If you are thinking of getting a mixed breed as your pet, then how about getting a dog that has his ancestors who have served the army, participated in various sled races, and even have statues in their honor? How cool would it be to invite a descendant of such esteemed lineage to your family?
If you are looking for such a dog, then let us introduce you to the German Shepherd Husky mix, popularly known as the Gerberian Shepsky or simply Shepsky. A highly energetic, sporty, and fluffy pooch, read further to see if this dog is the one you are looking for.
German Shepherd Husky Mix
Quick Breed Summary of German Shepherd Husky Mix
|Height||20 to 25 inches|
|Weight||55 to 80 pounds (males) and 45 to 60 pounds(females)|
|Lifespan||10 to 14 years|
|Colors||Black, brown, golden, white, pepper, cream, red, blue (never a solid; usually a mixture of two or more colors)|
|Breed Type||Mixed breed|
|AKC Breed Popularity||Not recognized by AKC|
|Temperament||Playful, active, loyal, protective|
|Daily Food Consumption||1600 calories per day for an inactive Shepsky and 2400 calories per day for an active one (split between two meals)|
|Common Health Issues||Elbow and hip dysplasia, eye problems, epilepsy, digestive problems, ear infections|
Facts About The German Shepherd Husky Mix
A Shepsky pup if well trained can grow up to be a mix of both a babysitter as well as a cop; loving and affectionate for you kid on one hand and protective on the other.
But if you are a first-timer owner, then Shepskys might not be the breed you are looking for, as these dogs require a high amount of training and a lot of attention to prevent it from adopting any problematic behavior. These are highly energetic dogs and if you do not have previous experience of petting, then it is recommended to not start with a Shepsky.
Crossbreeds are better than pure breeds due to genetic variation and a lower chance of inbreeding. So, naturally, Shepskys can prove to be a better version of their parent breeds.
About The German Shepherd Husky Mix
A descendant of two sporty, energetic, and working breeds of dogs: the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky, the Gerberian Husky too is a lively dog that can be a very friendly and loyal companion.
From going on long walks to being a playmate to protecting you and your family in danger, your Shepsky can prove to be the pet of your dreams.
Being a crossbreed, your Shepsky might have unpredictable features and even unpredictable temperament. But you need not fear this unpredictability. If they are well trained with proper obedience training in the early years of their life, then you would not have to worry about such unpredictability.
Shepsky is a very energetic breed that requires ample exercising, otherwise, its energy can get directed towards problematic habits of excessive chewing and barking.
These dogs have an outgoing nature and would be the happiest in open surroundings. So it would be good if you have a large spacious and open backyard in your house for the dog.
The German Shepherd and Husky mix is not recognized by AKC but both its parents are.
Appearance Of German Shepherd Husky Mix
A mixed-breed dog’s appearance depends on the appearance of its parents. While some dogs inherit the features of only a single parent, others can inherit a few features from both the parents.
Also, it might happen sometimes that you find it difficult to make out whether your dog has dominant Husky features or if your dog looks more like its German Shepherd parent. Thus, these dogs can have a wide variety of looks.
About height and weight, German Shepherd and Husky mix-breed dogs have features that are average of their parents. The Siberian Huskies have an average height of 20- to 23 inches and weigh about 35 to 60 pounds and German Shepherds’ height ranges from 22-26 inches, weighing about 49 to 88 pounds.
So, Shepskys have an average height of 20- 25 inches and an average weight of 55 to 80 pounds in males and 45 to 60 pounds in females. Although, these numbers highly depend on various other factors like age, health, and diet. When you get a Shepsky pup, you can expect it to have any look between the smallest Husky to the largest German Shepherd as an adult.
Having an ancestry of cold origins, Shepskys have double coats and a fluffy appearance to protect them from harsh cold weather. Their hair can be short or long, dense, or medium, depending upon its environment and parents’ features.
Dogs of this breed come in a wide range of colors like black, brown, golden, cream, and even red and blue.
These dogs can inherit distinct blue colored eyes or even dual-colored eyes at times, often associated with huskies.
History And Origin Of German Shepherd Husky Mix
When was the first Shepsky developed? Why was it developed at all in the first place? Such questions shall remain unanswered as there is not much known about the history of the breed’s origin.
The nearest to its history that is known is that designer breeders started intentionally developing this breed in the late 1900s, likely in North America.
But what we can do to know more about the breed is examine and know its parents- the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky.
These beautiful wolf-looking dogs’ ancestors were bred by the Chukchi tribe in Eastern Siberia 3000 years ago. These dogs were kept as companions and sled dogs. Due to climate change, the Chuchki people had to expand their hunting grounds and travel; despite which they were able to maintain the purity of their sled dogs for many generations
The first time Siberian Huskies came into the spotlight was in the 1925 Serum Run to Nome, Alaska to deliver diphtheria serum, when there broke a diphtheria epidemic. The legendary musher Leonhard Seppala led a sled team of Huskies that won the race of 658 miles, completed in just five and a half days. Balto, the lead dog of the team who became one of the most honored canines in history, even has his bronze statue erected in New York’s Central Park today.
Then began the recognition of Siberian Huskies first by the American Kennel Club in 1930 and later by the United Kennel Club in 1938. Huskies were being bought and trained by the US Army. These dogs also served during World War II in the US Army’s Arctic Search and Rescue Unit.
Since then, Huskies have been kept for fun and sports by mushers in North America and as loveable pets by their less adventurous admirers.
It all started in the 1850s when breeders began standardizing dog breeds. Dogs were bred to have characteristics that would help the herders in herding and protecting their flocks of sheep. In Germany, dog breeding began in local communities with preference to characteristics like intelligence, strength, a keen sense of smell, etc.
This resulted in dogs having all these skills but differing widely in appearance. Thus, the Phylax Society was formed in 1891 for standardizing development plans for the local breeds. Due to the conflict of thoughts, the society dissolved after 3 years.
As industrialized cities developed in Germany, so rose the awareness of sheepdogs as intelligent and versatile canines. At that time, an ex-member of the Phylax Society, Max von Stephanitz was looking for the best breed of working dog, when he went to a dog show in 1899 and found just what he was looking for, Hektor Linksrhein. Hektor was the dog who had all those features that Stephnitz believed should be present in a working dog.
After purchasing it, he named the dog Honrad von Grafrath and founded a Society of German Shepherd Dogs, Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde, where he registered Honrand as the first German Shepherd Dog.
Since then, GSDs have continued gaining popularity, earlier as sheepdogs helping the herders and today as police dogs helping the police as well as the military.
Is German Shepherd Husky Mix Dog Good With Children?
If the dog is well trained as a puppy and made familiar to a child’s presence and also if your kid is taught how to interact with the dog without hurting it, both of them can be great companions for each other. As a pet, a Shepsky would not only be playful with your kids but also be protective of them whenever required.
Care Of German Shepherd Husky Mix
Here are some crucial points you need to take care of a Shpesky. When you do it right, you make your pooch happy and that becomes the reason behind your happiness.
Food And Nutrition Requirements
Gerberian Shepsky is a large, highly active and energetic dog. So, it should be fed like any other large dog breed, with a diet rich in nutrients, especially proteins (no less than 22%). However, one has to keep in mind that there are many other factors that decide the diet of your pet, such as, age, size and physical activity etc. For example, an adult Shepsky might not need as much calories as a Shepsky pup would because of its rapid growth and development of bones and muscles.
Another thing to be concerned about is that these dogs have the potential of having digestive issues and joint problems. So it is always suggested to consult a vet about your pet’s diet to know all the do’s and don’ts beforehand and also know if there is any possible allergy that your pet has from any food item.
You might have to go through several trial and errors with various brands and flavors, before choosing the right diet as Shepskys are a little choosy by nature. But once you get the right combination that your pet enjoys having, then it would be best to stick with it.
If you are a person who wants to exercise and look after your body but are lacking motivation of picking your butt off your seat or if you are the lone exerciser of your family and are looking for an exercise partner, then getting a Shepsky as your companion can be a wonderful idea.
Because of having such active parents, the Shepsky too has proved to be an energetic and athletic breed who would love to run and jump and play around with you and your kids.
Make sure your Shepsky gets at least an hour or two a day for exercising, lack of which can result in your dog venting out its energy in some negative ways such as excessive chewing and howling. So, a good amount of physical activity and socializing session can help the dog channelise its energy in a productive direction.
For meeting its high exercise requirements, you can provide your pet with a large open lawn maybe at the backyard of your house or you can take it to a park and unleash it to expose it to a wide environment, provided your dog has been well trained with basic commands and is aware of human presence.
To avoid your dog from getting involved in any bad habit like howling or attacking guests or excessive chewing, not only physical activity but a proper mental training is required too.
You can get your dog to go through correct obedience training for this.
For best outcomes, your pet needs its training from the time it is a pup. You can take your pup to some puppy class, dog park or on some outing which will help your pet learn to socialize.
Further, you can try introducing other breeds or pets in its surroundings which can be another delight for your pet.
Shepskys are keen observers. So, to get their brains exercise and practice their abilities, you can simply introduce them to new surroundings occasionally, such as taking them to different parks for playing or when going on a walk, you can choose a different path from time to time.
To make it more fun, you can play a game of “hide and sniff” where you can let your pet sniff an object and then hide it for him to find out. Such games will really help in stimulating your Shepsky’s brain.
As in their parents, Shepskys too have a double coat which needs proper maintenance, to keep its shine intact, to keep the fleas away, to remove dead hair and to maintain your pooch’s health and hygiene. For proper maintenance of his coat, it is important to brush him 2-3 times a week. In terms of bathing, do not bathe your pet until it is necessary. Excessive bathing can result in loss of his coat’s shine and natural oils from his body.
Brushing his teeth is as important for your dog as brushing the coat. You don’t want your dog to be beautiful and shiny on the outside and have a periodontal disease on the inside. So, brush his teeth twice or thrice a week and keep a good eye in his teeth. In case you notice any signs of gum bleeding or cavities, rush to the vet.
Keep a check on your dog’s nails. Lack of trimming of nails can affect the way they walk or run on hard surfaces.
It would be good for your furry friend if you invest in good brushes, nail cutters, shampoos etc. for him.
Common Health Issues of German Shepherd Husky Mix
Mixed breeds dogs have a higher genetic variation than pure breeds and are considered healthier than their purebred parents. Unfortunately, along with inheriting the good features of the parents, Shepskys can inherit some health problems from them as well. Some health issues found common in Shepskys are as follows-
- Dysplasia– if your dog is too obese or underweight, then he can become prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, a codition resulting in loose and unstable joints. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help prevent this condition.
- Epilepsy- a neurological disorder, epilepsy can cause your dog having uncontrolled seizures and may or may not lead to unconsciousness. Such seizures can occur due to various reasons like genetic abnormalities, brain tumors, exposure to toxins etc.
- Bloat- if you notice your pet’s belly to be expanded, then it is possible that he is bloated or that his stomach has filled with gas. Make sure to get your pet treated in time or else it can be dangerous , even fatal for some dogs.
- Eye And Ear Conditions– keep a check on your pets ears to make sure they are clean and dry or else, it can be an invitation to ear infection. Shepskys can also suffer from eye conditions like cataracts, corneal dystrophy etc.
Having a Shepsky at your home, thus, would be a wonderful experience and it is possible that it becomes your best friend overtime. Its playful, loving and protective nature will surely make you fall in love with him and you would never want to leave him and go anywhere.
But not to forget, Shepskys are not for first-time pet owners. You need to fill the eligibility criteria of having previous experience of petting before getting a pet Shepsky.
So if you ever dreamt of having an active dog who would be your playmate, your exercise partner, and a protective friend, then Shepsky is the right choice.
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.