8 Best Sweaters for German Shepherd

If you have a German Shepherd, you’re in good company. This herding dog is the second most popular of the 191 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). It is intelligent with a noticeable air of confidence in its temperament and gait. These dogs are highly trainable and make an excellent family pet.

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The German Shepherd or Alsatian joined the ranks of the AKC in 1908, riding a tide of popularity due in part to the rise of another canine star, Rin-Tin-Tin. The breed fits well in its role as a member of the herding group, preferring this active lifestyle whether or not you have livestock for him to tend.

Its thick fur may make you think that a German Shepherd doesn’t need anything else. That might be true most times of the year, except for spring and fall when he sheds his wooly undercoat. A sweater can provide an extra layer of protection against the elements as he transitions into his full coat.

German Shepherds are healthy dogs for the most part with few health issues. Heart issues are one concern that makes getting a sweater for your pet a smart idea during the colder months of the year. Not sure what one to buy? We’ve got you covered with our guide to buying a sweater for a German Shepherd.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide to selecting the right sweater for your canine companion. We’ll cover features, sizing, and other factors to consider when looking for a fall wrap to keep your dog warm during chilly fall walks. We’ll also give you our lineup of the best products that are most suitable for this breed.

We’ll round things up with tips for getting your pet used to wearing clothing even if he has a different idea about it. We’ll end with some answers to your pressing questions about buying a sweater for your German Shepherd.

Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Sweater for Your German Shepherd

As we discussed, extreme weather, health, and shedding status are essential points when deciding if your dog needs a sweater. Fortunately, you’ll find a wealth of choices to match the garment with the conditions and the specific needs of your pet. The essential factors for this breed are the material, sizing, and fit.


The material makes a difference both for the comfort of your pet and your care for it. Acrylic and blends are the most affordable. That makes them an excellent choice if it’s your dog’s first experience wearing a sweater. After all, some won’t have anything to do with wearing clothes no matter what you do. Wool offers warmth. Like people, some animals may be allergic or find them uncomfortable to wear.

Other options are synthetics like polyester and nylon. They will hold up well to multiple washes. You might also consider wicking materials for walks on snowy or rainy days. German Shepherds shed a lot. Because of that factor, the choice of fabric too. If he has the standard colors, stick with a darker color sweater to hide the hair. You can also use a lint roller to keep it looking its best.

Size and Dimensions

The classic body profile of the German Shepherd also presents some challenges when choosing a sweater. Their length is longer than their height, giving their torso a curved appearance. That also means that you should stick to items that balance fit with comfort to avoid interfering with their gait if they’re too long.

You may find that a lighter weight sweater is the better choice since your dog has a thick coat for staying warm, anyway. We also recommend measuring your pet not once, but twice to be positive about the size. German Shepherds come in a relatively wide range of weights. The extra-large size is an excellent starting point. Most products have ranges for the measurements that you can use as a guide.


You’ll see products like cable sweaters to fleece pullovers to hoodies. Again, this point goes back to the unique body form of the German Shepherd. Don’t be disappointed if you must have your pet try on a few different ones. The coat will also make a difference in how snug it feels to him. During the colder months of the year, his coat is at its thickest.

Give some leeway when measuring your dog’s girth to allow for his fur. We’d also suggest sticking with sweaters that have an opening only for his legs instead of sleeves if he doesn’t like his legs handled. Some products include leash holes. We love the convenience, but you may not see them with knitted sweaters.

How Do I Ensure the Best Fit for My German Shepherd?

This step is the single most important one for picking the right sweater for your dog. It’ll make sure that it has a relaxed fit that won’t interfere with him walking or running if you’re going to a dog park and go off-leash.

You’ll need to take three measurements to help you select the right sweater for your dog. First, measure around his neck, leaving a bit of space as you would for a collar and to account for his large head. Round up to the nearest inch for this one and all other dimensions.

Next, measure your pet’s girth right behind his legs at the widest point. German Shepherds are big-boned animals with large chests. That body shape is part of the challenge of getting the right fit. Finally, measure his body length from the point where his neck meets his body to the tail. That’s where you want the sweater’s length to stop.

The sweater should sit comfortably on your pet with no binding at the legs or neck. It should not scrunch up his fur with the idea being that there is some air movement between the material and his coat.

Best German Shepherd Sweater for Winter

Frisco Dog & Cat Cable Knitted Sweater

Best Overall

The Frisco Dog & Cat Cable Knitted Sweater feels like the sweater we’d love to wear, snuggling next to a warm fire. The material is soft and cozy warm too. It’s sure to keep your German Shepherd comfortable. The elasticity of the knit is a plus for striking that right balance between snug and fit. It comes in six colors and sizes from x-small to xx-large.

The sweater is also machine washable, which we always like to see in these types of products. It is fashionable, too, so that your dog will be styling on the walking trail.

7 More Top-Rated German Shepherd Sweaters

Chilly Dog Natural Cable Dog & Cat Sweater

The Chilly Dog Natural Cable Dog & Cat Sweater has that classic, just-back-from-the-ski-slopes look. It is the one you want to reach for on a chilly winter morning. It’s hand-crafted by Andean artisans. Even though it only comes in white, it is dirt-resistant. Like the previous product, the sweater has some give to provide a relaxed fit for your German Shepherd.

The wool sweater covers your pet’s belly to keep him warm while giving him enough freedom of movement without binding.

Frisco Buffalo Plaid Dog & Cat Sweater

The Frisco Buffalo Plaid Dog & Cat Sweater is attractive and sure to turn some heads with its stylish pattern. The neck is a bit looser with its V-neck shape, making it easier to get over your German Shepherd’s head. There is also a built-in leash hole too. The latter is a feature that we like to see in these products so that we don’t have to roll the neck down to attach it.

You can toss it in the washer after the walk and tumble dry it low for your next outing. It’s warm and holds its shape well after several washes.

The Long Dog Clothing Company Crimson Reversible Dog Sweater

The Long Dog Clothing Company Crimson Reversible Dog Sweater has a lot going for it. The design makes it an excellent choice for getting it on your pet quick and hassle-free. It has holes for your pet’s legs without sleeves to make it even easier. The best part about it is that it’s reversible. A gray jersey complements the red top perfectly. It’s like getting two products for the price of one.

The sweater is also machine washable. It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for something lightweight to put on your German Shepherd for a fall walk.

Pawmain “PUPREME” Dog Streetwear Hoodie

The Pawmain “PUPREME” Dog Streetwear Hoodie is so darn cute that it was hard not to put it on our list. The fleece material is a cotton-polyester blend that is soft and comfortable, like a pair of worn jeans. It’s definitely a go-to item for a fall sweater. The product is well-made with its adorable hoodie. It does run on the small size, so make sure and choose the next one.

We loved the design and look of this hoodie. It’s comfy and attractive. It does have sleeves for the front legs, but they’re loose enough so as not to bother your dog.

Fab Dog Super Chunky Turtleneck Dog Sweater

The Fab Dog Super Chunky Turtleneck Dog Sweater is a fitting style for a breed known for its confident stance and classic profile. It is 100-percent acrylic, which gives it enough resilience to handle a lot of wear while still keeping its shape. It comes in eight colors and nine sizes that go in two-inch ranges to help you better match the size your pet needs.

We loved the high neck on the sweater that gives it a sophisticated look. It is also machine washable, but not suitable for the dryer. Instead, lay it flat to dry to prevent shrinking.

Eddie Bauer Marled Striped Dog Sweater

The Eddie Bauer Marled Striped Dog Sweater brings all the quality you’d expect from this brand. This product doesn’t disappoint. It’s 100-percent acrylic in a horizontal stripe design that looks smart. It’s easy to put on your dog too. We loved the leather branding on the bottom of the sweater that completes the classic vibe.

The design accommodates breeds like the German Shepherd with their broad chests. It also has a conveniently located leash hole. You can put it in both the washer and dryer.

Zack & Zoey Forest Friends Reversible Dog Hoodie

The Zack & Zoey Forest Friends Reversible Dog Hoodie is the second of this style on our list. The casual feel of this sweater is unmistakable. It has a solid, burnt orange side and a seasonal white one with deer. Both are adorable. It has a substantial weight to it, making it just the thing for a chilly fall walk. There are two sleeves for the front legs and a high-cut belly.

While you can wash it, you should let it air dry to keep its relaxed shape and fit. The sweater is well-made with quality materials that make it an excellent value for the price.

Tips for Getting Your German Shepherd to Wear Clothing

Bringing new things into your pet’s world is sometimes hard. Fortunately, the trainability of the German Shepherd gives you a leg up on getting him to wear garments. That’s why it’s essential to introduce your dog to a variety of experiences. To make it easier for both of you here is some advice for exploring this challenge.

  1. Don’t give up if your dog doesn’t like it the first time you put the sweater on him.
  2. Create a positive association with wearing the sweater, such as a treat.
  3. Make it a routine so that he learns to expect you will put the sweater on him.
  4. Distract him if he seems uncomfortable at first with the sweater.
  5. Opt for a product with Velcro if it’s too much of a chore to put the sweater on your pet.

Some dogs won’t mind wearing clothing, but the key is to be patient and make it a fun experience for both of you.

FAQs About Sweaters for a German Shepherd

When Should I Put a Sweater on My German Shepherd?

While these dogs have a thick coat, it’s a smart idea to have them wear a sweater if they’re puppies or seniors that are more vulnerable to getting sick. Anytime that the temperature dips below freezing are also appropriate times for a sweater. You also may find it helpful to put one on if you’re going to trek out on a snow-covered trail to keep his fur dry.

You should always keep an eye on your pet, especially puppies or dogs that are reluctant to wear a garment. Just when your back is turned, he’ll likely try to get it off and may hurt himself in the process. There’s always the risk of him ingesting it too. Having your pet go through a surgery to remove an obstruction isn’t something you want to have happen—ever.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Cold?

Dogs aren’t unlike people. They shiver too when they’re uncomfortable. The reason both you and your pet do that is to generate heat from the muscle action. Think of how you both sweat after a hard run. This response to chilly temperatures is instinctive for both of you. It does work too. You can also tell by his demeanor. You’ll know if he’s not happy being outside.

When Shouldn’t I Put a Sweater on My Dog?

Let your perception of the weather conditions guide your decision. Remember that your dog has an edge on staying warm even if it feels cold to you. Cold and damp days are the perfect time for him to don a sweater. If it’s wet outside, a waterproof or water-resistant sweater will keep him dry and save you time on cleaning him up when you get back home.

If your dog likes to roughhouse with his friends at the dog park, you might keep the sweater off of him and save it for walks instead.

When Is It Too Cold for a Walk?

When wind chills get dangerously low, we’d suggest postponing the long walk at the park for another day. Even with their substantial fur, your German Shepherd can still get frostbite too. The sweater may cover his body, but his ears, nose, and paws are still vulnerable to the cold. That’s saying nothing about the ice that can get wedged between his pads. Ouch!

If it’s too cold for you to go outside, then it’s likely the same for your dog. Take those wind chill warnings seriously. If you must take him out, make the trip short and sweet to reduce you and your pet’s risk of hypothermia and frostbite. If he starts shivering, it’s time to come back into the house. On the positive side, he’ll probably want to go back in sooner rather than later too.


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