Also known by the name of Alsatian wolf-dog and Deutscher Schäferhund, the German Shepherd is a well-rounded dog – intelligent, muscular, agile, and driven. But, did you know that the coat of this dog breed comes in four (4) kinds? These are the short-haired German Shepherd with an undercoat, the medium-haired with an undercoat, the long-haired with an undercoat, and the long-haired German Shepherd without an undercoat.
Today, we’d be focusing our attention on the one with the short hair so you can decide if this is the perfect dog breed for you.
Should You Buy a Short-Haired German Shepherd?
This dog breed is not for everyone. Before getting a German Shepherd with short hair, you need to have sufficient information so as not to get disappointed in the future. In fact, even the puppies can be too large to handle and can exhibit an ill-tempered demeanor. Issues like shedding, noise level, gentleness are some of the things we want to share with you to better understand one of the all-time popular dog breeds.
To better appreciate the breed, you have to understand where it is coming from. The short-haired is primarily bred as a working dog. It has an unmatched focus and an innate intensity while performing jobs.
As a working dog, it has to be tough as a rock, lest it wouldn’t succeed in the field of military, police, and as a guide dog. This is why it has a strong tendency to have an unfriendly temper with strangers and even in strange situations.
Short-Haired German Shepherd vs Long-haired German Shepherd – which should I get? If what you are looking for is a German Shepherd that is eager to please you, then you are better off with the long-haired. Unlike the ones with short hair, they do not have in them the traits of working dogs.
However, once a short-haired German Shepherd formed a bond with you, expect it to protect you and fiercely fight for you and your loved ones.
Is a female or male German Shepherd more protective?
The male is more territorial which makes it more protective of its surroundings and property lines. As a guard dog, it will patrol its territory, always alert of the possible intrusion of strangers.
On the other hand, the female is more protective of its family members, including you. If she senses a threat to the safety of her family, the first instinct is to be sure that her family remains secure and intact.
2. Level of Separation Anxiety
Can a German Shepherd be left alone during the day? Yes, it can handle being alone during the day. But the story is different if you will be out on long trips.
This guy may be tough but it needs someone to be with. It is extreme loyalty to its owner. But, too much loyalty can also create a problem. You will find out that its loyalty can be troublesome because it can get anxious if left alone for a few days. Thus, expect chaos in your home.
They get more attached to the one who feeds them, trains them, and spends a long time with them. Since they value loyalty, they look at one person as the leader of the pack.
There are a few ways to deal with separation anxiety:
- Train your new dog to be alone at a young age. Begin by leaving it alone for 30 minutes and then gradually work it up longer.
- We do not recommend emotional goodbyes, meaning, when it’s time for you to leave, simply go out of the house.
- It is also a good idea to give your dog good exercise before you go out of the house.
- Leave toys to keep your dog busy and entertained. Be sure to choose the indestructible, the ones made for dogs with strong and powerful jaws.
3. Intelligence Level
No one can argue that the German Shepherd is one of the smartest, ranked 3rd as the most intelligent breed. Be it new commands or tricks, this dog will learn anything fast as lightning. If you want this dog breed as a companion, do not allow this astounding quality to be wasted.
Are German Shepherds easy to train?
As mentioned, yes, you wouldn’t have a tough time teaching this guy just about anything. It can learn new tricks and commands in just about five (5) repetitions. Plus, it has a legendary eagerness to work and cooperate with its human companions, thus, it is known to follow commands 95% of the time!
Are you looking for a watchdog? This is an excellent breed that can watch over you but it does not like being tied or placed in an enclosed space.
Keeping it chained and unable to move around can only lead to problems. Its movements should not be restricted because the best way it can protect you is by allowing it to move and enjoy its freedom.
5. Short-haired German Shepherd Is a Talker
These dogs can be noisy because of their incessant barking. They are more vocal than other dog breeds.
Why do German Shepherds bark a lot?
They bark too much because they are designed to perform specific types of work like for protection and herding.
Today, the German Shepherds are no longer tasked to guard and herd livestock. Instead, the breed works more to guard, to serve, and to protect owners and certain institutions. That said, the best way for them to excel in their jobs is by barking aggressively. Those ferocious and loud barking scares away potential criminals.
The other reasons for barking are boredom, loneliness, hunger if they are sick or in pain, and even when excited.
Since they are more vocal than other breeds, what you want is to establish the difference between a normal and an unusual barking.
So, if you aim to repress the normal barking behavior, then it is simply not possible. Doing so will only result in an unhealthy and emotionally imbalanced dog.
But, you can manage the unusual barking (e.g. boredom) through consistent training.
6. Coat Classifications
There are two classifications namely the very short-haired German Shepherd and the plush-coat German Shepherd.
When we say short-haired, it refers to the ones you always see working side by side with military personnel and at the airports, in short, they’re the classics.
The very short-haired has short outer and inner/insulation layers of coat. The coat texture is bristly despite the smooth and sleek appearance.
The plush-coat German Shepherd also has two layers of the coat with the topcoat being rough to the touch while the undercoat is more like a wooly jacket that keeps the dog warm and nice.
On the other hand, the long-haired German Shepherds are the rare versions of the breed and are considered as defective coats by the AKC (American Kennel Club). Plus, they only have a single layer of the coat so they do not shed as much.
What are the colors of a German Shepherd?
The common colors are:
- black and tan
- silver and black
- black and red
The five rarest German Shepherd color:
- any pale colored-coat
7. Do Short-haired German Shepherd Shed?
Surprise, surprise! But, yes, despite its short hair, this dog is a heavy shedder. It may even shed more than the long-haired German shepherd.
Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, this breed of dog sheds 365 days a year. It sheds a lot because it is a double-coated dog. The undercoat acts as an insulator and is made up of soft and wooly hair. Then the outer coat is made up of thin and longer hair for protection.
The hair of the short-haired German Shepherd grows all year round with the old hair shedding down and is replaced by fresh ones. This is why even if you see your dog sheds, it does not mean that it is getting bald.
To make things worst, shedding gets even heavier during the cold months.
How do you manage the shedding?
Too much shedding shouldn’t stop you from choosing a short-haired German Shepherd. You can manage it through a good diet, frequent brushing using the right de-shedding tools, and regular bathing.
8. Appropriate Diet
Since this breed belongs to the category of large breed dogs with an active lifestyle, a high-protein based diet is the appropriate one. The protein source should come from high-quality meat (no fillers) like beef, poultry, and fish.
Ideally, the growing short-haired German Shepherd puppies should consume a minimum of 22% protein. The adults require at least 18% protein.
Next to protein is fat which your dog can get from protein. The right amount of fat is important for the normal functions of the nerves, body cells, muscles, and tissues. The ideal fat intake for pups is 8% while 5% for adults.
What types of food should you feed your German Shepherd?
- dry kibble food
- canned food
- a mix of dry and wet food
- home-made food
- complete raw diets
9. Activity Level
You should love physical activities to be a good German Shepherd owner. Not only is exercise necessary but it is mandatory for this tough guy. Here are some activities you can do with your dog to keep it physically and mentally stimulated:
- Aerobic exercise like walking is a must, ideally, you should walk with your dog for about 30 to 45 minutes every day. To add more challenge (good for you, too), walking on rough terrains or uphill are great forms of aerobic exercises.
- Playing fetch and tug-of-war are also good choices.
- It’s an intelligent dog breed, so mental exercises should be part of the equation. Puzzle toys allow your dog to analyze how it can get hold of those treats inside.
10. Health and Lifespan
A German Shepherd can live between 9 and 13 years. Though it is a healthy breed, it is also prone to numerous health problems like:
- Von Willebrand Disease
A blood disorder that can be compared to hemophilia in humans.
- Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
A medical condition wherein the pancreas of the dog fails to produce a healthy amount of pancreatic digestive enzymes. This results in malnutrition and weight loss.
Tips on How You Can Take Care of A Short-haired German Shepherd:
- Start forming a bond while it is still a puppy. At that stage, they are more tolerant and can be trained to be friendlier through socialization.
- Make it a habit to check the paws. German Shepherds are known for their extraordinary endurance. You may not know it but its paws may be hurting already.
- Be observant because German Shepherd puppies are susceptible to allergies.
To Sum Up…
The short-haired German Shepherd has a strong but loyal personality. As we’ve mentioned earlier, it may not be well-suited for everyone. Working dogs can indeed be intense and strong-tempered for an average family. But, if you are an experienced dog owner who knows how to be in-charge, give firm rules, and provide plenty of mental and physical stimulations, it can be integrated into your family dynamic.