What is a long-haired German Shepherd and how do you take care of them?
A long-haired German Shepherd is a unique and beautiful breed who requires constant care due to their long hair and nature.
To know more about this breed, continue to read on through the guide.
What is a long-haired German Shepherd?
The long-haired German Shepherd is the same as any other German Shepherd except that they have long hair.
Their coat length is different from other German Shepherds due to a recessive gene that occurs. Both parents regardless of their length coat carry this gene.
According to the AKC, this is seen as a breeding fault. The AKC believes that the ideal coat length for a German Shepherd is medium hair length which is about 1 to 2 inches long.
However, the long-haired German Shepherd has favorable characteristics and is popular among many dog parents.
The physical appearance of long-haired German Shepherd
Even though many German Shepherds are known to have a double coat. The long-haired German Shepherd doesn’t have an undercoat instead they have a single coat.
This single coat appears delicate and shiny because there isn’t an undercoat.
Because they don’t have an undercoat, they have less protection against the weather. Consequently, they can’t work in activities that German Shepherds do such as herding and hunting.
In regards to their weight and length, they are actually the same as all German Shepherds in terms of weight and length.
The male long-haired German Shepherd grows to a height of 24 to 26 inches and can weigh between 66 to 88 pounds.
While the female long-haired German Shepherd is small in size when compared to males and can grow to a height of 22 to 24 inches and weigh 51 to 73 pounds at a healthy weight.
Just like the standard German Shepherd, they have muscular bodies and are longer than they are tall.
Their facial features are like those of a wolf with their long muzzle and raised ears.
Another unique characteristic that they have is that their hair is silkier than other German Shepherds who are not long-haired.
Long-haired German Shepherds have bushier tails due to their long hair that they have all over their bodies.
Coat Colors of a long-haired German Shepherd
They have the same coat colors as any German Shepherd and the combinations always depend on the genetics of the puppy.
They can either have a coat of any of these colors:
- Black and Tan
The temperament of long-haired German Shepherd
They have a more balanced and better temperament than short-haired German Shepherds because they weren’t bred to work; they are much more eager to please their dog parents and want to spend more time with them.
They are the perfect balance between being serious and fun at other times.
The long-haired German Shepherd can also be very playful and can bond with many people and children very well.
They prefer to have constant human contact with their family more than short-haired or medium-haired German Shepherds.
Even though they make excellent indoors dogs, they do need daily exercise so they can release pent-up energy, stay fit, and feel happy. They need both physical and mental exercises.
Another characteristic that they have is that they are very intelligent so they can be easily trained and learn quickly.
They are also very protective of their friends and family and will jump to save them if they see any danger.
There have been many stories of German Shepherds who risked their lives to save their families proving their loyalty and altruism.
The health of long-haired German Shepherd
They do share the same health problems as any German Shepherd regardless of its coat length.
Here are some of the conditions that affect long-haired German Shepherds:
- Hip or elbow dysplasia: This mainly happens when the hip or elbow isn’t aligned with the socked and it pops out instead causing the bone to wear down. If you suspect that your German Shepherd either has hip or elbow dysplasia, monitor them for signs such as lameness, reluctance to play, and limping.
- Epilepsy: This is also common in dogs as it is with humans. This condition is characterized by your dog having seizures. Even though it is a chronic disease, you can do things that will make your dog comfortable.
- Digestive problems: Your German Shepherd has sensitive stomachs. So you have to monitor and give your dog a suitable diet. Watch out if your dog eats too much food so they don’t develop an upset stomach.
- Degenerative myelopathy: This is a condition that develops in the nerves of the spinal cords causing loss of movement and loss in feelings of the limbs. They first have the disease in their hind limbs then it progresses into their forelimbs.
- Eczema: This is triggered by allergies that your dog has. They can cause your dog’s skin to become irritated and inflamed. Go to your vet immediately so they can treat this condition.
All of these conditions are hereditary; some are treatable and some aren’t but it is important to take care of your German Shepherd if they show any of these conditions.
Do long-haired German Shepherds shed a lot?
Even though at first, you may think that a double-coated German Shepherd will shed a lot unlike the long-haired German Shepherd who has a single coat, the truth is that both types of coats shed a lot.
German Shepherds with double coats shed all year long shedding heavily two times in the year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
Long-haired German Shepherds have a single coat but do also shed a lot. The reason for the shedding has to do with their long hair length.
Even though they have long hair, they do shed and the hair gets trapped in their long hair. The hair won’t fall down to the ground like that of a double-coated German Shepherd.
However, it will fall out when you brush your German Shepherd’s hair when you groom them.
This creates the illusion that they don’t shed a lot but they actually do. In fact, they need to be groomed regularly because of their shedding and to take care of their long hair.
Best Grooming tools and practices for long-haired German Shepherd
Grooming tools for their coat
Brushing your long-haired German Shepherd will definitely keep their hair free from tangles and mats.
Mats and tangles can cause your German Shepherd additional problems if they aren’t brushed off such as skin irritation and can be the perfect place for fleas and ticks to hide in.
Brushes can also remove dirt from your dog’s coat giving them a shiny and fresh appearance.
There are three types of brushes that can be used on long-haired German Shepherds:
- Bristle brush: This type of brush has long and widely spaced bristles that are great for long-haired German Shepherds. They can be either used before or after bathing to clear out any tangles and mats.
- Pin brush: The pin brush has widely spaced bristles without rubber pinheads. They are great for grooming long coats that are prone to fall from extra pressure when applied.
- Slicker brush: This brush is mainly used to remove tangles. It is characterized by having wire bristles that helps clear out tangles. You can use it routinely to comb your long-haired German Shepherd.
Combs are great for grooming your dog on a daily basis. They will help remove loose hair, reduce shedding, and smooth the hair.
Regular combing help keep your German Shepherd’s hair tangle-free.
These combs are available in different sizes so for a long German Shepherd, always shows the widely spaced combs as they will run smoothly over their hair.
3.) Scissors and shears
Scissors and shears are important to cut and groom sensitive areas such as the nose and around the eyes. You do need these tools to cut through overgrown hair and keep your long-haired German Shepherd tidy.
How to groom a long-haired German Shepherd’s coat?
Items that you will need
- Someone to help you out
- Tablespoon of dog conditioner
- 1 cup of water
- Metal comb
- Slicker brush
- Thinning shears
Step one: Put the collar and leash
First, put the collar around your dog’s neck. After it is secured, attach the leash to it. Let your assistant hold your dog’s leash and calm them by talking to them in a soothing voice.
Step two: Mix the dog conditioner and water together
Pour the cup of water and the dog conditioner in the bowl. Mix them well using a spoon.
Mix very well so the mixture is consistent.
Step three: Use a slicker brush and a metal comb over their body
At first, you can run your fingers throughout your German Shepherd’s coat to see if there are any tangles or mats.
Then, you can use a slicker brush to brush the long hair and you can use a metal comb to go all the way down to the skin.
The metal comb is perfect to use for combing the armpits and as an extra step to make sure that all the hair is tangle-free after using the slicker brush.
Step four: Groom the ears
Using a slicker brush, brush the hair surrounding the ear from the outside. Then, gently apply pressure to get the ears down so you can use thinning shears to cut the extra hair.
After that, pull the ears up and cut the hairs that are inside carefully.
Step five: Groom the legs
First, you have to gently lift your dog’s hair between their toes using a slicker brush. Second, grab one of their toes and cut the extra hair using thinning shears.
So the same for the hair in your dog’s paw and cut them accordingly.
Repeat the same steps for the other remaining paws.
So, how often should you bath your long-haired German Shepherd?
Generally, your German Shepherd needs to be bathed once a month regardless of their coat length whether short, medium, or long-haired.
This depends on factors like how much they spend outdoors and how dirty they are. Thus, it is best to not over bathe long-haired German Shepherds as their coat doesn’t make sufficient oil so stick to once per month.
Cleaning the ears
Another important part of grooming is cleaning your dog’s ears. Long-haired German Shepherds need their ears cleaned for two reasons.
The first reason is cleaning them ensures that your dog doesn’t develop an ear infection in the long run.
The second reason is that long-haired German Shepherds have excessive hair growth around their ears causing ear wax to stick to this hair as hair is near the ear canal.
Mainly, to maintain your Long-haired German Shepherd hygiene, you have to clean their ears.
How many times do you have to clean your Long-haired German Shepherd ears?
In general, most dog breeds need just at least one cleaning per month. Depending on your long-haired German Shepherd’s ear wax that they make and the nature of their coat, they may need frequent ear cleaning.
So, it’s best to monitor your long-haired German Shepherd and see whether the ear wax is high and whether it sticks in their hair or not so you can determine that your dog needs more than once a month of ear cleaning.
Never clean your dog’s ears excessively as this can cause them pain and discomfort.
Nail clipping your long-haired German Shepherd or any dog is very important because long nails can cause your dog discomfort and pain from all the pressure from their bodies into their nails.
it can make them unbalanced in their walk too. So, it’s important to clip your long-haired German Shepherd nails whenever they get long.
It’s important to make it a routine habit for your dog.
How often do you have to clip your long-haired German Shepherd nails?
It is recommended that you clip any German Shepherd’s nails, regardless of their coat length, at least two to three times a month. This is done to ensure that they are in no pain and have clean paws.
You can either go to the groomer to clip their nails or you can do it on your own at home.
Also, you can use natural ways such as walking or running so their nails naturally get shorter with the friction on the ground.
A long-haired German Shepherd, just like any German Shepherd, will need their teeth to be cleaned. To clean their teeth, you will need a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste.
Always use soft-bristled brushes because they won’t hurt your dog’s gum as the hard-bristled brushes.
If you don’t clean your dog’s teeth regularly, they will have build-up tartar and plaque which can lead to other diseases.
How often do you have to brush your long-haired German Shepherd?
It is best to brush your long-haired German Shepherd teeth daily. If you are facing problems with your German Shepherd, then you can brush their teeth several times a week.
Cleaning your German Shepherd teeth is really important as your dog will not have any dental problems in the future when you take care of it in the present.
How to take care of a long-haired German Shepherd?
A long-haired German Shepherd requires food of high quality so that they don’t have problems in their digestive system such as indigestion and stomach infections.
Therefore, you can’t feed them any type of food. Feeding a long-haired German Shepherd requires that you monitor their food constantly and provide them with high-quality food.
Their diet has to be filled with protein and fats because they need them in order to grow a healthy body.
Vegetable fat is very important because it provides them with shiny skin and coat and also stops your dog’s shedding.
You could also feed your dog dry food which contains all the nutrients that your dog needs. However, you have to make sure that the dry food is of high quality.
Another important source to feed your German Shepherd is complex carbohydrates which are found in every food. They provide energy to your German Shepherd throughout the day.
Some of these examples are potatoes, carrots, beans, and many other fruits and vegetables. These are healthy and don’t burn slowly throughout the day.
They will definitely help keep your German Shepherd energized.
Your dog can also take fiber from many other sources such as leafy greens, apples, and oats.
The fiber makes it easy for food to move easily through your dog’s digestive tract. It also helps in absorbing the nutrients and minimizes digestive issues.
Here are some of the foods that you could feed your long-haired German Shepherd:
1.) Rice and finger millets
Finger millets have been known to have a calming effect on your dog’s digestive system. They aren’t heavy to digest so they keep problems like indigestion and stomach problems at bay.
You can also give your dog boiled rice to eat; however, white rice is much healthier than red rice or brown rice.
You can boil porridge in water and serve it to your German Shepherd so they can eat it. They will definitely love it and want to eat it all.
Give it to your German Shepherd twice a week without adding any sugar or salt to it.
Cooked meat such as chicken, cow meat, and fish are really important protein sources for German Shepherds.
They provide your long-haired German Shepherd with the protein needed to build their bodies and maintain their coat.
An adult German Shepherd will need about 18 % protein in their diet while a German Shepherd puppy will need about 20 % protein in their whole diet.
Some of the foods that a long-haired German Shepherd shouldn’t eat:
1.) Raw meat
Raw meat is dangerous for your long-haired German Shepherd, especially their digestive system.
It can cause them lots of problems in digestion and is full of bacteria which can cause stomach infections.
German Shepherds don’t tolerate nuts very well. Nuts have a high content of salt that can cause hair loss.
The long-haired German Shepherd has a single coat so they won’t tolerate having their hair fall.
3.) Corn, wheat, and soy
If you don’t want your German Shepherd to be bloated and constipated, avoid giving them corn, wheat, and soy.
These food are rich in starch so they will definitely lead to constipation and discomfort. So, avoid giving your German Shepherd corn, wheat, and soy that will cause them these problems.
Lentils are known to upset your German Shepherd’s stomach. So, it is best to not give your German Shepherd lentils to eat so they won’t get any digestive problems
Even though your German Shepherd loves living indoors, they do need their daily exercise. Dog parents will easily notice their active nature and need for exercise.
You can easily exercise them by going on a walk with them, a jog, and a run. You could also play with them games such as fetch and tug of war so they can release all the energy that they have and enjoy bonding with you.
You can also engage their mind through mental stimulation such as puzzle toys and chew toys.
They do keep up with your pace during exercise because they are very active.
Check how much exercise does a German Shepherd need? to know more about German Shepherd types of exercises and how to have the best possible exercise for your German Shepherd.
The best living environment for long-haired German Shepherd
The long-haired German Shepherd is best suited as an indoor dog. They crave a dog parent’s attention, love, and care.
This breed should never be kept alone for long periods of time as they will be very sad and will need constant human contact.
If you are always outside for long periods of time, then you can bring your friends or family to be with your dog when you are away.
Even though they are excellent at being kept in an apartment or house, they do need to get their regular exercise.
An important tip is to never keep them outdoors at night because they have a single coat. Without the undercoat, they can’t tolerate harsh weather conditions such as rain or dryness.
Like all German Shepherds, the long-haired German Shepherd wants to have an area that is made for them only; they want a place that has their scent on it.
Thus, it is best to set up an area for your furry friend which has to have a bed, chewing toys, and bowls for food and water.
Long-haired German Shepherd also feels hot and becomes dehydrated when the temperature is rising.
Thus, you have to ensure that your German Shepherd gets plenty of water and stands in the shade while exercising outside.
A long-haired German Shepherd can be easily trained by teaching them basic obedience training and advanced obedience training. Your dog is very intelligent so they will learn them very easily.
You could also teach your long-haired German Shepherd crate training so they learn how to stay in the crate.
Another training that your German Shepherd can be taught is potty training so they can learn how to properly potty in the right place and way without making a mess in the house.
Just like any German Shepherd, your long-haired German Shepherd is very intelligent and will grasp concepts and training techniques very quickly.
Who is the long-haired German Shepherd suitable for?
Long-haired German Shepherds aren’t suitable for everyone. This breed has particular needs to be taken care of by their dog parents.
They have high energy and need to be exercised daily so this energy can be released and they feel happy.
Also, they have grooming needs and need to have a grooming routine where they are getting taken care of their coat, ears, teeth, and nails.
The long-haired German Shepherd requires constant monitoring and choosing high-quality food so your dog doesn’t get digestive problems.
So the ideal dog parent is one who will really care for the long-haired German Shepherd and won’t leave their dog without caring for them.
How much will a long-haired German Shepherd cost?
A long-haired German Shepherd is more expensive than a short-haired German Shepherd.
They typically cost between $300 to $2500 so you have to look for a proper breeder before you get your dog.
Even though long-haired German Shepherd is rare, they do exist but you have to get them from a breeder who uses safe breeding methods.
So, your long-haired German Shepherd doesn’t get any hereditary disease or condition.
Long-haired German Shepherd is known right away from birth to have a long coat. This doesn’t change as they grow and if any breeder says otherwise, they aren’t telling the truth.
An honest and credible breeder will show you the parents and the papers of parentage of the puppies so you get to know them. If they are protective about showing you this, then they aren’t being very honest with you.
Acceptance of the long-haired German Shepherd
Because of the breed’s unique appearance, the long-haired German Shepherd hasn’t been accepted as a breed at today’s times.
Advocates and dog lovers have since been fighting for the right for this breed to gain acknowledgment and participate in dog competitions.
On the positive side, many dog lovers and advocates are uniting to make the breed official.
A long-haired German Shepherd is the same as any German Shepherd except that they have long hair and love to stay indoor instead of outdoor.
They require frequent grooming, special diet, exercise, and training so they can stay fit and healthy.
To know more about how to groom a German Shepherd in easy steps, check Complete German Shepherd Dog Grooming Simplified in Easy Steps.
Share your experience with us. How do you take care of your long-haired German Shepherd?