Home GSD Types & Mixes Long Haired German Shepherd: What You Should Know

Long Haired German Shepherd: What You Should Know

by David W.
Long haired German Shepherd

Long haired German Shepherds are pretty similar to their short haired counterparts, but one of the most important differences is the requirement for brushing and grooming. Most long haired GSDs do not have an undercoat. Though, it does not mean little shedding. 

Since the fur is longer, the shed part of it can get stuck, so when you brush the dog, you may see even bigger amounts of fur than when you brush a short haired animal. In fact, your pup will need brushing 2-3 times per week, or the fur will get tangled and matted. Unlike short haired dogs, this variety’s representatives do not shed in specific seasons, but do it all year round.

The origin

The first breeder of long haired German Shepherds, Max von Stephanitz, was fascinated by the idea of breeding a unique breed. At the end of the nineteenth century, he bought at an exhibition a short haired male dog named Hector, who formed the basis of the German Shepherd breed.

He considered long haired puppies to be a fault, believing that the long hair had a negative effect on the dog’s performance. But he could not prevent the appearance of such offspring, because the cause was an inherited recessive gene. Later it was proved that the opinion of the breeder was wrong.

At the end of the twentieth century, the long haired German Shepherd Club was established. In 2010 it was decided to include these dogs in the standard. Officially, long haired Shepherds with undercoats became an independent breed type in 2011.

Size and Appearance

Long haired GSD

The height and weight of a long haired GSD are similar to that of a short haired one. However, the fur is longer on the neck, which reminds of a mane, and on the rear part of the body, so they seem much bigger. The fur has a soft and silky texture. It makes them disqualified from being registered according to the AKC standards. Though they are still purebred dogs, they cannot take part in showrooms and are not suited for working outside in cold seasons because of the one-layer coat that does not protect them from bad weather conditions.

Male long haired Shepherds can grow up to 24-26 inches (61-66 cm) in height, and females grow a bit smaller – up to 22-24 inches (56-61 cm). The weight also differs between males and females. The former can weigh 66-68 pounds (30-31 kg), while the latter reach 51-53 pounds (23-24 kg).

Because of the lack of an undercoat, the fur seems shiny, and the dogs look beautiful with it.

Long Haired German Shepherd Temperament and Behavior

This variety has almost the same temperament as the short haired one does. They are immensely protective and loyal. Though, they also tend to expose separation anxiety.

The main difference is in working capability. Since they have beautiful long hair, which these dogs were bred for, they are not quite suitable for work. Instead, these German Shepherds are more friendly to strangers and always ready to please their owners.

The difference is in exercising. Sure, they are as energetic and lively as their short haired counterparts, but walking them in cold weather is a bit problematic. They cannot do well when it is freezing or raining. If you live in an area with a cold and wet climate, consider these conditions before adopting long haired GSDs.

These dogs are also very obedient, but they need constant contact with the owner’s family. That is why they can become fantastic indoor dogs who are quite playful and pleasing. They like engaging with toys and family members. Moreover, these dogs are immensely protective, so they can display extreme bravery when their owners are in danger. This nature also makes them excellent playmates for children and caring babysitters. German Shepherd with long hair needs a lot of exercise every day. They should have a stable outlet to spend their energy. Playing fetch or Frisbee is great for them.

How to Care for a Long Haired German Shepherd

German Shepherd with long hair swimming

German Shepherds with long hair are undemanding. It is better to keep them in a good aviary on the territory of a private house. But if the dog lives in an apartment, it is necessary to keep it active and provide long daily walks.

Although this breed’s thick fur is highly attractive, it also requires a lot of attention.

This long haired breed sheds continuously. The beginning of the fall and spring is when this shedding is most intense. If you’re interested in bringing one of these fluffy friends into your home, you’ll need a good vacuum cleaner.

These adorable dogs are susceptible to matting as a result of the length of their fur as well. To prevent matting, you will be required to brush them frequently.

You can choose to brush them every day, but at the very least, you should do so two to three times every week. To remove any tough mats or tangles, thoroughly comb through their coat with a long-toothed brush. Shepherds should be brushed with a special brush twice a week and every day during shedding. The undercoat on the belly should also be brushed. 

But be careful not to scratch their skin. Since these puppies often lack an undercoat, it is simple to irritate them while combing and cause them to itch. Brush softly but thoroughly.

You should pay particular attention to their skin while you groom them.

Avoid over-washing long haired German Shepherds because they are prone to dry skin and dermatitis. You only need to take a bath once a month, and you can use mild shampoo.

To clean the coat of dirt at other times, you should wipe it with a wet cloth or special wipes.

Claws should be trimmed as required, using special claw clippers and carefully, removing the growth little by little so as not to damage the blood vessel. In between clippings, they should be treated with a moistened cloth.

Shepherd’s teeth should be checked after feeding. They often have tartar, which can be prevented by brushing them with special products.

The dog should be inspected daily:

  • Eyes. Remove secretions from the outer edge of their eyes to the inner edge with a cloth soaked in water.
  • The nose should be moist. The formation of crusts is a reason to contact the veterinarian.
  • Paws, which should be free of wounds.
  • Mouth and lips should be checked for wounds, cracks with secretions, and crusts.
  • Ears. They should be wiped with a moist cotton swab inside the ear socket. You should also detect unpleasant smells, secretions, and ingrowths of hair in the ears in time to avoid disruption of wax drainage.

The duration of Shepherd’s walk is at least 2 hours. The number of adult feeds is 2 times a day.

Also, you should not forget to treat your dog against parasites and vaccinate it in time.


Long haired GSD

The German Shepherd needs weekly mental exercises with intervals of at least 3-4 times and an average of 20 minutes. Physical activity should be given in proportion to the age, capabilities, and condition of the dog.

For puppies under 6 months of age, it must be taken into account that the muscle tissue and joints are still immature.

The training must be strict, but fair and loving. Violence is excluded. This can make the Shepherd cowardly or aggressive.

Training is better to begin at the age of 2-3 months, initially teaching the puppy simple commands. If you have no experience with dogs of such breeds, it is recommended to contact a professional dog trainer.


Choosing the right balanced diet is essential for a healthy pet.

A German Shepherd with long hair needs plenty of protein and carbohydrates, with a minimum of fat. Both natural food and dry food are suitable.

For natural feeding, the dog’s diet should include lean boiled meat and dairy products, cereals, and seasonal fruits, 2 times a week you can give chicken eggs. Fish is good for these dogs. The consumption of products enriched with calcium should be limited.

It is better to choose premium ready-to-eat food for the long haired German Shepherd. When using dry food, be sure to make sure there is enough water.

The number of meals per day is determined by the age of the dog.

Specialists recommend the following daily feeding schedule:

  • in the first 2 months of life – 6 times;
  • 3 months – 5 times;
  • from 3 to 6 months, the number of feedings is 4 times;
  • from 6 months to 1 year, the puppy is switched to three meals a day;
  • later, the dog is considered an adult, and the number of meals is reduced to 2 times per day.

Feed the Shepherd Dog on a regular basis, at the same time. The temperature of the food should be medium. The bowls should be on a stand and placed at the height of the dog’s chest. This is important for the formation of its correct posture.

Long Haired German Shepherd Lifespan and Health

Long haired German Shepherd

The lifespan of long haired German Shepherds is almost the same as that of their short haired counterparts – approximately 9-13 years. They can also suffer from the same diseases. The issues may include digestive problems, epilepsy, hip and elbow dysplasia, and eczema. Dysplasia is a genetic issue, while others mentioned can be a result of improper breeding techniques. In the case of careless breeding, a number and variety of hereditary problems increase. 

Veterinary care should become a norm for you and your dog. Physical examination has to include X-rays, blood tests, and other methods to detect different health conditions.

Long Haired German Shepherd Price

Since the AKC does not fully approve long haired German Shepherd dogs, their cost is lower than that of short haired dogs. You can pay $500-$1,500 for such a puppy. The cost can reach $2,000-$2,500 if you buy a dog from a well-known and reputable breeder. 

However, many breeders are not interested in raising long haired Shepherds, so, if they detect a long haired gene in their stud, they try to get rid of such a dog. Many of them are put in shelters. So, you can adopt such an adult doggie at $200-$450, or just get it for free.


Do long haired German Shepherds shed more?

Both varieties tend to shed. However, short haired dogs shed intensively in spring and fall when there are shedding seasons. Long haired Shepherds shed equally all year round. The shed of long haired animals is kept trapped in the long fur, so it does not make furniture, clothes, and other household items messy.

Where can I obtain a long haired German Shepherd puppy?

Long haired puppies cost less than their short haired counterparts. Though, they are rarer. If you want to get a puppy from a reputable breeder, you will need to wait for it longer. Well-experienced breeders do not like to raise such offspring because these dogs are not suitable for work and shows. You need to do thorough research concerning breeders who can offer you long haired puppies.
If you don’t mind adopting an adult dog, you do it at a lower price, getting your most well-trained and obedient companion from a special club or shelter.

How often should you bathe a long haired German Shepherd?

Only once a month is required for a bath, and light shampoo can be used. To remove dirt from the coat at other times, you should use a damp cloth or special wipes. Due to their tendency for dry skin and dermatitis, long haired German Shepherds should not be overwashed.

Are long haired GSDs recognized?

The long haired German Shepherd breed is acknowledged by the American Kennel Club, but is not officially recognized. Although the long hair is viewed as a defect, both the FCI and the Kennel Club of the UK recognize these dogs.

Does a long haired GSD have an undercoat?

Contrary to what is frequently believed, the long haired German Shepherd does have an undercoat. They are a double-coated breed, albeit their undercoat is not as long or as thick as their topcoat.

Final Thoughts

While there aren’t as many breeders of the long haired German Shepherd as there are of the short haired, there are still quite a few. And if you’re considering adopting a GSD out of a rescue organization, there are several of these organizations worldwide.

The gorgeous long haired GSD is a devoted and obedient companion dog for a person or family. Consider bringing such a dog into your home if you want a loyal, wise, and brave canine that will draw attention with his stunning flowing coat.

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