“What’s in a name?” they ask. But like many designer dog breeds, the German Shepherd husky mix, an intercross between the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky, assumes a range of names that accentuates its composite parenthood; Gerberian Shepsky, German Husky, Husky-Shepherd, and the Siberian Shepherd.
For the purpose of this piece, however, and to facilitate comprehension, this handsome and good-natured pooch will simply be referred to as the Shepsky.
If you have been wondering whether the Shepsky was that Scooby-Doo or the dog charming you have so ardently sought, trudge behind the next train of paragraphs and let them take you through the history, nature, maintenance requirements and all you need to know about this hybrid.
Though they are relatively new hybrids, Shepskies have increasingly become popular amongst dog lovers. All the same, their designer dog breed status has prevented them from being recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC); they are recognized, instead, in the Dog Registry of America Inc and The American Canine Hybrid Club.
It is uncertain when the first set of Shepkies appeared, but they were first known to be intentionally bred during the 1990s, most likely in North America. Breeders aimed to merge the outstanding qualities of their pedigree parents, the German Shepherd, and the Siberian Husky, to produce even more intelligent, loyal, and hard-working dogs, and so it was.
A quick dip into the ancestral pool of the Shepsky will unravel certain facts about the traits of this mixed breed, and better help us understand their nature. Leggo!
- THE GERMAN SHEPHERD
Horand Von Grafath can be considered the Adam of German Shepherds. This canine was discovered by a German called Max Von Stephanitz during a dog show in 1899. Max was so impressed by the strength, beauty, and exceptional intelligence of the creature and thought it would make a perfect Shepherd dog, so he bought it.
Soon after purchase, he established the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (Society for German Shepherd dogs) and made the dog his first entry. Horand thus became the father of all pedigree German shepherds.
It did not take long before this breed became very popular, not just in Germany, but in various parts of Europe; people had come to realize that these highly intelligent and bold dogs could do more than herd livestock and trained them for police and Military service, search-and-rescue operations, and as guides for disabled persons. In 1908, they were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
German shepherds are relatively modern, medium to large-sized pooches that can reach an average height of 25 inches and weigh up to 90 pounds. These wolf-like canines can serve both as family pets and as working dogs. They cooperate excellently with humans and being pack dogs naturally, are extremely loyal and protective of their families.
As German Shepherds have high energy levels, they do not tolerate being cooped up by themselves for long periods and may take to venting their frustration by barking excessively and chewing. They often come in bicolored sables and thick black coats with grey undercoats.
- THE SIBERIAN HUSKY
Unlike German Shepherds, the existence of Siberian huskies dates to over 8,000 years ago. Recent studies suggest they are descendants of the Taymyr wolf that once roamed North Asia before going into extinction. Nonetheless, these sturdy, energetic, and intelligent dogs were known to be initially bred as a companion, guard, and sled-pulling dogs for the nomadic Chukchi tribe of North-east Siberia.
They came into prominence in the early 1900s when they began winning sled races, and in 1925 when a relay led by Leonhard Seppala raced for more than 600 miles to deliver life-saving serum to Nome, Alaska where a diphtheria epidemic had broken out. In 1930, they were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) under the working category.
Siberian huskies are medium-sized dogs sporting thick dense coats, which enable them to thrive in very cold environments, and erect triangular ears, like their lupine ancestors. They are extremely intelligent, outgoing, fierce, alert, and affectionate and can be mellow enough to be around children and other pets.
It is important that owners beginning training their husky pups early enough or they will grow not to care about instructions. Siberian huskies do not crave attention and are not so eager to please, so they might be challenging for first-time owners. They rarely come down with health issues but are prone to hip dysplasia, cataracts, and retinal atrophy.
What do you say? Don’t you think the Shepskies spring from rather impressive ancestors?
As in most crossbreeds, the appearance of German Shepherd husky mix puppies is variable. The dogs may take up more of one parent than the other or may share their traits to almost equal extents. But it is unlikely that the appearance of a Shepsky will be too much of a surprise since both parents share similar and complementary characteristics.
Shepskies are medium to large-sized wolf-like pooches with erect triangular ears and almond-shaped eyes that may be blue, brown, or one of each. They also have long strong muzzles and a muscular build.
They usually come with straight hair thick double coat that can either be dense or medium, short or long depending on the dominant parent stock and the environment. In addition, the inner coat is soft and thick. The nature of their coats is suited for harsh weather and gives the dogs a generally fluffy appearance. Shepskies shed quite a lot and may not be suitable for people susceptible to allergies.
The coat of German Shepherd husky mix can feature varying colours depending on the coat colours of their parents. Usually, these pooches are bicoloured, but a few times, they may feature solid colours. The colours Shepskies may sport include black, blue, cream, golden, grey, light brown, pepper, red and white.
On the average, the height of a Shepsky may fall between 20 – 25 inches, measured from floor to shoulder. Female Shepskies are usually a bit shorter, falling within a range of 20 – 22 inches. Of course, the height a Shepsky will attain depends on the parent stock, diet, and health.
The mean weight of this hybrid is usually between 40 – 90 pounds. Females usually fall within the lower limit. Weight is also a function of genetics, health, and diet.
Life Span Of A German Shepherd Husky mix
German Shepherd husky mix is known to live for an average of 10 – 13 years. Depending on factors such as diet, health, activity, and genetic, a few may live for up to 18 years.
The personality of the Shepsky is dependent on how much of either or both parents it absorbs, like every other trait it has. Huskies are known to be loyal, affectionate, friendly, and alert, while German Shepherds are brave, calm, clever, and curious. Generally, the following are notable behavioral tendencies of Shepskies:
Affectionate and friendly
Beneath the fierce mien of a German Shepherd husky mix, there’s a loving, friendly, and loving dog gazing up at you. If socialized early enough, this hybrid gets along well with family members and other pets; they may also civil to strangers if they do not perceive danger. They are gentle with children and can grow attached to them.
However, they should not be left unsupervised with small children. Little children should be taught how to interact with these dogs and should be warned against pulling their ears or disturbing them while they are eating or asleep.
The Shepsky is an excellent guard dog. They are cautious around strangers and may become aggressive when they perceive a threat to their human companions.
Active and Playful
Yes, Shepskies love to play. They are very active and require long and strenuous exercise to keep them healthy and happy. They enjoy being busy. Like their German Shepherd parents, they do not appreciate being cooped up by themselves for long stretches of time and may take venting out their frustration and boredom by excessive barking, howling, or chewing. German Shepherd husky mix is a loud barker, you may want to consider your neighbors before getting one.
These canines are exceedingly intelligent and curious. They can learn verbal and whistle commands quickly enough. This trait makes them easily trainable for many tasks including police and military service, search-and-rescue operations and as guides for handicapped person’s
Once in a while, the German Shepherd husky mix may be overcome by its Husky nature and choose to exert its independence; this makes them challenging for first-time owners. In such situations, it is important owners do not balk. They must assert their authority as leaders of the pack by confirming rules vividly and consistently. It is also expedient that Shepsky puppies begin training immediately so they don’t grow up bossy.
As the German Shepherd husky mix is a relatively large and active dog, it is recommended that owners have a large space for the dog to roam freely and exercise at the same time. Ideally, a house or a large fenced yard will do. The importance of a large yard cannot be overemphasized, especially if owners cannot cope with giving their pooches daily walks. In addition, the environment should be moderately cold, considering the dog’s double coat.
Food and diet
Considering their high energy levels and relatively large size, Shepskies require a balanced diet high in protein and calories. The food should consist of high-quality ingredients and should be tailored to the size and activity of the dog. Roughly, a dog weighing 50 pounds should have about 2.5 cups of kibble, while a dog weighing 70 pounds should have about 3.5 cups of kibble.
In the same vein, an inactive or senior dog will require about 1,300 – 1,600 calories per day, while an active or working dog will require about 1,700 – 2,400 calories per day. Diet should also contain Omega 3 fatty acids to keep the dog’s coat healthy and glistening. The preferred flavor and brand of dog food differ according to dogs.
It’s best for owners to stick to what is agreeable with their German Shepherd husky mix, so they don’t come down with digestive issues. Commercial dog food labels also mention what type of dog should eat their produce. If in doubt, it is best to seek the advice of a veterinarian. Don’t overfeed dogs though; obesity is inimical to their health.
Regular and intensive exercise is important for the overall health and happiness of your Shepsky. At least 2 hours of exercise is per day, broken into several sessions will do. The German Shepherd husky mix will also be very pleased to have long walks in the park or in the field. Do not let puppies jump or play on hard surfaces till they are at least two years, because their bones and joints are not yet fully developed.
The frequency of coat brushing depends on its type. Brushing your Shepsky’s coat at least 2 – 3 times in a week is generally recommended. This helps to get rid of the dead dander and maintain the natural luster of the coat.
The pooch should only be bathed when necessary, using quality dog shampoo or baby shampoo. Too frequent bathing can strip the coat off its natural oils.
Teeth brushing should be regular, at least 2 – 3 times a week, to prevent periodontal disease. Qualify dog toothbrush and toothpaste must be used. If at any time cavities and bleeding gums are observed in the dog, it should be taken to the veterinarian.
Nail trimming must carried out every few months using qualify nail clippers. Long nails can affect the way they walk and run.
In all your doing, don’t forget to check your dog’s ears for debris, pests and wax buildup.
Training is relatively easy because of their exceptional intelligence, but it can also pose some difficulty due to their stubborn streak. The best technique to employ is reward-based training as it has been shown to yield better results than punishment-based training.
Thus, pooches should be given treats or accolades after a command is properly executed. As has been previously emphasized, correct obedience training should begin from puppyhood; you don’t want your dog walking out on you or disregarding instructions. You must be firm, consistent, and confident in training to assert your authority.
German Shepherd husky mix also requires a good deal of mental stimulation to keep them going; games, puzzles, hide and seek, and the likes will do just.
Socialization must be done early enough for a well-rounded dog. As pups, they should be exposed to other dogs and pets, a variety of people, sounds, and noises.
It’s sad, but these beautiful mixed-dog breeds are prone to a number of health issues emanating from their pedigree parents:
- Elbow/hip dysplasia
This genetic disease is associated with the German Shepherd. It results in the malformation of elbow and hip joints, causing pain and ultimately loss of function of those joints.
An eye condition prevalent in the Siberian husky. It characterized by progressive opacity of eyes’ lens and loss of vision. The dog may begin to act confused and disoriented.
- Progressive retinal atrophy
An incurable disease characterized by dilated pupils, inability to see in bright light, and night blindness.
- Ear infections
These are common in dogs with large ears, but can be prevented by regular cleaning and inspection of your canine’s ears, as recommended by a veterinarian.
- Chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy
It is a degenerative disease affecting the nerve supply to the hind legs of the dogs.
Other health conditions the German Shepherd husky mix may come down with include the Gastric dilatation volvulus, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, anal furunculosis, Panosteitis, epilepsy, canine glaucoma, etc.
But be of good cheer, if you buy from a reputable breeder, you can determine from the breeding records given to you whether your German Shepherd husky mix will be prone to any or more of these disturbing disease conditions. It is also very important to carefully select the puppy food for this dog breed when its still young.
Cost Of The German Shepherd husky mix
Now, if you’re fully convinced that a German Shepherd husky mix is just what you need, you can get a puppy at prizes ranging from $350 – $1,000 depending on the breeder.
The German Shepherd husky mix,
An ingenious mix of the German Shepherd and the Siberian husky,
Affectionate and friendly wolf-like dog brimming with energy and exceptional intelligence,
Totally loyal and protective of its human companions, despite its stubbornness,
Perfect as a working dog, mellow enough to fit into a family,
Bold and calm.
Say, is the Shepsky your dog charming?