People often have questions about:
- the different lengths of German Shepherd coats
- the differences between them,
- and how you might find a short haired or long haired German Shepherd for sale, or to adopt/rescue in your area.
We thought it would be worth putting together a comparison and guide on the short haired German Shepherd vs long haired on this basis.
If you want to read more about the different German Shepherd coat lengths, we have also put together the following specific guides:
Let’s jump into it…
(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)
Short Haired German Shepherd vs Long Haired: Comparison & Differences + Similarities
German Shepherd Coats Lengths – How Many Are There, and What Are They?
This is where you have to be a bit careful, because if you don’t use the words officially and unofficially, you can get German Shepherd and dog experts offside!
Officially, a dog expert might tell you that there are two ‘stock coats’ or ‘designated coats’ for German Shepherds –
- a medium/plush coat which is the favoured coat for dog shows
- a long haired coat
Both of these coats have an outer coat and an undercoat.
However, if you look at the range of German Shepherd coat lengths you are realistically going to see, these two descriptions or coat lengths are not enough.
Unofficially, the range of coat lengths on a German Shepherd you might use to identify each might be:
- Short length coat with an undercoat (around 1 inch in length)
- Medium length coat with undercoat, often referred to as a plush coat. This is the most common coat and is the desired type of coat for dog shows (around 1 to 2 inches in length)
- Long length coat with undercoat (around 2 inches or longer, and thick)
- Long length coat without an undercoat (around 2 inches or longer, and thick – missing an undercoat for insulation/weather protection)
German Shepherds without an undercoat are more susceptible to cold weather because this is the coat that insulates them from the weather (the outer coat is more a barrier for water, dirt, bugs etc).
Short Haired German Shepherd vs Long Haired Temperament
Genetics and DNA is a better indicator of what a dog’s temperament is going to be like than coat length.
When trying to determine what a German Shepherd puppy’s temperament is going to end up like, looking at the parents’ temperaments and the bloodlines is a good indicator (although bloodlines have been diluted over the years, an East German/DDR GSD was originally bred to have a harder/harsher temperament than most other lines).
When looking for a family dog, it’s extremely important that the breeder is knowledgeable about breeding and is only breeding together parents with stable temperaments.
Breeding dogs with temperament issues or unstable temperaments is a big no-no.
How the dog is treated, socialised, trained and bonded with can also have an impact on how the dog thinks, acts and behaves.
Short Haired German Shepherd vs Long Haired Shedding, Brushing and Grooming
German Shepherds in particular among dog breeds are know to be heavy shedders.
German Shepherd shed all year ’round, and shed very heavily when they blow their undercoat between cold and warmer seasons.
How much a long haired or short haired GSD sheds depends on the particular dog, but generally a short haired German Shepherd might appear like they shed more because a) the hairs are shorter and have less length to grow, and b) a long haired German Shepherd might get undercoat hairs caught in their outer coat so they aren’t dropping onto the floor as much.
German Shepherds without an undercoat obviously will drop less hair during the switch over of the seasons, but will still shed their outer coat all year.
All German Shepherds can benefit from a good slicker brush a few days a week, and those with an undercoat will save you ALOT of vacuuming and cleaning if you run over them with a good undercoat rake/deShedding tool.
German Shepherd Coat Lengths and Conformance With The Breed Standard + Dog Shows
The medium length plush coat German Shepherds are the favored coat length, and also happen to be the most common coat length.
Short haired German Shepherds are not disqualified from show rings, but they don’t seem to be favored as much by the medium length, plush, dense outer coat type German Shepherds.
Long haired German Shepherds tend to be considered a fault when it comes to conformance, certainly when it comes to the European dog shows.
The American AKC states (US German Shepherd Breed Standard) “The ideal dog has a double coat of medium length.”
The SV standard (European GSD breed standard) favors a “Long, soft, dense guard coat [outer coat], with undercoat”. Long straight top coats, and long coats without undercoats are disqualifying faults.
Where To Find A Short Haired or Long Haired German Shepherd For Sale From A Breeder In My Area?
Good breeders that care about their dogs can be hard to find, but they are out there.
The best way to find a short haired or long haired German Shepherd is to identify the good breeders in your area, and then simply ask them if they have any of either available.
You could also ask a local German Shepherd club for references on good breeders in your area.
When looking at buying a long haired or short haired GSD, here are some helpful guides to get you started:
- What To Look For When Buying A German Shepherd Puppy: Ethical Step By Step Guide
- Where To Find The Best German Shepherd Breeders Near You
Adopting Long Haired or Short Haired German Shepherds From A Rescue or Shelter
It is encouraged to adopt as a first priority because there are so many loving and sociable dogs that are looking for a caring owner and loving home in shelters and rescues.
- Things To Consider When Adopting or Rescuing A German Shepherd
- Where To Find A German Shepherd Rescue or Shelter Near You
How Much Do Long Haired and Short Haired German Shepherds Cost?
On average, you might pay anywhere from $500 to $1500 for a pet, or family dog type German Shepherd from a breeder.
German Shepherds with good pedigrees, show or working titles and from quality breeders can cost thousands.
Medium/plush coat GSDs can are widely available as they are the most common coat length, and are usually the most expensive.
Don’t get ripped off or buy from shady or unethical breeders – read this guide carefully.
When adopting a medium haired German Shepherd from a rescue or shelter, you might pay anywhere from $50 to $500 – which covers adoption fees.
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