Can you, and should you shave your German Shepherd?
The average owner might think it’s fine, and might be looking forward to doing it come summer time when German Shepherds start shedding a lot and dropping their winter coat.
It can also get hot in the summer and some owners might be looking for ways to keep their GSD cool.
But, what is the impact of shaving off your German Shepherd’s coat? How are both the top coat and undercoat affected?
Let’s take a look!
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
Can You, & Should You Shave Your German Shepherd?
Can You Shave Your German Shepherd?
Physically, yes. You can get some pet clippers and shave your GSD down.
But, should you do it? Well…
Should You Shave Your German Shepherd?
No, you probably shouldn’t. In fact, you almost definitely shouldn’t.
Why is that you ask? Well, these are some of the reasons shaving your GSD might be a bad idea:
- GSDs are a double coat breed, and shaving your GSD means you get rid of both the top coat and the undercoat
- The top coat naturally repels things like dirt and water, whilst the undercoat provides insulation and warmth
- Getting rid of the top coat exposes your dog to the sun, increasing their risk of sunburn
- Getting rid of the top coat means air can no longer circulate underneath it and cool your dog (the undercoat drops in the summer allowing this circulation to naturally happen)
- When you shave a double coat dog, the top guard coat and the undercoat don’t grow back the same. The top harder guard coat tends to grow in with soft undercoat instead of over it
- This leads to dirt and outside material sticking to the coat, the coat not repelling sun and water as well, and the coat not insulating your dog as well in the winter and summer
- A poorly grown coat can also lead to other side effects like skin irritations from coat matting
On top of all these reasons not to shave your GSD, a shaved dog can look a bit strange, and your dog might feel a bit weird without their coat.
In short, you’re much better off just not doing it.
What Can You Do Instead Of Shaving Your German Shepherd, Particularly For Summer Months?
The two main reasons you want to shave your GSD are probably to minimise the clean up from shedding, and to keep your dog cool in summer.
Let’s address both those reasons:
We wrote a guide about the best german shepherd shedding solutions.
In that guide we mention that you can brush your GSD to remove loose hairs, and use a good pet hair vacuum and lint rollers/pet hair removers to pick up and clean dog hairs around the house and in your car (+ on your clothes.
But, in general, a good way to minimise shedding in the summer months might be:
- Wash your GSD (washing not only gets rid of loose hairs, but softens up the hairs for brushing). Just be careful not to wash too much or you can remove the natural oils in your dog’s coat. A good natural dog shampoo is 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo (on Amazon)
- Brush your GSD. Using a dematting comb, deshedding tool and slicker brush on your GSD a few days a week, and right after you’ve given them a bath, can do wonders for removing loose hairs. The FURminator deShedding Tool for Dogs (on Amazon) is a pretty popular deshedding tool
- Blow out the undercoat. Usually you have to go to a professional groomer for this. They will use a dog blowing machine and blow out all the undercoat hairs
- Dog grooming scissors. This one is more so for looks, but you can use dog grooming scissors instead of clippers to get rid of any unwanted stray hairs
Keep Your Dog Cool
As mentioned above, double coat breeds tend to naturally keep themselves cool when air circulates in the space under their top coat.
But, it also helps if you:
- Keep your dog in a cool place either under cover outside or inside where there is cooling
- Make sure they have plenty of water to drink daily
- Limit their exposure to direct sunlight if it’s harsh sun. Go for walks in the early morning and late night when the sun is less intense
- Take your dog for a swim if you live near water, and wash them off with non salty water afterwards so their coat doesn’t dry out
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