10 Facts to Know Before Getting a German Shepherd Husky Mix
Have you noticed the dashing good looks of the German Shepherd Husky Mix or the “Shepsky” and think that this mixed breed has the potential to be your next best friend? Both German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies are known for being large, energetic, and powerful dogs who have a fierce devotion to their owners.
However, as with any dog breed, there are pros and cons to owning such a mix and understanding the Shepsky means understanding both the German Shepherd and the Husky separately. In this article, we take a look at 10 facts you need to know before giving a German Shepherd Husky Mix a forever home.
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The German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is one of America’s top 10 most popular dog breeds, even though this intelligent and capable working dog hails from (you guessed it!) Germany. Although the German Shepherd seems as if it’s been around forever, it is actually a relatively new breed (as new as dog breeds get, anyway), dating back to 1899. Captain Max von Stephanitz, a career captain in the German cavalry, set his sights on creating a German breed of dog that would be unmatched as a herding dog.
Although the German Shepherd may embody some of the best traits that you can look for in a dog, such as their devoted and courageous nurtures that have set them apart as heroes amongst dogs, this breed is not for everyone. German Shepherds are a high-energy dog who needs a lot of activity and exercise and generally have a territorial and suspicious nature.
While these are fantastic traits for a watchdog, don’t expect them to come bounding up to excitedly great strangers that enter your home. However, if exposed to many different situations and people starting at a young age, German Shepherds can be well balanced, adjusted dogs that will adapt just fine to new people and circumstances.
The Siberian Husky
Unlike the German Shepherd, the Siberian Husky’s history is relatively unclear, with DNA tests only confirming that they are one of the oldest dog breeds in history.
However, it is believed that they originated among the Chukchi, a tribe of Siberian nomads. As you may have expected, we do know that the Chukchi used the Siberian Husky to aid in transportation, but that they were indeed a family dog.
In 1908, the Siberian Husky was imported to Alaska, where they were officially used as sled dogs, in addition to being family dogs. Their status as sled dogs began during the gold rush, but they were also used in the 408-mile All-Alaska Sweepstakes, which still exists today.
The Siberian Husky is an extremely popular companion worldwide due to its wolf-like looks, beautiful, thick coat, and blue or multi-colored eyes. However, this athletic and intelligent dog breed can often be challenging for first-time dog owners and needs to be exercised extremely regularly. If your Siberian Husky does not get enough exercise, be prepared for chewing, digging, and escape attempts in your backyard.
10 Facts to Know Before Getting a German Shepherd Husky Mix
When considering adopting a German Shepherd Husky mix, you’re likely assuming the best-case scenario in both looks and temperament, with each breed having plenty to offer in both departments. However, you definitely have to think about a couple of things before bringing a Husky German Shepherd mix into your home.
It’s important to thoroughly consider the fact that your Shepsky may inherit not only the positive traits of their individual breeds but also the negative traits. Furthermore, if choosing to adopt a puppy, there is no way to know how they will turn out when they reach adulthood.
Let’s take a look at 10 facts to know before getting a German Shepherd Husky Mix, so you can make sure you’ve covered all your bases.
1. They Must Be Trained From An Early Age
One thing that the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky have in common is the fact that they’re intelligent dogs. However, there are some differences in how they must be trained due to the Siberian Husky’s need for independence. While the German Shepherd tends to be incredibly focused and eager to please, the Siberian Husky is more on the stubborn side and requires firm, gentle training right from puppyhood.
So, even though pairing two highly intelligent dog breeds together may seem like a fantastic idea, this doesn’t necessarily make them an easy dog to train. Of course, the genetics and temperament of the parents can play a big part in how their puppies turn out and pairing a German Shepherd with a Husky that is more agreeable can help improve trainability.
It’s also important to consider that each of these breeds’ original purposes varies greatly from each other. The German Shepherd, being a true workaholic at heart, needs mental stimulation when it comes to training and may need protection training to avoid negative behaviors such as lunging and barking at strangers on walks.
The Siberian Husky was born to run and may not need as much mental stimulation as a German Shepherd, but certainly needs an outlet for their energy.
2. They Need Plenty of Exercise
The German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky are extremely high energy dogs and both need to be regularly exercised and stimulated to avoid negative behaviors. If your Husky German Shepherd Mix is bored, it will undoubtedly start exhibiting restless behaviors, including chewing, barking, and digging.
Both breeds need to be walked twice a day, for a minimum of 30-60 minutes each walk to burn off that excess energy. If you’re not prepared to give your Shepsky plenty of exercise each and every day, this is likely not the breed for you!
3. They Can Be Great Family Dogs
Generally, the German Shepherd Husky mix is a great family dog. However, both breeds have very different personality characteristics, so looking at their parents is generally your best bet in getting an idea of how your Shepsky will turn out. A German Shepherd will develop a fierce bond with their families but will not be open to many outside of their circle. However, the Siberian Husky is a pack animal and is incredibly social, making this breed more open to those outside of the family.
Having said this, mixing the German Shepherd and Siberian Husky can result in excellent family dogs that are gentle and patient with children and are great at guarding your property.
4. Their Fur Needs Regular Care and Grooming
Both the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky can have relatively similar coat types, depending on whether the German Shepherd is long-haired or short-haired. Both breeds have double coats and benefit from regular care and grooming.
Generally, the German Shepherd Husky mix will not need clipping or trimming, but their fur must be brushed regularly to avoid mats, dead hair, and debris. Also, be prepared for the shedding season that accompanies both of these breeds!
5. They’ll Grow To Be Medium to Large Sized Dogs
Whether purebred or mixed breed, no dog is going to turn out to be the exact same height and weight as its brothers and sisters. The approximate adult height and weight of both the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky do not vary significantly, with the breed standard showing the following:
The German Shepherd:
- Male – Height: 24-26 inches (60-65 cm) | Weight: 66-88 lbs (30-40 kg)
- Female – Height: 22-24 in (55-60 cm) | Weight: 49-71 lbs (22-32kg)
The Siberian Husky:
- Male – Height: 21–23 1/2 in (53-60 cm) | Weight: 45-60 lbs (20-27 kg)
- Female – Height: 20–22 in (50-56 cm) | Weight: 35-50 lbs (16-23 kg)
Your German Shepherd Husky Mix has the potential to fall anywhere in between these ranges, depending on which breed they end up favoring more in terms of size.
6. They Can Live in Apartments
Now, technically most dog breeds can live in an apartment. However, this is highly dependent on how much exercise you can give them. When living in a house with a large back yard, your German Shepherd Husky Mix would be able to exert some of their energy running around in the backyard and walking around the house.
However, when living in an apartment, it is all up to you to make sure that your pup receives a daily outlet for their exercise needs. If you can meet their needs when it comes to walking, playing, and training, then there should be no problem with your Shepsky happily residing in an apartment.
Having said this, Siberian Huskies, in particular, tend to have high pitched barks and engage in howling, which can cause problems with your neighbors. Teaching your Shepsky the “quiet” command from an early age will be quite beneficial in this case.
7. You Can Expect to Pay $1000 Or More From a Breeder
In most cases, mixed breed dogs are sold for less than purebred dogs if you get them from a breeder. However, we have seen the price for both mixed breed and purebred dogs rise significantly in the past year, so don’t expect to purchase a German Shepherd Husky mix for less than $1000 from a breeder.
Breeders will also more than likely charge a premium for Shepskys that have inherited the two-colored eye trait from their Siberian Husky side. However, even though you’ll usually have the benefit of meeting the parents if purchasing from a breeder, there are far too many mixed breed dogs sitting in animal shelters, just waiting for their forever homes.
Purchasing your Shepsky from a shelter will usually cost you much less than purchasing from a breeder as well.
8. You Must Provide a Well-Balanced Diet
As with any dog breed, it’s important to provide a nutritious, well-balanced diet for your German Shepherd Husky mix. Both of these dog breeds are incredibly high energy and require lean meats, healthy fats, and complex carbs in order to stay healthy.
Not only do they need a variety of nutrients, but they also need them in certain ratios in order to meet their dietary needs, which is one aspect of nutrition that does often vary by breed. If feeding your Shepsky kibble, make sure that you are feeding them a premium kibble free of fillers and unnecessary ingredients. It should also suit their age group (puppy, adult, senior) and size.
It’s important to keep in mind that your Shepsky’s dietary needs will change throughout different life stages and that you will need to reexamine their diet at each stage to ensure that they are getting the proper ratio of nutrients.
If you are unsure or worried about your dog’s diet and suspect they may have a food intolerance, it’s important to turn to your vet for advice. While there is plenty of information available online when it comes to a balanced diet for your furry best friend, your dog may have different needs than the average pup.
Your vet will always be able to steer you in the right direction and will be able to provide additional testing to get to the root of the problem (if there is one). It’s also important to always consult with your vet before making any major changes in your dog’s diet, especially if you decide to start feeding your pup a raw diet when they have previously only been exposed to kibble.
9. Their Average Lifespan is 13 Years
Depending on who you talk to, this is not a poor lifespan for a medium to large-sized dog. Of course, the lifespan of your Shepsky will largely depend on the overall health and wellbeing of the dog, and with the right care, this breed can exceed this life expectancy.
10. They’re Great With Children
With any dog breed, the general worry with any family is whether or not your new addition will be good with children. Breeds like the German Shepherd tend to have bad reps when it comes to children, largely due to the fact that they are a territorial breed.
However, this is only true with those who are outside of their circle. Both of these breeds are very affectionate towards children and are likely to become attached to them. Of course, it’s best to begin socialization with children when your Shepsky is a puppy, which allows them to grow to be gentle and patient.
It’s also important to let your children know to be gentle towards the dog, ensuring the toddlers and young children are taught not to pull on the dog’s ears.
Is the German Shepherd Husky Mix For Me?
If you’re looking for a high energy, loving, loyal and intelligent dog, then the German Shepherd Husky mix is for you! Before adding your new furry member to your family, we strongly advise that you take the above information into consideration before adopting a German Shepherd Husky Mix.
Although you might like what this popular breed has to offer, it’s important that you can meet all of their needs, so they have a chance at the best possible quality of life. We wish you a long and happy life with your new best friend!