11 Best Shampoos for German Shepherds in 2021

German Shepherds are intelligent, loyal, and protective – they make excellent pets. However, they are also high energy dogs that need a ton of exercise and plenty of looking after. Your German Shepherd is going to require regular grooming and cleaning to ensure that he is always in tip-top condition, looking healthy and feeling happy.

Most Popular

Earthbath Shed Control

  • Paraben and phosphate-free
  • Soap-free shampoo

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Overall Best

Buddy Wash Original

  • Simple formula
  • Natural and safe ingredients

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Most Affordable

Frisco Oatmeal Shampoo

  • Affordable price
  • Organic Certified aloe vera

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6 Different Types of Shampoos for German Shepherds

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  • Medicated shampoos – To be used as needed, medicated shampoos contain essential ingredients that provide effective relief from different skin conditions. If you are unsure what your pup’s problem is, it’s generally best to speak to your vet before using any kind of treatment. German Shepherds are a high-risk breed for skin allergies like canine atopic dermatitis (CAD). So keep a close eye out for excessive scratching rubbing on the carpet, hair loss, greasy or flaky skin with a foul odor, excessive chewing on the paws and areas such as the groin and armpits.
  • Hypoallergenic shampoos – Hypoallergenic shampoos are carefully formulated to ensure that they are allergen-free. They are extra mild and do not contain any harsh chemicals that will irritate your dog’s skin. These are the best choice for German Shepherds who are predisposed to having hypersensitive skin.
  • Deodorizing shampoos – These pleasant-scented shampoos contain powerful ingredients that can be used to neutralize unpleasant smells that your dog may have picked up while out and about on their daily walk. They are useful for keeping your dog, and therefore, your home smelling fresh for longer.
  • Tearless shampoos – Especially useful for puppies and young or nervous dogs, mild-blend tearless shampoos are crafted explicitly so that they won’t irritate or sting your pup’s eyes if it comes into contact with them. This is particularly helpful if your dog is still in the wriggling-around-a-lot stage of bathing.
  • Waterless shampoos – Excellent timesavers, waterless shampoos do just what they say on the tin. They clean your hound’s skin and coat without the need for water. These types of shampoos are great for spot cleans in between washes if your pet needs a little freshening up. They are also useful for dogs that are nervous of the tub.
  • Shed Control shampoos – German Shepherds can be quite heavy shedders, so these shampoos will be a lifesaver to you if you don’t enjoy every part of your house being constantly covered in a thick layer of hair.

They contain specific ingredients such as fatty acids which lock in moisture and reduce excess shedding. At the same time, other elements help with loosening up already dead hairs to be nicely washed down the drain rather than ending up coating all your clothes.

6 Common Special Health Feature Shampoos to Consider

  • Anti-Fungal/Anti Bacterial shampoos – As can be gauged from the name, these types of shampoos are useful for treating an excess of harmful yeast and bacteria on your pet’s skin and through their coat. They contain specific chemicals that can be used to both kill and remove them without damaging your dog’s skin.
  • Dander Control shampoos – Another great one to help with your German Shepherd’s coat, dander shampoos are particularly good for flushing out dead skin cells and hair and washing them away. They are also useful for relieving skin itching, which would otherwise create more loose hair and flaking skin.
  • Sensitive Skin shampoos – Sensitive skin shampoos are the best kind to use on dogs who are constantly scratching and prone to skin allergies – as can be the case with German Shepherds. They make use of gentle, skin-soothing ingredients such as mint, chamomile, and oats.
  • Skin & Coat Health shampoos – Extra conditioning skin and coat health shampoos are specially developed to moisturize, nourish and otherwise protect dry and damaged skin and hair. They are packed full of hydrating ingredients for a beautiful-looking, shiny, healthy coat.
  • Itch Redness Remedy shampoos – As the name suggests, itch and redness remedy shampoos are designed to relieve symptoms of itchy skin and hotspots that may be caused by seasonal allergies or mites. They make use of soothing natural oils and extracts such as coconut, chamomile, and aloe vera.
  • Calming shampoos – Great for nervous young pups, calming shampoos contain essential oil fragrances such as lavender that can help your dog to relax during bath time. Additionally, these shampoos tend to have properties that make them feel good on your dog’s skin so that they can start to get used to being washed.

Overall Best Shampoo for German Shepherds

Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

Key Features:

  • 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner
  • Gentle, all-natural formula
  • Calming essential oils
  • Suitable for frequent use

Overall Best – This expertly blended formula delivers a thorough clean for your pet, while the calming scents and gentle ingredients ensure a pleasant bath-time experience. Made with natural herbs and free from soap and harsh chemicals, this shampoo is ideal even for dogs with the most sensitive skin – including puppies. The double action of the shampoo provides an effective clean, while both protecting and boosting the natural oils of your dog’s coat for soft, shiny, healthy fur.


  • Lathers well
  • Deep cleaning
  • Soothing scent
  • Easy to rinse


  • After-bath scent too subtle

Frisco Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs & Cats, Almond Scent

Key Features:

  • Good on sensitive skin
  • Nourishing and soothing
  • Gentle on skin and coat
  • Free from dyes and parabens

Most Affordable German Shepherd Shampoo – For a cost-effective alternative, opt for this ultra-moisturizing, gentle-blend shampoo that can help to soothe your pet’s skin while leaving them squeaky clean and fragrant. Active ingredients include coconut oil to lock moisture into your dog’s coat, oat protein to help with their dry skin, and chamomile to soothe and calm. In addition, the fresh scent will leave your pup sweet-smelling and cuddle ready.


  • Well-priced
  • Helps with dry skin
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Soap-free formula


  • Hard to lather
  • Thick formula tricky to apply

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

Key Features:

  • Neutralizes odors
  • Deeply conditioning
  • Eliminates static electricity
  • Enhances hair softness

Best German Shepherd Puppy Shampoo – This carefully blended puppy shampoo is great for dogs who love to be outside. Not only does it offer a thorough clean, but it also helps to preserve your pup’s essential skin oils to prevent itchiness and irritation. The mild formula is tear-free and perfectly suited to regular use, so you can keep your little rascal fresh, happy, healthy, and huggably soft. It’s also suitable for use alongside any other topical treatments such as those for fleas and ticks and won’t wash them away.


  • Mild on skin and eyes
  • Safe to use with topical products
  • Exceptional cleaning power


  • Scent doesn’t last

Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs

Key Features:

  • Veterinarian formulated
  • Natural remedy
  • Suitable for frequent use
  • Can be used alongside topical treatments

Allergy and Itch Control Shampoo for German Shepherds – This fresh-smelling shampoo combines some of nature’s most effective ingredients, such as oatmeal, chamomile, and tea tree oil. They help to reduce skin inflammation, itchiness, and any other symptoms of skin allergies. Moreover, in addition to its soothing properties, the formula is also developed using fatty acids to help support the maintenance of the skin’s normal moisture levels. This is a great one for German Shepherds as they are especially vulnerable to skin-irritating allergens.


  • Instant soothing effect
  • Cleans out allergens
  • Great smell


  • Some dogs may be sensitive to the ingredients

Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Dog & Cat Shampoo

Key Features:

  • Helps manage dermatitis and pyoderma
  • Effective on skin infections
  • Reduces irritation
  • Minimizes moisture loss

Fungal and Bacterial Infections – This medicated shampoo contains ingredients with potent anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antiseborrheic properties. These all help to fight both the cause and symptoms of both fungal and bacterial infections. Key ingredients include chlorhexidine and phytosphingosine salicyloyl (0.05%), lipacide c8g (2.5%), and chlorhexidine (3%), which are all very effective against these types of skin problems. Furthermore, the gently foaming lather provides intense moisturization for the skin as well as a long-lasting rinse-resistant shield to protect against any further irritants.


  • Vet recommended
  • Reduces hotspots
  • Intense cleaning action
  • Soft, strong coat


  • Not suitable for regular use
  • Expensive

HyLyt Hypoallergenic Shampoo with Essential Fatty Acids for Dogs & Cats

Key Features:

  • Soap-free shampoo
  • Natural ingredients
  • Helps control flaking
  • Hydrating fatty acids

Soap Free & Hypoallergenic – Excellent for use on German Shepherd’s sensitive skin, this gentle-blend shampoo provides a thorough clean without striping the important oils in your dog’s coat. The formula is specially pH balanced to ensure compatibility with your dog’s skin. It will neither dry nor irritate it. In addition to this, a blend of extracts, oils, and fatty acids moisturize the skin and nourish the coat for beautifully shiny, healthy-looking hair.


  • Soothes the skin
  • Only a little is needed
  • Deep and thorough clean
  • Pleasant, fresh scent


  • Required careful storage due to fat content

5 Other Top-Rated German Shepherd Shampoos

Earthbath Shed Control Green Tea & Awapuhi Dog & Cat Conditioner

A must-have item for heavy shedding dogs, this fresh-smelling shampoo cleans away loose skin, hair, and allergens while helping to control any excess shedding.

TropiClean Luxury 2 in 1 Papaya & Coconut Pet Shampoo and Conditioner

Formulated exclusively from naturally derived ingredients, this deep conditioning formula will leave your pooch smelling much nicer for much longer than other shampoos.

Ark Naturals Don’t Worry Don’t Rinse Me Waterless Dog & Cat Shampoo

This freshening, odor-removing shampoo is excellent for use in between bathes. Despite the lack of water, this shampoo will leave your pet thoroughly clean and intensely moisturized.

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

Designed specifically to soothe and soften dry skin, this shampoo is suitable for use on even the most sensitive skin. The tearless blend is particularly good for puppies.

Allerpet Dog Dander Remover

Another great one for German Shepherd owners, this potent shampoo easily removes dirt, debris, allergens, and loose hair from your pet’s coat. Smoothly washing it away down the drain.

Our 2021 Guide to Bathing your German Shepherd

Any difficulties that arise when bathing your German Shepherd will do so because of how they feel about this particular activity. Dogs that get nervous or anxious at bath time will not make your life very easy. Given time, your pooch will begin to get accustomed to being bathed. If you are patient, reassuring, and treat them very gently, they will come to learn that the water won’t hurt them. Certain shampoos that have been developed with relaxing smells or soothing effects on the skin (see above) can help your pet to feel calmer. These will be useful in reducing the time that it takes to get them used to being bathed.

  1. Before getting your German Shepherd in the tub, it’s best to ensure that you have all the necessary items to hand so that you won’t be struggling to wash your dog while going to and fro to fetch things.
  2. You will need several towels as this breed’s coat can hold quite a bit of excess water, alongside a dog shampoo and a non-slip mat, so they are not flailing around the tub. A suitable rubber brush might also be handy in helping the shampoo to penetrate the various layers of your dog’s coat.
  3. You first need to use warm water and ensure that your pet’s coat is wet all the way through. A useful tip is to avoid wetting their head at this stage as any water on a German Shepherd’s head will trigger them to shake their entire body to remove the water. So you could end up drenched before any of the real work has even begun.
  4. Apply a suitable shampoo and work from the neck down, using your fingers or the brush to make sure it reaches all the way down to their skin. Follow the shampoo’s specific instructions for leave in time and then rinse.
  5. The rinsing stage needs to be done extremely thoroughly as any remaining shampoo could go on to cause irritation to your dog’s skin. Take this time to carefully check them for any signs of skin irritations, cuts, bites, redness, and mites.
  6. Finally, tackle the head, being careful to keep water away from ears – as this could cause ear infections, and soap away from eyes – which could sting and make your dog feel even more anxious about future bath times.
  7. Once you are finished, make good use of the towels to remove as much water from your dog’s coat as you possibly can. Then make sure they stay inside and keep warm until they are completely dry. Due to the breed’s thick double coat, this could take a very long time. If your dog will let you, a hairdryer on a cool setting could be used to speed up this process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best shampoo for German Shepherds? – The best shampoo for your German Shepherd will be one that meets the breed’s as well as your dog’s unique needs. These types of dogs are prone to sensitive skin, may be challenging to clean due to their thick double layer of fur, and can shed rather a lot. Take a look at our recommendations provided above. These shampoos are all mild, contain natural ingredients, and can help with dry and irritated skin.

  1. How often should you bathe your German Shepherd?  Experts recommend that you bathe your German Shepherd no more than once a month. The reason for this is that bathing them too frequently can strip the protective oils from their coat. If you can leave it even longer between baths, then you should, but obviously, this will be dependent on your pet’s specific behavior. If they enjoy being outside as most of this breed do, chances are they will come back with mud and debris in their coat. However, you will find that much of this is easily removed through thorough grooming. If possible, just wait until the mud dries and it should brush right out. In fact, regular brushing will reduce the number of times you will need to bathe your German Shepherd. You should be doing this a couple of times a week. Yet, if your pup has been rolling around in something nasty, it’s best to give them a bath to ensure that they don’t pick up any bacterial infections or spread the muck and smell through your home. Just take care to pick a mild shampoo free from chemicals that could do more harm to your pet’s coat and skin than good.
  2. Why does my German Shepherd stink? If you’ve noticed a curious smell emanating from your German Shepherd, don’t be alarmed. Even the most well-kept of dogs can smell bad from time to time. If you are regularly grooming them, and bathing them every couple of months, then you are doing everything right. But it’s still best to determine the source of the smell as it could indicate a problem with your pooch’s health. Dogs have natural oils on their skin and coat that help to keep them clean and bacteria-free. They also don’t have the sweat glands on their skin that we do, that’s why they don’t need to bathe as often as we do. However, they do have a penchant for rolling in smelly things. A trait that some experts believe is passed down from their wild dog ancestors who used to do this to mask their smell from their prey. If you believe the smell is down to this, then you will likely have to step up their bath routine, washing them a little more frequently with a shampoo suitable for regular use. Which is likely to be a much easier option than attempting to prevent this type of behavior. If you do suspect a medical problem, however, check their skin for signs of bacteria, their ears for thick, unusual discharge, and their teeth for signs of decay. If in doubt, it’s always best to speak with your local veterinarian.
  3. Can I use human shampoos on German Shepherds? You absolutely should never consider using human shampoos on any dog. Our shampoos contain ingredients that are beneficial for our skin, but the natural composition of our skin differs quite significantly from that of our furry friends. A dog’s skin is much thinner and so much more sensitive. You will find that formulas that leave our hair feeling soft and lustrous will have the opposite effect on your pet. Products designed to suit our slightly acidic skin will feel harsh against their more neutral makeup. They will likely have a drying effect that will irritate their skin, causing them to scratch and lick and, consequently, their skin to become red and inflamed.
  4. Why does my German Shepherd still stink after a bath? Well, it is natural for German Shepherds to be a little more pungent when their coat is wet due to the presence of helpful yeast and bacteria that naturally protect their skin and fur. However, this shouldn’t really be the case directly following a bath. Noticing that your pooch smells even after a bath could indicate that the shampoo you use is not effective at doing its job. You might need one with a more robust cleaning or deodorizing action – see above for possible options. However, as covered above, a lingering bad smell after a bath could also indicate health problems. So if you are consistently finding that your pet’s potent odor is not resolved by bathing them, then it’s time for a trip down to the vet’s. Overall, German Shepherds are beautiful, lively dogs with thick coats that require constant care. Although most dirt and debris can be removed through vigorous grooming, they still need regular baths to keep them smelling fresh.

Selecting the right kind of shampoo to use on your dog is crucial. Especially given that this breed has a double coat that is difficult to penetrate and sensitive skin that is prone to irritation. But if you do, they will certainly thank you for it.

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