German Shepherds are one of the most popular breeds in the world. They have been used as guard dogs since ancient times and they were even known to hunt wild boar with their sharp teeth. However, these days they are mostly kept as family pets and work dogs. Their natural instinct is to protect their masters from danger so it makes sense that they would look very nice when properly cared for!
Grooming your German Shepherd is not just about looking good but also keeping them healthy and happy. You want to make sure that they don’t get too dirty or scratch themselves excessively. When you have a dog like this, you really shouldn’t let him go out without a haircut every once in awhile! A well groomed dog will be less likely to bite someone who gets in his way. If he does, then he’ll probably learn something from it and never do it again!
A German Shepherd’s coat is made up of many layers. Each layer helps keep the dog warm and dry while at the same time protecting against weather extremes. The outermost layer, called the undercoat, consists of short hair that keeps the dog cool in hot climates. The next layer is called the guard hairs which are longer than the undercoat and provide protection from predators such as coyotes, foxes, raccoons and other small animals. The guard hairs also act as a sun screen for the skin.
Underneath the guard hairs is the thick undercoat that keeps the dog warm in cold weather.
When the German Shepherd is very young, it will have very long hair that helps protect it from the elements while its skin and muscles grow and develop. Once this period is over, the long hair will gradually turn into short hair by the time the dog reaches adulthood.
German Shepherds should be brushed on a regular basis. The amount of brushing needed depends on the length of the hair. If the coat is very long, it will need to be brushed more often than a short haired dog. Long fur can also get matted very easily, especially if the dog loves to roll around in the mud and drink lots of water. You should brush long-haired German Shepherds at least once every three weeks.
Even short-haired German Shepherds will benefit from brushing. Not only does it keep the dog cool, it can help get rid of dead skin cells, it massages the muscles of the dog and it just feels good for them! It’s also an important part of your dog’s grooming routine and should be done at least once every week. Short haired dogs won’t need to be brushed as often as a long-haired one, though.
It is a good idea to keep one or two sets of grooming tools in your home and one in your vehicle. Grooming your German Shepherd is much easier if done on a regular basis rather than waiting until the fur gets tangled into a matted ball. Start the grooming process by clipping off any loose hairs that are sticking out from the coat with small clippers. After that, use scissors or a comb to cut the rest of the fur to an even length. You can also use a stripping knife if you want.
It is shaped like a small blade and is used to take off the top-layer of fur. The advantage of using one of these is that it can be used to remove dead fur in places that clippers or scissors can’t get to, such as the folds in the skin around your dog’s legs and face.
Now that the fur is all taken care of, you’ll need to pay some attention to the skin. German Shepherds are prone to skin disorders if the skin is not cleaned regularly. The skin should be washed with a pH neutral shampoo such as baby shampoo or a cream rinse. You can even make your own dog shampoo at home for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the store. A good mixture is one part apple cider vinegar and three parts water.
Apply it to the skin and then rinse it off.
The ears also need to be cleaned regularly or they can become infected. The insides of the ears should be cleaned with a Q-tip dampened with ear cleaner or a mixture of water and white vinegar. Avoid using cotton swabs because they can damage the interior of the ear. Check the outer ears for excessive hair growth or pests such as ticks and mites and remove as needed. The teeth should be brushed at least once a week.
Some German Shepherds may even need their teeth cleaned by a veterinarian under anesthesia. This is especially important if your dog is prone to staining or tartar buildup.
The claws should also be trimmed regularly if the dog does not wear them down naturally. This helps prevent the claws from snagging on things and causing the dog pain and it helps keep your home from becoming ripped up. There are special clippers meant for dogs that you can buy at most pet stores. Most pets don’t like having their feet handled, so make sure to give your dog a treat after clipping his nails.
The fur around the genitals should be kept trimmed as well. If it gets too long, the skin can become infected or irritated due to trapped moisture. Use small grooming scissors for this. The rear of the genital area should be wiped daily to keep it clean.
Check between the toes for foreign objects, twigs, etc. If you find anything, remove it with tweezers.
If your dog is especially dirty (like if he’s been out in the mud or is covered in dust), you can give him a bath but make sure to not get the skin too wet and rinse all of the soap off. Follow up with the cream rinse as mentioned above.
Sources & references used in this article:
The German Shepherd: A Guide for Owners by S Samms – 2011 – i5 Publishing
Predictive validity of a method for evaluating temperament in young guide and service dogs by L Slawson – 2020 – books.google.com
German Shepherd Boxer Mix–A Guide To Their Personality and Needs by DL Duffy, JA Serpell – Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2012 – Elsevier
ASPCA complete dog care manual by AN Mix – kyrapets.com
German Shepherds: A Practical Guide for Owners and Breeders by B Fogle – 1993 – books.google.com
Grooming Your Dog: A Natural and Herbal Approach/Storey’s Country Wisdom Bulletin A-240 by N Lunis – 2011 – Bearport Publishing