Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?
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Thread: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

  1. #1
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    Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    Hello All,

    I've heard mixed feelings on trimming the coat on my medium haired german shepherd. I find that with regular brushing his coat is not THAT bad, but I have been contimplating trimming his coat lately.

    One of the groomers at the local PetSmart told me it's not a good idea to trim a German Shepherd's coat because it will come back thicker and not as natural as it is now.

    After searching for other forums on this subject, I saw some mixed feelings and no reference to the after effect on the coat.

    Let me know what all of you think.


    Thanks!

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    Senior Member FourIsCompany's Avatar
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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    A dog with a double coat (such as a GSD) should not be trimmed or cut unless absolutely necessary. It might come back thicker, but it might come back altogether different. It's hard to tell. I wouldn't trim a GSD's coat at all.

    Why would you want to trim him?
    You can train people, honest; It's just harder than it is with dogs.
    ~Patricia McConnell The Other End of the Leash

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    Senior Member Tankstar's Avatar
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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    A dog with a double coat should never ever be shaved. unless there is a medical reason too. But you say trim. So do you mean just trim up some hair 9feathers, belly, legs ect) or a full shave down?

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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    I would never shave a GSD, the coat doesn't always come back right and sometimes it grows back uneven.

    I would see if they offer a shedless type package instead. It should include a good brushout with a deshedding rake or like the furminator as well as a shampoo/conditioning to release the dead undercoat and then another brushout after.

    Some places also use a HV dryer to get the undercoat out. The best time to work on getting the undercoat loose is in the tub. The warm water helps to release all that undercoat. You could even buy something called a "zoom groom" and brush the dog while the dog is in warm water. You'll be amazed at how much coat loosens up.

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    Senior Member GroovyGroomer777's Avatar
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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    If the coat doesn't grow back, or grows back funny, it possibly means that there is an underlying heath issue (such as thyroid).

    I've always found that on a healthy dog they grow back completely normal. That's just my experience, there are many different opinions on the subject.

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    Senior Member Pit_Bull_Lady's Avatar
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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    I agree with GroovyGroomer.

    Over the years I have shaved down quite a few GSDs , huskies, malamutes, samoyeds, etc.
    Most of them had to be clipped down because of severe matting, and all of their coats seemed to have grown back normally.

    Before my sheltie passed away, I used to give her a lion clip during the summer months, because it just gets so darn hot here in the summer.

    She really seemed a lot more comfortable, and her coat always grew back normally by the time it started getting cooler outside.
    "When the man waked up he said, "What is Wild Dog doing here?"
    And the woman said, "His name is not Wild Dog anymore, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend, for always and always and always."

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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    yeah, you will find a lot of mixed information on this issue. honestly, i dont think there is a "right" answer, as in scientifically proven. but, ill tell you what i think, and what i think makes sense.

    first off, you do need to get your termnology right, b/c trimming and shaving are 2 different things. shaving is what you do to matted dogs, with a #7 or #10 blade. trimming (on a dog like a gsd), would be trimming the back feathers, the feet, pads, and a sanitary.

    trimming can be done on any dog with no affects to the coat or dog.

    i do not believe your dog should be shaved, and ill explain why. doublecoated breeds have 2 types of hair, that grow at 2 different rates. the undercoat grows much faster than the top coat (hence all the shedding). b/c of this, it takes a long time for the hair to grow back to normal (usually 1-2 years, depending on the dog). during the time of regrowth, your dog's coat is not what it was made to be. doublecoated breeds need the coat to stay warm and cool. so during the time that the hair is growing back, the dog is at risk. not only is the coat gone and the natural cooling system destroyed, but your dog has lived its life with that coat and is used to it. it is not unusual for these dogs to develop skin issues when shaved. a shaved gsd is hotter then a full coated one. however, dont misunderstand, a full coated gsd should still be brushed out. if the undercoat is impacted, then the coat is not working properly and the dog is probebly hot. now if the coat does not grow back, it is usually b/c of other health issues, not the shaving itself, but if those issues where found before the shaing, then the coat would have been fine. I have also known too many dogs to say the coat grows back completely normal 100% of the time. more than 50% of the time, id say you get a much thicker coat than the one you had before.

    getting a shedless treatment is the best route for these dogs. their coat should be brushed out with a comb or rake every other day during hot times. i know some people hate the shedding, but shaving does nothing for shedding. also i have to just say, dogs have hair and do shed. shaving the dog to suit your own needs, when its does not help the dog, is a form of selfishness that i cant comprehend.

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    Senior Member Pit_Bull_Lady's Avatar
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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    I would still like to know whether or not the OP wants to "trim" (as in using scissors to even up some feathering), or "shave" (as in using electric clippers) her GSD.

    If she does want to "shave" her dog, what's the reason?

    Is he matted, or is she concerned about shedding?

    ....Because shaving him will not prevent him from shedding...
    "When the man waked up he said, "What is Wild Dog doing here?"
    And the woman said, "His name is not Wild Dog anymore, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend, for always and always and always."

    .......Rudyard Kipling



  10. #9
    Senior Member Raggs's Avatar
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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    Ya know.. It's your dog and you can do whatever you want. EVERY groomer is going to have their own opinion about shaving a GSD. I bathed mine twice a week to keep the shedding under control. Specially since yours is a plush coat they have more hair to shed. I know.. My girl was a plush.

    Trimming or shaving any dog will not stop shedding. It only makes the hair that sheds out shorter. It will most likely get stuck in your skin and that doesn't feel to good.

    Try adding (pure) salmon oil or flax seed oil to your dogs daily diet. This will help control shedding. Also brush your dog once or twice a week. And you can brush any direction. You don't have to only brush the direction of the hair growth. Going against the grain will help a lot too..

    Sometimes even if a dog is perfectly healthy a coat can grow back in differently. Shaving always changes the hair texture on a coarse haired breed. It wont make the hair grow back in thicker. Hair follicles are set to how long the hair will grow, if it's curly or straight. The only thing that changes is the texture.

    Shaving down any dog can damage hair follicles. Depending on the length used. If you do want to shave your dog I suggest a longer blade like a 3/8 inch or a 1/2 inch or longer. The groomer can also use snap on combs if you just want a little hair off.

    It's always easier to tell the groomer how much hair you want left on the dog, NOT TAKEN OFF. There are no blades or combs that are set for taking 1/4 inch hair off.

    Hope this helps you.

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    Smile Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    I rescued a 6 year old long coated Shepherd that had been very mistreated. Her coat was in dredlocks, she wimpered every time she'd move. It was heartbreaking. Our only option was to completely shave her down. (Luckily it was summer when we got her)
    Even though she was still covered in hot spots and dangerously under weight, she seemed so much happier straight after the coat had gone. Come winter her coat has fully grown back and is healthy, some areas on her legs are a tiny bit choppy from when she had bitten chunks of her skin off, but you barely notice.

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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    I gave up trimming and just regularly brush my GS. It keeps his coat in great conditiuon and a uniform length.

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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    I would never shave down a double coated breed.
    I will scissor out a mat that I've missed in previous grooming.

    I've had German Shepherds, Collie, Malinois, Great Pyranees. The Pyrs lived out with their stock full time. Never shaved any of them. Their coat is as it is for a reason.

    I prefer to scissor our stuff that's my fault that I've missed & I use a vaccum with an attachment to suck up the floaty stuff as that undercoat has a mind of its own.

  14. #13
    Senior Member mom24doggies's Avatar
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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    I don't recommend shaving double coated dogs, although people do it all the time. Like others have said, the coat actually insulates against the heat as well as the cold. Provided, of course, that the coat is kept well brushed out. When shaved, the coat tends to grow back really fuzzy looking, the reason being that the undercoat grows faster than the guard hairs, and when you shave everything down even, it gives the undercoat a chance to "catch up" so to speak.

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    Member rubberduckey273's Avatar
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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    I also agree with groovygroomer. i've seen tons of double coated dogs that have been shaved come back year-to-year with a "natural" coat. however, we still don't recommend it. if you're shaving because of the shedding, there are other alternatives to visit first. a lot of groomers offer a "shed-less" treatment with grooming, and depending on how they do it (i.e what products/ tools they use) it can be a lot better for your dog than shaving. you can also consider adding a supplement with omega fatty acids to the diet, or changing up the food you're feeding to a higher quality dog food. if none of that helps, and the shedding is really unbearable, thats when you can start to consider shaving.

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    Senior Member LazyGRanch713's Avatar
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    Re: Trimming a German Shepherd's Coat?

    Quote Originally Posted by TigerGSD View Post
    Hello All,

    I've heard mixed feelings on trimming the coat on my medium haired german shepherd. I find that with regular brushing his coat is not THAT bad, but I have been contimplating trimming his coat lately.

    One of the groomers at the local PetSmart told me it's not a good idea to trim a German Shepherd's coat because it will come back thicker and not as natural as it is now.

    After searching for other forums on this subject, I saw some mixed feelings and no reference to the after effect on the coat.

    Let me know what all of you think.


    Thanks!
    I think shaving down a non-plush GSD just looks silly, even though I've (reluctantly) done it. Another thing to keep in mind is your dog won't necessarily have the same rich color he has now--if he's black and tan, the black may be black on the back, gray down the sides, the tan an ugly buff color, etc. If you part the hair down to the skin, you can get an idea on what the color might look like. My GSD is black and red, and if I shaved him down his saddle (black spot on back) would be half the size, followed by that ugly gray, followed by a tannish fading to red towards the feet. (I see this when shaving goldens and labs...your black and yellow lab might still be black or yellow, but your chocolate lab might be less brilliant, and look "dull"). Reddish colored golden retrievers have red legs and feet, a red head, a red tail, and a tan colored body. Unless medically needed, I really don't understand shaving double coated dogs down, but I'll do it if the owner insists (AFTER going over all the what if's, possibilities, etc). I guess it just depends how picky you are.

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