A Guide on German Shepherd Grooming And How To Groom A GSD

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German shepherd grooming is a very important part of a German Shepherd’s life. It is not only important for the dog, but it is also an affectionate activity between owner and pet.

Many people will spend between 5 and 15 minutes per day grooming their dogs with a brush or comb, depending on whether it is being brushed out or groomed for show.

A German Shepherd that does not receive proper grooming will find itself with many issues such as matted fur, tangles, knots, and other uncomfortable conditions.

If left to their own devices, mats can actually turn into solid masses that can cause discomfort and even injury to the dog. These dogs may also become self-conscious about their appearance, which could result in them not wanting to be around other dogs or people.

By staying on top of a groomer’s schedule, a German Shepherd owner is able to avoid these conditions and allow their pup to live

A GSD needs as much attention to grooming and hygiene as exercise, food, and sleep. Educate yourself on the importance of GSD grooming as we explain the benefits, techniques, and conditions on how to groom a German Shepherd.

How To Groom A German Shepherd

When it comes time to groom your dog, you will first want to make sure that they are clean. When bathing large dogs like GSDs, be careful not to get water in their ears and be sure to dry them completely. GSDs tend to have a “beard” below their mouth that will also need a little attention from time to time. Cleaning your German Shepherd’s face can prevent skin infections, too.

In addition to the beard, you will want to check for dirt or debris on his feet. You can do this by wiping all over the bottom of his paws with a damp cloth or paper towel until they are clean.

If your dog has been rolling in something undesirable, there may be excess gunk in his fur that he needs to be bathed out. Use a light shampoo on him after wetting him down thoroughly, lathering up all of that grit and grime, and then rinsing it away. Be certain all of the suds are gone before allowing him to leave the tub or he will be “squeaky” and unhappy with his bath.

If your dog has been rolling in something undesirable like mud or feces, try using a vinegar and water solution! This will not only dissolve away the yucky stuff but will also neutralize any odors. Use a good amount of vinegar in the mix to do the job right!

If your GSD has been running around in the snow, there may be excess gunk in his fur that he needs to be bathed out. Use a light shampoo on him after wetting him down thoroughly, lathering up all of that grit and grime, and then rinsing it away. Be certain all of the suds are gone before allowing him to leave the tub or he will be “squeaky” and unhappy with his bath.

GSD’s ear hair can hold moisture inside them which is an ideal living environment for yeast growth.

Trimming a German Shepherd once every few months in certain areas is fine, but shaving may present complications when maintaining its regular body temperature. Always think twice before considering regularly getting a German Shepherd haircut!

What areas on my GSD can I trim?

It is safe to trim areas on your GSD’s legs, feet, footpads, and parts of its back. As much as possible, trim less than an inch, only use scissors, and avoid using electric razors when giving a German Shepherd haircut.

Under what conditions can I shave my GSD?

If you feel that your GSD is overheating, you can shave it. Factors that may contribute to your GSD overheating are poor ventilation of your GSD’s double coat, excessive tangling or matting of its coat, and regular GSD exposure to hot and humid environments.

Shaving German Shepherds are also only viable if they have a medical condition or if other family members may be suffering from shed fur from your GSD.

Why Is Grooming Important For A GSD

Taking care of your GSD’s grooming needs is a way to show that you love and care about them. It also helps to keep them healthy and happy. There are many grooming needs for a German Shepherd, both short haired and long haired, however, their coat sheds twice a year every spring and fall. To reduce the amount of loose fur they shed it is important to brush them throughout these months. The shedding can be reduced by at least half if you groom your dog frequently throughout the shedding period.

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Here are some reasons why grooming is important to GSDs;

Body Oil Removal: The German Shepherd has a double coat that consists of two layers. The outer layer is made up of thick hair strands which repel moisture and dirt. In between the hairs, there’s a thin oily substance called sebum oil which does not let water in or out when the dog gets wet or dry. This oil keeps the dog’s skin well protected from the elements. What this means for you is that your GSD sheds quite often especially during seasons of heavy rain or snow. You will need to brush your pet at least once a day, daily combing is even better.

Always make sure to check your German Shepherd’s ears regularly since excess wax buildup can lead to ear infections.

Up to 20% of the GSD’s body weight is skin, so you can see why it’s important to keep your pet well-groomed.

Regular brushing helps control shedding and removes dead hair even before there are visible signs of it falling off. Shedding appears if the dog has not been groomed for too long, which will benefit you especially during seasons of heavy rain and snow.

Grooming Your German Shepherd

This section has tips and methods on how to groom a German Shepherd’s teeth, nails, ears, and coat.


GSDs are notorious for their constant shedding, so be prepared for long haired German Shepherd grooming. It is best to groom your GSD’s coat two or three times a week on average to maintain hygiene and cleanliness, but be prepared to brush their coat every day during the fall and spring seasons. When brushing your GSD’s fur, use long brush strokes working towards the direction of the fur growth and apply gentle pressure to evenly straighten out and clean its coat.

When grooming with an undercoat rake, be very careful when applying pressure as the grooming tool may scrape or scratch your GSD’s skin.

You can give your GSD a complete bath once every four or five months if contemplating how often should you bathe a German Shepherd.

Physical Grooming: You can use a rubber grooming tool like the Zoom Groom or a cloth and rub your pet briskly with it. This helps remove dirt and debris on your dog’s coat as well as loosens any mats on his fur. Shedding blade works best for German Shepherds with long coats.

Fur and Hair Care: Use a moisturizing shampoo for your pet’s coat to keep it looking shiny and healthy. Avoid using human shampoo on German Shepherds because it can dry out their fur. Always use special dog shampoos such as the ones listed under our best dog shampoos for german shepherds here.

Grooming Tools: Make sure you have the appropriate tools for your dog’s coat. This includes a pin brush, slicker brush, and shedding blade. These basic grooming tools will be all you need to keep your German Shepherd looking its best.

Nails & Paws

Long GSD nails can put pressure on his feet, joints, and bones which could lead to arthritis. It is a good idea to have your veterinarian or professional groomer trim your dog’s nails regularly.

Maintaining short nails is important to consider when grooming your GSD. Ingrown nails can be painful and may lead to infection in GSDs. In addition, long, untrimmed nails can become breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi, so trimming your GSD nails regularly can prevent this.

Trim your GSD’s nails once every 2 months to prevent pain and complications.


Brushing your pet’s teeth at least once a week will help prevent tartar buildup and reduce bad breath. You can use doggie toothpaste and a child-sized toothbrush, remember not to use human toothpaste on your German Shepherd!

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No special equipment is needed to brush GSD teeth and it is recommended to start cleaning their teeth with a soft toothbrush when they are young. Specially-formulated or herbal toothpaste for dogs is good to use, but not necessary. Clean your GSD’s teeth twice or three times a week for optimal results.

Brush each tooth on the outside individually and gently massage the gum line to prevent periodontitis for your GSD. Use water to rinse.


A German Shepherd’s ears can become oily and collect excess debris or dirt if neglected and left unchecked for long periods of time. Prevent this by inspecting your GSD’s ears on a regular basis. If cleaning is needed, only use ear drops to clean them and use cotton pads (not Q-tips or cotton swabs) to wipe off the excess dirt. Do not use water to clean your GSD’s ears.

Clean your GSD’s ears once a week.

German Shepherd Grooming Kit

The following items are highly recommended to keep around if you want to keep your GSD hygienic and well-groomed.

Soft-bristled Toothbrush

It is recommended to buy a toothbrush with soft bristles (or a child’s toothbrush) as the texture of the bristles is less likely to irritate or hurt your GSD’s mouth while you clean it.

Dental snacks

An easy way to clean your GSD’s teeth is to feed them dental chews, sticks, or biscuits. They typically have some additive to them and are specifically made with a rough texture to prevent and get rid of tartar buildup.

Chew toys

You can give rubber chew toys, rawhide chews, and tennis balls to your GSD to promote a healthy mouth and clean teeth.


Using a clipper may require knowledge of where the “quick” of your GSD nail is. Take your GSD’s paw and make a few clips as possible to reduce anxiety when grooming your GSD.


Easily the cheapest option to use when grooming your GSD’s nails, nail files are easy to use and are less intimidating for GSDs. Files are the best tools to use for inexperienced users following nail care routines.

Automatic Dremel tool

A more expensive but convenient option, an automatic Dremel tool sands down your GSD’s nails very quickly and painlessly. This is the quickest and easiest nail care tool you can invest in for your GSD.

Ear drops

Only use vet-prescribed dog ear drops and NOT ear drops for humans. Special dog ear drops are the only recommended option to safely clean and disinfect your GSD’s ears.

Undercoat rake

This is an indispensable tool to have for your German Shepherd grooming kit. It is useful for long haired German Shepherd grooming as well because it digs underneath the top coat of your GSD to pull out loose or dead fur from the undercoat.

Slicker brush

This type of brush is used mainly for the topcoat of GSDs and can be used to remove loose fur. This tool can also be used to remove debris or smooth out mats and tangles. Slicker brushes are also best used for shaved German Shepherds or GSDs with short coats.

Metal comb

A metal comb can be used alongside slicker brushes to remove any tangled or matted fur from the topcoat. The material of the comb needs to be metal or some kind of alloy to prevent it from breaking against the tough coat of your german shepherd dog.

How often should German shepherds be groomed?

A German shepherd will need to be groomed at least twice a year. This is necessary for the dog’s health and appearance. Not grooming often enough can cause matting of the fur in a short period of time, which can lead to uncomfortable skin irritations and infections. If you have a puppy that has long hair, be sure to carefully brush or comb it daily.

How to Groom a German Shepherd for Summer

Grooming your GSD for the summer is really important, especially when you’re in a hot climate like Arizona. I’m sure that most of us in the northern hemisphere are eager to get back into our workout routines, or perhaps even begin one. Getting outside, in general, is healthier for both you and your dog than just being cooped up in the house.

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For German Shepherds, it is usually necessary to give them professional dog grooming every 6 weeks or so. If your dog is like mine and he likes to do things like “roll in dead mud,” then you’ll need to get him groomed more frequently than that.

Professional groomers tend to use clippers, which will remove the dead undercoat and “dead” hair on your GSD, making him cooler for the hot summer weather. This also means that you’ll need to shave or cut his nails more often since you won’t have that long fur protecting them anymore when they’re on the ground.

They will also clean his ears of excess wax and debris, which helps prevent infections. If your GSD’s ears are floppy, they can get dirty more easily because there is no fur protection to keep the dirt out.

Washing Your German Shepherd

The process is simple: put on the gloves, add a small amount of dog shampoo to the palm of your hand (I just drip 3-4 drops into my palm), rub your hands together, and apply to your dog’s coat. You can either use a brush or your hand to make sure the shampoo is completely worked into his fur.

I usually take a shower with my German Shepherd afterward, which means I put him in there too! Just wet his body down thoroughly and rinse well. If you don’t have a detachable showerhead, it’s probably easier to just use the handheld one.

Putting an old towel on the floor of your bathtub or outside in your yard will make sure that you don’t have to scrub really muddy paw prints off of your bathroom floor/your dog! For particularly mucky dogs, you might want to repeat this process once more.

Every 6 months or so, you’ll need to get your dog’s ears professionally cleaned. This usually involves applying some solution to your dog’s ear and massaging the base of his ear for about 5-10 minutes (make sure not to stick anything down into his ear canal). It is also important that you don’t use cotton swabs, fingers, or anything else to clean your dog’s ears at home. It is dangerous for them and the dirt will just build up again very quickly.

How much does it cost to groom a GSD?

The following is an estimate of the costs associated with grooming a German Shepherd based on averages from dog owners who reported their experience. Grooming can be very expensive and vary significantly depending on the number and type of services provided, location, and reputation of the groomer. The list is meant to give you a ballpark estimate of the costs of German Shepherd grooming.

Prices are based on advertised average prices (prices do not include taxes). They may be higher in some areas and lower in others. Please note that these estimates do not include professional training fees or any other costs associated with having your dog professionally groomed.

German Shepherd Grooming Cost Service Price

  • $7-12/hr for basic pet wash with no services or products. This is the minimum price that a groomer will charge for bathing, cleaning ears, trimming nails, brushing teeth, etc. without any other services provided beyond standard bath care. This will typically include a bath, brushing, and nail trim.
  • $30-75 for standard grooming which includes just the essentials with no frills. This typically includes bath, brush out, nails trimmed with a standard style cut or grind. Other services may be extra.
  • $40-100+ for deluxe grooming with shaves, haircuts, and a range of other services. This price would include bathing, brushing, nails trimmed and/or ground, ear cleaning, and plucking along with poodle mixing. More expensive summer cuts that may also include a facial shave or haircuts with frills such as haircut styles can add to the cost.

Wrapping Up

A healthy dog is a happy dog. A clean and shiny coat makes your companion look great and enhances their overall health. A groomed GSD will also be more comfortable around you. Grooming helps bond owners and pets.

When you are grooming your dog, make sure to give him some love and attention. This will make the experience more pleasant for both of you.

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