The Long Haired German Shepherd- An Elusive & Exotic Breed

Long Haired German Shepherd

The long haired German Shepherd is every bit a German Shepherd except for its coat’s length.

With a bushy tail, fluffy mane and luxuriant body size, these dogs make for adorable and handsome pets that are not only great as companions but also have their uses in guarding homes.

Long haired German shepherds have exactly the same built and facial features as a standard short haired German shepherd.

The most prominent way they both differ is in the length of their coat. Other notable differences include a bushier tail and a striking mane that makes them look utterly majestic and exotic.

[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””]In the German shepherd, long hair is believed to result from a genetic error and since the long hair gene is recessive in nature(or in other words, less expressed), these dogs are very much rare and found only in a handful of bloodlines. [/thrive_text_block]

The long hair gene being recessive in nature, it is quite possible to produce long haired GSD puppies by breeding two German shepherd short hair dogs.

While normal German shepherds have a dual coat, the true long coated German Shepherd begs to differ. It has a single coat only, that appears delicate and shiny as it lacks an undercoat to deal with.

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””] Due to the presence of a single coat, these German shepherds get less protection from the elements. That is the main reason why they rarely get to participate in rigorous competitions wherein they may be required to face tough challenges handled more adeptly by their better-equipped canine conspecifics.[/thrive_text_block]

However, do not dismiss the long haired shepherd as a worthless genetic fault just yet! It is a strong, brave and agile dog with an overprotective yet cuddly nature that makes it apt as a faithful friend for years to come.

Physical Appearance

Long-coated German shepherds mainly differ from their standard counterparts in terms of appearance. They have a long length of flowy, silky hair that makes them look like a mixed breed.

Another characteristic feature is the fine coat which is comparatively silkier than the short hair German shepherd.

In addition to that, the long-haired breed has bushier tails as well as bouncy fringes on the back of the legs. They have considerable hair growth in between their toes too. To put it simply, the majority of their body is fluffy and bushy.

Long-coated German shepherds are particularly popular due to their long, magnificent mane that frames their face, thereby giving them the royal appearance of the lion or a high breed wolf.

Long Haired German Shepherd FaceImage Source

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Besides the long hair, every other trait is almost the same as the stock German shepherds. The facial features, the pointed ears, the shape, the body size as well as the nature of skin underneath is more or less the same.

However, unlike the normal German shepherds, the long hair breed has shinier and more delicate hair because they have only a single coat of hair instead of double coats. Although the shinier hair makes them look elegant and beautiful, it has little use in terms of providing protection from harsh weather and abrasive conditions.


The long hair German Shepherd has medium-sized, brown eyes with an intelligent, lively and self-assured look.

The ears stay erect all the time and often pull back during movement. They are quick to demonstrate emotions by moving their long neck that gets raised during excitement and lowered when running.

In general, male long-coated German shepherds are bulkier in size than the females. Their height and body size is approximately similar to the normal GSDs.

Normal German shepherds have a dual-layer coat, which is dense with a thick undercoat.

Uncontrolled breeding and heredity has resulted in two different variants of the coat- medium and long.

Since the long-hair gene is recessive, the long-coat variety is relatively rare. Most commonly, long-coated German shepherds are either red/black or tan/black.

Most color varieties possess black masks and black body markings that can range from the classic “saddle to the full black “blanket”.

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The black long haired German shepherd is quite common while the red long haired German shepherd is considered to be an exception to the rule.

Red and black long haired German shepherd is quite a rare sight as these color variations are not found in many parts of the world.

The long haired white German shepherd is even rarer and occurs due to a genetic aberration in the coat color gene. It is quite difficult, though not impossible to adopt a white long haired German shepherd pup.

While the all-black and sable variants are acceptable according to few standards, the blue and liver long-coated German Shepherds are considered to be serious faults.


Long Coat German Shepherd Size

An average long haired German shepherd male dog can grow up to an approximate height of 26 inches(65 cm) and with a weight of about 30-40 kg.

On the other hand, females are slightly smaller with an average weight of 23-33 kg and a height of up to 24 inches (60 cm).

Long coated German shepherds do differ from the standard German shepherds in terms of size.

The long coated type is a fluffy German shepherd and a slightly heavier variant with heavier bones and a larger body size during the adult stage.

Needless to say, long-coated German shepherds are very much preferred by dog enthusiasts due to their striking appearance and larger body size.

Personality Traits of The Long Haired German Shepard

Long-coated German shepherd pups are an absolute delight to have around the house. They have an interesting personality which is the perfect balance between seriousness and fun.

Long Haired German Shepherd PuppyImage Source

Known to be utterly playful, they are notorious for causing mischief, and bond surprisingly well with the children in the household.

They are also known to astonish their owner(s) with their cute antics and comical lifestyle choices.

As they mature, they fit the role of a reliable aid to a blind or geriatric family member exceptionally well.

However, it is essential to train them at an early age so that they become responsible and adept at guiding physically challenged people later on.

[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””]Long-coated German shepherds are also popular as lovable pets as they are really good with families. [/thrive_text_block]

As mentioned before, there are not a lot of long-coated German shepherds. Around 10% of German shepherds spanning the globe have long hair.

Hence, you may have a tough job of finding a reliable breeder that takes care to breed only healthy and peaceful long haired German Shepherd puppies.

The problem gets worsened further because plenty of long haired German shepherd breeders believe that the long-coated German shepherds are not exactly the type of quality that is used in canine competitions and dog shows so they decide against breeding them.

That is the main reason why you don’t see a lot of these dogs. It is best to avoid the show dog type at all costs. As it is, dog breeds have morphed into unrecognizable species thanks to the unethical and cruel breeding methods used to develop animals solely for show purposes.

Needless to say, the long-haired GSDs of today are a far cry from their original stock.

A Few Words About The Attitude of a Long Hair Shepherd

If you are an out-and-out dog person, you will be happy to know that long-coated German Shepherds have a balanced nature. A welcome respite from all those flimsy and delicate dog breeds, these dogs have a sombre and smart personality that is quite a saving grace for those who have less time for excessive training and dog classes.

[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””] Their balanced attitude makes them compatible with small children and smaller pets in the house.[/thrive_text_block]

German Shepherds are, in general, known to have a pleasant attitude but the long-coated German shepherd is said to have an even better attitude and temperament, which is why they fit the bill of family dogs too well!

[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””] Although they are most happy accompanying their owner in his adventures and basking in his affection, they are less prone to suffering from separation anxiety and thus behave well when left alone for long periods of time.[/thrive_text_block]

Their caring and protective attitude acts as a shield against intruders while their easy going behavior makes them wonderful as companions to pass those never-ending boring hours.

When you raise your long-coated German shepherd together with your children, they become your child’s loyal friend, playmate, as well as babysitter.

You can always count on this breed to stand up for your family and save you from all forms of danger.

Long Haired German Shepherd Temperament

Long-coated German shepherds are both playful and intelligent. They are quick-witted and forever eager to impress their owners by learning dog commands and obeying them when necessary.

Long Haired German Shepherd in GardenImage Source

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””] Long-haired GSDs are widely believed to have a better temperament and a more balanced nature than their short haired counterparts. However, this view is just based on a general survey and there is no real scientific evidence to back it up.[/thrive_text_block]

Generally speaking, these dogs are fearlessly loyal and brave and demand the constant attention of humans.

While there have been many reports of these dogs being unruly and aggressive, these behavioral issues may be attributed to mishandling and lack of socialization at the puppy stage.

The best characteristics of the long haired German shepherd puppy can develop only when they are given sufficient care, exercise and proper diet.

When left alone for many days without exercise and care, they tend to get rather frustrated and mischievous. In other words, long-coated German shepherds are perfect for families and people who have lots of time to dedicate to their care.

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””] Bored and lonely German shepherds have a fetish for all things flimsy and love whiling away their boring hours by tearing and biting at items. Thus, the best way to channelize their abundant energy into constructive ventures is by exercising them, taking them to dog parks where they can get a chance to have a Tet-e-tet with their canine friends.[/thrive_text_block]

Proper socialization, care, exercise and lots of cuddles from an early stage produces a responsible, well-trained and pleasant German shepherd that’s wonderful as both a pet and an aid.

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””]If you are looking to own a long-coated German shepherd, visit a breeder that has a litter of puppies with hair tufts in, on and around their ears. This way, you will be able to identify the standard short-haired German shepherds and tell them apart from the long hair variety. [/thrive_text_block]

Irrespective of the type of dog you end up choosing, owning a long-coated German shepherd pups is easily the best decision you can ever make out of the other dog breed options.

The Importance of Exercising A Long Haired GSD

Regardless of the coat length, German shepherd dogs love exercise. This is simply because they were bred originally to function as active working dogs that required them to expend large amounts of energy outdoors while hunting for cadavers and participating in similar search options.

Thus, like their short-haired conspecifics, long-haired German shepherd dogs too require daily exercise.

Although walking them is completely fine, it is not enough. You also need to run them about in order to give them a route to spend all that boundless energy.

If you loving cycling or jogging, that is great, because these dogs love chasing their owner or running along with him to explore off-beaten paths and hidden adventures.

Another great way to exercise your long-coated German shepherd is by playing outdoor games like Frisbee or a game of Fetch. That coupled to obedience training works wonders to calm him in down in the face of danger.

Long-coated German shepherds rank high on the trainability meter and are thus amenable to rigorous training methods. You can use basic German shepherd training commands to teach him to obey you, carry out simple tasks and socialize better.

While everyone knows that these dogs perform best when exercised, not many know that they are equally good as indoor dogs.

Trained and socialized long-coated GSDs are docile and placid indoors. So if you are someone who stays in an apartment, you can still own one of them, provided you exercise them regularly outdoors.

Dog owners who welcome a long-coated German shepherd in their home are initially surprised at the sheer amount of energy this dog has.

These dogs can keep up with any pace or difficulty of exercise with ease, and nothing makes them happier than being by their owner’s side.

Major Health Problems Affecting The Long-Coated German Shepherd

Long-coated shepherd dogs suffer from the same health problems as the ordinary German shepherds.

Due to uncontrolled and careless breeding practices in the past, this breed is mainly susceptible to hereditary diseases.

Best breeding practices concentrate on eliminating undesirable genetic traits with special emphasis on medical conditions. However, more than often, a non-scientific approach is taken to breed German shepherds with the sole purpose of producing show dogs. This has led to the accumulation of “bad genes” and consequent transmission of lethal health ailments across generations.

[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””]Common diseases afflicting this breed include eczema, epilepsy, hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as recurrent digestive problems. [/thrive_text_block]

In order to make sure that you choose a dog devoid of such diseases, go to a reputable breeder and request them to show you your prospective pet’s parents. By observing the temperament and habits of the parents, you will have a better understanding of how healthy and good-natured their puppies are.

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””] The average lifespan of a long-coated German shepherd is approximately between nine to thirteen years.[/thrive_text_block]

A female GSD’s litter generally consists of 5 to 6 pups.

If you decide to own a long-coated German shepherd, remember to take it to the vet so he can examine it for diseases and offer medical help if needed.

Best Tools for Long Haired German Shepherd Grooming

Your long-coated German shepherd will benefit from a few grooming tools. Following a proper wash with a canine-grade shampoo, the right combination of brushes and combs can quicken the grooming process for both you and your pet.

The most important tools for grooming are brushes, combs and clippers. However, these are just generic terms and there are specific types of each of them.

Here we discuss a few:

#1 – Brushes
Brushes help to detangle the coat and remove detritus to give it a sparkling clean appearance. With the right brush and comb, you can even substitute bathing with brushing.
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  • Bristle brushes: Long, loosely spaced bristles are ideal for combing the long-coated German shepherds. This is a versatile brush that can be used both before and after bathing to detangle mats and remove remaining dead cells.
  • Pin brush: Pin brush has widely space bristles without rubber pin heads. These brushes are great for grooming long and flowing coats that are prone to hair fall from extra pressure applied while combing.
  • Slicker brush: A slicker brush is mainly used to remove tough tangles. It has fine wire bristles that helps to de-mat tangles. You can use it regularly for combing your long-coated GSD.

#2 – Combs
Combs are the best tool for grooming your GSD on a daily basis. They help remove loose hair, reduce shedding and smooth out the coat. Combs are available in various sizes and styles for different coat types. Choose the widely spaced one for handling the long coat of your GSD.

#3 – Shedding blade
Shedding blade does a great job of removing loose and dead fur. Since it is mainly important as a tool for grooming the undercoat, you can always do without this accessory. With that said, it does reduce excessive shedding and keeps resistant tangles at bay.

#4 – Scissors & Shears
Scissors and small shears are important tools for grooming sensitive areas like the nose or around the eyes. You can use large scissors for coat shaping too, in case you wish to groom your GSD for show purposes. These tools are designed specifically for your pet’s safety.

#5 – Nail clippers
Manual clippers feature an ultra-sharp blade and a canine-safe design. It is best to opt for powered rotary grinders as they file nails quickly, easily and safely. It is also advisable to keep some styptic powder handy in case the quick area gets nicked.

How To Groom A Long-Haired GSD?

Your Long-coated German shepherd may be the best friend you will ever have in life. A simple way to repay your loyal long-coated GSD is by taking care of him, just as they would care for you.

At the forefront of this concept, grooming tops the list. These dogs require a specific set of grooming guidelines and understanding as well as utilizing this knowledge goes a long way in improving the quality of their life.

Coat upkeep forms an integral aspect of grooming a long-coated German shepherd. This is because, this variety is known for shedding phenomenal amounts of hair.

[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””] Shedding is so frequent that their owners often have to vacuum the house regularly and keep lint brushes in their clothes closet. [/thrive_text_block]

Long-coat shepherd’s hair tends to entangle and get matted if it’s not brushed and cared for properly. Hence, brushing the coat is indispensable when caring for your furry friend.

Here are the items you will need:
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  • A helper
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Paper towel
  • 1 cup of water
  • Tablespoon of conditioner
  • Bowl
  • Thinning shears
  • Metal comb
  • Slicker brush

Instructional Guidelines:

#1 – Ensure that the collar around your long-coated GSD is snug. For the grooming process, start by attaching the leash to the collar. Request your assistant to hold the leash and keep the dog calm while you go about the process of grooming him. Now pour the water and conditioner in the bowl and mix them properly using a spoon.

#2 – Initially you can run your fingers through his hair to see if there are mats or tangles anywhere. Following this, use a wire brush to comb the long hair. Alternatively, you can use a metal comb or an undercoat rake to go all the way down to the skin. The metal comb is perfect for use behind the use as well as the armpits. Use the undercoat rake to brush out the fur in the same direction as it lies. Use your fingers to part the hair in sections for checking the bare skin for scabs or dry patches that may hint to a skin trouble.

#3 – While grooming the ears, brush out the hair surrounding them with a slicker brush. Apply gentle pressure to pull his ears down and then cut the protruding hairs lightly with thinning shears. Finally, pull up the ears and cut the inside hairs lightly.

#4 – When you groom his feet, gently lift the hair in between his toes and comb them up with the slicker brush. Now grab one of his paws and cut the excess hair atop it with thinning shears. Trim the overgrown hair on the back of his paw. Repeat this procedure with the remaining paws.

[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””] Bathing should be done only when the dog gets dirty. Long-coated German shepherds lack sufficient oils in their coat. Hence, bathing them too frequently makes the coat rough and robs it off its natural moisture. Bathing is best restricted to twice a month.[/thrive_text_block]

Another essential part of grooming is cleaning the ears. This is because the long-coated German shepherds have generous hair growth around their ears and ear wax can sometimes stick to this hair as it is located pretty close to the ear canal.

Nail care is extremely important and should be rendered regularly. It is advisable to hire a professional groomer to handle this task in order to preclude potential injuries. Besides nail trimming, owners can take their long-coated GSD for walking or running as this will help them maintain an acceptable length of nails.

Secret Tips for Success:

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# While grooming your long-coated GSD, make sure that the environment is calm, quiet and free of distractions.

# For best results in grooming, talk to your dog in a soothing manner by using words that sound soothing. This will keep him steady and relaxed, and negate untoward injuries.

# Remember, the long-coated German shepherd lacks a protective undercoat. His single layer of hair may look all bouncy and thick but it is, after all, the only covering of his tender skin. So, if you brush his flowy coat too abrasively, you will only end up scraping or bruising his skin.

# Always ensure to brush your long-coated shepherd’s hair once a week. This will act to improve circulation in his skin and also remove the dead strands of hair that accumulate from time to time.

[/thrive_text_block] By following these crucial steps of grooming your long-coated GSD, you will be able to vouch for his well-being, happiness and long life.

Feeding A Long-Haired GSD?

The biggest challenge of owning a long-coated German shepherd is providing him with the right amount of care. For all its strength and energy, this variety has a delicate digestive system, and is therefore, particularly prone to unforeseen indigestion and stomach infections.

This means, you can’t feed it just any dog food like you would feed dogs of other breeds. Feeding a long-coated GSD requires constant monitoring and high-quality foods.

What to Feed a Long-Coated GSD?

#1 – Rice & Finger Millets:
Finger millets have a very calming effect on the body of a German shepherd. This is a mild food that suits the fragile stomach of a German shepherd well by keeping any digestive problems at bay.

You can even feed boiled rice that is both easy to chew and digest. Keep in mind that white rice is better than brown or red rice.

#2 – Porridge:
Porridge is a favorite amongst dogs and the long-coated German shepherd is no different. You can give him a bowl of plain oat porridge twice a week. Just make sure not to add salt or sugar to the meal.

#3 – Milk:
Milk maintains calcium levels in the body. Thus inclusion of milk in the diet promises protection against tooth decay and bone fracture. Majority of the calcium requirement of German shepherds can be obtained from milk.

#4 – Meat:
Meat is the staple food of a German shepherd. Well-cooked chicken or fish aids in maintaining the sturdy framework of their body and supplies them with boundless energy to meet the rigors of training and outdoor activities.

What not to feed a Long Hair German Shepherd?

#1 – Raw meat:
Contrary to what popular advertisements tell you, raw meat is dangerous for the delicate digestive system of your long-coated shepherd dog. If you have been feeding your dog raw meat, stop immediately. Raw meat is the haven of harmful bacteria and may cause dangerous stomach infections.

#2 – Nuts:
German shepherds in general do not tolerate nuts very well. The high content of salt in dried nuts causes hair fall. This food item is even more detrimental to the long-haired variety they have a single layer of hair only and so they just can’t afford hair fall.

#3 – Corns, Wheat & Soy:
If you don’t wish to see your long-coated GSD all bloated and constipated, avoid giving him corn, soy, maize and wheat. These foods are rich in starch, which induces constipation and a general feeling of discomfort.

However, you can always incorporate these foods in limited portions if your dog is suffering from indigestion. Remember, continuously feeding such food will make it lethargic, thereby paving the way for more serious ailments.

#4 – Lentils:
When it comes to feeding lentils, less is more. This food is known to upset the entire digestive balance of the German shepherd so it’s best to feed it in moderation.

Ideal Living Environment for A Long-Haired GSD

A long-coated German shepherd is, by large, inactive when indoors. Therefore, keeping it in an apartment is fine provided you exercise the dog on a regular basis.

[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””] These dogs should be kept indoors at night as they lack an undercoat and thus, do not have any natural protection from the weather. Their single layered coat is not competent enough to combat the rigors of dryness or heavy rain.[/thrive_text_block]

Another point to note here is that long-coated German shepherds don’t make very good outdoor dogs as their standard counterparts. Now, this can be great news for dog enthusiasts who are apartment dwellers, as they get to enjoy the best of two worlds: a docile indoor companion and watchdog, as well as an energetic exercise buddy.

While they may need playing and exercising outdoors, their ideal home is indoors. The primary reason behind this is their single hair coat that gives them little protection from abrasion and rough weather. The second reason is that these dogs love being around their owners every time and crave for affection a bit more than the standard short-haired variety.

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””] You can almost say they are dependent on us for protection, care and love. Thus, a long-coated German shepherd is an ideal dog for those who live in apartments.[/thrive_text_block]

All varieties of German shepherds love having a space that is exclusive to them and segregated from the rest of the living area by distinct boundaries.

They like to make their place with scent markings to make it feel more homely and comfy. Hence, you may want to set up a place for your newly arrived long-coated GSD indoors. His living area should comprise of small, padded bed, a few chewing toys, bowls for food and a sizable water dish.

[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””]Long-haired shepherd dogs are particularly susceptible to hot weather and dehydration. So, if you live in a hot or tropical area and own a long-haired GSD, ensure to give him a decent supply of clean water and shade while outdoors. It is best not to demand too much of him on hot and sultry days. [/thrive_text_block]

It is also advisable to place a small baby gate so as segregate his space. Long-haired German shepherds hate being confined in a cage or a small kennel, so ensure to purchase or build a spacious box that gives them plenty of room to turn about and sit in different postures. The box should be able to accommodate him easily as he stands or turns around.

Interested In Owning A Long-Haired GSD? Here’s What You Should Expect

If you are planning on owning a long-coated German shepherd then there are certain things you should know before you welcome your GSD puppy home.

Firstly, German shepherds in general, crave for human company and are extremely emotionally attached with their owners. So, if you are someone who stays busy with outdoor work all day, then maybe this dog breed won’t suit your lifestyle.

[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””]However, if you are someone who loves spending time indoors and has a few hours free every day to take the dog outdoors, then the long-coated GSD can be a great addition to your family. These dogs fit well in a family that stays indoors but often goes to parks and other outdoor places for recreation.

The second thing to remember is that long-coated German shepherds do not perform well outdoors when the weather is too hot. Since they lack a protective undercoat, they tend to get dehydrated quick.

So, if you are exercising your GSD outdoors in a sultry weather, ensure to keep him in shade and supply him plenty of water every hour. Their affinity towards cool conditions makes them apt for apartment-dwellers.

When you train and socialize your long-coated GSD from an early age, they grow up to be lovable, alert and loyal companions that reward you with years of good times.

The Battle for Acceptance Continues….

The long-coated GSD is a unique variety and stands out from the standard German shepherds due to its striking mane and bushier tail.

Sadly enough, this variant has still not been accepted as a breed in modern culture.

Owners of long-coated German shepherds are since long fighting for their right to gain acknowledgement and participate in dog competitions.

The good news is that more and more people are coming in support each day and very soon there will come a time when their superb variety will be accepted as a breed.

Ending Note…

Now that all the characteristics of the long haired German shepherd are clear, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the person who coined the term “man’s best friend” surely had this breed in mind.

Long-coated German shepherds are loyal, loving and above all, adaptable to all kinds of environments.

If you are looking for a babysitter, watch guard, friend and companion all in one dog, then you won’t regret by having one of them as your pet!


Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic golden retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

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