Long Haired German Shepherd: What To Know Before Buying

Long Haired German Shepherd What To Know Before Buying Cover

Long Haired German Shepherds are the kind cousin of a German Shepherd.

Their personalities are much milder and more outgoing than your usual German Shepherd. They are much less work oriented than a standard German Shepherd and much prefer spending time with their humans than working.

These happy balls of fur are and exceptionally sweet and will be loyal to you for life.

Their long fur is one of the main reasons why people want this breed.

In this article we explain the golden personality of the Long Haired German Shepherd and everything else you need to know about keeping this breed…

Long Haired German Shepherd Close Up

Long Haired German Shepherd At A Glance

The Long Haired German Shepherd is a courageous love bug who is much more interested in playing than protecting.

Long Haired German Shepherds are very similar to the standard German Shepherd but they are typically much more outgoing and friendlier with everyone they meet. These pups require some extra care in terms of grooming but are loved for their beautiful personality and appearance.

  • Popularity: #2.
  • Speciality: Companion.
  • Weight: 50-90 pounds.
  • Price: $500-$1500.
  • Personality: Courageous, loyal and affectionate.

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Long Haired German Shepherd Overview

Black Long Haired German Shepherd

The Long Haired German Shepherd is a variation of the classic German Shepherd.

These pups are known for their gorgeous long locks and more affectionate temperament. The AKC may consider these pups a genetic defect but that does not stop them from being some of the sweetest dogs around.

Unlike the standard GSD, the Long Haired variety is not an incredibly hard working breed.

These dogs cannot herd very well or withstand cold weather due to them not having an undercoat.

They do however make perfect companions for anyone with an exceptionally active lifestyle.

Long Haired GSDs are exceptionally beautiful due. Their strong and mighty appearance adds to their beauty and tends to leave onlookers in awe. These bold dogs have a heart of gold underneath their intimidating appearance and will gladly accept any affection they can get.

These dogs require a bit of extra effort in terms of exercise and grooming but they will happily pay you back with their loyalty, protection and love.


  • Easy to train.
  • Loyal and protective of family members.
  • Good playmate.
  • Athletic and skilled in various canine sports.
  • Eager to please.


  • Need lots of exercise.
  • Will chew and bark if bored.
  • Often develop separation anxiety.
  • Sheds lots of hair.

A Day In The Life Of the Long Haired German Shepherd

Your morning with a Long Haired German Shepherd is going to start early.

How can these pups sleep when there is so much to do each day? They will wake you up ready to play with a toy in their mouth and a pep in their step.

As you yawn and make your way downstairs they will demand their large morning meal because these pups have an enormous appetite.

After breakfast it is time to start another active day.

Hopefully you have lots of activities planned for the day to keep you pup busy.

A long morning walk will keep your dog happy.

As you go about your business in the house your pup will stay close by but will want to dutifully watch out the window to make sure no intruders, or mail men, get too close to your house. They are the protector of the home and take this job very seriously.

Later in the day they would love a trip to the dog park where they can see all their dog buddies. They will run and run after their friends until somehow, all of that pent-up energy seems to finally disappear.

That will not stop them from wanting to play a bit of fetch in the backyard once you get home though.

After loads of exercise they will happily lay by your side and drift to sleep with you petting them while you watch TV before bed.

History And Origin

German Shepherds

German Shepherds were originally developed in Germany as herding dogs.

They were many variations of this breed around the country so in 1899 Max von Stephanitz made it his mission to create the ideal version of the German Shepherd. He used various breeding techniques to make the perfect German Shepherd and established the breed club for German Shepherds.

In the 1900s these dogs migrated over to the US and became very popular in the media and movies.

More importantly they became known for their hard work ethic.

These dogs are not only professional herders they also make great police dogs and service dogs due to their intelligence and trainability.

Because Long Haired GSDs do not have an undercoat they were kept inside as companions rather than being put to work out in the fields.

This means the Long Haired variety developed a much less serious personality and became more kind than their overprotective, short haired counterparts.

Sadly the AKC declared the long haired variety as a genetic fault and refused to acknowledge them as they did not fit their standard.

Despite the prejudice Long Haired German Shepherds faced because of their beautiful fur, these pups happily made their way into many homes and hearts to become beloved household pets.

7 Fun Facts

  1. The gene which gives the German Shepherd their long hair is a recessive gene. This means both parents must have long hair or be carriers of this gene to create a long-haired puppy.
  2. Only 10% of German Shepherds are of the long-hair variety.
  3. The AKC labels this variety as a genetic fault so this breed is not allowed to compete in dog shows.
  4. GSD puppies are typically born with floppy ears that perk up over time.
  5. Usually these dogs have very small litter sizes. These dogs only produce 1-3 pups per litter while standard German Shepherds usually have 4-9 puppies per litter.
  6. The Long Haired variety are often kinder and more laid back than standard German Shepherds – this variety is developed for companionship rather than work.
  7. These dogs make excellent service dogs and police dogs – in fact the first guide dog was a German Shepherd.

Temperament And Behavior

Furry German Shepherd

The Long Haired German Shepherd has a slightly different personality to the standard GSD.

German Shepherds are known for their mighty, courageous personality and slightly intimidating yet protective nature.

The Long Haired variety retains these qualities but differs in their treatment of strangers.

Typically the German Shepherd is wary around strangers and can be a bit aloof due to a lack of trust.

Long Haired GSDs on the other hand are much more outgoing. Because these gorgeous pups were bred for companion purposes rather than working they are much friendlier and make friends a lot easier than a standard German Shepherd.

Besides that difference their temperament is very similar to any other German Shepherd.

They are loyal dogs that cling tightly to their owners.

These are very affectionate dogs that love attention from their owners.

Their high energy makes them a perfect playmate and kids will likely bond very closely with their pet German Shepherd. These dogs want to run all day long but love their snuggles and pets after an active day.

These pups love to go to the dog park and interact with their canine friends. They may be a bit skeptical of smaller pets like cats or rodents though as they have a very high prey drive.

To get over this you will need to give them lots of socialization as a young puppy.

In addition to socialization you will need to provide them with lots of exercise.

This breed is known for their limitless energy. They need lots of exercise each day to burn off all of that liveliness their big bodies contain. They are a playful breed that will happily play fetch or go running with you for as long as they can.

It is important to keep these smart dogs busy or they will quickly become destructive. They will likely chew up your belongings or bark excessively if you do not give them the exercise they need.

How Much Does A Furry German Shepherd Cost?

The price of a Long Haired German Shepherd can vary greatly depending on the breeder.

Some breeders will advertise these pups for higher prices due to the rarity of their coat while other breeds will sell them for lower prices due to their failure to meet show standards.

Look around for breeders that are reputable, but also do not charge outrageous prices for their puppies.

You will end up paying anywhere from $500-$1500 for a Long Haired German Shepherd puppy.


Buyer’s Tips

  1. If you are getting your puppy from a breeder then make sure they are reputable and screen for avoid conditions like hip dysplasia.
  2. Only purchase this breed if you have an active lifestyle. These dogs need lots of exercise and will become destructive if they do not get the opportunities to play that they desire.
  3. If you are a busy working professional who is not home for most of the day then this breed may not be for you. They often suffer from separation anxiety and do not like being left home alone for long periods of time.
  4. Buy lots of lint rollers and make sure you have a very strong vacuum cleaner that can combat the excess shedding of these dogs.
  5. This breed loves to chew so you will need durable toys for them. They will quickly tear up soft toys so rubber toys or ropes are your best bet.
  6. Make sure to limit the number of treats and human food you give to your GSD. These pups have very sensitive stomachs and can get an upset stomach very easily.

Long Haired German Shepherd Dog Appearance

Long Haired GSD

These dogs are known for their bold and confident appearance.

Their intelligent brown eyes and muscular stance give them an aura of authority that nobody can deny. Their large head, strong jaw, and alert pointy ears further add to the strength of their appearance.

Overall you can expect this dog to look just like a regular German Shepherd just with a longer coat.


These formidable dogs stand 22-26 inches tall and weigh 50-90 lbs.

Just remember that females are much smaller and tend to weigh much less than their male counterparts.


The coat of the Long Haired German Shepherd is their most striking feature.

These pups have long, straight, silky fur that cascades around their body.

They have tufts of fur that feather out around their ears, legs, between their paws, and around their big bushy tails.

This beautiful fur has one downside though, lots of shedding!

These dogs drop hair all year long and will likely coat everything you own in a thin layer of fur.

Unlike many large dog breeds these dogs do not have an undercoat. This makes them much less tolerant of harsh environments such as bitter cold temperatures and wet conditions. It also means that their fur is much shinier than a standard German Shepherds.

The most typical coat variation for this breed is the well-known black and tan combo.

However a red and black variation exists too. As does an all white German shepherd, however, German shepherd colors are exceptionally rare.

Long Haired German Shepherd Care Guide

Long Haired German Shepherd In Field

These dogs demand a bit more care than other breeds.

Their exercise requirements are the most challenging aspects. These dogs need lots of exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day to be happy – only people with an active lifestyle should welcome a German Shepherd into their life.

They also have a bit of a tricky grooming routine due to their gorgeous long fur and will require more than an occasional brushing to keep their coats beautiful. Their diets can also prove to be difficult due to their sensitive stomach.

These dogs are not hard to care for but they are also not a low maintenance dog like some other breeds.


German Shepherds are an extremely active breed and need plenty of exercise throughout the day to be content and happy.

These dogs demand at least 60 minutes of exercise each day in the form of long walks, runs or other playful activities.

Like most breeds these pups should always be kept on a leash when they are outside. They have a high prey drive and are likely to take off after a bunny or squirrel if given the freedom to roam.

Long Haired German Shepherds are happy doing any physical activity no matter what it is.

They love to go for walks, runs, and hikes. But they also enjoying playing fetch, tug-of-war and hide and seek.

These dogs are also excellent swimmers and their athleticism makes them perfect candidates for agility training. Dog parks are a great option for this breed as they get along well with other dogs and this gives them the opportunity to run around and play without you having to exhaust yourself physically.

  • Total Daily Activity: 60-120 minutes.
  • Activity Level: 4/5.
  • Favorite Activity: Running.


Long Haired GSD Close Up

The thick fur of this breed is very beautiful but it is also high maintenance.

This Long Haired variety sheds all year round. This shedding is particularly heavy during the beginning of Fall and Spring. At this time you will need a powerful vacuum cleaner if you want to welcome one of these fur balls into your home.

Also because of the length of their fur these pretty dogs are prone to matting. You will need to brush them frequently to help stop matting.

You can either brush them daily but at minimum, they should be brushed 2-3 times per week. Use a long-toothed brush to comb all the way through their coat to get out any stubborn tangles or matts.

Make sure you do not catch their skin though. These pups typically do not have an undercoat so it is easy to scratch their skin and irritate them while brushing. Brush thoroughly, but gently.

Whilst grooming them you should pay close attention to their skin.

Long Haired German Shepherds are prone to dry skin and eczema so be cautious not to over bathe them. A bath once a month is enough – you can use a gentle shampoo.

Cleaning their ears weekly, clipping nails monthly and brushing teeth weekly are also important aspects of grooming this breed.


These large dogs need plenty of food throughout the day.

You should aim to give them around 3 cups of food per day (1500 calories) however this will vary depending on their weight and activity levels.

Their meal can be split over two meals each day to prevent overeating.

It is important to remember that this breed is known for having a sensitive stomach.

Avoid overfeeding your pup or giving them too many treats each day.

They should not eat human food due to their delicate stomach. If you notice your dog is getting diarrhea often then you will want to adjust the brand of feed they are eating.

Because of their high energy levels they need to eat food that is rich in proteins. They can have a moderate amount of fat in their diet because they burn it off quickly with their highly active lifestyle. These dogs also benefit from glucosamine supplements as this can help with their joint issues.

Health Concerns

Unfortunately this beautiful breed is prone to developing hereditary conditions that are passed on from their parents.

Hip and elbow dysplasia are the most common issues with this breed. It is important to look for any signs of limping or lameness to catch this condition early on before it progresses. Fortunately you can genetically screen parents and pups for most of these conditions and avoid unhealthy mating choices.

All reputable breeders will do this so make sure you check the test results.

Skin conditions like eczema are also common due to the lack of an undercoat to protect the dog’s fragile skin.

These dogs may also suffer from epilepsy and heart disease.

How Long Does A Long Haired German Shepherd Live?

Unfortunately these pups can run into a few common health problems that cause them to have a shorter lifespan than other breeds.

Long Haired German Shepherd have a shorter lifespan of 9-13 years.

However you can rest assured that for however many years your pup lives they will love you unconditionally at all times.

How To Train A Long Haired German Shepherd

Long Haired German Shepherd

Training this breed is usually quite straightforward.

German Shepherds are very smart and are always eager to please their owners. Because of this they pick up on new tricks very quickly.

Positive reinforcement is always recommended for German Shepherd training.

These pups love to make their owners happy so they will respond much better to praise than punishment. They are also very food oriented so treats will be a very helpful tool for you during training. Just make sure to not overfeed them or you may upset their sensitive stomach.

Because of their intelligence it is important that you stop your pup from getting bored.

If these dogs do not get the mental workout they need each day then they will likely chew things around your home or may dig holes in the yard.

Puzzle toys and Kongs are a great way to keep them entertained for hours.

You should also socialize these dogs from a young pup.

Whilst this Long Haired pooch is known for being more outgoing than standard German Shepherds they can sometimes be a little aloof with strangers or other dogs if they do not receive early socialization. If you introduce them to many people and dogs early on in their life then they should have no problem being kind and friendly towards everyone they meet in the future.


Anybody with an active lifestyle can welcome the adorable Long Haired German Shepherd into their home.

These dogs are affectionate and very loyal to their family.

They will lay down their life to protect you but will also curl up on the couch with you like the big babies they really are.

Their courageous and intelligent temperament is just a cover for how affectionate and lovey they really are.

These dogs require a bit of extra effort with their meticulous grooming routine and sensitive diet, but they will never fail to make you smile if you are willing to put in the extra work.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below…

About John Woods 301 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.


  1. Denzel is born in October 2012 and now is a huge Long Haired German Shepherd. All written here is true and I experienced some of the facts described in the article.

    Well, fortunately he was healthy from the beginning and I did my best (with success, I’d add) to keep him this way.

    I own a big yard in the country and it is a huge joy for my friend!

    Is true that he is friendly but has its limits in friendship: somehow, he can’t stand the Gypsies and cops! I’m a lawyer and having a lot to do with the cops, I had the opportunity to observe this fact.

    One other thing I seen during the time passing with Denzel around, is that he never had a problem (with the quoted exceptions), with people coming inside my property. Smells them and according to his mood, he tries to play with them or simply lets them do whatever they want. The problem rises when they want to get out from my yard! If they are not together with a family member, they simply cannot exit! Denzel will never allow it and being a huge Wolf, is impossible to pass over his will!

    I am sorry I can’t post here a picture of my furry Friend but I a assure you he’s exceptional! 2.65 ft tall (at the top of his head, ears not included), 2 ft tall at the hip and over 5 ft long and 145 lb of weight, no fat at all, just muscles! Trust me, is impressive and incredibly beautiful!

    His behavior with other animals is also impressive, sometimes to the tears. I have Sun protected security glasses and many times there are birds colliding with them. Pigeons mainly but also other birds. Denzel takes them in his huge mouth and put them on the clean grass. Without hurting them!!! And blows his air to them. And pushes them with his nose to fly. He does all he can do to save them and put them back into the sky, where they belong. Of course we, the family, help him! And he is really happy when the birds “work” again!

    Once, he brought an alley cat to give her his food. After a while, their “friendship” broke, because the cat dared to growl at him when he started to eat his meal. I had to give the cat away because Denzel, after being upset of the cat’s behavior, became nervous and I suspected that soon, I could discover a dismantled cat in the yard…

    With kids, I trust him completely! He simply adores them! Kids are mean to animals but Denzel doesn’t cares. He is huge and has a huge fur cover so… let’s play! He never bites to harm. Well, if he thinks is necessary, he bites to kill! But only when he needs to defend something, someone defenseless or himself! He doesn’t fights with other dogs. He just kills them if he thinks is necessary. I seen him doing it 4 times and was like a lightning. Standing in front of his foe, like a rock. The other was barking, jumping, trying to intimidate him. When he attacked, Denzel stepped aside and severed his neck from a single bite. And afterwards, minded his own business like nothing happened.

    Compared with the other GSD is much smarter, more powerful and way more attached to the family!

    My advice: if you have one, treat him like a Friend, not like a stupid animal, because is not stupid at all and he treats you like you treat him… Love him and he’ll love you more!

    He deserves to be loved, trust me!

  2. I forgot one thing: the paws are huge compared to the ones of a regular GSD. And when he has to walk on ice, mud or unstable land, they expand, becoming even bigger than they already are! Way bigger!

  3. We are watching our daughter and son in laws black long haired gsd. He is a hoot we have had him for 11 days now he is close to 7 months old. Unlike the summary of not liking the cold he loves it. This is Ohio and it is 27 out with wind and he is lying on the deck like there is a summer breeze.
    He also loves people anyone who giggles or baby talks to him is his new best friend.
    Unfortunately we are older and no dog parks for him, we live in a rural area so he has to depend on his daily plays with me. Fetching a stick in the leaves seems to suffice. We are surrounded by woods.
    I do have a concern. I have been spoiling him. I go outside wirh him every time. Hard play in morning, rough housing after breakfast and walk in afternoon. He sleeps outside his crate at night. So far so good. The problem the kids live in the city. Fenced in yard so they don’t go out with him. But he does get a dog park. My concern will he feel we are the owners and not them when he leaves? They are on an international trip. We will have him 16 days total.

  4. My dog is from a Swiss dame and a Bavarian sire. I think this article is wrong in some respects correct in others. Lots of work drive. Learns fast at early protection training. He is never hyper, but when he moves, he moves fast. He appears to be more powerful than regular GSD. 90+ lbs at 7&1/2 mos. but feels stronger. Heavy boned, really huge teeth. He is patient and good natured, not docile. Reliable around children. Super thick undercoat. Takes a long time just to get warm water and soap through the thick undercoat. Judging from his behavior this winter, he seems impervious to cold. Basically, a companionable wolf. This is a work dog, manageable with training and activity.

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