anxious dogs to remain calm during the grooming process. Go over the body areas multiple times with longer, lighter strokes. Use an undercoat rake to brush through the hair on your dog’s chest, belly, sides, and legs.
In this step, you are trying to remove as much loose fur as possible with the brush.
- Step 3:
If you’re struggling to get through your German Shepherd’s coat, use a grooming or detangling spray to loosen clumps and help you smooth the knottier areas out. Detangling sprays are designed to reduce stress during dog grooming by minimizing the pulling of fur in matted areas.
After a quick spray, the grooming solution should allow you to glide easily through the fur. This is a life-saver as your dog can become fidgety as soon as there’s an uncomfortable knot to brush through.
Having grooming spray is a great way of getting the job done more efficiently and can help to ensure that your dog is comfortable for longer.
- Step 4:
Use a pin brush on thicker, harder to brush areas of hair. Areas where the hair is thicker, such as around the neck, back of the legs, and belly area, are where you need to pay close attention.
In these areas, the hair tends to get easily overlooked, and over time will become knotty if you aren’t regularly brushing them. Use light pressure to avoid any scratching, as you don’t want to hurt or damage your dog’s sensitive skin.
- Step 5:
Take a bristle and pin brush and go over the hair. A bristle brush works to distribute the natural oils in your dog’s coat and make it look glossy while being gentle on the skin.
While the rounded tips prevent you from scratching your pup’s skin, the smooth bristles on the other side ensure a thorough yet delicate brushing experience. The pin side separates hair and detangles any knots, while the softer side smooths out the fur and gives the coat a glossy shine.
- Step 6:
Take a comb and run it through the smaller areas such as your dog’s face. A comb finishes the job nicely and ensures that all parts of your dog are groomed!
Handy tools to have when grooming your German Shepherd
1. MalsiPree Pet Grooming Brush for Dogs/Cats, 2 in 1 Deshedding Tool & Dematting Undercoat Rake for Mats & Tangles
- Soft ergonomic anti-slip grip – The anti-slip grip makes regular combing comfortable & relaxing for you and your pup, even on matted hair!
- Durable materials – The no-rust stainless steel teeth are ultra-durable and easy to clean.
- Versatile – This grooming brush is designed to work with medium to large dogs with single or double coats and long or medium hair.
- A few customers noted that this particular grooming brush took longer than they were expecting to arrive in the mail.
The MalsiPree Pet Grooming Brush for Dogs is designed to be gentle on your dog’s coat!
This grooming brush features two sides: a deshedding comb with 90 teeth and a dematting rake with 22 teeth to make light work of grooming your German Shepherd.
Both sides of teeth are end rounded, gently massage the pet skin without any scratch.
|MalsiPree Pet Grooming Brush, 2 in 1||Deshedding Tool & Undercoat Rake Dematting Comb for Mats & Tangles Removing, Reduces Shedding up to 95%||Check Price On Amazon|
- Wet and dry use – This dog brush is great for getting shampoo and conditioner onto the skin of German Shepherds at bath time.
- Designed for sensitive skin – This tool is designed to be gentle so that you can use it on your German Shepherd’s skin and fur without worry.
- Versatile – This brush is great for a variety of dog breeds, from long-haired breeds to short-haired breeds!
- One customer noted that their product was damaged in the mail.
The KONG Zoom Groom Dog Brush is perfect for dogs with sensitive skin!
With gentle rubber tips, this tool is great for brushing German Shepherd puppies!
This dog brush is ideal to use for shedding dogs as it removes all of the loose hairs with ease.
|KONG - Zoom Groom Dog Brush||Groom and Massage While Removing Loose Hair and Dead Skin||Check Price On Amazon|
3. BV Dog Brush Pet Grooming Comb, 2 Sided Bristle and Pin for Long and Short Hair Dog, Removing Shedding Hair
- Lightweight – This grooming brush is lightweight for comfortable and fatigue-free grooming!
- Ergonomic handle – The handle features a grooved grip for extra comfort and control as you groom your pooch.
- Versatile – This grooming brush is great for all breeds and coat types and will have your pet cleaner and shiny than ever before!
- One customer noted that this brush was smaller than they were expecting.
The BV Dog Brush is for all breeds and coat types to help you maintain your German Shepherds coat!
The bristle side is designed to help remove tangles, dirt, and loose hair while the round tip pins evenly distribute natural oils for smooth shiny hair.
Easy to use! Daily grooming has never been so simple and your pet will be cleaner and shiny than ever before!
|Pet Grip, 2-in-1||Double Side Dog Brush, Quick and Easy to Use||Check Price On Amazon|
4. Cafhelp 2 Pack Dog Combs with Rounded Ends Stainless Steel Teeth, Professional Grooming Tool for Long and Short Haired Dogs
- Durable – This comb is corrosion resistant and will not fade, good for avoiding static electricity.
- Gentle – The rounded pin ends are gentle on your skin, meaning that this comb grooms and massages without snagging or harming your pet.
- Easy to use – Have your pup looking smooth and silky within minutes!
- One customer claimed that this particular comb wasn’t good for both their dog and cat, but was better suited for their dog.
The Cafhelp 2 Pack Dog Combs are designed for dematting and can remove tangled and matted hair.
These dog combs are made of high-quality stainless steel to withstand frequent use.
This dematting tool is designed to make your pet grooming more efficient and effortless for your convenience!
|Cafhelp 2 Pack Dog Combs||Rounded Ends Stainless Steel Teeth, Cat Comb for Removing Tangles and Knots, Professional Grooming Tool||Check Price On Amazon|
- Versatile – This detangling spray can be used after a bath and in between baths to keep your dog’s fur free of knots and matted fur.
- Natural and cruelty-free – Burt’s Bees products are cruelty-free and formulated without colorants, sulfates, and added fragrances.
- Gentle – This detangling spray reduces stress during dog grooming by minimizing the pulling of fur in matted areas.
- One customer noted that their dog didn’t like the smell of this particular detangling spray.
The Burt’s Bees for Dogs Natural Dog Detangling Spray is made with natural ingredients such as lemon oil.
This mild detangling pet spray is pH balanced especially for all dogs and puppies!
This natural detangling spray allows you to cleanse and nourish your dog’s skin and coat with entirely natural ingredients!
|Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Dog Detangling Spray||Burts Bees Dog Detangler, Dog Spray, Dog Hair Detangler Spray, Dog Grooming Supplies, Detangler Spray for Dog, Puppy Spray, Detangler for Dogs||Check Price On Amazon|
Tips on brushing your German Shepherd
- Use grooming spray
Grooming spray will help you on the days your dog’s coat is a little unruly, allowing you to tease out any clumps that are hard to brush through. A light spray before brushing also gives the fur more slip, so that your tools glide easier.
- Use a comb to finish
A metal comb is the best tool to finish areas such as the face, ears, and paws. Use small strokes to brush out the dead hair and make sure everything is as smooth as possible.
- Use long, smooth strokes
When you’re grooming your German Shepherd, don’t apply downward pressure as you brush. Pressing too hard can dig the tool into your dog’s skin. This is uncomfortable for your pet and causes them pain. In severe cases, if you’re too rough you can damage their skin.
- Let your dog see and smell the brush
When it comes to grooming, your dog needs to familiarize itself with the brush to learn that it’s not something to be afraid of. A brush is a foreign object to them, so have patience and let them see and smell the brush before you start grooming them.
Following this, begin brushing while you reward your dog with treats and praise for doing a good job by sitting still! Positive reinforcement is much more effective than punishing your dog for not sitting still. Remember this the first time you try to brush them as a puppy.
- Keep your sessions short at first
When your dog is getting used to being brushed as a puppy, you’ll want to keep your grooming sessions short and increase the length of time as your dog learns to enjoy it.
Although there might be some resistance in the beginning, once your dog learns that grooming is just a part of their routine they will soon relax into it. This doesn’t mean that it won’t take some patience, work, and treats to help along the way, though!
- Buy a quality vacuum cleaner
There’s no getting away from it, German Shepherds produce a lot of hair and shed a lot around your house. Even with a consistent grooming routine, you’ll need a high-quality vacuum to tackle the hair around the house. There will be hair everywhere so you may as well be prepared.
- Develop a routine
While your German Shepherd might need some persuading to sit still while you groom them, developing a routine is essential and they’ll become used to it when it’s the norm.
If you brush them inconsistently, however, the process might be more challenging. It’ll be easier for both of you if you get into a routine sooner rather than later, which means grooming them regularly from a young age.
You’ll enjoy how much better your dog’s coat looks and feels and they’ll learn that grooming is just a part of their life!
Does brushing a German Shepherd decrease shedding?
Yes, brushing your German Shepherd can help decrease shedding. This is because brushing allows you to comb out the dead hair before it reaches your carpets, clothes, or furniture. A proper brushing routine keeps shedding to a minimum when you stay on top of brushing your German Shepherd regularly.
In addition, use a grooming spray, along with a moisturizing shampoo, conditioner, and supplement for optimum results help to decrease shedding.
However, there’s no magic solution to shedding, and if you have a German Shepherd it’s something that you’ll have to accept. There’s no getting away from the fact that they are high-maintenance dogs in terms of their grooming requirements.
If you don’t have the time to regularly groom them and don’t want to constantly be dealing with hair in your house or worrying about your dog shedding everywhere, then this breed might not be the right choice for you.
However, brushing two to three times a week will help more of the hair come out in a brush, rather than on your furnishings. In addition, you will need to consider investing in a sturdy vacuum cleaner as you can expect to be vacuuming a lot thanks to your pup!
How often should you bathe your German Shepherd?
While you might think that German Shepherds need to be bathed regularly as they need to be groomed on a very regular basis, bathing your dog about once a month is more than enough.
If your dog stays fairly clean with regular brushing, you might get away with fewer baths. Too many baths will strip the coat of natural oils that protect the skin, and your dog’s coat will lose some of its shine and luster.
Although frequent brushing is essential for your German Shepherd, the same is not true of baths. This simply comes down to the fact that if you overdo the baths you may end up with a dog with dry, irritated skin. You should always make sure that you are using a puppy or dog shampoo, not a people shampoo.
Shampoos that you and I use on our hair aren’t necessarily toxic to dogs, but they may contain fragrances and other ingredients that irritate your dog’s skin.
Taking this into consideration, it’s best to wash your dog with specific shampoo and conditioner and make sure that you aren’t washing them too frequently.
Can you shave your German Shepherd?
While you might think that shaving your German Shepherd is a good idea to prevent shedding, shaving is not recommended.
The negatives of shaving your German Shepherd significantly outweigh any of the pros you can think of. This primarily comes down to the fact that:
- Their coat protects them
German Shepherds have double coats. This double-coat works simultaneously to keep your German Shepherd comfortable throughout all the seasons, meaning that they are cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The outer layer protects your dog’s skin from water, dirt, and insect bites.
On the other hand, the undercoat is soft and fuzzy, working to insulate your dog from hot and cold temperatures throughout the seasons. By shaving the coat, you’re removing all of those protective barriers provided by the fur.
- Shaving them won’t prevent shedding
Even if you shave your German Shepherd, their coat is still going to shed. While the hairs left around your house will be significantly shorter, shaving them doesn’t prevent the hair from shedding altogether. This defeats the purpose of shaving them in the first place.
- Shaving takes away their coloring
Shaving your German Shepherd will take away the outer coat, which takes away much of the beautiful coloring and markings of your pooch. All you’ll be left with is the undercoat – which will likely be a muted cream, beige, or grey.
If you’re thinking about getting a German Shepherd, then you should know that they shed a lot of hair! There’s no getting away from this, and you should always consider whether you have the time for their grooming requirements before you commit to adopting a German Shepherd.
Making sure that you’re prepared for the level of grooming is essential, as you will need to groom your German Shepherd regularly to ensure that they’re as happy and as healthy as possible.