Having trouble deciding between a German Shepherd dog and a Siberian Husky?
Consider the German Shepherd Husky mix. Also known by the portmanteau Gerberian Shepsky, these unique designer dogs combine the very best traits of both beloved dog breeds.
They’re wonderful crossbreed that’s loyal, intelligent, and very active. While they may not be recognized by the American Kennel Club, these dogs are quite popular among dog owners.
If you’re thinking about adding a Gerberian Shepsky to your family, we have you covered. In this guide, we’ll go over all of the personality traits, physical characteristics, and care requirements you can expect from this unique crossbreed.
History of the German Shepherd Husky Mix
Gerberian Shepskies are a mix between German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies. There’s not a ton of information out there about how or when these crossbred dogs first came to be. However, you can learn more about their history by taking a look at their purebred parents.
German Shepherd dogs, also known as GSDs, are technically classified as a purebred. However, the breed we know today was a direct result of careful crossbreeding, too! While the history of these dogs is still a bit hazy, it’s believed that the breed standards were developed during the 1890s by Max von Stephanitz. His goal was to create the perfect working dog.
After finding what he believed to be the perfect specimen, he went to work standardizing the breed and establishing the Society for German Shepherd Dogs. They were then used by shepherds as herding dogs.
Siberian Huskies have a history that dates back much farther. They originated in Northeast Asia, which is now modern-day Siberia. They lived in the Chucki Peninsula several thousand years ago. The dogs played a pivotal role in the lives of the Chucki people. Humans trained them to guard their camps and pull sleds. There were also records of these dogs being companions.
Today, the breed is still used for sled-pulling. However, these dogs have reached far beyond Siberia and can be found all over the world.
Types of German Shepherd Husky Mix Puppies
The interesting thing about a crossbreed like the Gerberian Shepsky is that dogs can vary widely. Even those that come from the same litter can look drastically different from one another and take on unique personality traits.
There are no breed standards to follow. Thus, you never really know what kind of Gerberian Shepsky puppy you are going to get. While you can obviously gauge temperament and appearance by looking at the parent dogs, some genes are stronger than others.
As a result, some puppies may look more like a German Shepherd while others lean more toward Siberian Huskies. As the designer breed becomes more popular, some of those differences will start to even out. This will start to happen as breeders start using two Gerberian Shepsky dogs to continue the lineage.
Siberian Husky German Shepherd Temperament
Don’t let their intimidating wolf-like appearance fool you. Shepskys have a wonderful personality. They are bold, sophisticated, and fiercely loyal. Both German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies have a bad rep when it comes to temperament. Truth is, both breeds can adapt to a wide range of lifestyles. Whether they are raised to work or simply be another part of the family, they will be right there next to you eager to please.
Shepsky dogs make wonderful family pets. They get along with most humans without a problem. Contrary to popular belief, they do well around children as well.
Socialization is key when raising a German Shepherd Husky mix. They need early exposure to get familiar with different faces. Early socialization can help to keep aggressive behavior at bay and ensure that the dog gets along with everyone. This includes other pets.
Even with their sociable personalities, Shepskies are very protective. They make wonderful guard dogs and can alert you to trouble before it even makes it to your door.
They’re also smart. German Shepherds, in particular, are some of the most intelligent dogs around. That’s why you see them working alongside police officers and military personnel. When a Shepsky is born, that intelligence comes with it. Throw in the cunning nature and independent attitude of a Siberian Husky and you have the perfect recipe for a smart companion.
Intelligence and Training
That intelligence can prove to be a bit of a challenge when training through. Gerberian Shepskys can be too smart for their own good sometimes. They will pick up commands well, but they are very stubborn and free-thinking.
These dogs will not do anything they don’t feel like doing. Many dog lovers will tell you about instances where their pups took their sweet time or tested their limits. It’s common with intelligent dogs.
Training can be a challenge in the early stages. This is especially true during puppyhood. Your young pup will test their boundaries as they are learning. Just stick with it and use positive reinforcement. These dogs respond best when some kind of reward is involved.
Never use negative disciplinary measures or hitting. The goal is to create mutual respect while establishing yourself as the pack leader. Hitting or yelling at your dog during obedience training will only create a negative image of yourself with the dog. This can lead to severe behavioral problems and even more stubbornness.
German Shepherd Husky Mix Characteristics
Shepskies are bold and beautiful dogs. Their exact physical characteristics will vary from dog to dog. As we mentioned earlier, their looks will depend entirely on their parent genes. That said, there are some basic characteristics you can expect.
Size, Weight, and Stature
These are large dogs that can weigh upwards of 80 pounds when fully grown. In terms of height, most will be around 25 inches tall at the withers. This is the point between their shoulder blades.
You may encounter small dogs as well. If the Husky parent genes are stronger, you may end up with a pooch that’s on the smaller side. Females tend to be slightly lighter and shorter than males as well. They usually tip the scales at 60 pounds and only get to be about 22 inches tall.
There’s no denying the beauty of the Shepsky. German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies are renowned the world over for their beauty. Combining the traits of both parents creates a truly stunning dog.
Shepskies are lean and have defined muscles. They’re quite strong, but they don’t have the bulk of more muscular breeds, such as Pitbulls.
The head and face are where you can really start to see the parent breed characteristics. Both German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies have perky triangular ears. On a Shepsky, the ears are noticeably large. This comes from the German Shepherd parent. They have triangular heads and relatively long snouts with very strong jaws.
Unique eye colors are highly sought-after among dog owners. Gerberian Shepskies can have a few different colors. Bright blue eyes are pretty common. However, you can also find unique green eyes or muted hazel eyes, too.
Coat and Color
The coat of a Siberian Shepherd is short but thick. They have a double coat of fur like the Siberian Husky. The undercoat is dense and thick. It’s meant to provide some insulation. While many people think that a double coat means that the dog can’t live in warmer climates, that’s not true. The undercoat keeps them warm in the frigid temperatures of winter and keeps them cool in the blazing sun.
When it comes to color, there’s a lot of variety. These dogs can take on that iconic black and tan color pattern as German Shepherds or the familiar gray and white hues of a Siberian Husky. Most often, they will have a nice combination of tan, gray, and white.
Because they are classified as large dogs, Shepskys have a shorter lifespan than smaller canines. They typically live to be between 10 and 13 years old.
Of course, several factors can affect their life expectancy. Health issues, poor diet, and not enough physical activity can shorten their lives by quite a bit. On the other hand, some dogs have been known to live past 13 years with optimal care.
Potential Health Issues
While nobody wants to think about their furry friend coming down with some health issues, it’s a harsh reality of owning a pet. No dog is immune to health problems. That includes the Gerberian Shepsky. These dogs can suffer from common ailments that their parent breeds do. Here are some issues you should look out for.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Dysplasia is a condition that can affect both German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies. However, it’s known to affect German Shepherds much more. It’s a genetic issue that can be exacerbated with poor development during puppyhood.
Essentially, dysplasia is a health problem that affects the joints. The joints can become deformed, which limits movement. It most commonly affects the hips, though it can also be seen in the elbows and legs.
Dysplasia can be a debilitating condition. Luckily, many breeders can screen for the problem early on. Many reputable breeders work hard to selectively breed dogs and minimize the risks of dysplasia. Unfortunately, it can still affect these dogs.
There are a few different ways to treat dysplasia. Oftentimes, the right option depends on when it’s diagnosed. Puppies can undergo surgery to correct issues. However, older dogs may not be so lucky. Vets will often prescribe medications to alleviate pain rather than resort to risky surgeries.
Ocular conditions, such as cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, are pretty common with Shepskys. Both conditions can affect your dog’s vision as they get older. Your pup may eventually go blind. Cataracts can be treated with surgery. However, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which is caused by tissue degeneration, has no established treatment.
German Shepherd Husky mixes are very athletic and energetic dogs. Thus, they require high-quality foods to support their health. How much you should feed your dog depends entirely on their weight and activity level. A good starting point is to provide about 30 calories per pound of body weight.
You will need to adjust their daily caloric intake based on their fitness levels and activity. Highly active dogs could require upwards of 2,400 calories every day! Meanwhile, older dogs and those that prefer to lounge around will only need 1,600 calories at most.
It’s not just calories you need to pay attention to. These days, the dog food market is flooded with food options. Instead of going with a cheap product you can find at any grocery store, invest in kibble that’s packed with all the good stuff.
Protein Rich Diet
Your dog will need a protein-rich dog food that’s filled with wholesome ingredients. At the very least, your chosen food should have 22 percent protein. However, we always recommend going higher than that. More protein is simply more fuel for the muscles! Stick with good sources like beef, chicken, and fish. The protein ingredient should be easily identified. Steer clear of any mystery meats or byproducts. Those will only do more harm than good.
Don’t forget about carbohydrates and fats! Carbohydrates provide energy throughout the day. Like protein, there are good sources of carbohydrates and bad sources. Bad sources include cheap fillers like corn, wheat, or soy. Those are hard for dogs to digest and don’t provide much in terms of nutrition. They’re basically empty calories used to make your dog feel full. A better option would be complex carbs like sweet potatoes or peas.
As for fats, a balanced diet will consist of 10 to 15 percent fat. Natural animal fat from the protein source is a good option. Avoid any unnecessary added fats unless it comes in the form of fish or flaxseed oil. Those fats contain omega fatty acids, which will benefit your dog’s skin and coat.
When your dog is a puppy, you’ll also need to make sure that their food contains a good amount of calcium and phosphorus. Those minerals are essential for proper bone development.
Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Husky Mix Dogs
One of the best dog food products you can get for your Gerberian Shepsky is the Raw Boost grain-free formula from Instinct. It has some of the highest protein content on the market, which is perfect for an active dog like the Shepsky. In total, the recipe is made up of 37 percent protein. It primarily comes from chicken. The cool thing about this particular recipe is that it has chunks of pure freeze-dried chicken that your pooch will love.BUY ON AMAZON
Plenty of exercise is crucial for Gerberian Shepskies. They need approximately 120 minutes of physical activity each and every day to stay healthy. You must take them on long walks. It’s good for their overall health and mental well-being.
If you neglect to take your dog out or provide them with opportunities to exercise, you will experience behavioral problems. These dogs are known to get destructive when they aren’t able to release all of that pent-up energy. This requirement may be tough for first-time dog owners. However, if you have a very active lifestyle, these dogs will fit right in.
German Shepherd Husky dogs are big shedders. They will release hair throughout the year and may go through a couple of big blowout periods where they get rid of most of their undercoat.
The most important part of grooming is going to be brushing. Daily brushings will keep the shedding to a minimum. Not only that, but it will prevent mats and tangles that could be painful for your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big do German Shepherd Husky mix dogs get?
Adult males can weigh as much as 80 pounds. They can get up to 25 inches tall, making them quite large.
Are Shepsky’s good family dogs?
These dogs make fantastic family dogs. They’re fiercely loyal and will bond with everyone in the family without any problems. They love to cuddle just as much as they love to exercise.
Do they make good watchdogs?
For the most part, Shepskys do a great job of protecting the home. Some dogs can be more trusting of strangers than others. However, almost all dogs will alert you to visitors and intruders.
How much exercise does a Gerberian Shepsky need every day?
A Shepsky will need at least 2 hours of exercise to stay healthy.
How much does a Gerberian Shepsky puppy cost?
From a reputable breeder, expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $1,000. Because there are no breed standards, prices will vary quite a bit.
Gerberian Shepskies are a unique dog breed that many people would love to own. If you have the chance to adopt one, make sure that you think long and hard about how they will fit into your life. These dogs require tons of energy to stay healthy. If you can accommodate that, go for it! These dogs are loyal companions that will stick by your side through any adventure.