Both the Siberian husky and the German shepherd are very popular dogs in their own right, so it’s little wonder that a mixture of both breeds is now becoming a favorite choice with pet owners. Designer dogs are becoming increasingly popular as people look to have a unique dog, but also look to minimize exposure to common health issues in purebreds. The German Shepherd Husky mix, also known as the Gerberian Shepsky is another one of these breeds that have been created to achieve this.
In this guide, we take a closer look at this mix in a lot more detail. This will help you to make an informed decision on whether one of these large, boisterous pups would be the ideal choice of canine companion for your family. You can expect lots of energy and playtime with this mix, and count on having a loyal family companion that will also be challenging to train at times.
Because this mix is so striking, it’s become a favorite over the last few years. After all, who wouldn’t want a dog that looks like a shepherd with the eyes of a Husky? Below you’ll learn some more about the parent breeds, as well as a detailed guide to help you find out if this pup is the right one for your family. Let’s dive in!
- 1 Parent Breeds
- 2 Gerberian Shepsky
- 3 The Gerberian Shepsky as a Pet
- 4 Finding a Gerberian Shepsky Breeder
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 Final Thoughts
Mixed breeds become designer dogs when the parents of two purebred dogs mate to create a “specialized” dog breed that isn’t recognized as a formal breed by the AKC or other breed registries. Puppies born as a result of these mixes will take some of their character, personality traits, and looks from both their parents, quite often favoring one more than the other.
It’s also worth noting that mixed breed puppies often inherit health conditions that are common to both parents. So that you can understand more about each parent breed, and give you an idea of what the Gerberian Shepsky is all about, we’ve included a short profile on both in this comprehensive guide.
The German shepherd is a member of the herding group. The breed earned its name thanks to the dogs’ job as a herder and guardian of flocks of sheep in the mountainous regions of Germany. In 1899, the dog was chosen by former cavalry officer and veterinarian, Max von Stephanitz, as the perfect breed for military work.
In 1906, the German shepherd came to the U.S., and in 1913, the German Shepherd Club of America was founded. The German shepherd is currently at number two in the AKC’s breed popularity chart, just behind the long-term favorite, the Labrador retriever.
The breed now works in many different sectors, including the police and military, search and rescue, contraband detection, and assisting people with disabilities. If you enjoy taking part in canine sports, the GSD excels in agility, obedience, tracking, dock diving, and flyball. Because GSD’s are extremely popular in the US, it makes them great dogs for other cross breed mixes, like the lab/gsd mix,
The Siberian husky is a member of the working group. Siberian huskies have been around for over half a million years and originate, as the name suggests, from Siberia where they were used as working dogs, pulling sleds across long distances.
In the early 1900s, this breed came to Alaska where they were used as competition dogs, competing in long-distance races. They was also used to haul mail through the frozen landscape. Today, the Siberian husky is still used as a racing sled dog, but he’s also a wonderful family pet and companion. If you fancy trying your hand at canine sports, huskies can be trained in dog agility and obedience.
Siberian huskies are pretty healthy dogs that have a relatively long lifespan of ten to 14 years. Siberian huskies are bred to work hard for many hours. For that reason, these dogs need lots of exercise, including at least two long walks per day and regular playtime sessions.
Because of their stunning blue eyes and overall even temperament, they make great pups for other designer dog breeds as well, like the Lab/Husky mix, mixing a corgi and a husky, or even crossing them with a Pomeranian. Breeders have even been mixing them with pitbulls in recent years.
The GSD and the Siberian husky are actually pretty well-matched in lots of areas, including looks. Both breeds have a dignified air and a sturdy, athletic build. And both have a thick double coat that’s perfect for cuddling up to! It’s also important to note, that while you can cuddle up to the Shepsky because of the fluff factor, you’ll also be cleaning up some dog hair.
As far as size goes, the Shepsky will fall somewhere between the smallest husky and the largest German shepherd. So, that’s anywhere between 20 and 26 inches tall at the shoulder and a weight of between 35 and 88 pounds. While there are some that get larger than this, most fall within this weight range.
These are quite big dogs, and you’ll need plenty of space to accommodate one of these pups. Outdoor space is also essential if you take on a German shepherd husky mix dog. This breed is not suitable for apartment dwelling. You’ll want to make sure you have a large yard, or sufficient room to exercise your pup somewhere nearby so you can get some energy out and prevent destructive behavior.
Gerberian Shepsky puppies will inherit a mix of character and personality traits from both parents. So, it’s really a question of potluck when you choose your puppy because no-one can predict how your pup will turn out. In general, huskies are friendly, gentle, alert, and loyal. German shepherds are calm, clever, and brave. So, whatever personality traits your puppy inherits, you should finish up with a loyal, personable family pet.
A word of caution. If you have a cat, you should be aware that both the German shepherd and Siberian husky have strong prey drives, which may mean that your kitty becomes fair game for a chase. Early socialization is important to teach your puppy that cats are a member of their new family and not something to be chased!
Huskies are extremely smart, but they can often be stubborn and strong-willed. That can make the breed challenging to train. German shepherds are also very intelligent dogs, but they’re more accepting of training, quickly learning complex tasks and performing their assigned job with relish and enthusiasm.
With a positive, reward-centered training technique, you shouldn’t have too many issues with training your German shepherd husky mix. How you go about training your puppy will depend to some extent on his personality and on how strong his working instincts are.
The trick to training this crossbreed is to keep the training sessions interesting and stimulating. Boredom can lead to stubbornness and recalcitrance, neither of which will create a happy dog or a happy owner!
As your puppy grows up, it will become clear which parent breed he or she takes after. A dog that’s taken more of the husky gene will enjoy running for hours and may not be very interested in playing with toys or learning tricks. However, a dog with more of the German shepherd in his heritage will enjoy obedience training, agility, and scent work.
So, you can see that training your Shepsky is really just a matter of which parent your dog takes after most. Either way, your puppy should begin socialization training as soon as you get him home, and you should take your pup to puppy classes once his vaccination program has been completed.
Huskies are accustomed to living and working in a pack-oriented society. That means they’re typically everyone’s best friend! The GSD is more reserved, and some shepherds have been bred to work as guard dogs. That combination can produce a dog with an aggressive streak, especially when he’s guarding his territory and his human family. However, a well-socialized Shepsky is usually confident and comfortable around new people.
The best way of ensuring that you choose a puppy with a good temperament is to ensure that you meet both the puppy’s parents before you commit to taking him home. Remember that the puppy could inherit any or all of the character traits of either parent. So, you must always ask yourself whether you’d be happy taking either of the puppy’s parents back home with you.
Both parents of a Shepsky mix are working breeds. That means you’ll need to have the time and motivation to devote at least a couple of hours every day to exercise your dog. It’s also recommended that you have a larger yard equipped to let your pup run wild. If that’s not an option, having a dog park nearby to get rid of excess energy is recommended.
If you and your family enjoy an active lifestyle that includes plenty of walking, hiking, running or jogging, a German shepherd husky mix could be the perfect pet for you. Note here that neither of these dogs enjoys being left alone for long periods, so if you’re out at work all day, the Shepsky is not the best choice of dog for you.
In theory, this mix “could” live outside. Both parent breeds have thick double coats that keep them warm during cold weather, and dry when it’s wet. However, that dense, fluffy undercoat can work against the dog during a hot summer, and overheating can be a problem if the dog is not given access to unlimited fresh water and shade.
Also, the Shepsky loves to be around people. So, you may find that your pet resorts to incessant barking, howling, and digging if left outside alone. Separation anxiety can be a real issue for a crossbreed who has taken more of the husky personality, as these dogs are traditionally bred to live in close-knit packs. It should also be noted that the Siberian husky is something of an escape artist who is well capable of climbing or digging his way out of an enclosure to find company.
Health & Nutrition
In general, the German shepherd husky mix is a pretty healthy and robust breed. However, you should always ask the breeder to produce health screening documentation for both your puppy’s parents. Clear hip scores are especially important, as are eye tests because these conditions can affect both parent breeds. This mix can get to be a big dog that can be prone to joint problems in adulthood if allowed to become overweight.
When you collect your puppy, always remember to ask the breeder what food the puppy has been fed to date and stick with the same brand until the puppy is at least six months old. When you switch your puppy to adult food, be sure to choose something that’s specifically formulated for large breeds. If you’re unsure what kind of food to give your German shepherd husky mix, it’s recommended you feed them food that’s formulated for a GSD, or a Husky.
Coat & Colors
Although the physical outline of a German shepherd and a husky are pretty similar, their color can be very varied. Most strikingly, some Shepsky pups inherit their German shepherd parent’s dark coat and the bright blue eyes of their Siberian husky parent. It really comes down to genetics and which is stronger of the parent breeds.
However, German shepherds can range in color from silver to sable, black and white. Siberian huskies can be white or red, as well as the usual two-tone color of a dark upper body and a pale underside. Because German Shepherds can carry both black and white genes, there’s a possibility that your GSD Husky Mix could have an all-white or all-black coat.
Regardless of which parent your puppy takes after, he will have a thick double coat. Your dog will shed continually throughout the year! This means you’ll want to make sure you have something to help control dog hair, and have a vacuum that’s plenty powerful to take care of all the dog hair that will linger. This is especially true if you have hardwood floors. You’ll want to bathe them sparingly, but use a shampoo that’s made for breeds with double coats before you do.
Also, during the spring and fall, your furry friend will “blow” his coat. That means he’ll undergo two very heavy shedding periods in line with the changing seasons. In spring, your dog will shed his thick, fluffy undercoat and replace it with a lighter, summer-weight coat. In fall, the lightweight coat is shed and replaced by a heavier undercoat in readiness for the cold winter weather.
In addition to enjoying grooming your dog at least three times each week, more frequently when he’s blowing his coat, you’ll get to love vacuuming! The essential items for your doggy grooming kit are a slicker brush and a Furminator shedding blade. It goes without saying that the German Shepherd Husky mix is not a suitable choice of dog for a household with animal hair allergy sufferers.
The Gerberian Shepsky as a Pet
So, now you know more about the German Shepherd Husky mix, it’s time to decide whether one of these pups would be the ideal choice for you and your family. There are several things you can expect in most Gerberian Shepskys. While most of the following doesn’t ring true for every single dog, these are generalizations that apply to this mix across most of the breed.
- Shepherd husky mixes are high-maintenance dogs that require lots of exercise every day.
- The Shepsky has a thick, double coat that sheds.
- They also have high grooming and exercise demands.
- The Shepherd Husky cross is not the best choice for first-time owners.
- German shepherd husky mixes have a great temperament, being friendly, loyal, and fun to own.
- Guarding issues can be a problem if your puppy takes mostly after his GSD parent.
- Both parent breeds can suffer from joint and eye problems, so your puppy could inherit health issues.
- The Gerberian Shepsky is the perfect choice for an active household with older kids.
- These pups are big, so you’ll need a home with plenty of space.
- If you live in an apartment, a Gerberian Shepsky is not the best choice of dog for you.
Think you are ready to take on a Gerberian Shepsky? If you’ve checked off all the boxes above and think you can handle the activity level with plenty of room to run, the next step is to find a to adopt your pup. We always recommend that you adopt before you shop, so follow the steps below to find your next dream dog.
Finding a Gerberian Shepsky Breeder
The average cost of a German Shepherd Husky mix puppy is from $800 up to over $1,500, depending on where you live and on the achievements and pedigree of the puppy’s parents. Because the husky German shepherd mix is so popular, you’ll find plenty of breeders online. However, proceed with caution as some of these advertisers could be sourcing their stock from puppy mills.
Check out local German shepherd husky crossbreed appreciation clubs where you could make some useful contacts. Also, your vet and local boarding kennels might be able to put you in touch with a reputable breeder. When you find a good breeder, remember to ask to see written health certification for both the puppy’s parents.
Avoiding Puppy Mills
Unfortunately, the rising popularity of crossbreed dogs has triggered a booming trade in designer dog puppies bred in puppy mills and by backyard breeders. Puppy mills or puppy farms, as they’re also known, produce puppies of breeds that are in demand on a massive scale. Generally, the breeding dogs that these enterprises use are not health-screened or checked for potential temperament issues. Puppies are usually not vaccinated, dewormed, or treated with preventative flea medication.
Dogs and puppies in puppy farms are often kept in very poor conditions with no access to fresh air and outside space. The result of such treatment is that many of the puppies produced by puppy mills have congenital health problems and are often already very sick when an unsuspecting buyer takes their pup home. The only way to beat the cruelty of puppy mills and see them go out of business is not to buy puppies from them!
Breeder Red Flags
When it comes to buying a puppy, there are some things you’ll want to look out for. It’s difficult to find legitimate breeders when looking at mixed breed dogs, especially designer dogs. With that being said, there’s red flags you can look for with a designer dog breeder, just like you’d look for if you were adopting a purebred.
- Breeders who always have puppies available for sale.
- Breeders who have multiple litters on their premises.
- Breeders who offer you a choice of any puppy you want.
- Breeders who allow you to pay online by credit card without seeing the puppy first.
No matter where you buy your puppy, if you see any of the red flags listed above, walk away. It’s better to be safe than sorry and not buy a pup that’s going to give you health problems down the road because the breeder isn’t reputable. It’s always recommended that you see both parents AKC registered papers if that’s possible.
Finding a Rescue
If you don’t fancy the hard work and time that’s involved in raising and training a puppy, you might want to consider offering a forever home to an adult mix from a rescue center or shelter. Check out local rescue centers and sites such as AnimalShelter.org, to see if they have any German shepherd husky mixes advertised for rehoming. Social media is also a good way of getting the word out if you’d like to adopt a shelter pet.
Frequently Asked Questions
We receive a lot of questions about many of our mixes, and because the Husky German Shepherd mix is one of the more popular designer dogs out there, we frequently get different questions about this breed. We’ve compiled a full and comprehensive list of common questions we receive here at Love Your Dog on this mix below.
Q: How big do Gerberian Shepsky’s get?
A: This depends because every dog is different. Usually the Gerberian Shepsky is a medium to large build dog that ranges anywhere from 50 to 80 pounds when full grown.
Q: Do Gerberian Shepsky’s shed?
A: Yes, and they shed quite a bit. No more than a Husky though, so if you were considering a purebred, this mix is probably best.
Q: How much does a German Shepherd Siberian Husky Mix cost?
A: This can range pretty dramatically depending on the breeder. We’d anticipate the puppy cost for this mix to be upwards of $1,000.
Q: Are Shepsky’s Hypoallergenic?
A: No, this dog is an above average shedder, so we’d suggest avoiding this mix if you have allergies.
Q: Do they get along with cats?
A: In most cases, yes. As long as they are socialized properly from a young age, your GSD & Husky Mix should socialize well with all other animals.
Q: Can I own one in an Apartment?
A: Due to the size and activity levels, we do not recommend that you have a Gerberian Shepsky in an apartment setting. They need room to run.
If you’re looking for a canine companion who will give you everlasting love and loyalty, a German shepherd husky mix could be the breed for you. This mix is elegant, and stunning to look at. You can pretty much guarantee that your pup will be the life of the party anywhere you take them in public. With that being said, it’s extremely important that you make sure you can handle the activity level that this breed has. The last thing we (and you) want is to end up with a pup that has to go back to a shelter.
You’ll need to enjoy an active, outdoorsy lifestyle and be prepared to spend lots of time exercising and training your dog. Also, you must enjoy brushing and grooming your pet, because these pups shed a lot! If you decide to add a Gerberian Shepsky to your family, we are confident that you’ll end up with a great family pet that everyone will enjoy.