Probably the thing I thought about the most before we got Lincoln was the hair. I knew going into it that German Shepherds shed, and not just a little, they shed a LOT. If you were to Google “top 10 shedding breeds” or something similar, German Shepherds always make that list 😂
It’s also not a secret that I am a neat freak that loves having a clean home. Even more than that, I love having a tidy home… the difference being that I don’t mop my floors every single day, but I do try to make sure everything is in its place and we don’t have random stuff lying around. This could be an entirely different blog post, but basically I love tidiness and order. Hair being all over the place would be a big no-no for me.
Our family dog, Oliver, is a Morkie (a cross between a Maltese and a Yorkie), and he’s hypoallergenic. He hardly sheds one single hair year round! Before getting married, I was used to pocket-sized dogs that are adorable and don’t interfere with your clean home. But Chris was used to BIG dogs, and he really didn’t want a teeny tiny little dog. This was mostly fine with me, because I absolutely adore big dogs! I just had a constant thought screaming in the back of my mind: “BIG DOGS SHED!”
You’re probably thinking “not all big dogs shed!”, which is very true! However, I am pretty picky about a lot of things, but when it comes to dogs I am tremendously more picky. I didn’t want just any dog, even though I knew I’d love whoever we brought into our home. Originally I tried to convince Chris to get a Bernedoodle, which is a big old fluffanutter of a dog, and they don’t shed! They just look like massive teddy bears. But the $3000 price tag didn’t go over well with him, so he nixed that idea pretty quick 😉
You know the story, my wonderful friend Chelsie told us about Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue, we found Lincoln, and the rest is history! But in between all that, I did a lot of research about German Shepherds. I hate not knowing what I’m getting into… I want to see all the facts, write out my lists, make a pros and cons sheet, give it to me straight! I didn’t find all the answers I was wanting, because you just can’t know 100% until you actually own a dog that sheds heavily. I found that for me, there were four steps to this process:
Step 1: Awareness Obviously I was aware that German Shepherds shed. I tried to research things like “how often do you have to vacuum with a German Shepherd” and “how much hair will there REALLY be” 🤣 I joined GSD Facebook groups and searched “shedding” to get some real-life answers. The answer is: THEY SHED A LOT.
Step 2: Denial Okay, they shed. But some people said they hardly even notice it, maybe our German Shepherd will be the same! Yeah, that’ll probably be it, it won’t even be a big deal.
Step 3: Chaos Finally we got Lincoln, and for the first few months he barely shed! I could vacuum once or twice a week, and the hair was completely manageable. But then spring came, and he began to shed his undercoat. OH BOY THE HAIR. I literally will vacuum and 5 seconds later, a big old fur ball comes rolling across the floor like a tumbleweed in Arizona.
Step 4: Adapting Realizing that this only happens twice a year, and having Lincoln is 1000000000% worth all the hair. I vacuum at least every other day now (it’s just to keep me sane… and honestly it doesn’t bother me, I love love love cleaning!), and I’ve learned to deal with seeing a clump of fur every now and then.
I was really worried that I’d feel super stressed out seeing hair and not having a clean home. But I do have a clean home! In fact, it might be cleaner than if we hadn’t gotten a shedding dog, because now I am constantly cleaning – even more so than before! 😂
The biggest thing for me has been vacuuming! I have two vacuums, and I’m thinking about getting a third!! We have your regular upright vacuum (Bissell Pet Hair Eraser), and also a robot vacuum (Ecovacs Deebot). I’m also considering purchasing a battery operated handheld vacuum, just to pick up little fur balls when I see them. I love vacuuming, but if you don’t, the robot vacuum is really helpful for getting into all the corners and doing the work while you do something else.
My typical schedule is to vacuum with the upright vacuum in the morning, and in the evening send off the robot to do its thing. Our house is pretty much all one level, but I only let the robot vacuum the living room and kitchen, because our bedroom has a rug with fringe that it will occasionally get stuck on. Plus, like I said, I just really enjoy vacuuming! My plan is always to just vacuum the bedroom, and let the robot vacuum the living room, but once the bedroom’s as hair free as possible, I’m just so revved up I want to continue in the living room 😂 That gets probably 95% of the hair, but some of his hair static clings to the hardwood floor and is nearly impossible to get up! If I’m really stressing about it, I just grab a broom and sweep it up. Then in the evening, my robot gets under all the furniture I can’t reach. I typically let it run for an hour or two, which is probably excessive, but I won’t complain about a cute little robot that’s constantly cleaning my house hahaha (it also does a GREAT job picking up static-y hair!).
This is after just ONE vacuuming session! The best part about this vacuum is that it’s mess free, because you can easily detach the dust collector, and by pressing the red Bissell logo, the bottom opens up and the nastiness falls into the trash can!
I use the Turbo Eraser a lot on furniture, it gets up EVERY hair! It’s ridiculously useful.
The hose part detaches in two different places, which makes it great for cleaning both crevices and ceiling corners!
I love having this little guy (ignore the dust on top, haha)! You can control it from your phone also, but you need a wifi connection which we don’t have, haha! I do use the remote fairly often, even though it gets pretty much everywhere when I set it loose! Rarely do I ever find places that it misses. You can choose several different path options on the remote, but I always just set it to auto!
The great thing that I didn’t anticipate about having a German Shepherd, is that when he is doing his heavy shedding in the spring and fall (so, right now), his hair mostly just clumps up like this. I feel like I’m constantly seeing them blow around, but it also makes it easier to clean! I can just pick it up and throw it away. But it would be super nice to have a small portable vacuum to kill these dust bunnies!
We also have a faux leather couch, which has been amazing. His hair barely sticks to it at all! I can’t imagine having a cloth couch, I think I might go crazy, haha! We keep a blanket on one side of the couch, which is where he’s allowed to be, and that does collect hair, but I just wash it! His nails don’t tear up the leather when we keep a blanket on it. There is one cloth chair in the corner that he loves to sleep in, and his hair is all over it. It bugs me, but we never sat in that chair before (the irony is that I sat in that chair to take this picture), so I just make sure I vacuum it off every few days to keep myself sane, and especially before we have company over.
I think that really the biggest thing for me has been acceptance. Yes, it would be nice to have a house that’s always spotless, but the joy that Lincoln brings us far outweighs the ‘sadness’ of it not being perfect all the time. It’s just a house! There’s a fine line between keeping it clean and beautiful, and accepting that it looks the way it does because we live here.
So if you’re a neat freak like me and you’re worried about getting a dog that sheds, here’s what I think: You’ll get over it. Keeping a clean house will probably still be a huge priority for you, but you’ll learn that it’s not the most important thing. You have a wonderful new best friend to play with and love on, and that’s worth all the hair and more!! Accept that your house won’t always be spotless, but sometimes it will be! If it’s a priority for you, you can do everything possible to keep it tidy, and it can still look beautiful and hair free ❤️ (but if it’s spring or fall, that will only last a moment 🤣)