Different Types of Short-Haired German Shepherds
German Shepherds have essentially two lengths of hair. They can either be short-haired or long-haired, despite what kind of coloration pattern they have. Both dogs are the same breed, and while a short-hair German Shepherd is the only type of German Shepherd accepted in kennel clubs in the United States and much of the world, both short-haired and long-haired dogs can be purebred German Shepherds.
The Very Short-Haired German Shepherd
Within the two basic “lengths” of German Shepherd fur, there are two more classifications. The first is “very short,” which is essentially a very short layer of fur over the also very short insulation layer.
This type of fur will be a little bristly to the touch but will look very sleek and smooth on the dog. While this is not the preferred version of the short coat, it is more favorable to “purists” than either versions of the long coat.
The Plush-Coat German Shepherd
The second type of short hair for German Shepherds is called plush. This is the coat that breeders are looking for in show dogs, as this is believed to be the most stereotypical kind of German Shepherd coat.
These dogs will also have an outer coat and an undercoat, the top coat still being rough to the touch, while the undercoat being more like a wooly sweater that keeps the dog warm and puffs up the outer coat.
Caring for Short-Coat Puppies
Many people hope that getting short-hair German Shepherd puppies will mean their dogs will shed less. While short hair is easier to care for than long hair, these dogs will shed just as much as their long-haired brothers and sisters.
German Shepherds are, in fact, labeled as the breed that sheds the most out of every other breed on the planet. Unlike other dogs that shed usually only in the spring and fall, to prepare for the changing seasons, a German Shepherd will shed constantly.
This makes it very important to start proper coat care from a very young age, to make sure these dogs are comfortable. Just as much as you might hate having his fur everywhere, he hates having so much extra fur.
Brushing these dogs very regularly with the right tools and making sure they are clean and happy is integral to having a happy, healthy dog. While these dogs will naturally shed their fur, it can sometimes get trapped in the unshed fur, creating mats and knots that are no fun for you or your dog.
Keeping Your Dog's Coat Clean and Healthy
For a short coat or medium-coat German Shepherd, here are the steps to keeping his fur and your home cleaner and happier:
The Right Dog Food
Make sure you are feeding him the right dog food. Dogs need food with a high enough moisture (fat) content so that their body has plenty of oil to maintain a healthy skin and coat. He will need plenty of protein, as well as fat, for healthy fur.
“Shed Ender” or Rake Brush
Get a “shed ender” or rake brush or other brush designed specifically for removing fur the dog has already shed from both the undercoat and the outer coat. One of the biggest issues short hair German Shepherds will have with their fur is having fur that they’ve already shed trapped in their undercoat. If your dog has sensitive skin or does not seem to like being brushed, you might want to look for a gentler brush—something with rubber fingers, instead of metal ones.
How Often Do You Brush Your German Shepherd?
Start a brushing routine. German shepherd short hair will be shed continuously, so these dogs need to be brushed very regularly. If you cannot brush your dog on a daily basis, he should at least be brushed a few times a week. This will help to remove the fur he has already shed and prevent any skin or fur problems.
Bathe him only once or twice a year. Unless he has gotten very dirty and needs a real bath in order to get tree sap, mud, or other contaminants out of his fur before he is allowed back in the house, it is best to only bathe him when his fur starts to feel excessively greasy. Bathing too often can dry out his skin.
Keep brushing! Especially during hot summer months, it’s imperative that you keep up with your brushing routine. During these months, he could essentially be wearing three coats—an upper coat, under coat, and a third coat of fur he has already shed. Removing the dead fur will help him be more comfortable.
© 2019 Sam Shepards