How Often Should I Bathe My German Shepherd? – K-9 Dryers

How Often Should I Bathe My German Shepherd?

Getting your German Shepherd to bathe can be a challenge. Have you tried getting them into the tub or even keeping them still in the garden with the hose pointed at them or a bucket of water by their side? They will most likely want to run away. Before you try to wrangle them for a bath, read these tips first, or you may end up getting wetter than them!


Unlike other breeds, German Shepherds don’t need to bathe often. In fact, it’s best that they only bathe every 3-4 months. German Shepherds have a double coat - the topcoat and the undercoat. The topcoat protects them from sun exposure, dust and other particles. The undercoat protects them from the harsh, cold weather during winter, and the heat from the summer.

Their double coat has natural oils, and bathing too frequently will only strip away these oils. And which may cause their skin to get dry and irritated.

In general, German Shepherds are clean and odor-free so there’s no great need for frequent bathing.

Nevertheless, during flea season, you can bathe your German Shepherd more often to control any pests. In addition, if your dog has a bit of a pungent scent during the summer, you can bathe him every 2 months. And if your German Shepherd plays out in the open and gets dirty, you may consider bathing more often.

Brushing is another factor that would determine how often you bathe your German Shepherd. If you brush your dog’s hair 3-4 times a week, this will lessen the amount of shedding, and remove dirt that gets trapped in their coat. Brushing also makes their coat shinier and healthier.

Bathing Basics

  • Make sure you use warm and not hot water for your German Shepherd’s bath.
  • Start from the neck working your way towards the tail and use enough water to reach the undercoat.
  • Lather shampoo onto a washcloth and start from the top of the head, making sure the shampoo doesn’t reach his eyes, going to the chest and legs, then his sides. Scrub in circular motions with your finger so that the shampoo reaches the undercoat. You can also do long strokes like a massage that your German Shepherd will surely enjoy. Lastly, lather shampoo onto your dog’s head.
  • Thoroughly wash off your German Shepherd, and you may want to repeat this step to ensure that all the suds are removed from the undercoat and any crevices. If a residue is left and it dries up, this can cause skin irritation.
  • This is the part where you get wet, as they shake off all the excess water. Rub him with a towel to dry off faster. You’ll probably need at least two towels to finish off the job. Brush their coat well to make it shiny. You can also use a high-velocity dryer, but make sure it’s not too hot. And blow dry in the direction of hair growth, otherwise, blowing back and forth can lead to matting.
  • German shepherds don't really need haircuts but if your dogs coat is getting out of hand then a light trim of their coat could help them in the warmer months. 

Other Bathing Information

  • Get your German Shepherd used to bathing early on. The sooner they get used to this ritual, they won’t be as fussy, and will be quite comfortable with it. As puppies, they can start bathing as young as three weeks.

  • Get a brand of shampoo that is made just for dogs, as their “pH” is quite different from humans. An organic shampoo, or at the very least, a gentle shampoo will do. Harsher shampoos can strip their natural oils, or make their skin dry.

Final Note

Diet plays a big role too, in their physical appearance and health. Feeding your German Shepherd the proper foods and keeping them away from harmful ones will prevent them from getting any skin problems.

Now you are better equipped to bathe your German Shepherd Treat bathing as a bonding moment between you and your dog, and he will love you for it.


  • Thanks for the information. Just got me a German shepherd and want to know as much so I could take good care of her.

    Lydia Delacruz
  • Seems like info is contradictory. Only bathe 4 times a year…..but get puppy used to it….? How do you get them used to it if so seldom?

    Troy Smith
  • Thank you. My German Shepard loves to get in his pool lay down quickly to cool off than jump out. , lays in our jacuzzi tub alot to be cool. However drink from water hose etc. But does not like bathing but loves being brushed and blow dried. Bathing no way….he needs bath thou. ? Help???

  • My GS, Max sheds terribly. I used to wash him every week until he started flaking! I found out later that was to much. He scratches all the time but we had him tested for allergies everything came back negative!! What shampoos do you consider harsh?

    Cynthia Marks

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