Long-Haired vs. Short-Haired German Shepherds: All You Need to Know

German Shepherds are a wonderful breed, one of the most popular among families and police work. These dogs are brilliant, great looking, have good manners and are good with humans in general.

But there seems to be always a matter of confusion when it comes to new owners. Most of you may or may not know that there are some variations when it comes to German Shepherds. No, they aren’t only a single type, but there is long-haired version too.

Unfortunately, long-haired ones aren’t as much popular as short-haired ones. But why? Is there any difference between these two lovely GSD types? Today I’ll be concluding the battle of long-haired vs. short-haired GSDs. Let’s see if there are any profound differences between these two.

 Obvious Difference: The Coat

Judging by the name you already guessed what the first difference would be. One of them has a shorter coat and another a bit longer coat. In spite of the length differences, they have similar coat colors. Another fact is that the long-haired version isn’t recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club).

So, for that, this dog isn’t allowed to participate in any kind of dog show. The AKC acknowledged the coat of the long-haired species to be faulty. Due to this reason, this variation isn’t bred as much as the counterpart.

Regardless of everything else, long-haired ones are still considered purebred.

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Major Differences between Short-hair and Long-hair German Shepherds

Well, you already know by now that one of them has a shorter coat and other has a longer coat. But that’s not the only difference between these two. The exciting part is that the coat length does affect other elements of these two dogs.

Let’s see what they are!

Weather Adaptation

If you are thinking about long-haired German Shepard being more suited for cold weather, then you would be dead wrong. Even though they have long hair, which should protect them from cold weather, still it doesn’t.

It’s because short hair GSD has an undercoat that’s quite wooly and waterproof. This undercoat provides them with extra protection and works as an insulator in cold weathers. On the other hand, long hair GSD has only a single layer of the long coat without the undercoat. That’s why they can’t sustain cold weathers as much as short-haired ones.

So, if you live in cold weather, then you should rethink if that would be good for your long-haired friend.

Worker Dogs

As I said, earlier long-haired shepherds don’t have the physical robustness to handle any weather scenario. As a result, these aren’t bred to work like short-haired ones. You already know how short-hair shepherds are really popular in the police force.

They work as a service dog, guide, police dog, military dog, etc. To do this kind of work, you would need the ability to be tough and sustain anything. Unfortunately, with long-haired, you won’t get that. These are more of a softer type and go well with any owner who wants to cuddle with their dog.

On the other hand, short-haired ones seem a bit more sophisticated than the long ones.


The difference of coats also influences the behavior of the dogs. As short-haired ones are bred to have a working output, these are more focused and show a significant amount of disciplinary. These are also quite reserved when it comes to a stranger or some strange activities.

On the other hand, long-hair Shepherds have a slightly better personality than typical ones. As they don’t have those working dog characteristics, they seem to have a more eagerness toward pleasing and making their owners happy.

So, they would be a bit more loving to have instead of short ones. However, this type of temperament doesn’t have any scientific backup. But years and years of owners experience makes this call more prominent.

If you want a new loving pet, but unsure of typical German shepherd behavior then you could go for long haired ones.

What About Shedding and Grooming?

You might think that both of them have different lengths of hair so that they might have a different level of shedding. Well, that’s not the case here. Even though the long-haired one only has one layer to think about, on the other hand, short-ones have double the coat.

But the shedding does have a little difference, not a major issue. The double coating will shed a bit more than the single coat throughout the seasons. Typically this happens in the summer times when the deep coating isn’t needed for insulation. They shed their deep thick layer for a lighter layer, and during winter the lighter layer is replaced with a thicker layer.

But on the other hand, long-haired ones will shed a lot too. Don’t think that a single hair will stop them from shedding. However, you might see less hair left around the house. When they shed hairs, they all get trapped with other long hairs, making it look like they don’t shed at all.

But once you brush their coat, you’ll realize they aren’t that much behind then the typical ones.

It doesn’t matter what type of GSD you have; you would have to groom them pretty regularly. Even if you see hair all over the place, tangled hairs on the coat could become matted, which can lead to loads of problems.

Especially for long-haired one, you need to maintain the brushing to ensure you got all the fallen hair out. Also, regular brushing could solve the problem of a massive pile of hair around the house.

Short-hair or Long-hair: Both Are Lovely Dogs to Have

Now that you know the main difference between these two types of GSDs, you can easily make the call. But I have to say, even though they have their differences, both of them are German Shepherds. This means they will share a lot of common grounds with each other.

As you already know how popular the typical German Shepard is, you can easily count on the long-hair one too. Whatever the hair length may be both of them are an intelligent and loyal companion. It would depend on your choice in the last.

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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