German shepherd dogs and huskies both have their appeal to dog lovers that want a big, lovable working dog.
German Shepherds can be gentle, loyal family dogs with great characteristics, but they can also be seen as intimidating creatures because of their size.
Huskies are often regarded as one of the most beautiful dogs around, but their energy and demeanour can make them a handful if they are not handled properly.
There are pros and cons to each breed and both are clearly suited to active families with the time and space to devote to their pets.
There is another option for prospective owners that are unsure about choosing either of these purebred working dogs – the Gerberian Shepsky.
This hybrid of the two breeds is bred to bring out the best characteristics of the two parents, both in terms of looks and character.
Is a husky shepherd mix a good blend of the two?
This guide on the German shepherd husky hybrid dog will look at some of the different considerations that you may have to make before committing to owning this cross-breed.
After looking at the genetics of this “designer dog” and the likely characteristics that could be inherited, this introduction will then look at some of behavioral issues and training tips that can help owners of these husky shepherd crosses.
From there, their basic care needs will be covered, before looking at the options for purchasing one.
With all this information in mind, you can then make a more informed choice about whether or not this alternative hybrid dog is a great choice for your family.
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German shepherd huskies as designer dogs
When breeders and owners refer to this cross breed as a designer dog, it may come as some surprise to new owners.
This isn’t some purebred show dog or a small toy dog for fashionistas. The reason for this is that this hybrid dog originates from two singular pure breeds that have been deliberated bred together for certain characteristics.
This is why the breed is also commonly referred to as the Gerberian Shepsky.
This made up portmanteau is much like the fun name of the labradoodle or cockerpoo. Whichever name breeders choose, it is easy to see why they are desirable designer dogs because of the blend of physical traits. They have a gorgeous form and tend to retain of striking blue eyes of the husky.
The mix of genetics and the variations that can occurs between dogs lead to a variety of coat patterns and colours.
Some will say that these hybrid dogs are mostly grey, but other say that brown is the common variant.
White German shepherd husky mix dogs can be a popular choice because they suit their fluffy coat and icy blue eyes and look particularly beautiful, but this is one of the rarer colours.
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On the other end of the scale there is the black German shepherd husky mix. There are also red, cream, blue and golden dogs, so there really are lots of different options.
Colour is not that important when deciding whether this hybrid is right for you, but the size of the dog could be.
It is easy to forget how big these cute puppies can grow up to be.
German shepherd husky mix size can vary based on parentage, with different height and weights being seen.
German shepherd husky mix adult dogs have been known to weigh 45-88 lbs (20.4-40 kg) and measure in at 20-25 inches (51-63.5cm) in height.
No matter what, they will be large, powerful dogs because both the Siberian husky and the German shepherd have a long history as working dogs. These characteristics are retained in cross-breeding.
Shepherd husky mix breed characteristics
Because this is a husky mixed with a German shepherd, there are sure to be a blend of traits and not all pups in the same litter will end up with the same temperament or characteristics.
Some may take after their husky mother more, others may take after their German shepherd father.
There will always be more dominant breed in the genetic makeup and a 50-50 split is very unlikely.
It is said that when a Gerberian Shepsky leans toward the husky genes, he is more loving and gentle. Some owners may find this to be true, but other factors in the upbringing will play their part too.
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Generally speaking, the German shepherd husky mix temperament is pretty good. With the right handling and training, they can be extremely calm dogs with a gentle nature.
These dogs are energetic and playful and while this can be great for active families with time to spend, it could be a problem for those that cannot deal with the consequences. Bored Gerberian Shepskies are prone to mischievous behaviour and this could get out of control if they feel that they are in charge.
With the right training, owners can enjoy this great temperament. There are, however, potential problems to watch out for.
A common search term when discussing the problems associated with owning one of these hybrids is that of German shepherd husky cross barking.
As far as your dog is concerned, barking can be a good thing because it means that they are acting as a reliable watchdog for the family and reacting to intruders.
The problem comes when this is repeated with family friends and the dog doesn’t know when to stop.
Vocalisation is an issue with huskies that is passed on in many of these cross breed individuals. Some may be prone to howling when left alone in the house, which can be a problem for the neighbours.
Gerberian Shepskys and other animals
The other potential issue here is that some of these dogs have a difficult time around other animals.
A blend of a protective instinct, predatory genes and an inbred ability to herd means that other household pets and livestock could have a hard time.
Huskies can be a problem around farm animals, especially if they haven’t been trained properly, and some of these traits could be passed on their crossbred offspring.
When handled correctly, the shepherding side of the parentage could be used to great effect if you plan to have a shepsky as a working dog.
If they are a family pet, be sure to keep them on a lead near other animals.
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There are clear pros and cons to owning this hybrid so far, so what husky shepherd training tips can owners employ to be sure of a loving, well-behaved pet?
Because this is a German shepherd mixed with husky, there will be different considerations here.
These dogs are known for their intelligence and obedience and this means that they can be keen, quick learners.
Many new owners will find that these hybrids have the ability to learn simple tasks without too much need for repetition, and this is believed to be a characteristic that is passed down from the German Shepherd side of the family.
It is also noted that these Gerberian Shepskies have a surprising reaction to verbal commands and whistles, but can struggle with toilet training.
It is best to avoid negative reinforcement and punishment when training these hybrids because they will not respond well. Instead, work with positive reinforcement and treats so they understand correct behaviour.
This works with that playful nature to ensure that training is also a form of playtime. It creates a win-win situation for the pair of you.
It is also a good idea to start training your husky German shepherd mix puppy early to be sure of getting a good start and avoid the development of any bad habits.
That desire to learn and please is inbuilt so they will be able to pick up new tricks and important behaviour traits from an early age.
This can make those issues of socialisation and toilet training much easier to deal with, potentially reducing the risks of accidents and excessive barking in adolescence.
Work with regular training sessions at home and consider taking them to a puppy school if you need further advice. This is another great way of dealing with socialisation issues, they can learn how to behave with other animals while learning essential commands.
Caring for your Siberian husky German shepherd mix
With the right training as a puppy and a better understanding of behavioural traits passed on by the parent breeds, you can be sure of a strong relationship with your adult dog.
The hard work is on-going, however, as these dogs require a lot of care and attention There are health care issues to watch out for, diets to consider and exercise and grooming regimes to maintain.
It is often said that crossbred dogs don’t seem to inherit many of the health issues seen in its pure-bred parents, but this is not always the case here.
Husky german shepherd mix health care needs can vary from dog to dog, but there are certain inherited traits that can be a be problem.
Elbow and hip dysplasia are seen in both parent breed and susceptibility can be passed down to their crossbred offspring. There are also reports of the following:
- juvenile cataracts
- blood disorders
- Von Willebrand’s
- eye problems
- digestive issues
- flea allergies
The gsd husky mix diet is not overly complicated, as they can eat the same sort of diet and same portion sizes as their parent breeds.
Owners recommend that they should be fed 4 to 5 cups of dry food a day – brands and tastes according to the dog’s preference – and that this should be divided into two meals to some of digestive issues and bloating mentioned above.
This may seem easy to maintain, but it should be noted that these dogs can have a pretty healthy appetite coupled with a fussy attitude. This means they may be keen to eat a bit too much, but may also end up turning their noses up at new foods and smells.
It seems that once owners of this hybrid breed find a diet that suits their pet, they stick with it.
Owners may also have to be careful about the treats that they give because not only could these husky mixes get a liking for the good tasting treats, it may take a while to find the ideal treat to use for training.
Because this hybrid is a strong working dog, it needs a lot of exercise to burn off all that energy and stay fit and healthy.
The primal instinct here is to run, rather than retrieve, so take him to a wide open space – like a dog park or a beach where dogs are permitted – and give them the opportunity to really stretch their legs.
They also need to be walked regularly and given the chance to burn off excess energy in the back yard.
If you consider yourself to be quite sedentary or live in an apartment, this cross-breed will be a bad fit.
German shepherd husky grooming isn’t a the worst problem associated with this breed, but there it can turn into a bit of a chore at time.
This need for continual brushing and maintenance should not come as too big a surprise to new owners that fell in love with their breed for its beautiful fluffy coat.
The thick fur of these cross-breeds means that there are lots of hairs that may shed across the home and it can get a bit unruly without regular brushing.
A good brush a couple of times a week will ensure that the coat stays in prime condition and that loose hairs can be dealt with more easily. This effort will need to be increased during seasonal moults, however.
Because of the time and effort that needs to spend on maintaining the condition of the coat, it could be worth having your husky shepherd professionally groomed. This will also allow groomers to deal with any additional problems that may come about, bathe your dog if needed and deal with their nails.
Get all of the best husky shepherd mix information you can before you commit to this hybrid.
The information above is just an introduction to the issues that you may have to contend with when you become an owner of one of these incredible dogs.
Do your research, talk to owners, contact breeders and talk to vets to get a better idea of what it is like to live with these animals and care for them over their lifetime.
Where can I buy a German shepherd husky mix?
If you have gone through all the pros and cons of shepsky ownership and decided that, despite all the potential training and health issues, you are still keen to have one as a pet, you need to consider your buying options.
The first option is to look for a breeder that specialises in this hybrid.
Naturally, you want to look for one that is respected and meets the right welfare standards.
It can pay to shop around and really question the breeders about their litters.
Learn about the parent dogs to understand the genetic heritage, take the time to see the puppies as a litter and then see which of the dogs takes a shine to you.
Adopting one of these cross-breeds can be an admirable approach if you are looking to avoid dealing with breeders and want to give an adult dog a new home.
The only problem here is that there is no certainty that you will be getting a pure cross between a German Shepherd and a Siberian Husky and, even if it is, there will no papers on its linage and potential health problems.
Is this still the right breed for you?
There is a lot to consider when buying and raising a German Shepherd Siberian Husky hybrid dog.
It is easy to be won over by the cute looks and blue eyes of these fluffy puppies, but it is important to remember that they require a lot of time and attention throughout their lives.
As puppies, they need plenty of training to ensure that the best characteristics of the parent breeds come out and the worst are dealt with early.
As adults, they need plenty of exercise and attention to ensure they still fit and healthy, can burn off all that energy and feel the return of the love that they give to the family.
At their worst, these hybrids can be defensive balls of energy that give into their genetic instincts. At their best, they are loyal, playful pets that can offer a rewarding relationship.
You may only have recently found out that Gerberian Shepskies existed.
Chances are that you now have your heart set on one. Ask yourself if a husky shepherd mix is the right choice for your family and take your time when choosing a puppy.
With the right approach to finding breeders, the appropriate living conditions and the will to train and care for these unique dogs, you could find that it is a great fit.