Short-Haired German Shepherd: Info, Pictures, FAQs & More

Obedient short haired German Shepherd dog lying down on green grass in the garden

If you’ve ever seen a German Shepherd Dog, you’ve almost certainly seen a short-haired GSD. They exhibit the standard German Shepherd coat that we know and love!

They are called short-haired German Shepherds for one main reason — to differentiate them from the other varieties of the breed. 

To illustrate, there are DDR German Shepherds, liver German Shepherds, and dwarf German Shepherds

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the short-haired GSD. We’ll discuss their appearance, rarity, personality, health concerns, and more. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started!

What Is a Short-Haired German Shepherd?

Short-haired German Shepherd Dog sitting on the green grass

A short-haired GSD is the one we know as the standard German Shepherd. When you think of a GSD, the short-haired variety is probably the one that comes to mind. These dogs are distinguished by their double coats that are only about an inch in length. 

Short-haired GSDs are robust dogs that are very athletic. These obedient working dogs are easy to train and highly intelligent. Aside from being family companions, they are also used as police dogs and guide dogs.

A dominant gene causes the short-coat or “normal-length coat” of the German Shepherd Dog. On the other hand, a recessive gene causes the long coats on other GSDs.

While long-haired GSDs do exist, only short-haired ones are accepted by most kennel clubs, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) and United Kennel Club (UKC).

There is also another variant of these shepherd dogs, and that is the so-called “plush” German Shepherd. 

Plush GSDs have a medium-length coat that is slightly longer and fluffier than short hair GSDs.

Short-Haired vs. Long-Haired German Shepherd: What’s the Difference?

Obviously, the coat length is the most striking difference between the short-haired and long-haired German Shepherd. If you look closely at the photos below, you’ll see these differences right away.

Short-haired German Shepherd

Short-haired German Shepherd Dog portrait

Long-haired German Shepherd

Long-haired German Shepherd Dog portrait

The short-haired GSD has a coat that is about an inch in length, while the long-haired GSD has a coat length of at least two inches.

For short-haired GSDs, their thick double coat grows slightly longer around their necks and legs. On the flip side, long-haired German Shepherds have single-layered coats that hang from their bodies. 

When standing, the GSD with longer hair will have the coat near its belly hang closer to the ground. This is probably one of the easiest ways to tell them apart. 

The coat textures on these dogs also differ slightly. The coat on the short-haired GSD is coarse and dense, while the coat on the long-haired GSD can either be wooly or wavy in texture.

In terms of personality, there’s not a lot of difference between these two. Both variants are loyal, intelligent, and trainable. Both dogs can also be friendly and docile, especially if they are socialized early on.

Health-wise, short and long-haired GSDs are pretty much on par. Both dogs are at risk of hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, common eye problems, and a few others.

It is worth mentioning that German Shepherds with short hair are more robust when exposed to the elements. 

These dogs have double coats that can protect them better under extreme heat or cold weather. 

Simply put, if you don’t mind aesthetics, any one of these two will do the job. After all, they’re the same breed through and through! 

Are Short-Haired German Shepherds Rare?

No, short-haired GSDs are not rare. In fact, it’s quite the opposite — these dogs are everywhere!

According to a list made by the AKC, the German Shepherd is the third most popular dog breed, and it goes without saying that many of these GSDs are short-haired. After all, short-haired shepherds make up most of the population of the breed. 

GSDs with short coats are more common than other GSD variants because of genetics. As we’ve mentioned in the previous section, short hair is linked to a dominant gene. In other words, short hair is the “default” for a German Shepherd. 

Furthermore, because long-haired GSDs are not accepted in breed standards, many breeders are nudged towards raising and selling short-haired GSDs instead. As a result, there are more short-haired variants of this breed. 

Similarly, most breeders avoid producing long-haired GSDs because they aim to meet the breed standards. 

Meeting breed standards means getting kennel club accreditations, which is always good for the business.

Of course, some breeders still breed long-haired GSDs. Because of their perceived rarity, these shepherds are usually sold for a higher price. If anything, long-haired GSDs are the rare ones!

Short-Haired German Shepherd Appearance: What Does a Short-Haired German Shepherd Look Like?

Short-haired German Shepherd appearance

German Shepherds with short coats have strong and athletic bodies. These dogs are medium to large in size, and they come in a variety of coat colors. 

In terms of height and weight, short-haired German Shepherds measure 22 to 26 inches tall and weigh 50 to 90 pounds when fully grown.

In reality, males are larger than their female counterparts; however, the difference is not substantial. Males also have a tougher appearance, thanks to their well-defined muscular structure, longer noses, and a slightly taller pair of ears. 

The topline of the short-haired GSD is straight, although a slight sloping is still acceptable from time to time. 

German Shepherds with overly sloped backs are results of irresponsible breeding and should not be condoned. 

Unlike the long-haired GSD, the short-haired German Shepherd is double-coated. Their outer coat is dense and sits close to the skin. Although it is desired to be straight, the breed standard allows for a slight waviness. 

These dogs have a thick, woolly undercoat. This is what gives them robust protection against the elements.

The possible colors of the short-haired GSD are completely black, black and tan, red and black, sable, and grey. These dogs can also sport pale coat colorations, but these are not accepted by most kennel clubs and breed standards.

Here’s an insightful video showing what a short-haired GSD looks like from puppy to adult:

German Shepherd Puppy Growing Up (8 Weeks - 1 Year) | NerdVlog

READ NEXT: Black German Shepherd: Are Black GSDs Really Aggressive?

Short-Haired German Shepherd Genetics: Why Do German Shepherds Have Short Hair?

For starters, it is crucial to understand that short hair is the “default” hair length of the GSD. This means, if nature takes its course, almost all German Shepherds will have short hair.

Now, this does not mean that long hair on GSDs is “unnatural” — they still are! However, they come by less often than short-haired GSDs.

The short fur on most German Shepherd Dogs is caused by a dominant gene, while the long coat on some is a manifestation of a recessive gene. 

Scientifically speaking, the chances of a recessive trait surfacing is slimmer than a dominant trait. 

The only way to get a long-haired GSD is to mix two GSDs that carry the recessive gene. Breeders do this by performing tests on parent dogs to find out which carries the recessive gene. 

Because of how genetics play out, the process of breeding long-haired GSDs is more deliberate than breeding short-haired ones. 

In fact, it is estimated that only 10 to 15 percent of the GSD population is long-haired; the rest is short-haired.

Short-Haired German Shepherd Shedding: Do Short-Haired German Shepherds Shed More?

Regardless of coat length, German Shepherd Dogs shed frequently. For any German Shepherd, regular brushing will always be necessary. 

That said, for the most part, short-haired GSDs tend to have more loose hair than long-haired GSDs.

For the long-haired German Shepherd, most of their loose hair gets caught up on their fur. This means these dogs do not have as much hair fall as their short-haired counterparts. 

On the other hand, short-haired GSDs tend to have loose fur everywhere. You should expect their fur on your sofa, carpet, and all over the house!

Luckily, brushing your dog’s hair once a week is enough to keep shedding manageable. This will also help your dog maintain its attractive looks and eliminate random clumps of fur in the house. 

Brushing frequency should be increased during shedding seasons such as spring and fall. Usually, these pooches will shed their thicker undercoat and replace it with a thinner undercoat during summer.

You should also invest in a high-quality hairbrush for your pup, preferably the ones designed for their coat texture and coat length.

To protect your pup’s coat from drying out, bathing should only be done whenever necessary. This is when your pup begins to smell or gets too dirty. 

Does AKC Recognize the Short-Haired German Shepherd?

Three short haired German Shepherd puppies outdoors

Yes, the AKC recognizes the short-haired German Shepherd. In fact, the breed standard for the GSD is arguably tailored for the short hair GSD!

As long as they don’t exhibit any disqualifications, they will be recognized by the AKC and other kennel clubs. 

Some disqualifications include cropped or hanging ears, a nose color that is not black, and docked tail. 

AKC also specifies that any dog that attempts to bite the judge will be subject to disqualification.

Aside from these, other disqualifications are linked to the color of the dog. Pale colors, blue shades, white, and liver, for example, are considered undesirable flaws.

Long-haired GSDs, on the other hand, do not fit the breed standard. These dogs will never be able to participate in any AKC dog shows. However, other kennel clubs might still allow them.

READ NEXT: DDR German Shepherd: Everything About the East GSD & FAQs

Short-Haired German Shepherd Temperament: Are Short-Haired GSDs Good Family Pets?

Hair length is not a big deal when it comes to the temperament of the German Shepherd breed. These dogs make excellent family members regardless of whether they have long or short hair. 

Like most breeds, the German Shepherd can get along with other pets and children. Of course, this is provided that they are socialized and trained early on. 

One area where the short-haired GSD excels over other breeds is in working. This pup is a working dog that loves challenging tasks! 

That said, their exercise and training requirements might be a bit demanding compared to other dogs.

The best way to train a short-haired German Shepherd is by using the so-called positive reinforcement training. This is a scheme that uses treats and praises as encouragement for your pup. 

As “Velcro dogs,” German Shepherds love to spend as much time as possible with their families. This is not a dog to be left behind for long hours as it is prone to separation anxiety.

All in all, you really can’t go wrong when adding a short-haired German Shepherd to your family. 

As long as you can provide for its emotional and physical needs, this pup will prove to be a fantastic pet for your family.

Short-Haired German Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Short-Haired GSDs Healthy Dogs?

The life expectancy of a short-haired German Shepherd is between 10 and 13 years. On some occasions, a German Shepherd Dog can even live past 15 years old!

Needless to say, the German Shepherd is a healthy pup that lives a pretty long life. However, their health is not perfect. There are a couple of things to watch out for if you wish to own one of these pooches.

Here are some common health issues of the short-haired German Shepherd:

  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Dysplasia is a condition that causes a misalignment in a dog’s ball-and-socket joint. Hip dysplasia affects the area near the pelvis, whereas elbow dysplasia affects the elbows. A dog with dysplasia will experience pain when moving and will have poor posture.
  • Cataracts: Cataracts in German Shepherds are most commonly caused by old age. Proteins cluster together and produce a cloud-like fluid in the eyes, causing this disease. While dogs can live a complete life without their eyesight, cataracts should be prevented if possible.
  • Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis in German Shepherds is usually caused by a poor diet. The main culprit of this health condition is eating too many fatty foods. Some symptoms accompanying this condition are nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
  • Bloat: Bloat, also known as gastric dilation-volvulus, is a fatal health problem that affects GSDs. The twisting of a dog’s stomach characterizes this condition. Bloat, if left untreated, can result in sudden death.

As you can see, some of these health issues are caused by environmental factors, while others are genetic. Luckily, all of these health concerns are avoidable or, at the very least, preventable.

If you see anything suspicious about your dog, visit the vet immediately. Because while this guide might be helpful, this is no veterinary advice. Seeking veterinary guidance is always the best option when it comes to your pup’s health.

How Much Does a Short-Haired German Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

Three short-haired German Shepherd puppies for sale and adoption

The price of a short-haired German Shepherd puppy ranges from $500 to $1,500. At this range, these dogs are priced relatively lower compared to other similar dog breeds. 

Of course, you should expect to pay more if you are looking for a GSD from a champion line. Show-line GSDs sell for around $3,000 to $5,000, depending on coat color, age, and bloodline.

Aside from the price of the dog itself, there are also costs to consider. You must keep these in your budget before rushing out to get your own GSD dog!

Here’s a list of all the things you need to buy for your short-haired German Shepherd puppy:

Type of ExpenseEstimated Cost
Dog Carrier$60 – $120
Dog Bed$50 – $80
Collar and Leash$30 – $50
Toys$20 – $50
Neutering/Spaying$100 – $130
Microchipping$25 – $60
Dog Shampoo$10 – $20
Toothbrush and Toothpaste$10 – $30
Grooming Brush$20 – $30
Nail Clippers$15 – $20
Total Initial Cost$340 – $590

According to the table above, you should budget $340 to $540 for your German Shepherd’s initial supplies. Remember that recurring costs, such as dog food and treats, are not yet included on the list!

A reasonable estimate for recurring costs would be $150 to $200 per month. These include dog food, vet visits, vitamins, grooming services, pet daycare, and other items.

If you want to dive deep at the cost of owning a German Shepherd, check out our article on the cost of owning a GSD. It will teach you a lot!

RELATED: How Much Does a German Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices and Expenses

Places to Find Short-Haired German Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption

If you want to own a short-haired German Shepherd, there is some good news for you! There are plenty of places where you can get these dogs. In fact, they are most likely one of the easiest dogs to find for sale or adoption!

However, be cautious when purchasing a GSD. You should avoid getting German Shepherd puppies from backyard breeders and puppy mills. These dogs almost always have underlying health issues or genetic flaws.

It is best to get your short-haired German Shepherd Dog from a reputable breeder or rescue. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best resources available to help you with your search.

Below are some breeders and services where you can find short-haired German Shepherd puppies for sale:

  • Southernwind Kennels – Breeders at Southernwind Kennels are well-versed and dependable, as seen by their 45-year experience with GSDs. In Southernwind, German Shepherd puppies are bred from healthy, OFA, and FCI-certified parent shepherds.
  • Vom Banach K9 – Vom Banach K9 is a German Shepherd breeder in Washington State. They specialize in breeding working-line German Shepherds with short coats. Plus, this breeder keeps a record of your pet’s family tree!
  • West Coast German Shepherds – This California-based breeder is a family-run kennel established in 2007. This breeder takes great pride in its GSD puppies, known for their excellent health and disposition. They also have a vast collection of GSDs, so you’ll never run out of choices!

If you fancy adopting a short-haired GSD rather than buying one, we still got you covered. 

RELATED: Best German Shepherd Breeders (2021): 10 Places to Find German Shepherd Puppies for Sale

Here are places where you can find short-haired German Shepherds for adoption:

  • BrightStar German Shepherd Rescue – BrightStar German Shepherd Rescue was established in 2002 with the sole purpose of rescuing German Shepherds. Every year, the nonprofit helps hundreds of German Shepherds in need find new, loving homes.
  • German Shepherd Rescue of New England (GSRNE) – GSRNE is dedicated to providing a safe place for their rescued German Shepherds. Every dog in their program gets temperament and behavior tested, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and medically examined.
  • Garden State German Shepherd Rescue (GSGSR) – GSGSR is a volunteer-run organization that takes in unwanted and abandoned GSD and GSD mixes. They focus on rescuing dogs close to being put down from other rescues, pounds, and shelters.

If you need more options, make sure to read our article on German Shepherd rescues and the German Shepherd breeders. In these articles, you’ll find the complete list of the best sources for a short-haired GSD!

RELATED: 10 Best German Shepherd Rescues for Adoption (2021): Our Top 10 Picks!

Frequently Asked Questions

German Shepherd with short hair in the park

Are Short-Haired German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

No, short-haired German Shepherds are not hypoallergenic. These dogs shed quite a lot and produce a ton of dander! They are not recommended for pet owners who have allergies.

Do Short-Haired German Shepherds Get Cold?

The short-haired GSD is a pretty robust dog. Its double-layered coat provides ample protection against colder climates and harsh weather conditions, but they still get cold. Keep in mind that no dog is immune to hypothermia, so keep your GSD warm! 

Final Thoughts: Should You Get a Short-Haired German Shepherd?

Short-haired German Shepherd Dogs are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, and it’s pretty easy to see why. The adaptability and charm of these dogs are simply unmatched.

That being said, unless you lead a sedentary lifestyle or have pretty bad allergies, you’ll surely enjoy having a GSD around. 

These dogs will easily charm you with their wits and make you fall in love with their loyalty. They’re the best friends everyone deserves!

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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