No, German Shepherds are not on the list of hypoallergenic dogs.  They have fur and they shed so this, combined with their saliva and dander can irritate dog allergies in people. 

 For some, this can become an issue, especially if they are severely allergic to dogs.  If you have your heart set on having a German Shepherd as a pet but has an allergy to dogs or someone in the family does, there are still ways you can have your favorite dog as a pet and deal with the allergies.

Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

Some dog breeds are more allergy-friendly but unfortunately, the German Shepherds is not on that list. They were originally bred to be herd dogs so they needed a thick fur to handle the cold mountain heights where they lived and worked and the cold weather. 

As a result, they have double coats that are very thick, especially during the winter months.  Their undercoat is very close to the skin and is soft to the touch and was meant to keep them dry and warm.  It was their insulation when the temperatures got brutally cold.  Their outer coat is coarser, longer, and meant to protect them against ice and snow.

grooming german shepherd

With a double coat, they will shed year-round.  When summer approaches this is one time when they shed the most.  A German Shepherd will do this so they can enjoy being out in the heat during the summer and they do not overheat in the sun.  If they did not shed all this extra fur when it got hot, they would become too hot and be at risk for heatstroke, even death.

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Should You Shave Your German Shepherd?

The answer to that question is no because in the winter they need that extra fur to keep them warm.  In the summer, it will help them cool down although they are getting rid of some of that insulation by shedding.  If you shave them, you are leaving them open to becoming sunburned in the summer.  And even if they are shaved, they will still shed some so don’t shave them.

What Causes dog Allergies

The number one culprit of course is their fur but it also comes from their urine, saliva, and dander, which is found in their fur.  This is why many think their allergies to dog comes just from the fur.  There are many ways in which pet dander can be transmitted. 

You can get the dander just by petting your dog, by touching exposed parts of your body, like your face, after petting your dog, or through the air by breathing it in. When your dog shakes, runs or even walks, they can lose the dander from their skin into the air. You can even get these allergens when your dog licks you.

running german shepherd

Living With Your Allergies and a German Shepherd

Before you get a German Shepherd, you should know what your allergy tolerance is and whether you can handle a dog.  A German Shepherd has the nickname of German Shedders because of the amount of fur that they shed.  If you or anyone in your family has severe dog allergies, you might consider getting another breed instead of a German Shepherd because they do shed a lot.  There are things that you can do to help manage your dog allergies if you have a German Shepherd or going to get one.

  • Groom Them:  Although a German Shepherd sheds a lot, there is a way that you can help to control it.  That way is to groom them.  If you cannot do this because of your allergies, then you may have to ask another family member to do this or take them to a pet groomer.  Your dog should be brushed at least once a day.  When brushing your dog, use tools that are specially made for brushing.  Use firm, short brush strokes, brushing in the same direction.  You will need to use a slicker brush because they have two layers.  Do not brush their fur against the direction that it is growing because it is painful for your dog.
  • Bathe Them:  You should make sure that you are bathing them regularly but how often is up to the owner.  They more often you can bathe your German Shepherd, the better as this will get rid of dander and old dead skin cells.  It will also keep them from being shaken off and into the air.  Use a good shampoo that is made for dogs and massage it into their skin but do not scrub their body.  Bathing them will help to reduce the shedding and keep their coat healthy.
  • Vacuum Daily: Carpets seem to trap pet dander and hair so you need a good vacuum cleaner that has the power to suck up the hair and dander from deep inside the carpet.  If it is possible, take up the carpet and replace with hardwood floors.  It is much easier to get rid of the hair and dander.  Always take time to vacuum the furniture.  
  • Bedding:  Be sure that your German Shepherd has their own bed because if they sleep with you, your bed will collect their hair and pet dander.  It is not good to sleep eight hours or so in all that hair and pet dander.
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Conclusion

  • German Shepherds are a social dog and like to be part of the family so do not make then a complete outdoor dog because of your allergies.  
  • In addition to shedding in the spring, they also shed in the fall to make room for the new thick hair growing in that will keep them warm during the winter.
  • When you are brushing your dog, you are helping their skin release their natural oil and it will protect their skin from getting dry.  When their skin is dry, it will promote more dander.
  • When their skin produces less dander it will help to keep their shedding to a minimum.
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