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Grooming Guide: How To Groom A German Shepherd

German Shepherd dogs are known for their intelligence and loyalty, making them the perfect companions to bring into your family.

What lots of people don’t know about German Shepherds (sometimes known as GSD) is that they do require a fair bit of grooming – and this is because they can shed a lot!

But even if you are completely new to caring for this breed, don’t panic. We have put together a grooming guide on how to groom a German Shepherd.

How To Groom A German Shepherd

This guide contains everything you need to know about grooming your GSD the right way.

How To Groom A German Shepherd

It is important to create a soothing and relaxing environment for your German Shepherd when you need to groom them.

Not only do you need to brush them frequently, but you also need to make sure that their eyes, ears, mouths, and nails are getting a fair amount of attention, too.

Below, you will find out everything you need to know about brushing a GSD.

Brushing Your GSD

German Shepherds are known for being shedding dogs, so this means that you are going to find a lot of their hair all over the place.

Brushing their coat helps to stop matting and keep them tidy, and in a lot of ways, it helps to manage the chaos that is their fur.

Step 1: Choose The Right Grooming Spot

It’s very common for dogs of all breeds to get anxious when it comes time to groom, and this is why choosing the right space is essential.

You want your GSD to be as calm as possible, so take them somewhere quiet and familiar when grooming time comes around.

It is also in your best interest to choose a spot that is outdoors, as the whole process can be quite chaotic and messy.

If you do choose an indoor spot, make sure that it is easy to manage and clean.

Step 2: Brushing Your GSD The Right Way

Once your GSD is calm, you can begin brushing. Start by brushing in a small patch near the tail and uttering words of encouragement as you go.

Some German Shepherds might prefer another starting point, and if that’s the case, go with it. Remember, you want them to be comfortable throughout the process.

After you have finished brushing the tail (or whatever other starting point), use quick, steady strokes to brush the undercoat from roots to tips.

Make sure to brush in the direction of the hair growth to make it easier. To get to the undercoat, all you have to do is lift the outercoat up with your free hand.

When the undercoat is brushed, you can let go of the outer coat and simply brush through it a couple of times.

Step 3: Make Use Of Detangler Spray

If you want to make the whole process a bit easier, you should consider using detangler spray.

Using this spray with a metal comb can really work out the mats and knots in a way that isn’t too discomforting to your German Shepherd.

Be gentle in the way you tease these knots out, and if you come across some areas that are just too stubborn, you can snip them out carefully with grooming shears.

How To Groom A German Shepherd

Step 4: Use A Foolproof Method

The best way to groom your German Shepherd is to go section by section. Make sure that you aren’t rushing and that each section is getting enough time and care.

You can use a method that works specifically for your own GSD, but the most popular method goes as follows:

  • Back and sides (working forward from the tail)
  • Neck and head
  • Legs and feet
  • Tail
  • Sanitary area (genitals and anus)

Eye, Ear, Mouth & Nail Care

Along with fur care, you also need to make sure that you are providing adequate care to other areas of your German Shepherd.

Follow these tips and tricks to improve their quality of living in the grooming process even further.

  • Brush their teeth every day. Make sure you only use dog-appropriate toothpaste. You can miss a day or two if you don’t have time, but daily is the recommended amount.
  • Clean their ears weekly. Canine ear drops work wonderfully for this, and if your dog has more waxy or itchy ears, you may need to do it more frequently.
  • Clean their eyes once a week. Using just a dampened cloth, look out for things such as swelling, redness, or excessive discharge. If you see any of these things, contact your vet immediately.
  • Check the nails weekly. You only need to clip your GSD’s nails if they become too long and they are scratching up your skin or surfaces.
  • Bathe them 1 to 2 times a year. The frequency of bathing will depend on their activity level and the thickness of their coat.

Extra Tips & Tricks For Grooming Your German Shepherd

Below, we’ve included a few more tips and tricks for your arsenal:

Start Young

If possible, and if you have your GSD from a pup, get them used to the grooming routine from an early age. And don’t forget to make it a positive experience.

Brushing Frequency

You will need to brush your GSD every 1 to 3 days in order to keep their coats tidy. German Shepherds are a double-coated breed, so this means they require more frequent brushing.

You really have to pay attention to their undercoat and make sure it is getting adequate time and care. If you don’t, it runs the risk of matting, knotting, and tangling, which will cause your German Shepherd a lot of distress.

Pay Extra Attention During The ‘Blowing Coat’ Time Of Year

At least two times per year, usually during the spring and fall, German Shepherds shed their entire undercoat, and this is called ‘Blowing Coat’.

During these times of the year, they shed more frequently, and you will need to brush them at least 1 to 2 times per day. Failing to do this leads to larger shedding areas and potential mats and tangles in your dog’s coat.


GSDs do require a lot of care and grooming, but it is worth it to keep them happy and healthy.

Use the grooming guide and tips and tricks we have provided here to keep your German Shepherd clean and comfortable.

Sharon Isaacs