German Spitzes shed quite a bit. If dog hairs are something you cannot stand then the German Spitz is probably not the right breed for you. However, there is a positive side to this: the gorgeous double coat of the German Spitz does not require trimming at all.
How often do German Spitzes shed?
In general German Spitzes shed around twice a year. With females, this takes place more regularly after each heat cycle. With male dogs, it is not as clear and shedding can start when you least expect it (most often just as you are about to enter a dog show!). Male dogs don’t usually shed quite as often as bitches do, but it may vary.
After giving birth your dog will shed profusely and not much of the beautiful coat will be left once the shedding is over. All of the energy of the doggy mom has been fed to the wellbeing of the puppies and there has not been any left to grow the fur. This is all natural and the coat will grow back to what it once was.
Usually, the warm weather is what gets a German Spitz to realize that it is probably a good idea to get rid of the uncomfortable undercoat, but this is not always how it works. Most years my Mittels have begun to shed profusely in January-February which in Finland is the coldest time of the year. What are these little dogs thinking?!? That’s what I’ve often wondered.
The first total shedding happens soon after the German Spitz celebrates his 1st birthday, so be prepared. At this age, their whole appearance changes: their beautiful double coat that was there earlier will vanish and your pup will look rather sad and skinny.
Some of the new German Spitz owners are not aware of this and at this point, they begin to worry that something is wrong. Trust me; this is natural and normal. The fur will grow back. It is a normal phase when they simply get rid of the babyfur to grow a new and better one.
What may surprise you even more than the shedding in itself is that the color of your dog’s coat may change as well! When you get to see your puppy for the first time you cannot be quite sure what he will look like as a grown-up. Therefore the color information in the dog’s pedigree may not always be accurate. For example, my gray Mittel has been registered as ‘sable’ because that is what the breeder thought he would be later on. However, we can all see that he is in fact ‘gray’.
What is the shedding phase like?
Shedding phase in the life of a German Spitz can be a bit uncomfortable for you, and you may need to use your vacuum cleaner more often than usual. Personally, I have never been bothered by my dogs’ shedding. It requires a bit more work, yes, but I have never seen it as a problem. These types of dogs do shed; I hope it does not come as a surprise to any Spitz owners. When you make the decision to acquire a Spitz dog, this is what you’ll get.
When your German Spitz has begun to shed you will first notice this when you brush your dog. Hairs of the under coat will easily come off. You keep brushing and more and more of the under coat will be shed. There will be dog hairs flying in the air everywhere and then you take a look at your blouse and you will see that it’s covered in dog hairs.
When this happens it helps if you do the brushing outdoors, if possible. This way your home will not be completely covered by hairs and cleaning will be easier. Here’s a little tip: if you live outside of the city area, instead of disposing of the hairs you could leave them outside for nest building material for birds. Just remember that the long doggy hairs such as the hairs of the German Spitz can be dangerous for small birds, so you might want to use your scissors first.
For the shedding phase to go by more quickly, it helps, too, if you brush your dogs daily. This will remove the dead hears more quickly and new ones will have room to grow.
If you want to know more about this topic you might want to read my article: All About the Fur: German Spitz Hair Growth, Loss, And More
How often should you brush your German Spitz?
As gorgeous as the German Spitz double coat is, surprisingly it requires minimal work. It should not be trimmed and most of the time you can just let it be. A quick brushing will do once a week; pay extra attention to the area behind the ears because this is one of the few places where matting might occur.
However, when your dog is shedding then I would suggest daily brushing. It will make your life much easier because:
- the shedding phase will come sooner to an end
- you will get to collect most of the hairs in your brush instead of cleaning them from various parts of your home
- it will be better for the dog
The shedding of the undercoat can cause itchiness for the dog and it is of great help to try to remove it mechanically with a brush. You will see that your dog will enjoy brushing. He will move his head to the side and maybe even close his eyes: “Yes, right there. That’s a good spot.”
Finally, you could give your dog a bath at the end of the shedding phase so that any hairs that are left will be removed. It is like a new beginning: your dog is clean and ready to start a new phase in his life. Do not bathe your dog in the middle of the shedding phase, though. This might cause more matting of the coat.
How long does it take for the undercoat to grow back?
There is not a conclusive answer to this, because each dog is different. In some cases the dog may grow most of his fur back in a month, but this is rare.
I have had a Mittel that grew back most of his coat in a month. His mother was able to do the same so obviously this was a characteristic that ran in the family. I would say that in most cases it takes about 2 – 3 months. The good thing is that while the dog is growing the undercoat there will not be many lose hairs flying around.
Usually, with a German Spitz in the house, you will see dog hairs even when your dog is not shedding. If you expect your house to be clean at all times you might want to think of hiring somebody to clean it for you or maybe the German Spitz is not the right breed for you.
You must remember, however, that all dogs bring dirt inside the house, so having any dog means more work for whoever does the cleaning in your household. No matter how often you bathe your dog or dry his feet, there will always be sand and dirt in the house.
When you have a dog and you love your dog unconditionally, this is something you learn to live with. It is one of those things that you should think through before getting a dog but once your dog is there, you live with the decision you made and there is not much else to it. You don’t think about what-ifs. You go on with your life with a dog in it. If it means you have to clean your house more often, you do it. If it means there will be dog hairs on your black pair of pants, you will learn to cope with it.
When I used to have two Mittels and now I sadly only have one, I can see that there is a great difference in how many dog hairs there are in the corners of my house. With only one my life is easier. Would this be my choice though, if I was given one? No, I would do anything to have my other Mittel back in my life, healthy and happy – despite the hairs and the shedding and the dirt.