Short Haired German Shepherd – Your Complete Breed Guide

The most common variations of German Shepherds when it comes to the coat type are the long and medium coat varieties. What many of us do not realize is that German Shepherds can actually naturally have short coats, and this is not only great for aesthetics but also way easier to maintain. But are these short-haired German Shepherds any different in other ways from what most of us are used to? Let’s find out.

A Short-Haired German Shepherd is one whose outer layer of the double coat contains fur that is one-inch long give or take a few eighths of an inch. They are often confused for and grouped together with the more common Medium-Haired German Shepherds. When it comes to other features from the color and build to health issues and personality, the Short-Haired German Shepherd is every bit like other members of this purebred.

If you are interested in getting yourself a Short-Haired German Shepherd pooch, here is all you need to know to adequately prepare yourself.

Is There A Short Haired German Shepherd?

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Short Haired German Shepherds are more common than most people realize. They are just a bit difficult to tell apart from the very similar Medium-Haired German Shepherd.

The best way to tell whether or not your German Shepherd is short haired is by consulting a professional.

However, there are a few clues you could pick up on by yourself. Here are some of these traits that define the Short Haired German Shepherd.


The Short Haired German Shepherd grows between 50 to 90 pounds in weight and 22 to 26 inches. This is pretty similar to other coat types within the breed.

However, the short nature of the coat may make them appear smaller than they really are when put side to side with other variations including the Long Haired German Shepherd.


These Short Haired German Shepherds have a double layered coat. The undercoat is soft and dense while the longer outer layer tends to be a bit coarse.

The coat is also uniformly short all over the body which is in contrast to other varieties of the breed where the fur is noticeably longer around the neck, chest, and limbs.


The colors on this variation are pretty much the same as with any other German Shepherd color variation. The most common Short-Haired German Shepherd is the Black and Tan combination including the iconic black mask over the snout and chin.

Build and general appearance

The Short Haired German Shepherd also adheres to breed standards when it comes to the build and general appearance. This includes the strong and muscular form, proportional breed, and strong skull and facial features.

How Long Do Short Haired German Shepherd Live For?

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Short Haired German Shepherds can live for 9 to 13 years or even more if they are healthy and well taken care of.

They are generally very healthy dogs which is as a result of both great genetics and the fact that most breeders selectively breed out undesirable traits.

However, there are a few conditions that occasionally plague the Short Haired German Shepherd that you should definitely be aware of. Here are some of the most common health problems with this variation.

Hip dysplasia

Large dog breeds including the Short Haired variation of the German Shepherd are commonly affected by hip dysplasia. This condition is worsened by obesity which the breed is also prone to. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help your dog live a comfortable life including moderate exercise, a healthy diet, and supplements for bone health.

Spinal cord degeneration

This condition is known as degenerative myelopathy and can be seriously debilitating. The condition affects functionality of the limbs and could even result in paralysis. It could also result in loss of bowel control.

Unfortunately, this degeneration is not reversible. However, early diagnosis does help with management including helping your dog adapt to a more dependent lifestyle.


Hypothyroidism is a hormonal disorder that results in low levels of thyroid hormones. These hormones play a number of roles all over the body from helping with energy production to promoting skin and coat health.

The low levels will cause a number of varying symptoms including weight gain, coat changes, reduced energy levels, and much more.

How Do You Take Care Of A Short Haired German Shepherd?

One of the best things about the Short Haired German Shepherd is the fact that they are low maintenance dogs. You just need to understand their needs. Here are a few tips that will definitely help you give your new doggy a healthy and happy home.

Feed them high quality food

For a dog with the physical needs that German Shepherds have, quality matters a lot when it comes to food. You need to invest in dog food made from real ingredients and not byproducts and fillers. It is also important to find a brand that focuses on providing the appropriate balance of nutrients.

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Appropriate food quantity

Short Haired GSDs are at risk of developing obesity and one of the best ways to prevent this is by watching their food portions. Puppies should eat about 1 to 2 cups of food every day while adults should not exceed 3 cups of dry kibble a day.

Regular exercise

These dogs are very energetic and need an avenue to work out all that tension. Set aside about 1 to 2 hours every day or even more if you can spare to take the pooch out for some play time.

This is a great way not only to entertain them and satisfy their desire for activity but also a fantastic weight control strategy.

Give them multivitamin supplements

In addition to the healthy diet, taking good care of a Short Haired German Shepherd also includes supplementing their main meals with things like multivitamins and other micronutrients. These are particularly useful for those pooches with skeletal issues including hip dysplasia.

15 of the ABSOLUTE BEST multivitamin supplements you should get for your dogs. Take a look here!

Are Short Haired German Shepherds Aggressive? Temperaments Of Short Haired German Shepherds

When it comes to the personality traits, there is hardly any difference between the Short Haired German Shepherd and any other variation of the breed. They are great for companionship and for use as working dogs. Here are some of the traits that make this possible.

Intelligent and obedient

Short Haired German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs. They pick up very quickly on new commands and skills and have fantastic memory for everything they learn. They are also very eager to learn and responsive.

All these traits make it very easy to train them whether you want it to be a support dog, a watchdog, or just an adequately house-broken companion.


Short Haired GSDs have a seemingly endless supply of energy. This is awesome for both single individual homes and family setups. They are happiest outdoors playing which is something you need to make time for.

If they don’t get a way to work out all their energy, they often become destructive and even aggressive.

Affectionate and loyal

These doggies love their human friends more than anything in the world. They love to cuddle and get tummy rubs. They love to follow their best friends all over the place and will go anywhere you go if you allow them to. This makes them fantastic family pets, companions, and even support dogs.


Like any other variety of the German Shepherd breed, the Short Haired type has a very strong guarding instinct. You will notice that they are always very alert and watchful. This could come in handy if you want to raise and train yours to be a guard dog.

How Do You Groom A Short Haired German Shepherd? Grooming Tips For Short Haired German Shepherds

When it comes to grooming, Short Haired German Shepherds are relatively high maintenance. While you do not have to trim or shave their fur, you have a lot to deal with given how much German Shepherds with very short hair shed.

Their double coat of Short Haired German Shepherds also leaves them prone to more skin issues than single coat GSDs.

Fortunately, with the right tools and a good routine your grooming responsibilities are not going to be too much to handle. Here are a few tips that should help you find your footing.

Brush the coat every 4 to 5 days at least

Given how much these dogs shed, it is best to brush their coats very regularly. If you can manage, do it every day. This may seem like a lot but the more frequently you do it, the less actual time you spend on doing it.

Make sure to use a good quality comb like the Furminator Undercoat Tool which is designed for thick coats like the one on the Short Haired GSD.

FURminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool for Large Dogs – Long Hair
  • For Large dogs with long hair: designed especially for dogs that weigh more than 50 pounds.

If this is not feasible, a 4 to 5 times a week schedule should work. In this case invest in something like the iRobot Roomba i3+ to get rid of any loose fur that drops to your floors before your next deshedding.

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Wash the dog every 4 to 6 weeks with good shampoo

These dogs occasionally get stinky especially if they suffer from skin issues. Washing them 4 times a week is a good way to control the odor while also keeping their skin clean for faster healing.

It is also important to invest in good quality shampoos. We recommend the Paws & Pals 5-In-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo which does 5 different things for your dog’s coat including cleaning, conditioning, deodorizing, soothing the skin, and relieving itchiness.

Paws & Pals 5-in-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo, Conditions, Detangles, Moisturizes, Anti Itch, Odor Control - Made in USA w/Medicated Clinical Vet Formula - Best for Dog, Cat & Pets w/Dry Itchy Skin | 20 oz
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Invest in the dog’s dental hygiene

Another common source of odors with this breed variation is poor oral hygiene. If possible, train the dog to get comfortable with having their teeth brushed and settle into a daily brushing routine.

You could also invest in dental water additives for dogs as well as hard chew toys.

Having a hard time calming your dog down for a tooth brushing session? Find out more about using dental water additives as the alternative, how it works, and of course how to choose the best in our article here!
Learn more >

Related Questions

Is German Shepherd Hair Soft? German Shepherd coats have a soft layer and a coarser layer. The inner layer of the double coat contains silky fur that is very close to the skin and very soft to the touch. The outer layer on the other hand is coarser and may even be wiry as a part of the acceptable breed standards for the German Shepherd.

Which Is Better, Single Coat Or Double Coat German Shepherd? When it comes to grooming and general maintenance, single coat German Shepherds are better than double coat German Shepherds. This is because dogs with single coats in general shed less than those with two layers. Double coat German Shepherds are also more prone to skin sensitivity issues which further increase the care load.

Is There A Breed Of German Shepherd That Doesn’t Shed? There is no breed variety of German Shepherd that does not shed. However, there are some that shed less than others. The easiest to manage in terms of shedding are long-haired German Shepherds. Within this group there is another variety that sheds even less which are the single coat, long-haired German Shepherds.

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