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Long-Haired German Shepherd: The Ultimate Elegance in Canine Coats

long haired german shepherd in a dog show

If you’ve ever encountered a Long-Haired German Shepherd, you know that they possess an irresistible charm that rivals even the most captivating rom-com protagonists. 

From their luxurious, flowing coats to their endearing personalities, these furry wonders have a way of leaving pawprints on your soul. 

Curious about their origin, care, and what makes them so special? Read on to unlock the secrets of these fabulous dogs!

Long-Haired German Shepherds Overview

Before I start explaining the long-haired GSD to you, here is a chart to provide you with an overview.

AKC GroupHerding
Breed SizeLarge
Height & WeightMale: 24-26 in, 65-90 lbsFemale: 22-24 in, 50-70 lbs
Barking HabitsModerate
TemperamentIntelligent, Loyal, Protective, Obedient, Confident, Aloof
AppearanceStrong, Muscular, Elegant, Alert
Lifespan9 – 13 years
Health concernsHip dysplasia, Elbow dysplasia, Degenerative Myelopathy, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
Coat ColorsBlack, Black and Tan, Sable, Bi-color, Blue, White, Liver
Coat typeDouble Coat, Long Hair
SheddingModerate to heavy, all year
GroomingRegular brushing, Occasional Bathing
Family FriendlyYes
Exercise needsHigh
Good to other petsYes, if socialized properly
Good for apartmentsNo
Cost/puppy$1000 – $3000

Please note that the cost can vary depending on various factors such as location, breeder reputation, and the dog’s lineage.

Long-Haired German Shepherd Breed Characteristics

long haired german shepherd sitting on bunk bed

Long-Haired German Shepherd Genetics

Long-haired German Shepherds are a variation of the German Shepherd breed that have longer coats than their short-haired counterparts. 

The long coat is considered a recessive gene, meaning that both parents must carry and pass on the specific gene for the long coat in order for a puppy to have a long coat.

Long-haired German Shepherds carry a double dose of the long-coat gene (l/l), while short-haired German Shepherds carry the short-coat gene (L/L). 

When two short-coated German Shepherds are bred together, they can still produce long-coat puppies if they both carry the recessive long-coat gene (L/l). 

In this case, approximately 25% of their offspring will inherit the long-coat gene from both parents (l/l) and have long coats.

It’s important to note that breeding two long-coated German Shepherds (l/l x l/l) will always result in long-coat puppies since both parents can only pass on the long-coat gene.

However, the long-coat gene is not considered desirable according to breed standards, as it deviates from the traditional short coat seen in German Shepherds. 

Therefore, reputable breeders typically do not intentionally breed long-haired German Shepherds unless they are specifically focused on producing long-coat puppies.

Long-haired GSDs are not considered part of the breed standard (as determined by the AKC). 

However, the rareness and beauty of their long hair make them desirable to dog owners.

This variety is also known as the long-coated German Shepherd, long stock, or “coaties.”

RELATED: Straight Back German Shepherd vs Sloped Back GSD

Coat Type and Colors

The long-haired German Shepherds can come in every color and coloration pattern as their short-haired counterparts. 

They can be found in all the standard short and medium-length colors such as black and tan, black and cream, black and silver, red and black, black and red, solid black, sable, dark sable, black sable, and bi-color/bi-black. 

RELATED: German Shepherd Colors: All 14 Shades Explained In Detail

Long Haired German Shepherds shed in abundance during certain seasons due to their double-layered fur coats. 

This means that long-haired GSDs need extra grooming time on a regular basis as they are prone to tangling up faster than short-haired ones.

Height and Weight

When it comes to the size of these German shepherds, their height and weight can play a significant role in their overall appearance and demeanor.

According to standard guidelines for this breed, male long-haired German Shepherds typically stand between 24 and 26 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 65 and 90 pounds

Female long-haired German Shepherds are slightly smaller, typically measuring between 22 and 24 inches in height and weighing between 50 and 70 pounds.

Long-Haired German Shepherd Personality & Temperament

1. Good Temperament and Personality for Families

Long-haired German Shepherds are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and protective nature. 

They make great family dogs due to their ability to bond with their owners and protect them from harm. 

These dogs are also highly trainable, making them a popular choice for service and therapy dogs.

However, it’s important to note that long-haired GSDs require consistent training and socialization from an early age. 

This is especially true if you have children or other pets in your home. 

With proper training, these dogs can be excellent companions for families who enjoy an active lifestyle.

2. Getting Along with Other Dogs

Contrary to popular belief, long-haired German Shepherds can get along well with other dogs if they are socialized properly. 

Socialization should begin at a young age and continue throughout the dog’s life.

If you already have a dog in your household, introducing a long-haired GSD puppy may take some patience and effort on your part. 

It’s important to supervise all interactions between the two animals until they become comfortable around each other.

It’s also important to remember that every dog has its own personality, so there may be instances where your long-haired GSD may not get along with another dog. In such cases, it’s best to keep them separated for everyone’s safety.

3. Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs

Long Haired German Shepherds make great therapy dogs due to their obedience and intelligence. 

These companion animals are widely used in professional settings such as hospitals and schools to assist patients’ recovery or offer emotional support. 

They also excel at being service animals for individuals with disabilities, including hearing or visual impairment.

If you’re interested in training your long-haired GSD as a service or therapy dog, it’s important to start training them from a young age. 

Consistent training and socialization will help ensure that your dog is well-behaved and able to perform its duties without issue.

4. High Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

German Shepherds, including long-haired ones, are known for their high energy levels. These dogs require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.

If you’re considering getting a long-haired GSD as a family pet, it’s important to understand their exercise needs. 

These dogs should have at least one hour of exercise per day, which can include walks, runs, or playtime in the backyard.

RELATED: How To Buy a German Shepherd Puppy

Grooming a Long Haired German Shepherd: Tips and Tricks

long haired german shepherd sitting on grass

Regular Brushing is Key

Grooming a long-haired German Shepherd requires regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling of their fur. 

A long-haired German Shepherd needs to be brushed at least once a week, using a slicker brush or a comb with wide teeth. 

This will help remove loose hair, dirt, and debris from their coat. It also helps distribute the natural oils in your dog’s skin throughout their coat, which can help keep it shiny and healthy.

Start Early

It is important to start grooming your long-haired German Shepherd from an early age to get them used to the process. 

This will make grooming easier for you and less stressful for your dog. 

If you have adopted an older dog that has not been groomed regularly, start slowly and be patient as they adjust to the process.

Pay Attention to Problem Areas

Pay special attention to the areas behind your dog’s ears, under their legs, and around their tail as these areas are prone to matting. 

Use extra care when brushing these areas so that you do not cause any discomfort or pain for your dog.

Deal with Mats Carefully

If you encounter any mats or tangles while grooming your long-haired German Shepherd, use a de-matting tool or scissors to carefully remove them without hurting your dog. 

Be sure to work slowly and gently so that you don’t accidentally hurt your pup.

Benefits of Regular Grooming

Regular grooming not only keeps your long-haired German Shepherd looking good but also helps maintain their overall health and hygiene. 

When you groom them regularly, you can spot any skin problems early on before they become more serious issues. 

You can also check for ticks or fleas during grooming sessions.

Grooming regularly helps keep them healthy both physically and mentally by providing bonding time between you and your dog. 

How Often Should You Groom Your Long-Haired German Shepherd?

A long-haired German Shepherd should be groomed at least once a week to prevent matting and tangling of their fur. 

However, if they spend a lot of time outdoors or are particularly active, they may need to be groomed more frequently.

How to Cut a Long-Haired German Shepherd

If you want to cut your long-haired German Shepherd’s hair, it is best to leave this task to an experienced groomer who knows how to safely trim their coat without causing injury or discomfort.

Exercise Requirements for Long-Haired German Shepherds

long hair german shepherd jumping over water

Regular Exercise is Essential for Long-Haired German Shepherds

Long-haired German Shepherds are a large, active breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. 

Without adequate exercise, long-haired German Shepherds can become overweight, which puts them at risk for joint problems and other health issues.

Types of Exercise for Long-Haired German Shepherds

There are many types of exercises that you can do with your long-haired German Shepherd to keep them healthy and happy.

1. Long Walks

Long walks are a great way to provide exercise for your long-haired German Shepherd. Walking provides low-impact cardiovascular exercise, which helps keep your dog’s heart healthy and strong.

2. Runs

If your long-haired German Shepherd has a lot of energy, running may be a better option than walking. Running provides more intense cardiovascular exercise than walking and can help burn off excess energy.

3. Hikes

Hiking is another great way to provide exercise for your long-haired German Shepherd. Hiking provides both physical and mental stimulation as your dog navigates different terrains and smells new scents.

4. Mental Stimulation Exercises

In addition to physical exercise, mental stimulation exercises such as obedience training, puzzle games, and agility courses can also help keep your long-haired German Shepherd active and engaged.

Tailoring Your Dog’s Exercise Routine

It’s important to tailor your long-haired German Shepherd’s exercise routine to their age, health condition, and energy level. 

Puppies have different needs than adult dogs; older dogs may have joint problems that limit their activity level; while some dogs simply have more energy than others.

Talk to your veterinarian about the best type of exercise routine for your dog based on their specific needs. 

They may recommend certain types of exercises or suggest limiting certain activities if your dog has health issues.

Food and Diet Requirements for Long-Haired German Shepherds

A Balanced Diet is Essential for a Healthy Coat

Long-haired German Shepherds are known for their beautiful, thick coats that require regular grooming. 

However, maintaining a healthy coat goes beyond just brushing and bathing. 

It’s essential to provide your dog with a balanced diet that includes all the necessary nutrients to support their coat’s growth and health.

A diet rich in protein and healthy fats is particularly crucial for long-haired German Shepherds. 

Protein provides the building blocks for hair growth, while healthy fats help keep the skin and coat moisturized. 

Without these essential nutrients, your dog’s coat may become dull, dry, or prone to shedding.

Avoid Foods High in Grains, Fillers, and Artificial Preservatives

When choosing food for your long-haired German Shepherd, it’s important to read labels carefully. 

Many commercial dog foods contain high levels of grains and fillers like corn or wheat which can cause allergies or digestive issues in dogs. 

RELATED: Common German Shepherd Allergies

Artificial preservatives can be harmful to your dog’s overall health.

Instead of relying on commercial dog food brands alone, consider feeding your long-haired German Shepherd a raw or homemade diet. 

This way, you have complete control over what goes into their food bowl and can ensure they’re getting all the necessary nutrients without any harmful additives.

Monitor Your Dog’s Weight and Adjust Their Diet Accordingly

Long-haired German Shepherds are large dogs with high energy levels that require plenty of exercise. 

However, if they consume more calories than they burn off through activity each day, they may become overweight or obese. 

This excess weight can put additional strain on their joints and lead to other related health issues.

To prevent obesity in your long-haired German Shepherd, it’s important to monitor their weight regularly and adjust their diet accordingly. 

If you notice your dog gaining weight despite regular exercise routines, consult with your veterinarian about reducing their calorie intake or switching to a lower-calorie food.

Consult with Your Veterinarian for the Best Diet Plan

Every dog is unique, and their diet should be tailored to their specific needs. 

Consulting with your veterinarian can help you determine the best diet plan for your long-haired German Shepherd based on their age, activity level, and overall health.

Your veterinarian may recommend a specific commercial dog food brand or suggest a homemade diet that meets all of your dog’s nutritional requirements. 

They may also recommend adding supplements like omega-3 fatty acids or biotin to support healthy skin and coat growth.

Health Concerns of Long-Haired German Shepherds

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that affects many large dog breeds, including the long-haired German Shepherd. 

This condition occurs when the ball and socket joint in the hip doesn’t fit together properly, leading to arthritis and pain.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia include difficulty standing up after lying down, reluctance to exercise or climb stairs, limping or favoring one leg over another, and decreased range of motion in the hip joint.

While there is no cure for hip dysplasia, there are several treatment options available. 

These include weight management, exercise modification, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and surgery in severe cases.

Risk of Developing Skin Conditions Due to Their Thick Coat

The thick coat of a long-haired German Shepherd can be both beautiful and problematic. 

While it provides insulation from cold temperatures and protects against sunburns during hot weather months; it also makes them more susceptible to skin conditions such as hot spots or allergies. (Source)

To prevent skin problems in your long-haired German Shepherd you should brush their coat regularly to remove loose hair and debris. 

You should also bathe them with a mild shampoo that won’t dry out their skin.

If your long-haired German Shepherd develops a skin condition, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away. 

Your vet can recommend treatment options such as medicated shampoos, topical creams or ointments, or oral medications to manage the condition.

RELATED: How to Treat German Shepherd Hot Spots

Eye Problems

Long-haired German Shepherds are at risk of developing several eye problems including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). 

Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to impaired vision or blindness. 

PRA is a genetic condition that causes degeneration of the retina, eventually leading to blindness.

Symptoms of cataracts include cloudiness in the eyes, difficulty seeing in low-light conditions, and changes in behavior due to impaired vision. 

Symptoms of PRA include night blindness, dilated pupils that don’t respond to light changes and eventual complete loss of vision.

While there is no cure for either cataracts or PRA; early detection and treatment can slow down the progression of these conditions. 

Treatment options may include surgery for cataracts or vitamin supplements for PRA.

Regular Veterinary Check-Ups 

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for maintaining your long-haired German Shepherd’s health. 

During these visits, your vet will perform a physical exam, run diagnostic tests if necessary, and provide recommendations for preventative care.

Training and Socialization

long hair german shepherd running on grass

The Importance of Training for Long-Haired German Shepherds

Training is essential for all dogs, but it’s especially important for long haired German Shepherds. 

These dogs are intelligent and energetic, which means they need plenty of mental stimulation and physical exercise to stay healthy and happy.

Without proper training, long haired German Shepherds may develop behavioral issues like aggression or anxiety. 

They may also become destructive if left alone for too long or without sufficient mental stimulation.

Training should start as early as possible. Puppies should be socialized from an early age so that they learn how to interact with other dogs and people in a positive way. 

Basic obedience training should also be started early on so that your furry friend learns basic commands like sit, stay, come, and heel.

Consider a Professional Dog Trainer

Professional dog trainers have the experience and knowledge to work with different breeds of dogs, including long haired German Shepherds. 

They know how to use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior. 

They can also teach you how to communicate effectively with your furry friend so that you can build a strong bond with them.

When looking for a professional dog trainer, make sure you choose one who has experience working with long haired German Shepherds. 

You want someone who understands their unique needs and temperament.

Joining a Kennel Club Can Provide Opportunities for Training, Socialization, and Competition

If you’re looking for ways to socialize and train your long haired German Shepherd, consider joining a kennel club. 

Kennel clubs provide opportunities for training, socialization, and competition.

Training classes offered by kennel clubs are typically led by experienced trainers who understand the unique needs of long haired German Shepherds. 

These classes can help you teach your furry friend basic obedience commands and more advanced tricks like agility or nose work.

Socialization is also an important part of being in a kennel club. 

Your furry friend will have the opportunity to interact with other dogs in a controlled environment, which can help them learn how to behave around other animals.

Finally, if you’re interested in competing with your long haired German Shepherd, joining a kennel club can provide opportunities for that as well. 

There are many different types of competitions available for dogs, including obedience trials, agility courses, and conformation shows.

Mental Stimulation Through Activities Like Puzzle Toys and Obedience Training

Long-haired German Shepherds need plenty of mental stimulation to stay sharp and prevent boredom. 

Activities like puzzle toys and obedience training can help keep their minds engaged.

Puzzle toys are designed to challenge your furry friend’s problem-solving skills. 

They come in many different shapes and sizes, from simple treat-dispensing balls to more complex puzzles that require your furry friend to manipulate objects to get at the treats inside.

Obedience training is another great way to keep your long haired German Shepherd mentally stimulated. 

This type of training involves teaching your furry friend new commands or tricks that they must remember and execute on command. 

It’s a great way to build trust between you and your pet while keeping their mind engaged.

Differences Between Long-Haired and Short-Haired German Shepherds

Coat Length

Long-haired German Shepherds have a longer coat length than short-haired ones. 

The hair on their body, tail, ears, and legs is longer and thicker than that of short-haired German Shepherds.

The long hair on a German Shepherd’s body can grow up to 5 inches in length, while the hair on its tail can reach up to 8 inches in length. 

In contrast, the hair on a short-haired German Shepherd’s body only grows up to 1 inch in length.


Long-haired German Shepherds require more grooming to maintain their coat length. 

Their long hair tends to mat and tangle easily if not brushed regularly. 

It is recommended that owners brush their long-haired German Shepherd at least once a week to prevent matting.

Short-haired German Shepherds shed more frequently than long haired ones due to their shorter coat length. 

However, they do not require as much grooming as long-haired ones since their coats do not mat or tangle as easily.


Long-haired German Shepherds are more prone to matting and tangling of their fur due to its length. 

This can be uncomfortable for your furry friend and also lead to skin irritation or infection if left unattended for too long.

To avoid matting, it is important to keep your dog’s fur clean by bathing them regularly with a good quality shampoo formulated for long-haired dogs. 

You should also brush their coat regularly, paying special attention to areas prone to matting such as behind the ears and under the legs.

Climate Suitability

Short-haired German Shepherds are better suited for warmer climates due to their shorter coat length. 

They can tolerate heat better than long-haired ones since they do not have as much fur insulation.

Long-haired German Shepherds, on the other hand, are better suited for colder climates since they have more fur insulation that keeps them warm in low temperatures.


Long-haired German Shepherds may have a softer and silkier coat texture compared to the coarser texture of short-haired ones. 

The longer hair on their body gives them a more luxurious appearance and feel.

However, it is important to note that this can vary depending on genetics and individual dog characteristics. 

Some long-haired German Shepherds may have a coarse or wiry coat texture despite having long hair.

Shedding in Long-Haired German Shepherds

To understand why long haired German Shepherds shed more than other breeds, it’s important to know about their double coat. 

The outer layer is made up of long guard hairs that protect them from dirt, water, and UV rays. The undercoat is a wooly layer that provides insulation and warmth during cold weather.

All dogs shed, but long haired German Shepherds have a lot more hair to lose due to their undercoat. 

They typically shed all year round. 

Regular grooming can help reduce shedding in long haired German Shepherds. 

Brushing your dog’s fur daily or every other day will help remove loose hair before it falls out on its own. 

Using a de-shedding tool can help remove even more loose hair from the undercoat.

Cost of Long-Haired German Shepherd Puppies

If you’re interested in owning a Long-Haired German Shepherd, it’s important to understand the pricing and availability of these puppies. 

Due to their rarity, Long-Haired German Shepherds can be more expensive than their short-haired counterparts, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 or more depending on the breeder.

The price is mostly determined by the hair color rather than the long hair itself. 

Finding a reputable breeder who specializes in Long Haired German Shepherds may take some time and effort. 

It’s crucial to do your research and only buy from breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs.

In addition to purchasing costs, it’s important to consider ongoing expenses such as food, grooming supplies, veterinary care, and training. 

Owning any dog is a financial commitment, but owning a Long Haired German Shepherd may require additional expenses due to their unique needs


When considering getting a German Shepherd, it’s essential to understand the unique characteristics of the Long-Haired German Shepherd breed. 

This particular breed is an excellent choice for families that can provide plenty of exercise and attention. 

With their longer and thicker coats, they need more maintenance than short-haired dogs but offer loyalty and intelligence. If you want an active dog with a temperament suited for therapy or service, this might be the right dog breed for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Are long-haired German Shepherds rare?

No, long-haired German Shepherds are not considered rare. While the short-haired variety is more common, long-haired German Shepherds can still be found.

2. What are long coat German Shepherds called?

Long-coat German Shepherds are often referred to as “coaties” or “long-haired” German Shepherds due to their longer and thicker fur compared to the standard short-haired variety.

3. Are long-haired German Shepherds friendlier?

Friendliness depends on individual temperament and socialization rather than coat length. Both long-haired and short-haired German Shepherds can be equally friendly and sociable with proper care and training.

4. What is the lifespan of a long-haired German Shepherd?

The lifespan of a long-haired German Shepherd is similar to the average lifespan of German Shepherds, which is typically between 9 to 13 years. However, individual factors such as genetics, diet, exercise, and healthcare can influence their lifespan.

5. What is the price of long coat German Shepherd?

The price of a long-coat German Shepherd can vary depending on factors such as lineage, breeder reputation, location, and other considerations. Generally, German Shepherds with long coats tend to be on the higher end of the price range, which can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.

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