6 Best Muzzles for German Shepherds

Standing at an average 26 inches tall with pointed ears and dark eyes, the large, sleek German Shepherd is easily-recognizable. Many even consider German Shepherds to be canine royalty.

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Originally, these dogs didn’t start at the top. A German cavalry officer in the 1800s, Captain Max von Stephanitz, started breeding German Shepherds to herd sheep. Once Stephanitz realized the demand for canine herders was declining, he began marketing German Shepherds as the perfect police and military dog.

Today, the German Shepherd’s loyal and courageous personality makes them one of the most widely used dog breeds for police work. When these dogs aren’t tracking down criminals, they’re cuddling up to their human companions. In fact, the German Shepherd’s extreme loyalty is what often brands them as an ideal family dog.

Anyone who owns a German Shepherd, however, can also testify to this breed’s protectiveness. While gentle with family members, they may be wary or even hostile of strangers—or those that they perceive as threats. This is one reason why some German Shepherds owners may choose to muzzle their dogs in certain situations.

What is the Best Muzzle for a German Shepherd?

Although muzzling can seem embarrassing or even cruel, organizations like the American Kennel Club advise that muzzling your dog in specific situations for short periods of time is not only appropriate but may also help prevent unwanted behavior. Even if some might stop your German Shepherd from eating or drinking, most muzzles aren’t uncomfortable for the dog to wear.

Most of the time, the difficult part is often not deciding whether to use a muzzle—it’s finding one that’s secure and comfortable for your pup to wear. While many brands may swear that their muzzles are the best, not all of them can actually live up to those claims.

Fortunately, searching for the best German Shepherd muzzle doesn’t need to painful—especially when we’ve already highlighted and reviewed some of the top products of 2021 for you.

Different Types of Muzzles for German Shepherds

Although muzzles aren’t necessary for all situations and certainly aren’t meant to be worn for long periods of time, they can control an unpredictable German Shepherd when they need to. During vet visits, grooming sessions or a walk through crowded areas, a muzzle can ensure the safety of both your dog and others.

While many German Shepherd muzzles might look similar, there are actually several types, and the best kind of muzzle for your pup can often depend on the circumstances and your dog’s temperament.

Basket Muzzle

The basket muzzle is often the most easily-recognizable type. With a cage-like design, many owners may shy away from this kind since it often looks “less humane.” However, that’s far from true—in fact, the basket muzzle’s unique design is usually the best option for many large breeds like the German Shepherd.

Unlike some other muzzles, the basket muzzle still allows the dog to open their mouths, pant, and easily drink water. If your dog needs to wear a muzzle for any extended length of time, the basket muzzle may be the best choice.

Conveniently, basket muzzles come in a variety of different materials such as leather, plastic, and metal.

Soft Muzzle

The soft muzzle, which may come in gentle nylon or mesh material, is often much easier to put on than a basket muzzle. Most of the time, you may be able to easily slip it over your dog’s mouth or strap it on with velcro.

Despite the convenience, the soft muzzle can have one major drawback: since it doesn’t let your pup open their mouth, they won’t be able to drink, eat or pant.

The soft muzzle may be good for short periods of time, but you shouldn’t use it for any extended length (and especially not in extreme heat).

Homemade (Emergency) Muzzle

There is one more type of muzzle that German Shepherd owners should familiarize themselves with. Although you won’t find it in a store, the homemade or emergency muzzle can be good in a pinch.

In a desperate situation, some people may make a muzzle out of gauze or ace wrap. The material can securely wrap around your dog’s mouth to prevent them from opening up, but may not completely stop them from biting.

The homemade muzzle is called the “emergency” muzzle for a reason—since it lacks the security and comfort of a store-bought muzzle, it should only be used as a last resort.

When and Why Would a German Shepherd Need a Muzzle?

To those that have never owned a dog before, the muzzle might seem unnecessary or cruel. However, in specific situations, a muzzle can be a crucial tool in keeping both your dog and others safe.

Grooming Sessions

During a grooming session—especially one that takes place with a professional—not all German Shepherds may react positively. If your dog has a history of biting or aggressive behavior, wearing a muzzle while they’re getting their claws trimmed may keep the groomer safe.

Some salons may even require that certain large breeds like the German Shepherds wear muzzles during sessions.

There’s a Risk of Biting

Some German Shepherds, while fiercely protective, may be too hostile toward strangers. If your Shepherd has an aggressive past or has bitten other people before, a muzzle might be appropriate if you’re taking them out in a crowd.

Although a muzzle might not work well for an all-day outing, these devices function well in the short-term to keep your dog and those around safe.

A Muzzle is Required

Even if your German Shepherd wouldn’t hurt a fly, some states may require you to still muzzle your dog if they’re not on private property. These laws continue to stir up controversy among dog owners.

Before taking your pup out in public, you should always check to see if your state requires “dangerous breeds” to be muzzled, and whether or not the German Shepherd falls under that category.

Overall Best Muzzles for a German Shepherd

Check out our top pick for a German Shepherd muzzle and keep reading for our other favorites.

Baskerville Ultra Dog Muzzle

Best Overall

When your dog is a little too excited or stressed, the Baskerville Ultra Dog Muzzle may be just what they need. With a “treat-friendly” design that allows your dog to safely open his mouth, the Baskerville Muzzle can be worn for longer periods of time.

Although the thermal plastic rubber is made for durability, owners can still heat it with hot water and “shape” it for a more comfortable fit. For German Shepherds that may have longer snouts, this feature may come in handy.

In addition, there are two points of attachment, and an included over-the-head safety strap.

5 More Top-Rated German Shepherd Muzzles

There’s no reason to stop with just one—here are five other top picks to choose from:

Four Paws Walk-About Quick-Fit Dog Muzzle

For a comfortable, secure fit, there’s no better option than the Four Paws Walk-About Quick-Fit Dog Muzzle. In addition to curbing biting or chewing, the Four Paws muzzle still allows your dog to pant and drink water easily.

The nylon material is durable enough to withstand anything your dog throws at it but is also machine washable too. Despite being completely adjustable and easy to slip on, the Four Paws’ design makes it difficult for your dog to remove it by themselves. Regardless of how hard they try, your German Shepherd won’t be making any escape attempts with this muzzle.

Keep in mind that, besides being approved by professionals, the muzzle also comes in seven different sizes so that it can fit German Shepherds of all ages.

Goodboy Guard Dogs Gentle Muzzle

For a soft muzzle that can provide comfort and convenience, the Goodboy Guard Dogs Gentle Muzzle may be an ideal choice. The circular design with soft neoprene padding fits snugly over your dog’s snout but still allows them to easily drink water and pant.

Not only is the Goodboy muzzle designed for comfort, but it also includes a collar and connection strap to help hold the contraption in place. While you can easily snap the high-quality buckles together when putting it on, the connection strap ensures your dog won’t be able to easily remove the muzzle.

Before purchasing, don’t forget to check the sizing chart to make sure you get the perfect fit.

CollarDirect Dog Muzzle

While it may not be ideal for extended periods of time, the CollarDirect Dog Muzzle is all about safety and security. The breathable leather construction ensures your dog can’t bite, and the muzzle is actually designed for large breeds like the German Shepherd to use.

For dogs that have an aggressive or unpredictable history and will need to be securely muzzled for a short time, the CollarDirect muzzle may be just what you need. Once you get the right size, you can use the adjustable straps to provide the most comfortable fit. While color might not affect function, it’s worth noting that this muzzle comes in black, grey, brown, and pink.

Four Flags Quick Muzzle

At a grooming session or vet appointment, nothing will keep your German Shepherd from biting more than the Four Flags Quick Muzzle. Despite selling thousands of muzzles, Four Flag remains a family-friendly organization. Anyone who purchases a muzzle can rest assured that the product was hand-made.

The muzzle works by fitting over your dog’s snout and snapping in the back. Not only does this make it more difficult for your German Shepherd to slip out of the muzzle, but it ensures a more secure fit as well. The nylon pack cloth makes the contraption durable but doesn’t sacrifice comfort.

Mayerzon Breathable Basket Dog Muzzle

For a basket muzzle that still provides your dog with plenty of freedom, the Mayerzon Breathable muzzle may be a perfect choice. Although the cage-like design is secure, the pliable, non-toxic rubber allows owners to widen or narrow the device.

Since it’s a basket muzzle, dogs can still drink, pant or even be fed treats through the wide holes in the front. Unlike some other choices, the ventilation in this muzzle may make it more difficult for your dog to overheat in extreme weather.

Keep in mind that, if the muzzle doesn’t live up to expectation, there’s a 12-month warranty and a 60-day satisfaction guarantee.

5 Tips to Properly use a Muzzle with a German Shepherd

  1. Positive reinforcement is key when training your German Shepherd to wear a muzzle. Before placing the muzzle on your dog, put it near him and allow him to sniff it. Anytime he looks at it or smells it, reward him with a treat.
  2. Put your German Shepherd’s favorite wet food or peanut butter on the inside of the muzzle. Allow your dog to lick it up, and become comfortable with touching it.
  3. Then, place your dog’s favorite treats in the muzzle and let him put his nose inside. Before he can pull away, be sure to remove the muzzle yourself. This will keep your Shepherd from learning that it’s okay to eat the treats and then walk away. After repeating this procedure a couple of times, increase the amount of time your dog keeps their nose in the muzzle (usually 2 minutes is a good goal to aim for).
  4. Practice letting your dog wear the muzzle for short periods of time while also feeding him treats.
  5. Take your German Shepherd on a short walk outside. Doing so will help your dog think of the muzzle as a positive thing.

Although finding the right muzzle is important, training your German Shepherd to wear it (and enjoy it) is equally as crucial.

FAQ’s Regarding Muzzles for German Shepherds

Is it cruel to make my German Shepherd wear a muzzle?

Although muzzles can be a controversial tool, they are necessary in specific situations. That being said, a muzzle should never be worn as punishment or to curb unwanted behaviors like barking, chewing or even play biting.

Will a muzzle make my German Shepherd more aggressive?

No. While some owners may muzzle an aggressive German Shepherd when they need to, a muzzle will not make your dog any more aggressive. In fact, with the right training, some dogs may even look forward to wearing a muzzle.

Is a muzzle uncomfortable for my German Shepherd to wear?

In most cases, as long as the muzzle fits correctly, it won’t be uncomfortable for your dog to wear. However, wearing a muzzle that doesn’t allow your pup to open their mouth or drink for long periods of time can cause discomfort.

What is the best German Shepherd muzzle type?

While it may depend on the situation, the best German Shepherd muzzle type is usually the basket muzzle. Because it allows dogs to pant and drink water, it can be more comfortable for your pup to wear for extended periods of time. It also makes it much easier for you to feed your dog treats as well.

When shouldn’t I use a muzzle?

You may already know the situations when a muzzle is appropriate, but there are also a few scenarios when you shouldn’t use these devices. While aggressive dogs may be muzzled while they’re out and about, you shouldn’t use the muzzle as a form of punishment. Not only is this ineffective, but your dog will begin to view the muzzle as a negative rather than a positive.

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