How to Groom a German Shepherd Dog - Full Guide

How to Groom a German Shepherd Dog - Full Guide

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Sep 04 2023


The German Shepherd is a large, active dog breed that needs regular grooming to keep their coat and skin healthy. Proper grooming will reduce shedding, prevent mats and tangles, and help distribute skin oils.

German Shepherds have a double coat — a protective topcoat and a soft undercoat. While it takes time and effort, grooming a German Shepherd can be very rewarding. Not only will your dog look and feel their best, but the grooming session can strengthen your bond and allow you to monitor your dog's health.

With the right tools and techniques, you can keep your German Shepherd's coat looking its shining best.

1. Brush Thoroughly

The most important part of grooming a German Shepherd is regular brushing. Their thick double-coat sheds heavily and needs to be brushed at least once a week to remove loose hair and prevent matting.

Using a pin brush, slicker brush, and an undercoat rake is recommended to brush down to the skin and catch all the loose fur. Always brush in the direction of hair growth, starting at the head and neck, before moving down the body. Be gentle, especially when brushing sensitive areas like the stomach, tail, and behind the legs. Brushing stimulates the skin and distributes natural oils for a healthy coat. Your dog will enjoy this relaxing massage-like experience.

german shepehrd looking

To help you find the best brush for your German Shepherd, we made this guide - 6 Best Brushes For German Shepherds For The Best Results

2. Bathe Occasionally

While German Shepherds don't require frequent baths, an occasional bath is important to keep their coat and skin clean. Bathe your German Shepherd every 4 to 8 weeks or when they get dirty or smelly. Use a dog-safe shampoo and lukewarm water, thoroughly soaking their coat down to the skin.

Avoid getting water in their ears. Rinse well to remove all shampoo residue which can irritate their skin. After bathing, towel dry thoroughly and blow dry their coat on the cool setting. Bathing loosens dirt and shedding fur to be brushed out afterward. Regular brushing between baths will keep their coat fresh.

german shepehrd bath

3. Trim Nails Regularly

An important part of grooming a German Shepherd is trimming their nails regularly. Overgrown nails can crack, split, or lead to joint pain from improper gait. Use sharp nail clippers designed for dogs and trim just the clear portion of the nails, avoiding the pink quickly, which will bleed if cut.

Nails should be trimmed around every 2 to 3 weeks or when you hear them clacking on the floor. Introduce nail trims slowly with positive reinforcement and rewards. Making it a relaxing experience will prevent any stress or dislike of nail trims. Maintaining proper nail length is an essential aspect of grooming.

german shepehrd paw

4. Clean Eyes and Ears

Pay close attention to cleaning your German Shepherd's eyes and ears as part of a complete grooming routine. Their erect ears with heavy fur can trap moisture, dirt, and bacteria, leading to infections. Check and wipe their ears weekly with a dog ear wash solution and cotton ball.

Never insert anything into the ear canal. Regular ear cleaning prevents unpleasant ear infections. Their almond-shaped eyes with thick fur around them tend to accumulate a dark discharge. Use a separate cotton pad for each eye to gently wipe the corners daily, removing any gunk buildup.

5. Brush Teeth Regularly

Oral care is as important as coat and skin care when grooming a German Shepherd. Their teeth need regular brushing to prevent the buildup of tartar, which can lead to dental disease. Use a toothpaste made specifically for dogs and a soft dog toothbrush. Brush their teeth as part of your grooming routine at least 2-3 times weekly.

Start brushing at a young age so they get used to having their teeth brushed. Daily is best, but regular brushing a few times a week can drastically improve dental health. Your dog can't brush their own teeth, so it's an essential grooming task for you as their owner.

german shepehrd teeth cleaning


Grooming a German Shepherd properly involves brushing, bathing, nail care, and cleaning eyes, ears, and teeth regularly. While it takes time and commitment, you'll be rewarded with a healthy and happy German Shepherd who looks their very best.

Your grooming time together strengthens your bond while promoting their health. With the right grooming tools and techniques, it can be an enjoyable experience for both you and your beloved German Shepherd. Consistent grooming keeps shedding manageable, prevents skin issues, removes dirt and odors, and detects any abnormalities early. Your German Shepherd depends on you to care for their grooming needs.

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