Fluffy German Shepherds Have a Secret Recessive Gene That Gives Them Amazing Fur

You’ve definitely heard of a German Shepherd, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen one, too. German Shepherd Dogs have consistently been among the top five most popular breeds in the US, and have for many become a quintessentially American dog despite their obvious German descent. Long story short, you can probably spot a German Shepherd in a crowd of dogs ten times out of ten, but could you identify a long-haired German Shepherd?

Fluffy German Shepherds

A variety of purebred German Shepherd, long-haired GSDs possess a pair of recessive genes that give them long, luxurious coats of fur. While the short-haired German Shepherd is really a medium-length coated dog, long-haired German Shepherds have truly long fur. 

Keep on reading to get to know a handful of long-haired German Shepherds from around the world, and to learn more about this beautiful variation of a popular dog breed. 

Meet 7 Fluffy German Shepherds from Instagram

If you’ve only seen short-haired German Shepherds (also called normal coat, stock coat, or standard German Shepherds) you might think long-haired German Shepherds look like a completely different breed at first! However, long-haired GSDs are the same breed as the standard GSD you know and love, but with two sets of a recessive—but all-natural—gene. 

If you’re really unfamiliar with long-haired German Shepherds, you might just mistake one of these dogs for a big fluffy bear. Take a look for yourself and get to know seven stunning fluffy German Shepherd Dogs whose humans kindly share them on Instagram. 

1. Hugo

Fluffy German Shepherd - Hugo
Source: @GermanShepherd_Ugo

No, that’s not a magnificent lion you’re looking at, that’s Hugo—a purebred long-haired German Shepherd Dog. Hugo’s fur is long, red, and tipped with black. Like most examples of the German Shepherd breed, he is big, tall, and highly attentive. Not all long-haired GSDs have fur quite as long as Hugo, but it can be even longer on some! 


2. Dexter

Fluffy German Shepherd - Dexter
Source: @Dexter_Motordog_GSD

Dexter’s stunning long coat is woven with tons of gorgeous hues of color, and he looks especially handsome in the sunshine! This long-haired GSD has some funny habits and is a big fan of being sprayed with the garden hose. 


3. Jalo

Fluffy German Shepherd - Jalo
Source: @Justice.Jalo

This gorgeous one-year-old long-haired GSD is Jalo from Finland! Obviously, Jalo loves a romp in the snow, but he’s happy to be outside in rain, shine, or any weather at all. Like many long-haired German Shepherd dogs, Jalo is always up for an adventure. 


4. Artemis

Fluffy German Shepherd - Artemis
Source: @Artemis.LiverGSD

This absolute beauty is Artemis, a liver and tan long-haired German Shepherd who is still growing! German Shepherds actually come in a range of colors you might not see as often like liver, white, and even blue.

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5. Shiloh

Fluffy German Shepherd - Shiloh
Source: @ShilohInService

Meet Shiloh, a long-haired German Shepherd with a very important job as a trained migraine alert service dog for her mama. When Shiloh isn’t on duty, she likes to sniff around the garden, snooze on the couch, and hang out with her cat friends! 

Remember, if you see a service dog out working with their handler, don’t touch or distract them. They are working, and distractions aren’t safe for either the dog or the human. 


6. Pablo

Photo - the Fluffy German Shepherd
Source: @Adventures_of_Pablo_and_Lina

This handsome long-haired GSD is Pablo! All-black is another standard color for this breed, long hair or otherwise, and black German Shepherds are especially prized for their striking looks. 


7. Reina

Reina - The fluffy German Shepherd
Source: @Reinadealsacia

The most common German Shepherd coloring is black and tan/red, but on long-haired dogs, the patches of black and tan can become elongated and more exaggerated. Reina’s stunning markings make her look completely unique, but her love of tennis balls is almost universal to the breed!


Long Haired German Shepherd Basic Info

Owning a German Shepherd—long-haired or otherwise—is a big responsibility. A large breed with high intelligence, high prey drive, and strong instincts to guard and protect their homes and humans, the long-haired German Shepherd isn’t a good breed for a first-time dog owner. German Shepherds require consistency in training, schedule, and expectations, and are smart enough to get themselves into plenty of trouble. 

Let’s look a little deeper at what life with a long-haired German Shepherd looks like from their personality and temperament to specific health needs to consider before making the choice to bring one into your home. 

Long Haired German Shepherd Temperament

The German Shepherd Dog is an exceptionally loyal, brave, and protective dog breed often used as working dogs for their incredible ability to follow commands and of performing work. Energetic, athletic, and intelligent, German Shepherds like to stay busy both physically and mentally and will make their own entertainment if left to their own devices. 

While German Shepherds are affectionate with their humans, many are reserved and stoic, and may enjoy spending time alone or physically away from other members of the family. Despite this, most long-haired German Shepherds make good family dogs and display excellent patience around children. 

Though sweet and gentle with their families, some German Shepherds are not good with other dogs and can be reactive and suspicious around strangers in general. Because they are always thinking and assessing, it’s important to give your German Shepherd lots of stimulation. This is not a breed for a low-energy household, and not a breed for inexperienced dog owners. 

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Fluffy German Shepherds

Long Haired German Shepherd Size

Long-haired German Shepherds are large dogs that stand between 22–26 inches tall and weigh around 50–90 pounds with some examples of the breed exceeding 100 pounds. 

Long Haired German Shepherd Health

Unfortunately, German Shepherds are often plagued with a number of serious health problems that may ultimately shorten their lifespan. Some health issues to be aware of and take seriously if you own a long-haired German Shepherd include:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia 
  • Patellar luxation 
  • Canine degenerative myelopathy (a spinal cord condition)
  • Bloat
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer

Where To Find Fluffy German Shepherd Puppies for Sale

If you want a long-haired German Shepherd specifically, you’ll need to seek out breeders who specialize in this recessive gene trait. While some short-haired German Shepherd breeders may accidentally breed long-haired German Shepherd puppies, this is very rare with the extensive gene and health testing ethical breeders perform on their breeding pairs. We recommend befriending or following other owners of long-haired German Shepherds on social media to get their advice on where to find a good long-haired GSD breeder. 

Alternatively, there is the option to rescue or adopt! Check out one of these resources to search for a long-haired German Shepherd of your own: 

Fluffy German Shepherd FAQ

Now that you’ve learned a little about the long-haired German Shepherd, you probably have some questions! We’ve rounded up some of the most popular queries from the internet and are answering them below. 

What is the difference between a long-haired GSD and a standard German Shepherd?

Standard German Shepherds (also called short-haired German Shepherds) have a medium-length coat. While some may carry a copy of the recessive gene that causes long fur, the breed standard only recognizes German Shepherds that display the “short-coat” phenotype. Long-haired German Shepherds are exactly the same breed, but have inherited two copies of the recessive gene responsible for longer fur, and are therefore not considered breed standard. 

Are long haired German Shepherds recognized by the American Kennel Club?

No. Although long-haired German Shepherds can be born to two standard German Shepherd parents—assuming they both carry the recessive long-haired gene—they are not considered up to breed standards according to the AKC. 

Is long hair in German Shepherds dominant or recessive? 

Long hair is recessive in German Shepherds. That means that a dog must inherit two copies of the long-hair gene to grow long fur. German Shepherds with one copy of the gene are “carriers” and can pass the trait on to their pups, but have normal coats themselves. 

Are long-haired German Shepherds rare?

Yes. Most breeders avoid producing long-haired German Shepherds because they aren’t considered consistent with the breed standard. Nevertheless, there are some breeders specializing in the long-haired German Shepherd. 

What is the lifespan of a long-haired German Shepherd? 

The average lifespan for a long-haired German Shepherd is around 7–10 years. While some German Shepherds may live into their early teens, many develop serious musculoskeletal health issues that severely impact their longevity.  

What is the difference between a long-haired German Shepherd and a King Shepherd? 

German Shepherds are a long-established breed standardized in the 1800s and bred consistently with only minor changes since. The King Shepherd is a new breed being developed in the US and is still considered a hybrid. Designed to look similar to the German Shepherd, the goal of King Shepherd breeders is to create a larger, healthier, and more stable breed. 

The process of creating King Shepherds began with American-bred German Shepherds crossed with livestock guardian breeds, then to European-bred German Shepherds. 

Let’s take a quick look at a side-by-side of a long-haired German Shepherd (left) and a King Shepherd (right). As you’ll see, they look very similar!


Sources: @LongHairGermanShepherd and @Storm_the_KingShepherd_

What are some other popular varieties of long and short haired shepherds? 

German Shepherds are amazing dogs, but there are tons of other lovely Shepherd breeds out there to explore! A few other popular Shepherds and herding dogs include:

-Australian Shepherd
-Belgian Malinois
-Belgian Sheepdog
-Collie
-Norwegian Buhund
-Old English Sheepdog


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