6 Best Dog Shampoos & Conditioners For German Shepherd Dogs in 2024

The iconic coat of the German Shepherd is one of the most adored and admired in the whole canine kingdom. However, looking after this coat is a huge amount of work, and picking the best shampoo for a German Shepherd possible is one of the easiest ways to minimize the amount of grooming and cleaning required.

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Today we’re going to be looking at all aspects of maintaining, grooming, cleaning, and generally looking after the coat of the German Shepherd. We’re going to tell you how often you should groom, how you should do it, and why it needs to be done so often. We’re going to be looking at bathing tips and techniques, and we’re going to be answering some questions about German Shepherd bathing and grooming that we get frequently asked by our readers.

The crown jewel of this article is our super detailed impartial review section where we look at the results of our analysis of countless shampoos on the market to tell you what we think are best products for your pooch right now.

Let’s get started.

Popular Types Of German Shepherd Shampoos

Non Wheat Based Shampoos

German Shepherds have a slightly higher than normal risk of being allergic to wheat, which is a problem – because it’s one of the most popular (and most economical) soap alternatives on the market today. The allergic reaction German Shepherds have to wheat isn’t usually severe, but it’s certainly annoying for your pooch and can cause dry and itchy skin (which can, in turn, lead to other issues from over scratching).

Whenever you look for a new shampoo, make sure you read the bottle to check that it’s not getting its cleaning power from a wheat-based compound. It’s a lot of hassle, we know – but it’s better than having your pooch suffer.

Pro Tip: If reading the ingredient lists on several bottles of doggy shampoo doesn’t sound like your idea of fun – you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you, and all of our recommended products at the end of this article are completely free from wheat-based ingredients.

Shedding Control

German Shepherds actually have two coats of hair, the outer coat is the thicker of the two and is what makes the breed famously hardy, the undercoat is a little softer and provides additional insulation.

As you can imagine, this huge amount of hair takes quite a lot of looking after. The breed actually doesn’t shed that much more than any other breed on average (if you take into account the total amount of hair on the body and compare it hair for hair with other breeds).

However, the sheer quantity of hair on the dog means that a huge amount of shedding is going to occur, and dealing with it is going to be part of your life.

Dedicated shampoos and conditioners exist specifically to minimize the amount of hassle high shedding breeds like the German Shepherd cause their owners. They’re formulated with compounds that are designed to keep hairs healthier for longer (which results in them staying attached to your pooch for longer too). For obvious reasons, these kinds of products are extremely popular with German Shepherd owners.

Note: These products are not a magic bullet that will eliminate all shedding (or even most of it). You’re still going to have your work cut out for you in the shedding department. However, high-quality products make a noticeable difference, and trust us, when it comes to the shedding of German Shepherds – every little bit helps.

Wet Wipes

As you’re going to learn later in this article, German Shepherds should not be bathed regularly. They’re a low maintenance breed (if you don’t count grooming) and over bathing can cause serious skin issues.

However, this does present a problem for German Shepherd owners – what should you do when your pooch gets a little mucky and it’s nowhere near time for their next bathing session?

The answer is doggy wet wipes.

These products have been specifically designed to be super gentle ways to clean your pooch without requiring them to get back in the bath. They are best used as “spot treatments” on areas that have gotten mucky, and they’re super useful. You should always have a pack of these on hand at home because they’re going to become a huge part of your life.

Important: You should NEVER use human wet wipes on a dog. Dogs have skin that looks similar to ours, but it’s actually very different. Wet wipes that have been specifically made for dogs have appropriate compounds (and an appropriate PH level) that will actually nourish your dog’s skin instead of harming it as a human wet wipe would.

3 Tips On Maintaining The Perfect German Shepherd Coat

We’ve talked about the different kinds of shampoos on the market for German Shepherds, now it’s time for us to take a look at a few grooming tips that are going to make your life a little bit easier.

Groom Daily If Possible

The best way to minimize the amount of hassle the shedding of a German Shepherd causes you is to stay on top of the issue. German Shepherds are constant shedders, and just because you miss a day of grooming doesn’t mean that their hair is going to stop falling out.

By doing a daily grooming session you are turning one huge job into several little ones, which is much more manageable. Daily grooming sessions are quick, easy, and can usually fit into your routine without much adjustment to your day to day life. At an absolute minimum, you should be brushing your pooch at least once every two days – any longer than this can cause you a whole heap more hassle.

Bonus: Daily grooming ensures that your pooch is going to be shedding less around your home, which means less cleaning for you!

Invest In Quality Equipment

As we’ve just learned in the tip above, grooming is going to be part of your life whenever you own a German Shepherd. As such, you’re going to be getting up close and personal with your tools of choice on a regular basis – and so is your pooch.

While we always recommend getting the best value product (which in our book means quality for an affordable price) when you own a German Shepherd we recommend you splash out on your grooming gear a little more than you perhaps otherwise would.

Better quality equipment will get your grooming sessions over quicker, they’ll irritate your pooch as little as possible, and they’re easier for you to use too.

Two Brushes, Two Passes

You need a minimum of two brushes to get the job done properly. Firstly, you should go over your dog with a dedicated rake brush that has been specifically designed to remove long hair on high shedding breeds. This is the toughest part of the job and will untangle any matting or knotting and remove most of the detached hair on your pooch. You need to be reasonably firm when doing this, but be careful not to scratch or scrape your dog’s skin. After you’ve used the rake brush, give your pooch a quick once over with a standard dog hair brush – and you’re all done!

Overall Best Shampoo for German Shepherds

Buddy Wash Refreshing Rosemary & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

Now that we know about how to groom your German Shepherd and what kinds of shampoo you should be looking for it’s time to get into the most exciting (and arguably the most useful) part of this article – our German Shepherd shampoo review section.

We’re an entirely impartial site, and we’ve searched high and low to find brands and products in a wide range of price brackets to see what we think is best for the breed. It was a little bit harder than usual to complete this review section due to the slightly increased susceptibility to wheat allergies that the breed suffers from – but we think we’ve found several great options.

We’re going to mention some runners up in just a moment, but in our opinion,  we think that right now the best German Shepherd shampoo on the market is the Refreshing Rosemary & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner from the exceptional brand Buddy Wash.

If you’re new to the world of dog shampoos, you might not have heard about Buddy Wash before – but for pet nerds like us, they’re rock stars. They’re well known in the industry for creating some of the best products on the market that have premium performance – without the premium price tag.

The main thing that we liked about this product is that it’s a gentle, soap-free formula that isn’t going to dry out your dog’s skin. Now, this isn’t special, it’s something that many other products from many other brands can claim – but many of them use a wheat-based formula, which German Shepherds can be allergic to.

Instead of wheat, this awesome product relies on the all natural (and super powerful) cleaning power of several essential oils (including coconut oil) that will generate a thick lather to coat every single one of the hairs on your dog’s coat.

This is a 2 in 1 product that contains a natural conditioner from sage, rosemary, and chamomile. It will complement the natural oils that your pooch creates to ensure they have super healthy, well-nourished hair that will stay attached to their body for longer than ever. The difference in coat quality will be easily visible, and you’ll have a pooch with a silkier and glossier coat than you ever thought possible.

Even our brave German Shepherds are usually not too happy about having to get in the tub, which is why this product contains natural infusions to calm them down through aromatherapy. The soothing power of mint and lavender will make your pooch feel like they are at a doggy day spa while they’re in the bath – and they’re going to smell great too!

As we expect from a brand as reputable as Buddy Wash, this is an all-natural product that uses all natural ingredients. It’s cruelty-free (so it hasn’t been tested on animals) and it’s made right here in the USA.

All this cleaning and conditioning power comes at a very reasonable price point (around $8 for a 16oz bottle), and it’s a concentrated formula that requires less product per application. It’s an amazing shampoo, from an amazing brand, at an amazing price – and that’s why we think it’s the best shampoo for German Shepherds on the market right now.

You should add it to the very top of your shortlist.

Runner Up

4-Legger’s Organic, Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo

While Buddy Wash is the overall winner of this article, it did have some very serious competition to fight for the top spot. If you want an alternative recommendation then we strongly recommend you consider 4-Legger’s awesome Organic, Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo instead.

This is another super strong product that’s going to leave you with the cleanest pooch on the block – without using harmful soap or alcohol-based ingredients. Again, this is a product that doesn’t use any wheat based compounds in its formula, instead, it’s a lemongrass based shampoo (which is a very good thing).

Lemongrass s one of mother nature’s most powerful (yet gentle) cleansing agents. It has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties that will demolish any little nasties that are calling your pooch home and causing them to stink.

There’s a strong infusion of aloe vera in this product, which is something we really like. Our German Shepherds are most susceptible to skin issues directly after bathing (due to the removal of the natural oils they produce that we talked about earlier). By including a healthy dose of aloe vera (one of the best natural skin care and recovery compounds on the planet) you are going to be soothing and calming any irritation that might be felt after bathing.

This is an all natural, US made product, and there’s not a single solitary compound here that’s not completely organic. To prove this fact 4-Legger submitted their product to the USDA for classification – they rated it “Organic To Exceptional Standards”.

Like the product we chose as our overall recommendation, this is another 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner combo that’s going to enhance and nourish your dog’s coat at the same time as cleaning it. A different blend of essential oils and minerals has been used compared to the conditioner Buddy Wash uses – but it’s arguably just as effective (or possibly even more effective). Either way, it’s going to give you a very similar level of performance that reduces shedding significantly (but not totally) and gives your pooch a glossy shine that lasts for ages.

The main reason that this product wasn’t our overall recommendation and ended up being the runner up was the price. This product costs roughly twice as much as the product from Buddy Wash, but at around $15, it’s not exactly going to break the bank.

Note: This is also a super concentrated formula which means you need to use less shampoo per wash than you need to use with Buddy Wash’s shampoo above. We’re not sure if this cancels out the price difference (we doubt it) but it certainly levels the playing field a little.

If the price of these two products was the same, we’d of chosen the 4-Legger as our overall recommendation. The cleaning power of lemongrass is almost unbeatable – and it smells amazing too. When you consider the fact that you’re only going to have to wash your German Shepherd around 4 times per year, the price difference becomes less of an issue, but we’ll let you be the judge of that.

Either way, this is a great product, that is still excellent value, and it’s more than worthy of your consideration.

Best German Shepherd Puppy Shampoo

Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control Natural Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner

The tiniest German Shepherds on the planet have slightly different needs to their fully-grown brothers and sisters when it comes to bath time. With that in mind we’ve handpicked what we think is the best German Shepherd puppy shampoo on the market right now – The Supreme Odor Control Natural Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner by Nature’s Miracle.

As you’d expect, this is a wheat free, soap-free, alcohol-free product that cleans a mucky pup without harming their skin or triggering any allergies that may be present. The main thing we like about this product is the fact that it’s a completely tear-free formula – which will ensure that your super stoic and brave German Shepherd doesn’t get scared of bath time due to the pain normal shampoo can cause when it gets into your dog’s eyes.

This is a 4 in 1 product that also conditions using natural ingredients to keep your pup’s hair strong and shiny to minimize deshedding. We love the fact that it’s compatible with most normal topical flea and tick treatments on the market – ensuring your pooch remains protected at all times.

The 16oz bottle only costs around $5, which makes it great value for money. However, it’s not a concentrated formula like our two overall recommendations, so you might need to use more per bathing session (but as your pup is going to be tiny in comparison to a fully grown adult – this isn’t really an issue).

It’s a great product that ticks all the boxes a German Shepherd puppy needs to be happy, and we strongly recommend you give it a try.

3 More Top Rated Dog Shampoos For German Shepherds

To finish off this article, we want to quickly talk about 3 other shampoos that didn’t quite make it to the top spots but are more than worthy of a quick mention.

FURminator DeShedding Ultra Premium Shampoo For Dogs

We’ve spent most of this article talking about the thick long coats of the German Shepherd (and the shedding issues that they bring), so we couldn’t leave you without at least one dedicated anti shedding shampoo recommendation.

Every single ingredient in this product has been designed to work in perfect harmony with one another to minimize the amount of shedding that occurs. The omega oils and papaya extract nourish your dog’s coat and skin at the same time, and when they work hand in hand with your dog’s natural oils – the reduction in shedding is visibly noticeable.

Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey for Dogs

This is another great shampoo for German Shepherds that we love to recommend for other breeds (when it’s appropriate). Again, there are no wheat based compounds in this product and instead, the power of oatmeal is used to clean your pooch without harming their skin.

The honey and tea tree extracts nourish your dog’s coat, and as such it also has some mild anti shedding properties that are beneficial for the breed. What we really like about this product however is the price, $5 for a 16oz bottle of reasonably concentrated shampoo is a bargain – and if you’re on a strict budget, it’s a great choice.

Earthbath Shed Control Green Tea & Awapuhi Dog & Cat Shampoo

The final product we’re going to recommend today is another dedicated anti shedding shampoo. This is a completely natural product from the well respected natural brand – Earthbath.

There’s a wide range of different natural compounds in here that work together to nourish the skin and hair and promote a healthy coat (which lowers shedding). It’s a perfectly PH balanced product that combines compounds like shea butter, green tea, and ginseng to condition, clean, and protect your pooch all at the same time. At around $13 for a 16oz bottle, it’s more expensive than the FURminator anti-shedding shampoo we talked about earlier, but we think it gives better performance too.

3 Tips On Bathing Your German Shepherd

At this point in the article, we’re already more knowledgeable than 99% of people on the planet about the bathing and grooming requirements of German Shepherds – however, we’re not done yet…

In this section we are going to share a few of our top German Shepherd bathing tips that will make bath time quicker, easier, and less stressful for both you and your pooch.

Put A Towel Down In The Bath

German Shepherds are known for being a brave and stoic breed – it’s one of the main reasons that they are as popular with dog owners as they are. However, this also means they’re reluctant to let you know when something is uncomfortable or stressful (unless it’s something reasonably serious).

The bottom of a bathtub is a smooth ceramic or plastic that is unlike anything a dog would find in nature, and as such, their paws are not adapted to stand on it. When this super smooth artificial material is coated in a layer of soap and water it becomes very slippery and difficult for your pooch to stand on.

Making bath time as pleasurable as possible for your pooch is all about reducing stress levels, and while they’re not going to whimper like some other more anxious breeds – it’s still not fun for them to try and keep their balance on the bottom of a super slippery and smooth bathtub.

By simply putting a towel down in the bottom of the tub you’re instantly providing them a textured grippy surface on which to stand on. Get into the habit of doing it, and your pooch will thank you for it (if they could talk).

Groom Before Bathing

Many German Shepherd owners (or any breed owner for that matter) are unaware that you’re supposed to groom your pooch before putting them in the bath. It’s easy to understand why people overlook this as it seems like extra work for no reason – but it’s essential.

Matted hair acts like a sponge when it comes into contact with water. You can towel dry and shake it as much as you like – but if there are knots in your dog’s coat when they get wet it’s going to take longer to dry.

This wet hair becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria which will make your pooch smellier than they otherwise would be. This is a problem that any long-haired breed suffers from, but with the amount of hair that German Shepherds have on them (combined with the recommended infrequent bathing schedule) it’s an issue you should pay close attention to.

If you give your pooch their normal daily grooming session before they get in the bath, you’re eliminating this issue almost entirely. Remember to give them a quick once over with a standard dog hair brush afterward (the shedding brush isn’t required after bathing if you do it before) and you’re both good to go.

Rinse Your Pooch Properly

Again, this is an issue that all dog owners should pay attention to – but it’s super important for German Shepherd owners due to the amount of hair they have.

Dog shampoo has been specifically designed to do the job of cleaning your pooch before being removed entirely. If shampoo remains in your dog’s coat after they have been removed from the bath then the compounds inside (that should not be there anymore) will cause skin issues and irritation. Ensure you spend a decent amount of time getting every last drop of product out of your pooch to keep them happy and healthy.

FAQ Regarding Bathing a German Shepherd

In this section of the article, we are going to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions we get on a regular basis from our readers about German Shepherds.

How Often Should I Bathe A German Shepherd?

Luckily for us German Shepherd owners, the breed doesn’t need regular bathing. They’re naturally low odor dogs that don’t get all that smelly in-between bathing sessions. The recommended infrequent bathing schedule is one of the reasons people put up with the grooming requirements of the breed.

The American Kennel Club recommends that you only bathe your pooch once every 4 to 5 months at most. Bathing them more regularly than this can strip the essential oils that are naturally produced by your pooch from their coat. As these oils are responsible for keeping your dog’s skin in tip-top condition – removing them by over washing can lead to skin irritations, rashes, and itchiness.

Do I Really Need To Use More Shampoo Than Normal With A German Shepherd?

This is a common question we get asked, and the simple answer is yes, you do.

Like most things we’ve talked about in this article, it all comes down to the sheer amount of hair that your German Shepherd has on their body. When you use a “normal” amount of product that you’d use for other breeds it can be hard to work it up into a thick lather that will coat and clean every single hair on your German Shepherd.

The exact amount you should use depends on your specific pooch and the kind of product that you are using – however a good rule of thumb is to use a little less than double the recommended amount. It’s better to use too much than too little, and while this sounds like it would get expensive – with the infrequent bathing requirements of the breed, it’s not going to break the bank.

Remember: Don’t forget the tip above about properly rinsing your pooch when you’ve finished scrubbing them with shampoo. Applying twice the amount of shampoo is going to require twice the amount of rinsing to remove it all.


So there you have it, that’s all you will ever need to know about grooming and bathing a German Shepherd.

Picking the best German Shepherd shampoo (or at least a good one) is super important if you want to keep your grooming and bathing time to a minimum – and any of the products we’ve talked about today are more than up to the task.

They’re all winners to be mentioned here, and they’re all more than worthy of your consideration.

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