Guide to the Long Haired German Shepherd

long haired german shepherd

The distinctive look of the long haired German Shepherd sets him apart from the short haired variety. Because a recessive gene causes the longer hair, it is rare to see one. Most experts consider it to be a genetic fault. German Shepherds with short hair can have offspring with long hair, as long as they have the recessive gene in their DNA. The long haired German Shepherd may be rare, but they are gaining in popularity with dog owners. Many dog owners have a preference for dogs with long hair, and they are not disappointed by the long haired German Shepherd.

What are the Physical Characteristics of the Long Haired German Shepherd?

Just having the longer coat makes the long haired variety look different than the short haired German Shepherd Dog. But underneath all that hair, they are incredibly similar. Their body types and facial features are the same. There’s not much, if any, the size difference between the two. Plus, they both weigh in about the same. The primary and most obvious difference is the length of their coats. The long haired German Shepherd doesn’t have an undercoat like the short hair Shepherd. Their hair appears shinier because of this. While this can be beautiful, it can spell trouble for the canine. Without the undercoat, the long haired German Shepherd has less protection from the weather. Not having an adequate undercoat can limit their working abilities like herding or hunting.

Acceptance of the Long Haired German Shepherd

Because of the unique appearance, the breed varies from the standard Golden Shepherd. This means there’s been quite a fight to have them accepted. They are still not received by the AKA for show, but many advocacy groups continue to work towards getting to get them accepted into the show arena. However, they are intelligent, loyal, and have exceptional working abilities. They can make great search and rescue and police dogs. Hopefully, the right organizations will start to recognize the long haired Golden Shepherd for the great dogs they are.

Care Guide for the Long Haired German Shepherd

The long haired German Shepherd will need a lot of TLC. They are active and energetic and best suited for families or individuals with time to devote to their upkeep. They will need a lot of exercise, so keep that in mind.

Grooming Your Long Haired GSD

Longer hair can mean more tangles and matting. It can also mean there is a lot more dirt that gets built up in the thick coat. Daily brushing is ideal to keep the dog’s coat healthy and glowing. It is best to start brushing them daily while they are puppies. This is when they are more manageable, and it allows them to get used to it. Once they get used to it, they are less likely to nibble at the brush or your fingers. Keeping your canine well brushed will help keep shedding to a minimum. Because they have longer hair, they will be shedding most of the time. 

Be prepared to vacuum a lot! You will also want to keep a lint brush handy to remove hair from clothing. It’s important that they get enough proper brushing to keep their hair from becoming matted. Brushing them at least twice a week will help to keep their coats healthy and free from tangles.

Bathing is not often necessary for the long hair German Shepherd. If they are playing outside and get dirt or debris caught in their hair, brush it out a little at a time before bathing. The coat of the GSD does not contain a lot of natural oils, and frequent bathing can be hard on their coats. Their ears need specific cleaning because their ear wax can get stuck in the hair close to the opening of the ear.

Nail care also needs to be done regularly. Trimming should be done by a professional groomer or the dog’s owner. Running on concrete surfaces sometimes help file nails down a little bit. Pups should start undergoing nail trimming at an early age, so they are used to their paws being handled gently by the groomer or their owner. Taking them early and frequently can be effective at reducing the anxiety of the dog when taken to the groomer.

Remember that brushing their teeth is an integral part of grooming too. Unless your dog decides this is a fun activity, it can be a difficult task. However, it can easily be accomplished by using dental treats.

Feeding & Dietary Requirements

The long haired German Shepherd can thrive on a raw, wet, or dry food diet. One trend in dog owners is leaning toward providing a raw food diet for their furry friends. It doesn’t matter too much which choice you make. However, they must get all of their nutritional requirements. They need adequate fat, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins and minerals. When purchasing commercially packaged foods, make sure to select formulas designed for the large breed dog. It’s okay to feed them once a day, but if you prefer, you can split the feeding. Just provide half of their daily food intake in the morning and the other half at night.

Exercise Needs

The German Shepherd dog is a working breed, and both short and long haired GSDs need to be kept plenty busy. A bored GSD will find lots of ways to get into all sorts of trouble. It’s generally recommended that they get at least two hours of exercise each day. This may mean walking, running, or just playing in an ample, open space. They are trainable to a leash, but owners will need a lot of patience. It’s best to start leach training while they are a pup. But older Shepherds are trainable as well. One thing is for sure, they will love to run and play with their human. Playing with them a lot will build an essential, long-lasting bond and make it easy for them to get plenty of exercise.

Training a Long Haired GSD

Long haired German Shepherds are very smart, strong, and confident. They love to please, which makes them relatively easy to train as long as the trainer stays consistent. The American Kennel Club considers the German Shepherd dog to be one of the most intelligent breeds. They will pick up basic and simple commands quickly and easily. The primary thing to keep in mind about training is that they thrive on positive reinforcement.

Common Health Related Issues

The long haired German Shepherd Dog is predisposed to the same health issues as the shorter-haired variety. The main major health-related issue they face is hip dysplasia. Often, this is caused by a disease that causes the hip and socket to be malformed. This malformation can cause damage to the femur because of constant grinding and rubbing. The sad part is that this condition can cause the canine to be in continuous pain, and it can sadly lead to lameness. Choosing a good breeder who maintains a healthy stock will help decrease the likelihood of this occurring.

Like all German Shepherd dogs, long haired dogs can be susceptible to several health issues. For instance, their sloped backs can have a negative impact on their health. Some of the most common health-related problems for both short and long haired German Shepherd dogs include:

  • Von Willebrand’s Disease – a bleeding disease that can be fatal.
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans – This is a joint disorder that can cause a lot of pain and swelling in affected joints.
  • Bloat – Bloat is a canine digestive disorder where the stomach fills with gas enough to obstruct blood flow.
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency – This disease affects the proper function of the pancreas.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy – This is a progressive disease of the spinal cord that usually affects older dogs causing their hind limbs to malfunction.
  • Epilepsy – The chronic condition causes seizures.
  • Eczema – This is a skin condition caused by allergies.

Temperament of the Long Haired GSD

The temperament is one area where the long haired German Shepherd supersedes the short-haired Shepherd. They have the better temperament of the two. They seem more eager to obey and please. The short haired variety doesn’t have a bad personality, per se, it’s just that the longer haired ones have a better one. They also prefer to be in constant contact with their “pack” or family of humans. They like to stay close at hand. This is one reason it’s easy to get them the exercise they need because they love playing with toys and their family. Another feature of the long haired Shepherd is loyalty. They become very loyal to their humans and will be brave if they are confronted with a situation where they need to protect their humans from danger. They are excellent around children and actually make good babysitters.

Compatible Living Conditions 

The long haired German Shepherd dog requires an emotional attachment to their owner. For this reason, they are not ideal for outdoor dogs. For those who live in apartments, this is perfect because they have the best of both worlds. They will have an exceptional indoor companion, an exercise buddy, and a guard dog. Indoor life suits them well since they are not protected from weather conditions by the second undercoat. It’s relatively easy for dog owners to create a safe indoor space for their long haired GSD. They need a bed, a toy or two, and a small gate to keep them from forbidden spaces or rooms. The dogs are crate-able too, just remember it’s a large dog and will require a larger size crate so they can move around a bit.

Finding Long Haired German Shepherd Puppies

If you are ready to start looking for a long haired GS pup, visit with local breeders in your area. You can ask them to let you see both parents, which allows you to see their temperaments. Be sure to ask them about the living conditions and family setting. If the breeders work outside the home, it can affect young puppies. They need to be accustomed to a family home from the start. It will be more challenging to find the long haired breed since they are rare. Staying in contact with breeders will be your best shot at finding your long haired GSD.

Suitability for Family Life

Is the long haired German Shepherd suitable for living with a family? Remember that the German Sherpherd dogs in general, need lots of human interaction and attention. A busy single person who is rarely at home or busy families running errands and out large portions of the day do not have lifestyles suitable for the Shepherd. A single person who desires a canine companion and likes to get outdoors a lot may be a good fit for a GSD.

long haired german shepherd

Those active people and families who like running, hiking, or being outdoors a lot will benefit from the extra level of protection. The long haired GSD loves being outdoors, and they love being with their families. It can be a win-win combination for families who include their canines in family activities.

There are some common myths about the GS breed, but they are not true. It’s not an aggressive breed in general. They do need to be well-socialized and trained. By nature, they are great with kids. When they are loved, trained, and have a lot of human interaction, they are usually very pleasant and will also protect their families from danger. A long haired GS can be a great companion and family pet that provides the family with many years of happiness and protection.

How Much Will a Long Haired German Shepherd cost?

Since the American Kennel Club doesn’t register a long haired German Shepherd, they typically don’t cost as much as the shorter haired ones. Expect to pay somewhere between $500 and $1,000. The breed is a large one, but they have a big heart that matches! They are a great addition to a family as long as they get plenty of time, training, exercise, and love.

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