While we are used to seeing German Shepherds with short to medium coats, some actually sport longer fur like the long-haired German Shepherd (GSD). Interestingly, aside from their majestic looks, long-haired GSDs are also quite rare.
If this piqued your interest, read along to know more about the temperament, history, and genetics of the long-haired German Shepherd.
Surely, you will consider them as your next canine companion when you have learned how charming they are!
What Is a Long-Haired German Shepherd?
A long-haired German Shepherd is a variant of the GSD breed that sports a long coat measuring over two inches. These dogs have single-layered coats, which makes them less tolerant of cold weather. While they are still robust, long-haired GSDs are often raised for companionship rather than work.
Long-haired German Shepherds are not as ordinary as short-haired German Shepherds. But despite their distinctive coats, their personalities are somewhat identical to those of the standard breed.
These canines are loyal pooches with muscular builds. Moreover, long-coat German Shepherds are protective and highly affectionate towards their owners.
Overall, they are fantastic companions you can rely on. In fact, they share the same traits as other GSDs, and their hair does not dictate their disposition.
Long-Haired German Shepherd Origin and History
Some of you may believe that long-haired German Shepherds are a distinct breed that originated in a different region from different parent breeds. But this is not the case.
Prior to 1899, there were two types of shepherd dogs in Germany, one with longer hair than the other.
During this time, people wanted to breed dogs for the explicit purpose of preserving characteristics that aided them in their work, specifically in herding sheep and protecting flocks from predators.
However, long-haired German Shepherds were deemed unfit and unacceptable for breeding throughout the 1900s.
In fact, Captain Max von Stephanitz, the founder of a dog organization called the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde, had a firm belief that the German Shepherd breed standard should exclude dogs with long hair.
Therefore, unlike the short-haired German Shepherds, these dogs were not employed as work dogs. Instead, they were domesticated and kept as furry companions.
Furthermore, the German Shepherd has no identified specific parent breeds. What we do know is that the breed originated as a result of selective crossbreeding between working sheepdogs.
Long-Haired German Shepherd Appearance
For the most part, the long-haired German Shepherd exhibits physical characteristics found in the standard German Shepherd.
The only distinguishing feature is the long coat. Specifically, these dogs have fluffier coats around their legs, between paws, and ears.
A long-haired German Shepherd’s coat comes in a variety of hues. The most common colors are black, tan, and red. However, a small percentage of the long-haired GSD exhibit blue or liver colors.
Furthermore, it is more common for long-haired German Shepherds to have a bi-colored coat. This can be black fur with traces of tan around their legs and face. These colors may subtly change as they mature.
As for size, the long hair German Shepherds tend to be between 22 and 26 inches tall and weigh between 50 and 90 pounds when fully mature. But they would have a very different size if they were born giant or dwarfed.
These dogs also typically have brown eyes. This is the most prevalent color and is accepted by the breed standard. However, they can also have blue eyes that ultimately turn brown when they mature.
Besides that, other notable features long-haired German Shepherds have are their long muzzle and pointy ears.
Also, regardless of whether your pooch is a long-haired German Shepherd or a short-haired German Shepherd, it will most likely sport a long, fluffy tail.
If you want to see a long-haired German Shepherd in action, check the video below:
Long-Haired German Shepherd Genetics
The long-haired German Shepherd did not acquire its distinct feature through crossbreeding with other breeds. Instead, this characteristic is a product of a recessive gene.
According to the Baylor College of Medicine handbook on Complex Traits, a dog must have two copies of the recessive long-hair gene in order for them to exhibit a long coat.
Long-haired dogs are not the only breeds that carry this trait. In fact, an average German Shepherd may have the long hair gene without exhibiting it.
Thus, two short-haired dogs can have a litter of both long and short-haired pups if they are both carriers of the long-haired gene.
Furthermore, only around 10% of German Shepherds have this trait. They are, therefore, more difficult to find than their short-haired counterparts.
Long-Haired German Shepherd Shedding
Long-haired German Shepherds shed more than the standard German Shepherd. While other canines shed more during certain seasons, these fluffy companions shed the same amount of fur throughout the year.
Long hair German Shepherd dogs also manage to keep the shed hair retained in their fur.
While this means you will not have to deal with piles of fur on the furniture and carpet, you will still have to brush them regularly.
On the same note, this may pose a threat to your housemates, who are prone to allergies. They may play with your family dog thinking they are harmless when in reality, they have loose fur on their coat.
Long-Haired German Shepherd Grooming
Considering the length of their coats, a long-haired German Shepherd will require more grooming. It would be best to brush their coats at least three times a week, especially for adult dogs.
This is to avoid tangles and mats from forming on the coat. Finding the perfect brush for your long-haired GSD is also helpful. This will save you from expensive trips to the professional groomer.
Should you require an easier way to remove the knots, you can use a coat conditioner. Conditioner helps rehydrate a dog’s coat, giving them softer and more fluffy fur.
If you fail to brush your pooch often, you should always have a lint roller nearby. Likewise, you may also need to vacuum frequently to manage their loose fur.
Besides regular brushing, you can bring shine to your German Shepherd through proper bathing.
This breed does not need a lot of bath times because too much will cause irritation and dry skin. Thus, it is preferable if they bathe only every three to four months.
Are Long-Haired German Shepherds Recognized by Kennel Clubs?
Yes, kennel clubs recognize the long-haired German Shepherd. The American Kennel Club (AKC) classifies the long coat feature as a minor flaw. Nonetheless, the variation is still acknowledged by the organization.
Likewise, the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) also acknowledges the long-coat trait among German Shepherds. According to them, the German Shepherd Dog is bred with a double coat or a long, rough outer coat.
The United Kennel Club (UKC) also qualifies German Shepherds with long coats. The organization states that while this variation was originally frowned upon, it has been formally recognized by the breed standard in recent years.
Long-Haired German Shepherd Temperament and Personality
Long-haired German Shepherd dogs do not behave entirely differently from short-haired German Shepherds. Despite their size, these canines are rather gentle. They are affectionate and have a special fondness for children.
Strangers can make them feel uncomfortable at first. But after they have eliminated them as a threat, they will begin to demonstrate their kind nature.
These canines are also incredibly bright, and they enjoy learning new skills and participating in activities. Since they are very active, they must be kept busy through mental and physical exercises.
German Shepherds also have a tendency toward nipping and nibbling at objects. In fact, biting and mouthing are their natural behaviors. Thus, if you want your canine to behave properly, you must train them early.
Overall, the long-haired German Shepherd is a fantastic family pet that can be trained to perform many duties. For starters, this versatile dog can even serve as a therapy dog, guard dog, and herding dog.
Long-Haired German Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues
A long-haired Shepherd is generally healthy. If properly cared for, these canines have a lifespan of approximately 9 to 13 years. However, similar to all other breeds, they are also prone to specific health problems.
You should be on the lookout for the following health issues your long-haired German Shepherd may experience:
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): This is a condition that is frequently observed in big, deep-chested dogs. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, this is most likely one of the most severe non-traumatic disorders encountered in dogs. Genetics, fast eating, and moistened dry food can elevate your dog’s risk of developing this condition.
- Epilepsy: Idiopathic epilepsy refers to seizures caused by unknown causes. Rau Animal Hospital states that episodes often begin between the ages of six months and three years. A preliminary diagnostic workup may aid in determining the cause.
- Degenerative Disc Disease: Degenerative disc disease develops as a result of the steady deterioration of spinal discs or as a result of an acute spinal injury. The Johns Hopkins University explained that German Shepherds experiencing severe discomfort or significant loss of function must have surgery.
With these health concerns in mind, routine veterinarian visits can help you detect difficult-to-diagnose disorders in their early stages. This also allows you to check your long-coated German Shepherd’s overall health as they grow.
How Much Does a Long-Haired German Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses
The price of a long-coat German Shepherd is not exactly affordable. While prices vary depending on the breeder, these dogs typically range between $800 and $2,000.
This is on par with the average German Shepherd, but it can increase significantly if your pup is a rare color like the panda GSD or descends from champion bloodlines.
A champion lineage indicates that at least one of the dog’s parents or grandparents has achieved an AKC Championship title.
Apart from the price of the German Shepherd breed, the following are some other things your dog needs:
|Type of Expense||Cost|
|Food and Treats||$80 – $150|
|Bowls||$15 – $40|
|Toys||$30 – $100|
|Beds||$50 – $300|
|Collars and Leashes||$15 – $50|
|Crates and Carriers||$60 – $500|
|Grooming Essentials||$50 – $250|
|Initial Vet Visits||$100 – $500|
|Initial Vaccine Shots||$50 – $300|
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications||$40 – $300|
|Neutering or Spaying||$50 – $500|
|Microchipping||$40 – $60|
|Dog License||$10 – $20|
|Other Essentials||$30 – $80|
|Total Initial Cost||$620 – $3,150|
Besides all the aforementioned necessities, you also need to factor in other fees such as training lessons and dog walking services. In general, you should adjust your budget to your long-haired German Shepherd’s needs.
Places to Find Long-Haired German Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption
If you are confident that you want to adopt a long-haired German Shepherd, you should search online for reputable breeders and rescues.
To help you out, I have compiled a list of the best resources for locating long-coat German Shepherds in your area.
The following are some of the most reputable long-haired German Shepherd breeders:
- Mittelwest German Shepherds – Mittelwest German Shepherds gives a lifetime guarantee on all German Shepherd puppies. Apart from offering quality long-haired German Shepherds, this breeder also provides grooming, training, and boarding services.
- Shanash Long Coated German Shepherds – Shanash Long Coated German Shepherds is a committed breeder and CKC member. They have over 25 years of experience working with dogs and have healthy, purebred long-coated German Shepherds available.
- Nadelhaus German Shepherds – Based in Northern California, this organization has been breeding German Shepherd dogs for about 30 years. As a GSDCA-WDA and the SV of Germany, all available dogs are purebred. They also provide additional services such as dog training, dog boarding, and German Shepherd importation.
If you’re new to purchasing a dog online, you should be aware of the several techniques for identifying a reputable breeder and determining whether they can be trusted.
Meanwhile, if you are looking to adopt a long-haired German Shepherd, then you should visit the following rescues:
- Westside German Shepherd Rescue – The standard adoption price of the Westside German Shepherd Rescue is between $375 and $475. When searching for a dog, you will access information about the German Shepherd’s age, images, name, and compatibility with other dogs and cats.
- Coastal German Shepherd Rescue – This is a non-profit organization dedicated to rehoming abandoned German Shepherds. All potential adopting families must complete an online application and be interviewed by phone. Furthermore, the minimum adoption fee is between $300 and $500.
- German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County – Around 50% of dogs rescued by German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County come directly from owners who are no longer able to care for their dogs for various reasons. The adoption process will require information about the applicant’s expertise level, lifestyle, other pets, and preferences.
Not everyone is eligible to adopt long-haired Shepherds. Before adopting, you must study and understand the policies of each rescue.
Short-Haired vs. Long-Haired German Shepherd: Which Is Better?
If you’re seeking a gentle, furry friend and specifically want a German Shepherd for its unique physical appearance, the long-haired German Shepherd is the better choice.
On the other hand, if you are simply looking for an extremely loyal companion dog, you should just go for the short-haired counterpart.
A long-coat German Shepherd has a topcoat with hair that exceeds two inches in length, whereas a short-haired German Shepherd has fur less than one inch in length.
But regardless of the coat length, a long-haired GSD is not considered less hypoallergenic. While short-haired GSDs are less likely to induce allergic reactions, some long hair German Shepherd dogs are equally hypoallergenic.
Besides appearance, long-haired Shepherds are known to be extremely gentle and calmer because their coats make them less fit for harsh climates.
Therefore, while short-haired German Shepherds were employed to work outdoors, long-haired German Shepherd dogs were mainly raised for companionship.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Long-Haired German Shepherds Rare?
Yes, the long-haired GSD is rare. Due to the recessive nature of this trait, there is no method to force it on German Shepherds.
The American Kennel Club classifies their coat as a mild genetic fault, and only approximately 10% of German Shepherds have it.
Are Long-Haired German Shepherds More Aggressive?
No, long-haired German Shepherds are not more aggressive than other GSDs. In fact, the long-haired GSD is known to be the opposite. These furballs are said to have a better temperament, as they are kinder and less overprotective.
This is due to the fact that long-haired puppies lack an undercoat, so they were kept indoors as companions rather than working in the fields. As a result, they became more docile and trainable than working dogs.
Are Long-Haired German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?
No, the long-haired Shepherd is not hypoallergenic. Moreover, they shed the same amount of fur throughout the year.
This might trigger dog allergies in those who interact with them, so they are not suggested for people with extreme sensitivities.
Are Long-Haired German Shepherds Friendly?
Yes. Like the typical German Shepherd, long-haired Shepherds are friendly and wonderful family companions.
If properly trained, they can develop a strong bond with their owners and become the ideal playmate to both children and adults alike.
If you are looking for a family canine, service dog, or simply the perfect companion, the long-haired German Shepherd is for you. These canines are highly affectionate, sociable, and loyal.
While they have a natural desire to chew and gnaw on anything they can get their paws on, you can resolve this issue with the proper training.
Overall, these popular dogs have a lot to offer besides their striking and attractive looks. Hence, if you can provide regular grooming and appropriate training, you’ll never go wrong in getting a long-haired GSD.
Are you getting one of these unique-looking pooches soon? Let us know your thoughts about the long-haired German Shepherd in the comment section below!