Those who are not familiar with long-haired German shepherds will often, upon seeing a long hair German shepherd, think they are a completely different breed. Many long haired German Shepherd dogs have a much more wolfish appearance than their short-haired brothers. This is a recessive gene, meaning that two dogs with short coats can have a puppy that has long hair.
While some owners will avoid long hair German shepherds, as German shepherds already shed a lot, and long hair just means more brushing and more care. But those who love long hair on a German shepherd know that the fluffier they are, the better. If you want a dog with long, fluffy, soft hair, long hair German shepherds definitely deliver. A long hair German shepherd can have any coloration, including the traditional North American black and tan, to the European sable. They can even be panda!
Underneath their hair, they have the same body style as short hair shepherds. A fully grown male will probably be around two feet tall and weigh up to ninety pounds. Females will be a little bit smaller and will weigh a little bit less. They have the same gait and the same temperament, though because these dogs are rarely bred for the show circuit, they may actually have a better temperament and be healthier than dogs that are bred just for the show.
One of the biggest differences between long hair and short hair German shepherds is the texture of the coat. Dogs that have long hair do not have any undercoat. Because of this, their hair is actually shinier than it is on short-haired dogs. Their fur may be longer, but because they lack an undercoat, they are usually more susceptible to cold weather, making them less hearty than dogs bred for working or hunting.
Keeping their fur brushed and detangled will be the only major difference between long hair German shepherds and their short hair counterparts. Their longer fur can easily become tangled and matted if it is not properly cared for, which might be annoying or even painful to the dog.
In general the long haired German shepherds are not considered to be conform the breeding standard in most countries. They are mostly not allowed for official German shepherd shows, although I’ve seen them here and there. I like how some of them look, although myself I only had plush haired German Shepherds. Grooming the dogs to often is not something I would enjoy.