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Is a Gerberian Shepsky or a Husky German Shepherd mix the right breed of dog for you? How do these popular breeds mix together and which traits show the most? If you’re thinking of breeding these well-loved dogs together, here’s a guide of what you can expect from how they look like to how well you can train them.
Husky German Shepherd Mix Key Characteristics
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German Shepherd and Husky Mix Breed Highlights
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- Shepskies are from Siberian Husky and German Shepherd parents. They can grow from between 20 to 26 inches and 35 to 88 pounds as an adult.
- They can have different looks, depending on the litter. Some pups look more like their Siberian Husky side, while others look more German Shepherd.
- They have double coat and thick fur, the same as their parents. Their colors range from blue and gray, tan, and brown and black – the regular colors of Huskies and German Shepherds.
- Husky German Shepherd hybrids shed moderately. They require brushing at least twice a week.
- These kinds of dogs are really active and energetic, requiring dog foods rich in vitamins and minerals to provide them energy as well as support their growth.
- While hybrids tend to be healthier than their parents, Shepskies are still prone to genetic diseases. They often acquire the same disease their parents had.
- Some major health concerns you need to look out for are elbow and hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and progressive retinal atrophy among others. Minor health issues include cataracts and endocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
- A Husky German Shepherd mix has a typical lifespan of 10 to 13 years.
- They can be trained easily to become farm and shepherding dogs, police dogs, and search and rescue canines. They are very smart, loyal, and dependable.
- Shepskies are great family dogs. They are lovable and care for their owners and their owner’s children.
- You’ll commonly spend around $350 to $850 when you buy a pup plus an addition $400-$600 for medical examinations, neutering services, and equipment. Yearly, you’ll likely spend at least $1000 on their basic needs alone.
Siberian Husky German Shepherd Mix Appearance
Appearance can be a little tricky to get on point since it differs from litter to litter or even within the litter itself. Some have more Siberian Husky features while others look more like German Shepherds. However, there are common traits you’ll find when looking up images of these Shepskies or if ever you see a litter.
However, we can draw up some rough estimates on their size, color, and features from the many years of breeding them.
Size and Weight
German Shepherds are large dogs that can grow anywhere from 22 to 26 inches in height as an adult. On the other hand, Siberian Huskies are smaller – they grow from 20 to 23 inches tall. Both of these breeds are extremely athletic and energetic, as both have been raised as working dogs.
When it comes to weight, Huskies can weigh between 35 to 60 pounds while German Shepherds are slightly heavier from 49 to 88 pounds on an average.
As a mixture of two big dogs, you can expect your Shepsky’s size anywhere from the smallest Husky to the biggest German Shepherd.
Color, Coat, and Facial Features
For the general appearance, most Shepskies acquire the wolf-like features of the Husky. They have longer snouts, pointed ears, and usually get the most prominent feature of the Husky – those striking blue eyes.
However, some litters get this condition known as heterochromia iridum where they have different colors for each iris. One side often has the striking blue color of a Husky’s eyes while the other has dark brown eyes of the German Shepherd.
The fur color of a Husky German Shepherd also normally ranges from blue and gray, black and brown, tan, cream, red, and pretty much the common fur colors of a German Shepherd and a Husky. Nevertheless, the pups normally get the color of the Shepherd, which is black and brown.
For the coat, both breeds have straight and soft fur. It’s rather thick so they would feel more comfortable in colder areas than tropical and humid places. If you want to breed a Shepsky, this is one consideration you should think about.
History of the Husky German Shepherd Mix
Siberian Huskies and German Shepherds have long been part of human history. Even if some people might think inter-breeding is a modern concept, it was a practice that started long ago, and is responsible for the many dog breeds we have today.
There really isn’t any definitive date when the Husky German Shepherd Mix came to be. However, we can trace the rich history of the Huskies and German Shepherds.
The origins of the Siberian Husky
It’s widely believed that Siberian Huskies are the oldest breed of domestic dogs in the world. They are most known for their wolf-like appearance and are perhaps the closest to being their cousins.
Huskies were bred in North-East Siberia by nomadic people known as the Chukchi tribe. They were bred to accompany people and to pull the sleds. Originating from vast snowland, Huskies developed thick double coats and a body that’s made to survive sub-zero climates.
Since the Chukchi people were isolated from the rest of the world, they were able to keep breeding pure Siberian Huskies for a long time.
But there’s a difference with the Siberian Huskies of the Chukchi people and the modern Huskies now. The modern Huskies we often see now descendants of those sled-pulling dogs.
The breed came into world’s attention when Leonard Seppala, a legendary musher, traveled 659 miles within five days and a half days with a relay of Siberian Huskies. They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930. Perhaps one of the most famous dogs and Huskies of all time is Balto, Seppala’s very own Husky.
German Shepherds originated from Germany, bred by dedicated breeders who produced the breed we know today. They succeeded with the help of short-haired, wire-coated, and long-haired local farm and herding dogs.
The dogs were first presented in 1882 in Hanover while the shorthaired version was then featured in 1899 in Berlin. But it wasn’t until 1907 that the breed was brought to America and 1908 until the American Kennel Club recognized the breed.
Arguably one of the most recognizable and famous dogs, German Shepherds have been featured in many forms of media, making them extremely popular. Apart from their handsome looks, German Shepherds are also known for being obedient and trustworthy, making them a favorite in military and security details.
In fact, this breed’s contributions to similar efforts have been long documented. German Shepherds actually became a part of World War I as messenger dogs. They also took part in rescue teams and saved thousands of lives with their keen senses on the battlefield.
Coming from two incredibly smart and trainable breeds, are Husky German Shepherd mix pups trainable? The answer is yes: Shepskies are incredibly easy to train – no surprises there!
You can teach your Shepsky easy commands at an early age. Most owners teach basic commands to keep pups from causing chaos around the house. Even a simple “Sit” or “Stay” would suffice. However, it is best to train your dogs to have the best manner, especially around other people.
But in order to train your dog, you need to know the balance between being their friend and being their caretaker. Siberian Huskies are used to being in packs, where there is an alpha figure that they follow. That DNA is still etched in your Shepsky – if they feel that you lack the capacity to be in charge, they’ll use it against you knowing full well you’ll forgive them for eating your shoes.
Apart from basic training, some people also train them to herd farm animals, probably because they have the DNA of herding dogs in them. They’re incredibly receptive to verbal commands as well.
Gerberian Shepsky Temperament
Husky German Shepherd mix breeds have a calm and gentle temperament. But they can also have a tendency to be extremely energetic. Some people fear these types of hybrid dogs because of their strong builds. However, train them well and they wouldn’t hurt a fly unless they have to, and only usually towards people that threaten them or their family.
Shepskies are really loyal, as most dogs are. They are very sociable and rather happy pets. Getting a Shepsky as part of your family is a great choice, but you should have the ability to train them well or you will need some experience handling dogs before. Even when you have children, these dogs will still treat them as they have treated you.
Since they are rather energetic, it’s best to have a Shepsky when you have a larger yard where they can freely run around. If not, they’ll just roam around the house and break a few things here and there.
The solution to this is to bring them to a park every once in a while. Walking them every day is also necessary for their exercise. Shepskies are also rather playful, especially as pups.
They are cautious of strangers but not aggressive. However, it’s better to train them or get them more comfortable around people to avoid any accidents.
When your Shepsky is still a pup, they will need a balanced diet of protein, calories, carbohydrates, probiotics, fiber, and more to help them with their growth. Grown up dogs will need more high-quality protein, carbohydrates, and other minerals and vitamins to provide them with energy, create a healthy amount of lean muscles, and overall make them strong.
There are different types of large breed dog food you can get, specifically dry kibbles, wet canned and packed food, and even homemade food. Choosing which one you give them is really a matter of preference. Your dog might like the kibbles more than wet food or vice versa.
You can give them homemade dog food once in a while as it can help you guarantee they eat food with safe ingredients. However, one disadvantage is you can’t balance the needed nutrients they need, unlike processed dog food. And homemade food can also get more expensive than buying a pack of dog food – especially when you’re feeding a Shepsky.
Husky German Shepherd mix dogs eat a lot. They will require three cups of food per day on an average. This will likely cost you around $39 to $50 per month on a mid-priced dog food. High-quality ones tend to get more costly.
Nevertheless, choosing high-quality treats is important. Here are some things you should know when buying kibbles and canned food.
- Kibbles – These are often dry little treats that you would always see in pet shops and even on TV. It normally contains protein which typically comes from beef or chicken, carbohydrates from grains and wheat, and additional vitamins and minerals from other ingredients. When choosing a kibble treat, you need to choose one with a protein source as the first ingredient listed. If your dog has problems with wheat and grains, you can always find grain-free solutions.
- Canned food – Wet foods are often canned to make sure it has better shelf-life. Basically, wet canned food is the same with kibbles. They have proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. However, there are only different quantities and the consistency is far different from dry treats.
Siberian Husky German Shepherd Mix Health and Care
Mixed breeds are known to be more healthy than normal breeds which pretty much makes sense given that they share similar DNA. However, they are still susceptible to genetic diseases and they can get health issues as well. The only way to avoid that happening is taking proper and good care of them.
That being said, a Husky German Shepherd mix is likely to inherit the health issues his or her parent has. Here are the common problems with German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies that you need to note:
For German Shepherds:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia or the malformation of the joints in these areas
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or bloating
- Hypothyroidism or thyroid dysfunction
- Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy or losing nerve control on the back leg
- Panosteitis or a form of bone inflammatory disease
- Painful anus infections
- Digestive problems
For Siberian Huskies:
- Zinc deficiency
- Corneal Dystrophy
- Follicular Dysplasia
- Uveodermatologic Syndrome
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
Here are some of the most common health issues Husky German Shepherd mix dogs have:
- Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
- Keratitis or inflammation of the cornea
- Eye issues like juvenile cataracts
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy often in male dogs
- Flea allergies
- Blood disorders
- Crystalline cornea opacities
- Perianal fistulas
- Von Willebrand’s disease
- Endocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) Degenerative Myelitis (DM)
- Corneal Dystrophy
- Ectopy of displacement of the Urethra
German Shepherd and Husky mix breeds would have to undergo several tests such as x-ray, full physical examinations, and occasional ocular tests to determine whether they have health issues. Treatments vary depending on the problems they have. For example, major concerns like hip and elbow dysplasia may need surgery while allergies will only need a change in lifestyle and some oral or cream medications.
If your Shepsky is healthy, they can live up to 13 years on an average. Some may last longer depending on their overall health.
In order to keep them as healthy, it is important to walk them every day. It’s better to let them out in a wide area such as a park so they can run freely. They will need daily exercise since they are highly active dogs and being unable to take a walk or jog will easily take a toll on their body. They may also take that energy into creating chaos around the house.
Shepskies have thick, long fur so they shed moderately. Shedding will be a problem if you don’t know how to clean up your carpets and rugs.
In order to make it less of a problem, they need brushing at least twice a week. You can bring them to a grooming salon or you can buy a heavy-duty dog brush and do it yourself. This guarantees that they will have shiny fur, and will also avoid clumping.
During shedding season, it’s best to vacuum your place every day. If possible, do it once in the morning and once in the evening to guarantee your place is free from fur. If you have allergies to dogs or someone in the family has respiratory problems, a Shepsky may not be the best pet due to their constant shedding.
It also makes it easier to manage their fur when you constantly have it trimmed. Avoid clumps and matting by giving them baths, but don’t overdo it since you might strip their furs of their natural oil. Their ears are also a little problematic since they produce a lot of wax. Lastly, be sure you clip their nails so it won’t bother them and they can look their best.
Grooming them by yourself will be quite the task. They can easily get bored due to their active nature so try to make it fast but thorough as you can. Giving them treats while working on them can help. Plus you should inject a little bit of praise here and there as your dogs love that.
However, if you’re not up to the task, you can always hire a professional vet groomer or find a service near your place.
German Shepherd Husky Mix Puppies
When adopting or buying a Husky German Shepherd mix, it is best to get them as puppies. This helps both of you bond and connect more. Dogs also learn easily as puppies. Plus, Gerberian Shepsky puppies are extremely adorable and you’ll fall in love the instant you lay eyes on them.
As any puppies, Shepsky pups are very loving and active. Typically, they’d weigh around 10 pounds for the first month – the common weight for male puppies. Female puppies are slightly lighter. However, that weight would quadruple by the time they reach four months old.
The important thing is to provide them with the right food that’s perfect for their development. Feed them small proportions at a time since they still have sensitive tummies. But they do take these small meals every now and then. If they do ask you for food, it’s best to give them what they need for their growth.
You can buy a puppy at around $350 to $850 for the pup alone. If you want to include equipment, neutering, vaccinations, and medical examinations, you need to add another $400 to $600 for your budget. Suffice to say, it’s rather pricey to get a Shepsky – or any particular hybrid pup in general.
Apart from their price, you also have to spend at least $1000 every year for their medical fees, grooming services, and even training. You can visit the local shelters first as they might have housed a Shepsky
Since German Husky dogs are hybrids, they are not a member of the American Kennel Club. However, they are acknowledged by American Canine Hybrid Club as well as Dog Registry of America, Inc.
Should You Get a Gerberian Shepsky?
With this knowledge in mind, you’d have an idea of whether a Husky German Shepherd mix is the right choice as a pet. Note that having a pet can be demanding. But you’ll have an extra hard time when it comes to overly active and energetic breeds like Shepskies so it might be better if you have prior experience when it comes to such type of pets.