German Shepherd in a deep sleep

Hypothyroidism in German Shepherds: FAQs

Skin and fur problems

Hypothyroidism in German Shepherds often leads to dull and thin coat. Their fur may become dry and brittle. It also results in the shedding of the fur from your dog’s torso and tail. In some cases, the tail turns bald. The disorder may also darken your German Shepherd’s armpits and groin. One notable thing about hypothyroidism-related skin issues is that affected dogs do not really feel itchy.  

Ear infections

Recurrent ear infections indicate hypothyroidism in your pet. Bacterial staph infections are the usual cause of ear infections that are related to underactive thyroid.  

Eye infections

Eye infections do not necessarily indicate hypothyroidism in German Shepherds. But if your dog suffers from recurrent eye infections combined with other symptoms mentioned above, there is a good chance that the disorder may be there. 

Lower cold weather tolerance

German Shepherds generally do well in the cold. However, if you find your dog unable to tolerate cold weather, he may have metabolism difficulties attributed to hypothyroidism.  


Anemia is the only consistent abnormality of the blood that is found in hypothyroid dogs. Researchers have found that hypothyroidism can cause different types of anemia in humans, and it is believed that the same can happens to dogs.  

Excessive sleepiness

Excessive sleepiness and lethargy are signs of many diseases. Senior dogs tend to be more sleepy than young puppies. If your typically energetic German Shepherd seems tired, sluggish, and “mentally slow,” he could be suffering from hypothyroidism. 

Weight gain

Weight gain is the most obvious and common sign of hypothyroidism. Dogs with hypothyroidism tend to add on the pounds despite eating the same amount of food, as their metabolism slows down. 


Aggression is often seen in hypothyroid dogs but the reason behind it remains a mystery. There is a theory suggesting that hypothyroidism affects a dog’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which controls how the dog reacts to stress.