INFORMATION ON LONG COATED (LONG HAIRED) GERMAN SHEPHERD MYTHS AND TRUTHS.
THIS BLOG INCLUDES THE LONG COAT (LONG HAIRED) GERMAN SHEPHERD HISTORY, LONG COAT GENES, TEMPERAMENT, LAID BACK TEMPERAMENT MYTH, LACK OF UNDERCOAT MYTH, INTELLIGENCE, LARGE SIZE MYTH, CONFORMATION, STRAIGHT BACK MYTH, SHOWING, SHOWING FAULTS, SHEDDING, AND HIP DYSPLASIA IN ADDITION TO OTHER TOPICS, AND DESCRIBES WICH ARE TRUE AND WHICH ARE MYTHS.
WHAT IS A LONG COATED (LONG HAIRED) GERMAN SHEPHERD?
Copyright © 2012 Kelly Peet, all rights reserved
There is no difference between a long haired (long coated) German Shepherd and a standard coated German Shepherd other than the long coat. The dogs coat is very similar to a family having one child with curly hair and one with straight hair.
There are many misconceptions within the United States about what a long haired (long coated) German Shepherd is, therefore I will explain what a long haired (long coat) German Shepherd is, and then I will cover what a long haired (long coated) German Shepherd is not.
The German Shepherd breed was started in Germany by Captain Max Von Stephanitz after he purchased Horand von Grafrath and began a registration club named the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (Club for the German Shepherd Dog) in 1899. This club is also refereed to by its SV acronym. The SV also established the German Shepherd breed standard.
Horand became the foundation dog for the German Shepherd working dog breed. Horand’s son Hektor von Schwaben was the most influential on the new breed. Within the first 76 registered dogs there were four wolf crosses, and Horand was allegedly one-quarter wolf.
From my research it appears that the long haired (long coated) gene had been passed down through the generations from the early sheep herding foundation dogs to our present day German Shepherd’s through dogs that either carried the long coated (long haired) gene, or actually possessed a long coat.
The long haired (long coated) German Shepherd gene is passed along to offspring in the following way. Each parent contributes one gene to each puppy that will determine the type of coat that pup will have.
If both German Shepherds have the long coated (long haired) gene then each will pass the long coated gene to all the puppies in the litter.
If one parent passes the long coated gene to the pup, and the second parent passes a short standard coat gene (even though that dog may carry the long coat gene), then the resulting puppy will carry the recessive long haired (long coated) gene but will have a standard short coat. If this puppy is later bred to a German Shepherd that carries the long coat (long hair) gene, and both dogs pass a long coat gene to the puppy, then the puppy will be a long coat (long haired) German Shepherd puppy even if both parents have short hair.
So..to sum it up…all German Shepherd dogs carry two genes that determine the coat length. Each parent contributes ONE of these genes to the puppy. For the puppy to be a long coat (long hair) German Shepherd then BOTH parents must contribute ONE long haired (long coated) gene each to the puppy. If both parents are long coats, then all the pups in the litter will be long coats (long haired) German Shepherds because both parents have TWO long coat (long haired) genes each and do not possess the short standard coat gene.
Therefore, long haired (long coated) German Shepherds have been around since the beginning, but they are still fairly rare since up until 2010 the FCI and the German SV registry did not allow them to be shown or bred, and most breeders did not intentionally try to raise the long haired (long coated) German Shepherds, and if they did produce a litter that had long coated (long haired) puppies they would often try not to repeat the breeding since the long haired (long coated) puppies were considered undesirable. But since 2010 when the FCI and the German SV registry began allowing them to be bred and shown, the demand for long haired (long coat) German Shepherds has grown due to the stunning traffic stopping beauty that these dogs posses.
Now that I have explained what the long haired (long coated) German Shepherd is…let me explain what it is not.
Below are some common myths on the Internet about the long coated (long haired) German Shepherds.
Myth – Long coated (long haired) German Shepherds are more laid back, calm and easier to handle than shorter coated German Shepherds. There is no difference in the temperaments when comparing a long coat (long hair) German Shepherd and a standard coat. Just like a human family may have a curly haired child and a straight haired child, you can’t say that one is more laid back than another due to the type of hair they inherited. In fact…one of the toughest, most athletic, and most difficult dogs that I have ever handled was a black long coated German Shepherd Czech import. He was not a pet…he was 100% pure working dog, and only an extremely experienced working dog handler was able to handle him.
Myth – Long coated (long haired) German Shepherds are more intelligent than shorter coated German Shepherds. There is no difference in the intelligence when comparing a long coated (long haired) German Shepherd to a standard coat. Once more…it’s just a coat length. Nothing more, and it has nothing to do with intelligence.
Myth – Long coated (long haired) German Shepherds are larger than the shorter coated German Shepherds. This is not true. Once more…it’s just a coat length and has nothing to do with the size of the dog.
Myth – Long coated (long haired) German Shepherds are considered “Old World German Shepherds”. This is is not true. Some of the early German Shepherds may have possessed the long haired gene, and may have been long haired, but most did not look like the long haired (long coated) German Shepherds that are being called Old World or Old Fashioned German Shepherds today, and they were not over-sized. Horand von Grafrath was the first dog registered and also the foundation stud dog, and he was only 62.3 cm (24 inches) high. Here is a link where you can review all the Siegers from 1899 to the present day.
Notice how the conformation changes in the show lines over the years, but also realize that the German Shepherd is really two different breeds in Germany today. You have your red and black show lines who are primarily dogs bred for the show ring, but they are also titled in schutzhund (IPO) to try and preserve the working abilities. Then you have the working lines who are usually sables, blacks, and black and tans who are mainly bred for schutzhund (IPO), or to actually perform work such as police work, military, scent detection, search and rescue, etc.
The working lines usually have a straighter back and less angulation in the rear than the show lines have. I’ve found no proof that the early foundation dogs were over-sized dogs weighing over 100 lbs such as the Old Fashioned and Old World German Shepherds being bred today are reported to be weighing. The German Shepherd breed was established by Stephanitz to be a working breed. If the dogs had weighed over 100 lbs then they would not have been agile enough to perform real work.
The long haired (long coated) over sized large German Shepherds being called Old Fashioned and Old World German Shepherds are really a recent variation of the original German Shepherd. These extremely large German Shepherds are being bred to have mild temperaments, low drives, and they normally do not work for a living,
Once more…the Old Fashioned and Old World German Shepherds are not what the foundation German Shepherds were like. The early foundation German Shepherds were working dogs.
Myth (1/2 True) – Long coated (long haired) German Shepherds are considered a fault. The long haired (long coated) German Shepherds are no longer considered a fault by the FCI and under the guidance of the German SV registry they are now being allowed to be shown in long coat classes. In fact…since 2010 when the FCI and German SV registry began allowing the long coated (long haired) German Shepherds to be shown and bred there has been tremendous demand for the long haired (long coated) German Shepherds world-wide. But…at this time the United States American Kennel Club (AKC) still considers the long haired (long coated) German Shepherd to be a fault for the conformation classes, but as far as I know it is not considered a fault in any other AKC classes.
Myth – Long Coated (Long Haired) German Shepherds shed less than the standard coated German Shepherds. Both the long haired and short haired German Shepherd shed the same amount of hair. But the long coated (long haired) German Shepherds have longer hair, and this actually means that there is MORE hair, not less. In fact…in shedding season I’m wearing most of it after a grooming! Click HERE to learn more about the shedding.
Myth – Long Coated (Long Haired) German Shepherds have straighter backs. There is no truth in this. It all depends on the genetics and not if a dog is long coated or not. I personally prefer long haired (long coated) working lines who have straighter backs and less angulation when compared to the red and black show lines. I believe this makes for a healthier, more athletic, and a more beautiful dog.
Myth – Long Coated (Long Haired) German Shepherds have less hip dysplasia. There is no truth in this. Long hair is just a hair length…nothing more. A good method of choosing a puppy that should have less risk of hip dysplasia is to buy a puppy who is out of OFA certified parents who have a long line of ancestors in the pedigree with certified hips and elbows. Click on the links below to learn more about hHip dysplasia.
Myth (1/2 True) – Long Coated (Long Haired) German Shepherds are the foundation dogs of the short standard coated German Shepherd. Horand von Grafrath was the first registered German Shepherd and he had a standard short coat. There may have been some long coats (long haired) dogs bred while the breed was being established, but the standard coat was the goal in the breeding program and not the long coated German Shepherds.
Myth (1/2 True) – Long Coated (Long Haired) German Shepherds do not possess an undercoat like the short coated German Shepherds. Some long coated (long haired) German Shepherds possess an undercoat, and some do not.
Therefore…in conclusion, a long coated (long haired) German Shepherd is just like a short standard coated German Shepherd, other than the length of the coat and possessing the long coat (long hair) genes.
Hope this clears up some of the confusion about long coated (long haired) German Shepherd’s.
Copyright © 2012 Kelly Peet, all rights reserved