Dog Care Tips

Can You Shave A German Shepherd? Alarming Reasons To Not Get It Naked

German Shepherds should be named German Shedders. I understand why you are looking to shave your dog. My experience with a GSD had been nothing short of a shedding nightmare.

I had a long fur dog. He was fluffy as hell but twice a year, he’d shed his coat like a snake. I thought of shaving him and that was during my first years as a dog trainer.

Fortunately, I saw a friend do that without any research and his dog suffered. That removed even the remotest thoughts of shaving from my head. I learned a valuable lesson. 

So, can you shave a German Shepherd? No. Don’t shave that poor thing but trim its coat to the depth where you may see the second layer. Or, just trim the long hair to just shorten them a little. You know, just give it a nice little trim. 

Other than German Shepherds, there are some dog breeds that should never have their hair shaved, such as Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Belgian Shepherds, Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Mastiff breeds and Great Pyreness, etc.

Can You Shave Or Trim A German Shepherd?

Let me explain what I said above further for your knowledge. There are two coats on a GSD. The main longer one and the shorter secondary coat.

Some breeders or trainers call them top and bottom coats. 

  1. The top coat saves the dog from heat, cold, dust, and all sorts of external dangers. 
  2. The bottom coat acts as a secondary sheath with all the good things for the skin of the dog. 

If you remove or shave the top coat, you essentially expose the dog to external dangers.

Doing away with the second coat will completely expose the skin to all the elements. Needless to say, you will rob it of all the essential oils the second coat provides the skin. 

That’s why I highly recommend trimming. 

Why Should You Trim?

  1. It removes just the extra hair that could entangle extra dust on the way. 
  2. It saves the dog’s natural protection against the sun, thus, saving it from skin cancer. 
  3. Both coats serve as temperature regulators. Removing them completely will only increase the impact of the surrounding temps. Trimming, on the other hand, saves your dog from this. 
  4. In the warm season, trimming helps the dog in cooling all the while saving it from the dangers I talked about. 
  5. It’s less time-consuming and the dog’s aesthetics could be improved. 

How To Trim Your GSD?

Step 1: Choose the right season to trim your dog. German Shepherds shed their coats in spring and fall. You could choose either to do the trimming. 

Step 2: Let your dog sniff the trimmer, check it out, and be okay with its sound. Try to calm it down when you’ve turned the machine on. When it does not react negatively, reward it with a treat. 

Step 3: Get dog grooming scissors. I use a curved one because it helps me reach all the nooks and crannies of a dog’s body. There’s really not a single point to start with. You could start on the neck and then move your way toward the tail or vice versa. However, do not buy scissors longer than 6″ because that would lead to meddling with the undercoat, which we don’t want. 

How Often German Shepherds Should Be Groomed?

Trimming is one thing, which should be done twice a year when the dog naturally starts shedding the top coat. Grooming, on the other hand, is a frequent process. 

I groomed my GSD twice a week during winters and summers, and almost daily as the dog would inch closer to the shedding seasons. 

How to groom, you ask?

  1. Make sure the dog’s comfortable with the grooming brush. 
  2. Buy a good de-shedding brush to reduce your work when the shedding season is near.
  3. Gently work your way from the neck to the tail and below to do away with all the loose hair. 
  4. You could go deep with the brush because it does not trim or cut the hair but pick out the loose ones.

People Also Asked

Let’s take a look at some of the faqs from my dog grooming sessions.

What Happens If You Shave Your German Shepherd?

Shaving your GSD is not recommended. It exposes your dog to the sun’s rays, which may lead to skin cancer.
The top coat accumulates dust and thus, saves the dog’s skin. While you may keep the dog clean, shaving the top coat will bare the skin for even the tiniest of dust particles to wreak havoc.
Both the layers of the coat also serve as temperature regulators. Shaving them off will potentially impede the dog’s ability to regulate its temperature. It may fall ill. 

How Do I Stop My German Shepherd From Shedding?

You cannot stop the dog from shedding because that’s natural. I recommend buying a good vacuum cleaner for the people who go for GSDs.
However, you could groom the dog with a de-shedding brush twice a week to get rid of the loose hair. Or, you could trim the coat when the shedding seasons are near, which are in spring and fall. 

Should I Take My German Shepherd To The Groomer?

A groomer is a professional in trimming, brushing, or cleaning your dog’s coat. You should consider taking your dog twice a year to the groomer if you can’t trim, brush, or clean its coat.
It might be expensive but well worth it because the professional knows what they do. You could even pamper your pooch the way you want such as by doing its nails, cleaning its teeth, and so on. 

Final Advice

Shaving a GSD isn’t recommended because it strips off the dog from its natural protectors against a plethora of skin-damaging things.

Instead, I recommend trimming the top coat shorter so that the bottom coat is only slightly visible.

You could also groom the dog weekly or daily when the shedding seasons arrive to get rid of the loose hair and make trimming easier for you. In all of these, however, do look for any signs of distress in your dog. 

About the author

Linda Michaels

Linda Michaels is a proud owner of a Labradoodle named Mylo. She is a trainer who posts about dog training and behavior.
🎓: University of California, Davis
📍: PetWell Animal Hospital