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Discussion Starter #1
I was thinking of shaving my German shepherd this summer as the heat in Arizona gets a bit rediculous. However I see lots of mixed opinions on the subject, as some think it will ruin the coat, cause irritation, or even is just plain torture on the dog. But it seems most people want to shave their shepherd so they dont need to groom him as much, or dont want to worry about his shedding, thereby leading most responses to this subject being quite opinionated and not really based on any real facts. Is there anybody out there with experience in this area that could help?
 

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I have 2 Shepherds. :) I lived in Phoenix for 15 years (not with the Shepherds).

Shaving a dog does not make him cooler. In fact, his coat protects him from the elements, including heat. Dogs don't sweat like we do, but we tend to think that if we had that coat on, we'd be hot. But shaving a double coated dog will actually expose him to the elements, make him hotter and increase the chance for sunburn and other heat-related issues.

Secondly, my boy had hot spots on his shoulders and the doctor shaved patches in him. The hair grew back different and I can still tell where they were because of that.

The best way to make sure a dog stays cool is to keep him brushed out, give him plenty of fresh water to drink, shade and a kiddie pool with about 4-5 inches of water in it. A nice cool place to lie is great. Cooling his chest and tummy will work wonders. They make vests for dogs for just this purpose. You may not want to buy one, but if you can use a wet towel or other fabric to cool his stomach.

Please don't shave a shepherd. You'll be doing a LOT more harm than good. :)
 

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What about a light trim, ie the hair around his pads or maybe take down the fur on his chest and stomach a little? You were talking about the vet shaving the hot spots on your dogs shoulders, was that due to allergies? Also was there any glandular or thyroid reason the fur didnt grow back properly? or is it just a trait of the fur type? The more I read about german shepherds and their "double-coat" the more I agree shaving is a bad idea. Still between work and school I dont get to keep an eye on him as much as I'd like, and the heat is a real issue out here. Thank you very much for your quick and helpful reponse.
 

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trimming up the hair on his feet is just fine. I really wouldn't shave or trim down any other area though. The outer coat of guard hair does just that, it guards the dog from heat and sun in the summer (reflecting suns rays) and cold in the winter. Asl long as the dog is properly brushed out so air can circulate to his skin he's much better off with his coat left intact.
 

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What about a light trim, ie the hair around his pads or maybe take down the fur on his chest and stomach a little?
I don't think there's a problem with trimming the hair, especially around his paws, but I wouldn't shave anywhere on his body.

You were talking about the vet shaving the hot spots on your dogs shoulders, was that due to allergies?
Yes. He was allergic to chicken, the main protein in his former food.

Also was there any glandular or thyroid reason the fur didnt grow back properly? or is it just a trait of the fur type?
No. It's a trait of double coated dogs. If you read the article I linked (and you can Google for more) it's very common for the hair to grow back differently or even a different shade or not grow back at all.

Still between work and school I dont get to keep an eye on him as much as I'd like, and the heat is a real issue out here.
I know how hot it is. :) But if he gets too hot outside, he'll just come in the house, won't he? You don't have to watch him every second while he's outside. As long as you can let him in or he can get in, he'll be fine.
 

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I have a 10 yr. old white german shepard and we have her shaved every summer. Her hair grows back just the same as it was and we've never had any kind of problem associated with shaving her. When we bring her home from the groomers you'd swear she was smiling from ear to ear as she gets out of the vehicle. She just looks so much more comfortable, you really can see that she's happier.
 

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I have Siberian husky and an Alaskan klee kai, both of them are double-coated.
I live in Texas, they can take the heat better than my cousin's single-coated dogs.

I have a 10 yr. old white german shepard and we have her shaved every summer. Her hair grows back just the same as it was and we've never had any kind of problem associated with shaving her. When we bring her home from the groomers you'd swear she was smiling from ear to ear as she gets out of the vehicle. She just looks so much more comfortable, you really can see that she's happier.
Well she is white, you wouldn't notice her fur coming different.
I think your dog is just happy to see you and get out of there.
 

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Well she is white, you wouldn't notice her fur coming different.
I think your dog is just happy to see you and get out of there.

Coat color has no effect on whether the coat grows back correctly, and you can certainly see if its not growing back right, regardless of color. I shave MANY double coated breeds, both regularly and once/twice a year, and I always hear the same things from those owners. The dogs are happier, more playful, etc. And many of them grow back just fine and look like they were never shaved. I would say its 50/50. I find nothing wrong with shaving/cutting down any breed of dog as long as the owners know there is a chance the coat won't come back correctly.
 
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