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Long-haired German Shepherd Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Traits & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

long haired german shepherd at the beach

Height: 22 – 26 inches
Weight: 50 – 90 pounds
Lifespan: 7 – 10 years
Colors: Black and tan, black and red, black, black and silver, sable
Suitable for: Active families or individuals, those able to spend lots of time at home
Temperament: Devoted, athletic, calm, easygoing, protective, intelligent, confident

The long-haired German Shepherd is essentially a German Shepherd with, well, long hair. There are a few differences in personality and temperament in addition to the coat, so we’ll explore these contrasts in more detail for you in this article. The German Shepherd (also called the GSD) originated in Germany in the late 1800s and was bred to be the ideal herding dog.

The standard GSD is the second most popular dog out of 196 breeds in the USA, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). The long-haired German Shepherd has the same build, height, and weight and has the same colors and markings as the standard GSD but has a double coat with a longer outer coat (the short-haired GSD has shorter fur and also a double coat).

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Long-haired German Shepherd Puppies

long haired german shepherd puppy
Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, Pxhere

Long-haired German Shepherd puppies are rarer than the standard GSD, so expect to pay a little more for a puppy. It’s essential to find a responsible and reputable breeder as you will want to avoid puppy mills at all costs. Make sure you visit the breeding facilities before making any payment and expect to receive health check information regarding your puppy. If you can, meet the puppy’s parents or siblings, as this can give you an idea of the puppy’s temperament.

The long-haired German Shepherd is an energetic dog with an average lifespan and is generally a little healthier than its standard GSD counterpart. Their intelligence and devoted nature make them highly trainable, and they tend to be a little friendlier and more social as compared to the short-haired GSD.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Long-haired German Shepherd

1. The Long Hair Comes From a Recessive Gene

The long-haired German Shepherd has developed through a recessive gene that needs to be present in both parents (meaning that both parents must be carriers of this gene or both must be long-haired German Shepherds as well).

2. The Long-haired German Shepherd Isn’t Recognized

The American Kennel Club acknowledges but does not recognize the long hair variety of German Shepherd. The long hair is considered a fault, but these dogs are acknowledged by the Kennel Club of the UK as well as the FCI.

3. The Long-haired GSD Has an Undercoat

There is a common belief that the long-haired German Shepherd does not have an undercoat, but this is not true. Their undercoat is not as thick or as long as their top coat, but they are a double-coated breed.

long haired german shepherd dog
Image Credit: Kamracik, Pixabay

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Long-Haired German Shepherd 🧠

The long-haired German Shepherd is similar to its short-haired GSD counterpoint in temperament and intelligence. However, the long-haired GSD is considered a little more laidback and easygoing in comparison.

They are just as intelligent as the short-haired GSD and are protective of their owner but aren’t known to be as aggressive while in protection mode. They are also not as wary of strangers and are calmer and a little less energetic than the short-haired GSD.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The long-haired German Shepherd is a fantastic dog for families! They are gentle and patient with children of all ages. Because the long-haired GSD is a calmer version of the short-haired, they will be the perfect dog for a family with children. Kids need to be taught to respect dogs and should always be supervised when around your dog, particularly younger children. The GSD has a strong loyalty to his family and is a courageous dog, so they will also make a wonderful guardian to watch over the entire family.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Again, because the long-haired GSD is a more easygoing version of the short-haired GSD, they are a little more likely to get along well  pets. As long as they are socialized well when puppies, they typically should have no trouble with other animals.

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Things to Know When Owning a Long-haired German Shepherd:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The long-haired GSD is an active and large dog that will need high-quality dry dog food. Once you decide upon the kind of food you want to feed your dog, you can follow the instructions provided on the food bag to help you determine how much and how often you should feed your GSD. If you’re ever worried about your dog’s weight, always speak to your vet.

Exercise 🐕

The GSD is a very energetic and active dog and will need about 2 hours of exercise every day for their mental and physical health. They will do very well in agility, tracking, and herding trials, which will also keep them healthy and happy. A bored GSD makes a destructive GSD.

long haired german shepherd
Image Credit: Kamracik, Pixabay

Training 🎾

The long-haired German Shepherd will respond quite well to positive, reward-based training that is consistent and firm but gentle. They will do best spending time in the house with the family. Persistent training and a loving relationship with their family will give you a well-adjusted and happy dog.

Grooming ✂️

The long-haired German Shepherd does require a little more attention to their grooming than the short-haired GSD. Because their undercoat isn’t as thick as the short-haired GSD’s coat, they tend to shed a little less, but they will need regular brushing, particularly after a walk in the woods. Expect to brush them several times a week, but they may need to be brushed daily when they start shedding in the spring and fall. Only give them a bath with a good dog shampoo (like this one) about once a month.

The ears of your long-haired German Shepherd will need to be cleaned around once a month. Their nails should be trimmed every 3 to 4 weeks, and their teeth brushed about two or three times a week.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The long-haired GSD is prone to the same health conditions as the standard GSD.

If you purchased your puppy from a breeder, they should have been screened for these health conditions before they went home with you, but you will need to bring them to your veterinarian for regular checkups. Your vet will check your dog’s elbows and hips and will run urinalysis and blood tests.

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Male vs Female

The female long-haired GSD is typically smaller than the male in size, with the male coming at 24 to 26 inches and weighing 65 to 90 pounds and the female at 22 to 24 inches and weighing 50 to 70 pounds.

Neutering the male dog is a less complex surgery than spaying the female dog, so expect to pay less and for him to have a shorter recovery time. Neutering or spaying your dog has the advantage of lessening any aggressive behavior, and it could contribute to a longer life for your dog as these surgeries are known to prevent future health problems.

The last major difference between male and female dogs is in temperament. Some believe that male dogs are less affectionate and a little harder to train than females, but there are debates around this. It can be said that the personality and temperament of any dog will truly be determined by how they were trained and socialized as a puppy and how they have been looked after throughout their lifetime.

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Final Thoughts:

While the long-haired German Shepherd isn’t as common as the short-haired, there are a number of breeders around the world that specialize in this particular breed. If you’re having any trouble locating one, start by speaking to breeders that may be far away, but they might know of someone closer to your location. You can also post messages on social media as a way of reaching a wider audience.

If you’re thinking of adopting a long-haired GSD from a rescue group, there are a number of breed-specific groups that can be found all over the world. The Westside German Shepherd Rescue is based out of Los Angeles, California that saves all kinds of German Shepherds, even the occasional long-haired breed.

The long-haired German Shepherd is a beautiful dog that makes a steadfast and loyal companion dog for an individual or family. If you’re looking for a devoted, intelligent, and courageous dog that will turn heads with his gorgeous flowing coat, then consider adding the long-haired German Shepherd to your household.

Featured Image Credit: Free-Photos, Pixabay

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