German Shepherd Dogs are a double coated breed with a top coat and an undercoat. They shed 365 days a year, however, twice a year they shed their undercoat which produces a tremendous amount of hair. This usually occurs in the spring and again in the fall.
The top coat
The top coat has long, coarse hair, also called guard hair. All German Shepherds have a top coat. Coats can, however, come in plush, long and “double coat”. This is the long, black and tan or black and red hair that is all over your couch, on your clothes and in your car all year long. I like to tell people it is my dog’s way of marking her territory or telling me that as a German Shedder, she loves me.
When brushing, you don’t want to damage the guard hairs of the top coat as these keep the under coat safe and dry.
The Under Coat
Providing insulation and thermoregulation is the under coat. Lots of dogs have under coats such as Akita, Husky, Chow Chow, Belgian Malinois and many other various herding dogs.
This undercoat is shed in both the spring and fall. A pile of hair about the size of the dog will be shed in a period of 10 days or so. You’ll know when they “blow their coat” as their will suddenly be large chunks of hair falling off of the dog.
Most German Shepherds have an undercoat, the exception is the long haired German Shepherd with no undercoat. There are two types of long haired shepherds – long haired shepherds with an undercoat, and long haired with no undercoat. If someone tells you that long haired topcoat shepherds have no undercoat, they are mistaken; plenty of long haired shepherds have an undercoat.