Long-Haired German Shepherd: Comprehensive Guide In 2024

Last updated on March 28th, 2024 at 01:03 pm

The Long-Haired German Shepherd, also known as the Long Coat German Shepherd, is a captivating variation of the classic German Shepherd breed. This majestic canine stands out from its short-coated counterparts with its distinctive long and flowing fur.

The Long-Haired German Shepherd (also called the Long Coat) is essentially a German Shepherd with long hair. In addition to the coat, there are a few differences in personality and temperament, so we’ll explore these contrasts in more detail in this article. Germany bred the German Shepherd (also known as the GSD) in the late 1800s to create the ideal herding dog.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the standard GSD is the second most popular dog out of 196 breeds in the USA. The Long-Haired German Shepherd has the same build, height, weight, 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 a double coat).

Do you know Long-Haired German Shepherds?

  • Long-haired German Shepherds possess a genetic mutation that gives them their stunning coat.
  • Due to their long hair, daily grooming is necessary to prevent matting and tangling.
  • They are predisposed to skin issues because of trapped moisture.
  • Long-haired German Shepherds are different from their short-haired counterparts.
  • They face unique challenges, such as being less adaptable to hot climates.

Long-Haired German Shepherd Highlights

Long-Haired German Sheph
  • Temperament & Intelligence: The long-haired German Shepherd shares similarities in temperament and intelligence with its short-haired counterpart. However, it’s generally more laid-back and easygoing. While equally intelligent and protective, they’re less aggressive in guarding. They’re also friendlier to strangers and tend to be calmer and less energetic than short-haired GSDs.
  • Good for Families: The long-haired German Shepherd is great for families! They’re gentle with kids of all ages and are calmer than the short-haired variety, making them perfect for families with children. It’s important to teach kids to respect dogs and supervise them, especially around younger children. With their loyalty and courage, long-haired GSDs make excellent guardians for the whole family.
  • With Other Pets: Since the long-haired GSD is a more relaxed version of the short-haired breed, they tend to get along better with other pets. With proper socialization from an early age, they usually have no issues coexisting with other animals.
  • Food & Diet Requirements: The long-haired GSD is a big, active dog that requires high-quality dry food. Once you choose the food type, follow the instructions on the bag for feeding guidelines. If you are concerned about weight, consult your vet for advice.
  • Exercise: The GSD is highly energetic and requires 2 hours of daily exercise for mental and physical health. Activities like agility and tracking keep them happy and healthy. A bored GSD may become destructive.
  • Training: Long-haired German Shepherds respond well to positive, reward-based, consistent, gentle, yet firm training. They thrive when spending time indoors with the family. With persistent training and a loving bond, they become well-adjusted and content companions.
WeightMale 75-95 Ibs
Female 60-80 Ibs
HeightMale 22-26 inches
Female 20-24 inches
Lifespan 10-13 years
ColorsBlack and brown, black and tan, black and red, sabel

Origins And History Of The Long-Haired German Shepherd

The German Shepherd breed owes its development to Captain Max von Stephanitz in late 19th-century Germany. His goal was to create the perfect sheep herding dog, and after 35 years of dedicated breeding, the German Shepherd emerged as an apex herding dog.

Originally intended for herding and farm work, this versatile breed later excelled in various roles, including police, search and rescue, and service dog tasks. While the breed was designed with a short or medium-length coat for protection, the recessive long-hair gene occasionally appeared. Von Stephanitz tried to breed it out due to its high maintenance, but the trait persisted, making the long-haired German Shepherd rare today.

People now appreciate the unique beauty of the long coat, ensuring its presence in the breed. In the United States, long-haired German Shepherds are not part of the AKC breed standard, but their rarity and allure make them desirable to dog owners.

What Do Long-Haired German Shepherds Look Like?

Long-Haired German Sheph

Long-haired German Shepherds have a striking resemblance to the classic German Shepherds with a few notable differences. Their coats are long, sleek, and lustrous, adding a touch of elegance to their appearance.

The fluff around their ears and bushier tails are distinguishing features of the long-haired variation. Additionally, they often exhibit longer hair on their chest, resembling a majestic ruff or a lion’s mane, adding to their regal and captivating presence.

What Size And Weight Is a Long-Haired German Shepherd?

The size and weight of a Long-Haired German Shepherd are generally similar to that of a standard German Shepherd. These majestic dogs typically stand around 22 to 26 inches (56 to 66 cm) tall at the shoulder for males and 20 to 24 inches (51 to 61 cm) for females.

In terms of weight, male Long-Haired German Shepherds usually range from 75 to 95 pounds (34 to 43 kg), while females weigh slightly less, ranging from 60 to 80 pounds (27 to 36 kg). Of course, individual variations can occur within these ranges based on genetics, diet, and exercise levels.

What Is a Long-Haired German Shepherd’s Coat Type?

A Long-Haired German Shepherd’s coat type is characterized by long, flowing fur. Unlike the short-coated German Shepherds, the long-haired variation boasts a luxurious double coat. The outer coat is typically longer and sleek, while the undercoat provides insulation and added protection. This beautiful and dense coat gives them a majestic appearance and sets them apart from their short-coated counterparts.

Are Long-Haired German Shepherds Good Watchdogs?

Long-Haired German Sheph

Long-haired German Shepherds are exceptional watchdogs, known for their alertness and protective instincts. They’re courageous and quick to defend their owners when threatened.

If you seek a sense of security, the GSD is an ideal choice. However, while they can be trained to attack, it’s strongly discouraged due to safety risks.

Proper socialization and training from puppyhood are crucial. Even if taught to be friendly, their innate protective nature remains intact. Moreover, their imposing size, appearance, and powerful bark are often effective deterrents.

How to Care for a Long-Haired German Shepherd?

The long-haired German Shepherd is not high-maintenance in terms of professional grooming, but regular coat care is essential. Brushing a few times a week prevents tangles.

After outdoor adventures, check their belly for debris like dirt and leaves. Otherwise, their grooming needs are typical: occasional baths, nail trims, and daily teeth brushing.

Do You Need to Groom a Long-Haired German Shepherd?

Because most of their coat is quite long, you’ll need to groom a long-haired GSD a few times per week. Their long fur is prone to tangling and matting, especially in the undercarriage where debris can collect outdoors.

Regular grooming not only prevents knots but also reduces shedding throughout your home. Since brushing is all that’s needed, professional grooming is usually unnecessary.

Do Long-Haired German Shepherds Shed?

Long-haired German Shepherds shed heavily throughout the year, with increased shedding during the fall and spring seasons. Prospective owners should expect extra vacuuming to manage the shedding.

Are Long-Haired German Shepherds Good for New Dog Owners?

Adopting a Long-Haired German Shepherd is exciting, but it requires awareness of their traits and needs. They’re easy to train and loyal, suitable for inexperienced owners, but their high energy demands proper exercise. Ensure you find a reputable breeder or rescue/shelter.

Finding a Reputable Breeder

  • Research local kennel clubs or contact national organizations like the American Kennel Club (AKC) for recommendations on long-haired GSD breeders.
  • Ask questions about health clearances, coat length, temperament, and available service dogs.
  • Attend dog shows and inquire within, as reputable breeders often showcase their dogs there.

Adoption from a Rescue or Shelter

  • Reach out to local animal rescue groups and shelters that may have long-haired GSDs needing homes.
  • Inquire about their adoption process, including applications, home visits, and background checks.
  • Explore online adoption events like Adoptapalooza for access to numerous adoptable animals nationwide.

How Long-Haired German Shepherds Expensive?

Due to their rarity, the purchase price of a long-haired German Shepherd can be relatively high, ranging from $1,500 to $4,000 or more.

However, the monthly expenses for this breed are similar to those of other dogs of similar size. Since they are high-energy and require plenty of exercise, additional costs may include hiring a dog walker or enrolling them in doggy daycare if you cannot provide enough enrichment due to work or other commitments.

Common Health Issues In Long-Haired German Shepherds

Some health risks that long-haired German Shepherds may face include hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus). Choosing a puppy from a breeder who health tests the parent dogs can significantly reduce the risk of your puppy developing health issues.

Though some health issues like bloat cannot always undergo screening, being aware of preventive measures is crucial. Bloat is a life-threatening emergency that can occur suddenly. To reduce the risk, avoid foods with soybean meal or high-fat content in the first four ingredients, split meals into at least two servings daily, and use a slow-feed bowl for fast eaters.

In some cases, dogs may undergo surgery to have their stomachs tacked to their abdominal walls, preventing twisting. However, veterinarians cannot predict which dogs are more likely to bloat. Typically, dogs that have bloated once may undergo this procedure preventively, especially large, barrel-chested breeds like German Shepherds.

Final Words

Owning a long-haired German Shepherd, or long-haired GSD, offers dog lovers a unique and cherished experience. Their longer and silkier fur sets them apart from classic short-haired German Shepherds. Despite this distinction, the American Kennel Club recognizes both long-coated and short-coated GSDs as the same breed, with only the coat length differing due to a recessive gene.

While long-haired German Shepherds are less common than their short-haired counterparts, some breeders worldwide specialize in this breed. If you’re having trouble finding one, consider contacting breeders in distant locations, as they may have connections closer to you. Posting inquiries on social media can also help broaden your search.

If you’re considering adopting a long-haired GSD from a rescue group, numerous breed-specific organizations exist worldwide. For instance, the Westside German Shepherd Rescue operates in Los Angeles, California.


1. Are Long-Haired German Shepherds different from Short-Haired ones?

Long-Haired German Shepherds are a variation of the classic German Shepherd breed, distinguished by their longer and sleeker coats. However, their temperament and intelligence remain similar to their Short-Haired counterparts.

2. Are long-haired German Shepherds rare?

Long-haired German Shepherds are relatively rare due to not fitting the breed standard, and historically, efforts were made to breed them out completely.

3. Are long-haired German Shepherds friendlier?

In terms of temperament, both long-haired and short-haired German Shepherds are generally even-tempered and gentle. While some may perceive the long-haired variety as slightly friendlier, this is mostly subjective and based on personal preference.



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