To help you build the BEST relationship with your German Shepherd Dog!
==> The other side of dog shedding and dog hair loss
Dog hair life cycle and GSD differences
German Shepherd Dog Hair Growth
By the way, the current generation of mobile devices cannot show hover text notes ('title tag'), so if you're visiting our Periodicals via any phone or tablet or whatever, unfortunately you miss out on quite a bit of background information. However for the photos on the left, in short:
Short Coat German Shepherd
Long Stock Coat German Shepherd
Long Coat German Shepherd
"That is obvious!" - I know but it's rare to find pics with such clarity in coat types, hence why I find it helpful to share these.
After all the recent lengthy Periodicals, this one will be shorter as it does not directly aim to solve a problem (like dog shedding and dog hair loss), but we need this topic to round off the subject dog coat/ dog hair, as obviously all three topics are related.
Thinking about it: This Periodical too may very well solve a problem, and more than a problem of your dog!
Actually, the plan was to further have a picture story Periodical on different GSD coats (with close-up photos showing certain things that I feel need clarification), but the invite to our subscribers (you) to send in something like a macro shot of your GSD's coat unfortunately didn't yield results! If I were as unresponsive as our free subscribers are, no one would ever have received an answer.
You are still more than welcome to send such a macro shot: simply hit reply in one of the countless Periodical emails that you have received. Then I will produce for you a specific Periodical on the topic that I have in mind.
So now, in this Periodical:
Dog skin versus human skin
Dog hair - what is it after all?
Functions of hair
Dog hair life cycle
Excursus: human hair loss!
German Shepherd Dog specialties
Dog skin versus human skin
The main functions of skin are:
to prevent penetration of foreign objects and parasites into the body
to prevent vital moisture and nutrients from leaving the body
for people, to regulate body temperature (for dogs, this function is minor)
and to provide sensation to stimuli in the environment
Indeed, for dogs thermoregulation is a minor function of the skin, you will see below why.
Severely damaged skin will try to heal itself, which may result in scar tissue. Like with people, on dogs too, hair does not grow back on scarred skin, simply because scar tissue is not connected to the blood vessels below, and hair follicles obviously require to be nourished! - If the scar is not too wide, hair from neighboring intact skin cells may grow over the scar though.
The skin sheds too, through a continuous hardening process called keratinization. This is the dander you may see on your dog's resting places if you rarely shake them out (but probably you do, so you won't see much).
Not all but most dog breeds (including most GSDs) have on most parts of their body the type of skin shown in this simplified image, namely with Primary hairandSecondary hair (more on hair types further below). Only the Long Coat German Shepherd - not Long Stock Coat - has (almost) no Secondary hair (undercoat).
Note from the image that hair doesn't grow through the skin (like in body piercing), but rather from within the skin through an orifice (hair canal). Or, in Harry Potter language: a portal.
Also note that dog skin has no sweat glands and sweat pores (no eccrine glands and no apocrine glands) - the core function of which is: thermoregulation, yes!
You can find tons of descriptions and images online that portray dog skin with sweat glands, but those all result from thoughtless copying from human skin, they are wrong. On dog skin, sweat glands are only found in the thick scaly skin of the foot pads - and the foot pads are very much unrepresentative of dog skin.
Dog skin is thickest on back and neck, thinning towards the abdomen, and thinnest in the groin area. Dog hair typically grows quickest in the shoulder region, followed by the flank and the forehead regions.
Regarding canine skin pH (and human skin pH) I can refer to our equally helpful Periodical GSD - Bath or Shower?
Understanding canine skin pH helps you to avoid dangerously stupid "advice" like that which I found on dailypuppy.com: "Kill growth-hindering bacteria on your dog's skin by spraying a mixture of 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 gallon of water on him after each bath while he is still wet".
You may indeed need a daily puppy, a new puppy every day, because if you follow such dumb "advice" you may outright kill your puppy!
Conversely, human skin (much simplified) looks like this:
All people (unless they have a defect) have on most parts of their body the type of skin shown in this simplified image, namely with thin, short, and softvellus hair only - and with sweat glands and sweat pores.
Human vellus hair corresponds in some regards to canine secondary hair, but in other regards to canine primary hair (more on canine hair types further below). I don't like the classification of human hair into primary, secondary and tertiary hair anyway, because this leads to the contradictory classifications that abound in literature. So, let's stick to vellus hair.
Vellus hair is light-colored or transluscent, and normally two millimeters long MAX! On most body parts you can only see it on the human skin when you look really close (well, I can only, I can't know how good your eyesight is).
Terminal hair like that on the scalp, beard, pubic and armpit hair (and on hirsute people on lots of other body parts) tends to further obscure vellus hair. Considering the entire body, human skin harbors an average of about 5 million hair follicles (according to the anthropologist Adolph Schultz), and between 1.6 mio to 25 mio sweat ducts (pores/orifices/portals) - yes, this figure varies widely as sweat ducts are exceedingly difficult to count!
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Stay with us and your dog will stay with you, both of you healthy and well-behaved.
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Disclaimer: Always apply your own common sense when you follow anyone's suggestions. As much as your dog is special (s)he may react different too.
There's nothing quite like a healthy and well-behaved German Shepherd who freely guards every corner of your home, who brings you peace, who brings you joy! Welcome to MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG - we help you that YOUR DOG does not end up in a(nother) shelter!