Can coat type affect temperament?
Interestingly, long-haired German Shepherds are known for having a better temperament than short-haired ones. Not to say that short-haired Sheps have a bad temperament, but long-haired ones are generally known for being gentler and friendlier.
This is due to short-haired Sheps being genetically closer to their ancestors. The original German Shepherd dogs were short-haired, which means that the genetics of long-haired Sheps have been “diluted” to create the long-haired gene. So, short-haired German Shepherds have more working DNA in them than long-haired Sheps, making them a little rougher around the edges.
Are German Shepherds heavy shedders?
German Shepherds are naturally heavy shedders, which is why they’re not well-suited to owners with allergies to dog hair. They also shed all year round, with the heaviest shedding occurring during shedding seasons; the 2-4 week transitions from spring into summer and fall into winter. That said, some dogs can take up to 8 weeks to fully blow their coats.
During the transition from spring to summer, German Shepherds will completely shed their thick winter coats to grow in a thinner, cooler coat for the summer, and this is the heaviest period of shedding throughout the year. Then, at the end of fall, they shed their cool summer coats to grow their warm winter ones back in again.
Excessive shedding in German Shepherds
Excessive or abnormal shedding can be a sign of poor skin and coat health. This is not the same as hair loss, in which dogs lose patches of hair that don’t grow back. Other signs of poor coat health include matted, dull, dry, and brittle fur or fur that is smelly and greasy to touch, whilst unhealthy skin is often dry, irritated, and flaky.
Poor skin and coat health in German Shepherds can be caused by a few things, most commonly poor diet, poor hygiene, and food allergies. Dogs also shed more as they get older because their fur becomes more brittle with age.
Dogs with poor nutrition may be under or overweight, lethargic, smell bad, and experience lots of skin and digestive issues. Common food allergies in dogs include grains, soy, and certain proteins found in meat, dairy, and eggs. Allergies can also cause digestive disturbances.
Less common but more serious explanations for a dramatic increase in shedding include hormonal issues, infections, parasites, immune diseases, and cancer. However, these should all have more apparent signs and symptoms, like changes in behavior and appearance or stomach upsets.
Stress can also cause a sudden increase in shedding, as adrenaline causes more hair to be released from the follicles. Common causes of stress include life changes, boredom, separation anxiety, illness, trauma, and grief.
How to prevent & reduce shedding in German Shepherds
Although you can’t stop your German Shepherd from shedding completely, you can reduce it, improve their coat health, and make them more allergy-friendly with lifestyle changes and deshedding products.
When excessive shedding is caused by illness, dogs should be tested and treated by a vet right away. You can offset stress-induced shedding caused by life changes with lots of TLC, a stable routine, and relaxation products. If their stress has a particular trigger, you should try to associate it with something positive or avoid it altogether if possible.