German shepherds are among the most popular dog breeds in the US. Their intelligence, loyalty, and trainability are among many of their attractive traits. However, there are two main types of German Shepherds that are differentiated by the nature of their coats. While the main difference between the two varieties might be their coats, there are other variables between the two, some of which are brought on as a direct result of the coat differences.

This article will delve into some of the most notable aspects of the two coat varieties.

Similarities between long haired and short haired german shepherd


long coat vs short coat gsd

Both varieties of the German Shepherd can grow up to be 22-26 inches tall, weighing around 50-90 pounds as a healthy adult. Interestingly, males and females can be differentiated by the differences in overall size and muzzle shape. Males tend to be larger than females and have a more defined and elongated muzzle.

Their coat can feature colors such as black, tan, sable, silver, and grey. However, some of the lighter coats are not accepted by the breed standard, which makes breeders gravitate towards darker coat colors.


short haired german shepherd

Both varieties of GSD are extremely energetic, which means that they need plenty of stimulating exercise throughout the day to keep them in high spirits. Ideally, a fully grown GSD requires around two hours of exercise on a daily basis. Their sporty nature also makes them excellent companions for hikes and other outdoor activities.

German Shepherd lifespan & Health.

long haired german shepherd

Fortunately, there are no adverse health consequences that are associated with either of the coat types. There are, however, some health concerns that are associated with the breed such as hip and elbow dysplasia.

However, these issues are less likely to occur if you adopt from certified breeders that keep a strict check on genetic conditions that can be passed down. On the whole, there is no major difference between the life span, and they can live up to 13 years of age.

Differences between long haired and short haired GSD

long hair vs short haired german shepherd puppy


The coat of the GSD has two main varieties. The more well-known among the two is the short-haired variety. The maximum length of their outer coat is approximately an inch in length and is dense and straight-haired, although the breed standard also accepts a slightly wavy outer coat.

The undercoat is thick, with a wool-like consistency, and is responsible for the insulation and weatherproof nature of the coat. The longer-haired GSD on the other hand, have only one coat that can reach the length of up to two inches when it is fully grown. Their coat is soft and silky to the touch, but the lack of an undercoat makes them less suited for outdoor work, especially in cooler climates.

Breed Standards

short haired german shepherd One of the key differences between the two varieties is the fact that the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not view the long-haired breed to fall within the breed standard. So, even though their luxurious hair may make them seem like the star in your eyes, long-haired GSD can unfortunately not compete in various competitive dog shows.

This is because the long hair is thought to be a “fault” of the breed. To further complicate matters, the long-haired variety can, at times, also have a double coat, which means that they do have an undercoat. Even with the presence of a double coat, the long-haired variety is still not considered to fall under the breed standard. Despite this, long-haired GSD is still considered to be pure-bred.

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German Shepherd Grooming

Another most notable difference between the two German Shepherd varieties is with regards to their grooming needs. As stated previously, the short haired german shepherd has a double coat, while the long-haired GSD does not. This means that the double-coated GSD has a yearly shedding season, in which they essentially blow through their entire coat for 1-2 weeks each year.

The long haired german shepherd on the other hand sheds a consistent amount throughout the year and requires a regular brushing schedule of 3-4 times a week. Another notable difference between the two in terms of shedding is that the long-haired GSD seemingly shed less. This is because the long hair of their coat tends to catch shed hair better than the shot coat can.

However, when you brush your long-haired GSD, there will be a lot more fur being caught in your brush. You should also brush their coat regularly as the long hair makes it more susceptible to tangles.


While both German Shepherd types have the same inherent temperament, an interesting difference can be observed in the short-haired variety.

This change is attributed to the fact that short-haired GSD variety is the ones that are “employed” as a guard or police dogs. As these dogs are highly trained, they can come off as more aloof, and less friendly than their long-haired counterparts. It is also widely accepted that the long-haired German Shepherds are friendlier and more eager to please their owners.

While these differences in temperament are widely accepted, it is important to note that all evidence pointing to such changes are purely anecdotal, and there is no scientific study backing up these claims. Therefore, this situation can be a classic example of “nature versus nurture”.

price of the short-haired & long-haired german shepherd

As the short coat German shepherd is considered to be in line with the AKC breed standards, they are costlier than the long-haired GSD. The price for the short-haired German Shepherds can range from $1000-$1500, while the long-haired variety can cost anywhere around $500-$1000.

This price can also vary on the basis of each pet’s pedigree. If the price point is something out of your spending range, then you can always adopt a GSD from a shelter.

Facts about Short haired German Shepherd


LONG-HAIRED-VS-SHORT-HAIRED-GERMAN-SHEPHERD While the German Shepherd is a clear favorite of the public, there still remains some debate between the two coat varieties. Other than their outward appearance, there is seemingly very little difference between the two.

People who are not particularly inclined towards dog competitions can find a perfect companion in either of the coat varieties.

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