German Shepherd Dog > Cutting a GSD's coat (15 replies)
Cutting a GSD's coat
by macrowe1 on 30 June 2012 - 23:09
|So, I live in Alabama, and it's been in the 100s for the past week. I don't leave my girls out but for the 2 minutes that it takes them to go to the bathroom, and I haven't been able to run them until after dark when it cools off a little bit. I've been leaving my 20 month old at home in her crate while I go to work (mostly because she's in heat and I work at a vet clinic, it would be chaos), and taking the little one with me since I work long hours. Well all summer our air conditioner just hasn't been doing the job, and it's been at least 80 degrees in the house. All of the fans are on, including a standing fan, but it's still extremely hot. Now the air won't even blow in the back room, which happens to be our bedrooms where the crates are. It's 90+ in here currently, and I feel extremely bad for the dogs. Has anyone done any summer cuts with their dogs? What is the best way to cool them down until we can get all of this fixed?|
by CMills on 30 June 2012 - 23:20
|You can buy those cooling mats if you think it's that hot. Many, many dogs live outside through 90 degree heat, as long as they have enough shade and water. so I don't think it's too hard on your dogs if it's 80 degrees in your house, cause it's shaded, I'd buy a couple box fans and have them blowing on the dogs while in their crates, I think they'd be fine.|
by beetree on 30 June 2012 - 23:20
|Break out the plastic and get more BTU's. I wouldn't cut the dog's hair!|
by Dawulf on 30 June 2012 - 23:56
|*IF* My dog has to stay home in the kennel, I have a small fan I angle from the nearby AC vent onto her, so most of the cool air gets blown in there with her.|
I wouldn't cut their hair either though - it won't grow back the same in a double-coated dog, from what I've seen. Thats how you get those Golden Retrievers that resemble small grizzlies.
by macrowe1 on 01 July 2012 - 02:33
|Thanks, I really don't want to cut their hair haha. I have a little fan pointed at the big crate with my big girl in it, as it is one of the closed travel crates. The pup's crate is open, so she's getting cool from the ceiling fan. We put in two window units, one in the bedroom, as apparently the air conditioner is blowing, but not hard, and cannot keep the house cool. Dawulf, I HATE that look, those wooly looking things with kinda patchy hair. Ugh I would hate if that were the case! I just don't want them to get too hot in this weather :( I know there are a lot that are outside in hot weather, but I can't stand the thought of that. My babies are so spoiled and used to the cool indoors, or the warm indoors during the winter.|
by SummertimeGSD on 01 July 2012 - 02:34
|NEVER cut the coat! Though it seems hot, it is part of the dog's natural cooling system. Make sure they are well groomed so that all that loose, extra undercoat is out. It can also damage the hair and it may never grow back correctly.|
by dragonfry on 01 July 2012 - 02:47
|While i know everyone here freaks out about cutting GSD hair. As a dog groomer with over 10 years experience in florida. It can be done and it will NOT ruin your dog's coat. Other wise i'd never of gotten repeat customers.|
But if your a die hard about the perfect coat try this.
Have someone clip their bellies with a #10 blade. (DO NOT use a longer style blade as the can injure the dog's nipples) Cutting a cooling patch allows the dogs to get some skin to the cooler floor. Many dogs seem to enjoy the belly patch while not removing the topcoat.
Have the dog throughtly bathed and brushed to remove dead and excess under coat. Stripping down uneeded coat will help the cool off quicker.
Try installing a simple swamp cooler. Look online for direction top make one.
As for damaging the coat from having a professional hair cut? Nonsense. I clipped my bosses shepherds down twice every summer and her coat came back perfect in just a few months.
She looked like a Hyena for a while but she seemed happier and it made cleaning her up after her swims much quicker. I've also shaved some of the local Police dogs and they never suffered hair regrowth problems either. Neither did the labs, goldens, giant schnauzers, bouvies or any other double coated breed. Including huskies and chows.
I think those messed up dogs most folks see are home grooms with the wrong blades, allowed to get hot and injure the dog's skin. Amatures do things professionals would never do.
by brynjulf on 01 July 2012 - 03:10
|I'm on the other end of the spectrum from Dragonfly. As a professional groomer I do not recommend shaving off a GSD. I HAVE shaved off a long coat before and the coat did grow in just fine. That said I have seen alot of severly damaged coats in my 26 years on the job. I will handscissor Long Coats to look like short coated dogs and this never causes any issues. Break out a forced air dryer and get rid of all that undercoat.|
by Sunsilver on 01 July 2012 - 04:59
|Sometimes the coat grows back in okay. Sometimes it looks like hell!|
We often get goldens in for total strips, so I see this pretty frequently. The undercoat grows in faster than the top coat, so it's exposed on the top, and the coat looses its weatherproofing.
I wouldn't do it to my shepherds...never, ever, ever!
by Wufpack on 01 July 2012 - 05:11
|I shave my czech import GSD a couple of times a year because she has enough coat for 3 dogs! Her coat has not been affected at all and always grows back in exactly the same as it was before. And my groomer has GSDs that come in once a month to be shaved and there is never an issue.|
RoodHaus Belgian Malinois (And 2 GSDs)
by vonissk on 01 July 2012 - 05:21
|As a retired pro groomer for over 25 years I say ABSOLUTELY NOT to clipping them down. I agree with Summertime that there is a reason for their coat being like it is and their undercoat helps regulate the temperature whether the weather is hot or cold. Doesn't matter whether it will grow back screwed up or not, it just shouldn't be done. I do think clipping the belly with a#10 can be helpful. A lot of times I would do that in the summer to different breeds. Some people have the idea that it will stop the shedding. IMO the main way to help with the shedding is to keep your dog brushed out. If you keep up with it it only takes a few minutes at a time plus it is a great way to spend "personal" time with your dog.|
by Konotashi on 01 July 2012 - 06:34
|Don't shave them down or cut their hair. Not only does fur work as a heating system, but it also helps keep them cool. When I get home I will post pictures of shaved German shepherds I saw at the dog park once. They looked absolutely pitiful.|
by SummertimeGSD on 01 July 2012 - 14:17
|When I went to grooming school they stressed that we should do our best to educate the clients to not have us shave their double coated dog down. Of course people want what they want so I have shaved plenty of Shepherds and Goldens and Boder Collies, even Labs and Springers. My parents wanted the Border Collie mix shaved, I refused to shave him down short, but after a through grooming I did take a longer blade comb and gave him a trim which looked nice, got rid of some of the hair, and kept him cooler without messing with his undercoat which helps keep the dog cool and protects from the sun.|
by Jenni78 on 01 July 2012 - 14:27
|Double coats are designed for a reason. They act as insulation- from heat, from cold, from water, etc. Shaving a GSD is borderline cruel, imho. Their bodies cannot cool properly if you do that. HUMANS think it cools them off, but humans sweat, not pant, so what do they know about how a dog stays cool? ;-) As a groomer, if asked (and I'm not a groomer) I would flat out refuse.|
by 3Shep2 on 01 July 2012 - 14:40
|I have cut the coat on my longhairs-I didn't have an issue with the regrowth-the younger has been clipped twice and the elder just once but believe me in made a great difference in the elder's comfort level and all my dogs reside inside-inside temps rarely exceed 70* naturally, but if the the air conditioning is off, the humidity can be horrible if it is humid outside, they are also under a ceiling fan over a cool concrete floor. It's a personal choice.|
by macrowe1 on 01 July 2012 - 17:42
|Thanks for all the advice guys! I've had to clip a couple small spots on my 20 month old before, and I was terrified that it would grow back funny, because her coat is so beautiful, but it came back great. Of course, they were small, maybe 3 inch by 3 inch patches for some hotspots she gets before she goes into heat. I've always debated cutting down the coat in the summer though, because it's miserable in Alabama. Thank goodness they're inside and not out, it's been in the 100s, and so humid and miserable outside. Hard to breathe as humans, let alone in a thick coat. Once our air started not cooling the house, I really felt bad for them being inside, too. But we put in a window unit (going total redneck style) in the bedroom and the living room to cool the house down, so it's a nice comfortable temperature in the bedroom where the dogs are now. I've seen a couple shaved down GSDs, and they do look pitiful. I was just wondering if it would make them any more comfortable, but I wasn't thinking about the double coat helping maintain the temperature cooling of the dog. They've both been panting so bad before the window unit was in, that's why I was so concerned. Plus, the pup is a plush coat, which I'm sure adds to the misery in 100 degree weather.|