Daily grooming will not prevent your German shepherd from shedding. But daily grooming does dramatically cut down on the fur that your favorite fur ball leaves around your home.
All dogs shed, but the amount is based in part on coat type. German shepherds are a double-coated breed. Their outer coat is supposed to be as thick and rough as possible, according to the American Kennel Club breed standard. Underneath and completely intermingled with this is a dense, wooly undercoat.
The outer coat may be long or short. Regardless of length, expect it to shed constantly. The undercoat falls out completely twice per year, usually in the spring and fall. This super-shed is called "blowing the coat."
German shepherd experts recommend brush-grooming daily (weekly is the absolute minimum) but bathing your pup only twice per year -- and timing these twice-yearly baths during coat blows.
Tools of the Trade
There are a few tools that will make your daily grooming sessions go very smoothly. With all double-coated breeds, a grooming rake is absolutely invaluable for pulling out chunks of loose undercoat. A shedding blade will help you remove loose hairs. A regular dog brush or slicker brush will keep your pet's fur neat, and a damp washcloth is an excellent finish to most grooming sessions to remove loose, flaky skin as well as stubborn bits of leftover fluff.
One tip that long-term German shepherd enthusiasts share is to have your doggy lie down for grooming, first on one side, then on the other. This allows you more freedom of movement and more space to observe any issues going on with your pet's coat and skin.
The most effective method for daily removal of the greatest possible amount of loose fur begins with the grooming rake, especially during coat blows. Pulling those loose, wooly tufts out at the beginning means you won't be wasting your time on them throughout the rest of the session. A followup with the shedding blade and then the brush is the usual trajectory. German shepherd aficionados recommend using the slicker brush after baths as your doggy is drying.
German shepherd dogs are known for their toughness, but they have "sensitive" written all over their skin. Grooming is especially important for the German shepherd, to prevent trapped debris and matting that can lead to hot spots and other skin irritations. Daily grooming will keep you observing your pet's delicate pelt and troubleshooting any issues before they turn serious.
Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.