With electric blue eyes and fluffy fur, the German Shepherd Husky mix is a crossbreed of the German Shepherd (GSD) and the Siberian Husky.
This hybrid goes by many nicknames, including Gerberian Shepsky, German Husky, and Siberian Shepherd.
These designer dogs are overflowing with energy and are affectionate, alert, and intelligent. Plus, these gentle giants are fun to be around because of their slightly mischievous demeanor.
Why don’t we get to know the big bundle of joy that is the Husky Shepherd?
What is the origin of the German Shepherd Husky mix?
This crossbreed is a combination of two powerhouse canines both known for their loyalty and intelligence. He’s relatively new to the world of designer dogs, so little is known about his exact history.
What we can do is take a close look at each parent breed and the heritage they imparted to the German Husky.
The Siberian Husky and its origin
The Siberian Husky has been around for centuries and used by the Chukchi tribe of Siberia for pulling sleds and herding reindeer. They can weather through harsh climates and are known as hardworking canines.
These purebreds were recognized for their endurance and speed and were later brought to Alaska to participate in Arctic races in the region.
Huskies were used for more than just racing, too. Admiral Byrd used Huskies in the mid-1900s for his Antarctic expeditions. These dogs also served in the Army’s Arctic Search and Rescue Unit during World War II.
But these canines’ most noteworthy contribution would be making a lifesaving sled run to Nome, Alaska to deliver a diphtheria antitoxin.
Musher Leonhard Seppala and Siberian Huskies Balto and Togo led a pack of sled dogs in a 674-mile run – dubbed the Great Race of Mercy – that they completed in just five and a half days.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) granted official recognition to the Siberian Husky in 1930. In 2018, the AKC also ranked Huskies as the 14th most popular dog breed in the US.
The German Shepherd and its history
The idea of breeding long-haired, short-haired, and wire-coated herding dogs and farm dogs gave birth to the breed we now know as the German Shepherd.
The first German Shepherd was given the name Horand von Grafrath by a German army captain, Max von Stephanitz. It was believed that all German Shepherds were descended from Horand.
These dogs’ history can be traced back to the late 1800s, and they were first seen in Hanover in 1882 and later in Berlin in 1899.
By 1907, GSDs appeared in the US. Soon after, the American Kennel Club officially recognized this breed.
In 2018, German Shepherds got the 2nd spot in AKC’s most popular dog breeds.
Popular movies like Strongheart and Rin-Tin-Tin helped boost the German Shepherd’s popularity. This breed is known for being smart, reliable, and obedient.
Breed recognition for the Husky-Shepherd hybrid
Unlike the Siberian Husky and the GSD, he is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club. Most crossbreeds don’t receive official recognition from the AKC.
This hybrid is, however, recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club and the Dog Registry of America Inc.
What does a German Shepherd Husky mix look like?
The Gerberian Shepsky is a large dog with a muscular built.
It has a long and lean body and sturdy legs, along with a long, bushy tail.
These features give this crossbreed a strong and elegant appearance.
With a wolf-like look, these canines have a long and pointed head, a long, stubby black nose, erect ears, and a strong muzzle.
Like its Husky parent, the Siberian Shepherd usually has distinct, almond-shaped, glittering eyes that are either brown or blue.
Many of these hybrids also have parti-colored or bi-colored eyes.
They also have a dense, double-layered, waterproof coat that is soft and fluffy.
Its coat colors can range from black, brown with black, red, blue, and white, to brown and white, cream, salt and pepper, golden, light brown, and gray and brown.
How big does a Gerberian Shepsky get?
These crossbreeds grow to an average height of 20 to 25 inches (51 to 64 cm), which is about the same height as their purebred parents.
They also have an average weight ranging between 45 to 90 pounds (20 to 41 kg).
A male German Shepherd Husky mix is usually bigger than its female counterparts. Males usually reach full height for the crossbreed and weigh between 50 to 90 lbs (23 to 41 kg).
On the other hand, females are a little lighter, weighing only 45 to 72 lbs (20 to 33 kg).
Is this crossbreed a dangerous dog?
On the contrary, the GSD-Husky mix is known to be a gentle and calm crossbreed.
It has both traits of the German Shepherd as an even-tempered working dog and the Siberian Husky as a great family dog.
Their natural protectiveness comes from their GSD lineage while their friendly manner, especially with children, is from their Siberian Husky side.
They are great with kids, but these hybrids may be suspicious of other pets and strangers.
They can be overprotective and territorial and may exhibit aggressive behavior, if not properly socialized at an early age.
The German Husky and barking
These crossbreeds are known to be loud and excessive barkers, thanks to the Husky’s love for vocalization and the GSD’s natural tendency to bark.
Don’t be surprised to hear your Husky-Shepherd mix ‘talking’ to you, whining for your attention, or barking at the slightest disturbance at home.
Before you get this hybrid, you should carefully consider if the noise will be a disturbance to your neighbors.
Just listen to the noise this Siberian Shepherd can make:
What are the activity requirements of the Husky-GSD crossbreed?
Both the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky are high-energy dogs. You can expect the Shepherd-Husky mix to need plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation, too.
As an extremely active dog, he needs about 120 minutes of exercise per day, which can be divided into hour-long walks twice daily. These hybrids have enough energy to do around 11 miles of walking weekly.
There should be enough space in your home for your dog to roam around freely and explore. Otherwise, take your puppy to the dog park for a couple of hours of walking, wandering around, and playing with other dogs.
Fetch, catching frisbees, and flyball are great activities you can do with your German Shepherd-Husky mix. These active games will give him enough daily mental and physical stimulation.
Adequate daily exercise helps keep your dog’s behavior in check. You can avoid potential problems such as excessive barking, chewing, and howling by keeping your dog occupied throughout the day.
Given its activity requirements, this crossbreed may not be an ideal pet for couch potatoes or owners who just want a dog to chill with.
How to train a German Shepherd Husky mix
This is a brilliant and highly trainable dog. He can pick up simple tasks after a few lessons and obeys after the first command is given.
He is always eager to learn and please his owner, so training should be a rewarding experience.
Socialization needs to be started while this crossbreed is still young. Properly training your Siberian Shepherd should involve firmness, consistency, and positive reinforcement to get the best results.
Agility training is also a good way to keep this crossbreed occupied, especially since GSD excels in this sport.
This activity involves running on an obstacle course while obeying specific commands given by the trainer. Agility can be done on most community dog parks that have readily available equipment.
Learn to practice simple commands like “sit,” “stay,” “go,” and “heel” before starting your dog on agility training. Bring along plenty of treats to encourage your puppy while they learn.
Below are some of the best tips that can help you in training your Husky-GSD mix puppy:
1. Start training your pup as early as possible.
Socialization, house training, and obedience training should start while your dog is a puppy.
This way, your dog learns how to properly interact with his environment and adopts appropriate behavior, which you will both need in your daily routines.
One-on-one puppy training also strengthens the bond between you and your dog.
2. Lead and love your puppy before you start them on any training.
Dogs are pack animals by nature, and your puppy needs you to be the leader of the pack.
You must always have the final word and your pup must learn that your commands are not to be challenged.
However, this doesn’t mean being cruel to your dog. Your German Shepherd Husky mix needs your love, care, and trust just as much as your leadership.
3. Positive reinforcement should always be used.
Rewards and praises are better than punishment and being too controlling of your puppy.
Relate training and commands to positive emotions and your Husky-Shepherd mix will learn positive behavior more quickly.
4. Keep your training sessions short.
Gerberian Shepsky puppies can be easily distracted, so you must keep training sessions to 10 to 20 minutes long. Short sessions ensure that your dog remains interested in learning new things.
It would also be ideal to associate a release word whenever you finish with your training so that your puppy will know it’s finished for the day.
A simple statement like “finished” said positively and excitedly should suffice.
5. Training involves short, clear commands.
Your Husky Shepherd will follow your commands based on how he interprets them.
Your commands should be clear and easy to understand so that your puppy won’t be confused and the training routine will be effective.
Repeating a basic command after your dog has learned it is essential.
6. Teach your puppy one skill at a time.
Move on to a new lesson in your training only when your dog has mastered the previous lesson or skill.
This keeps your pup from getting confused from learning too many commands at once.
7. Treats and leashes should be used sparingly.
Minimize the use of treats because too many treats will make your dog overweight, and the effectiveness of treats during training is reduced.
Leash training is good, but you won’t need to use it especially when your puppy poses no threat to others.
You want your dog to obey you out of his free will, not because he feels threatened or limited by the leash.
8. Seek professional help when you need it.
When your puppy is showing signs of aggression or if he is being stubborn despite your repeated lessons, consider seeking the help of a professional trainer .
A professional trainer will know what to do to to keep your pooch’s behavior in check.
Care for the German Shepherd Husky Mix: what you need to know
Be forewarned: the German Husky requires a little more TLC than most crossbreeds.
However, you’ll find that your effort will be worth the companionship and loyalty this dog can give you.
How much should this dog eat?
They require at least 3 cups of dog food a day, divided into two servings. It’s best to go for high-quality kibble that has protein-rich content.
They also need at least 25% protein when on a grain diet and 30% protein on a grain-free eating plan.
Your dog will benefit from joint supplements, which will encourage the growth of cartilage and help improve mobility. This can be particularly helpful for a highly active dog like the Shepherd-Husky cross.
Fruits such as apples, blueberries, oranges, coconut, pears, watermelons, and pineapples can be added to your Gerberian Shepsky’s diet, but these foods should be given in controlled amounts.
What not to feed your Gerberian Shepsky
Dogs have sufficient vitamin C in their livers, so there is no need to give your dog any Vitamin C-rich foods.
You should not feed your dog cereals and fiber-rich food either since these cannot be broken down by their system.
Onions, chocolate, ice cream, or ham bones should not be given to these dogs as well since these foods can impair their bodily functions.
And, no matter how much your German Husky begs, avoid giving him salty snacks like popcorn or potato chips.
Excessive salt intake may cause diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures in your dog.
Grooming the German Shepherd Husky mix
The German Shepherd Husky mix has a thick double coat, which it inherits from both the Siberian Husky and German Shepherd.
This crossbreed’s beautiful coat needs regular maintenance especially since he is a heavy shedder.
Brushing two to three times weekly will keep your puppy’s coat shiny, soft, and free from tangles. Regular brushing also helps keep shedding under control and removes dead hair from the coat.
Summertime is when Husky Shepherds shed the most. Daily brushing should do the trick, although be ready to do your fair share of vacuuming once the grooming is done.
These crossbreeds enjoy the water very much so bathing shouldn’t be a problem. Bathe your dog only when it is necessary so he won’t be stripped of the natural oils in his coat.
Ear inspection and cleaning should be done once a week. Use a damp cloth to remove heavy wax build-up on your canine’s ears. His eyes should also be examined. If there is any gunk in the corners of your dog’s eyes, consult your vet at once.
Nails should be clipped once a month to avoid serious paw pain with your puppy. Have your pooch’s nails trimmed by a professional groomer if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.
Brush your dog’s teeth once daily. Watch out for signs of plaque build-up. Bones, dry kibble, and chew toys will also help in keeping your pup’s teeth clean.
Health issues for the Siberian Shepherd
Crossbreeds are said to be healthier than purebreds. However, the German Shepherd Husky mix may be prone to some significant health conditions that it may inherit from its parents.
Below are some of the most common health issues that this hybrid may suffer from:
- Elbow and hip dysplasia – This happens when the joints become unstable or loose. This can be avoided by keeping your Gerberian Shepsky at a healthy weight so that no undue stress is placed on his joints.
- Corneal dystrophy – This is a condition where abnormal material accumulates in the outer layer of the eye or the cornea. It develops slowly and affects both eyes and can cause vision loss.
- Progressive retinal atrophy – This eye problem may happen in the later life of your dog and can lead to partial or total blindness. Some early symptoms include night blindness, inability to see in bright light, and dilated pupils.
- Juvenile cataracts – This illness may not start until the dog is six years old. The eyes’ lenses become opaque and cause slight blurriness in vision to total blindness in acute cases.
Other health conditions the German Husky is prone to include blood disorders, bloat, and epilepsy.
How long does this crossbreed live?
Your German Shepherd Husky mix has an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years. He may live longer than that, depending on factors such as his diet, health, genetics, and level of exercise.
Always be on the alert for any symptoms of illness in your dog. Don’t hesitate to consult your vet when you notice sudden changes in your Husky-Shepherd’s body or behavior.
How much will it cost to own a German Shepherd Husky mix?
Depending on where you live, initial costs like accessories, medical procedures like vaccinations and neutering may amount to $415 to $500.
Annual medical costs like checkups between $485 to $600.
On the other hand, non-medical yearly costs like training, food, and professional grooming services, may cost up to $1100.
A German Shepherd Husky mix puppy would cost around $350 to $850, on average.
You can look up Siberian Husky and German Shepherd breeders for information on where to buy crossbreeds of these dogs:
- Bama Huskies (Alabama)
- Aruff Siberian Huskies (Minnesota)
- Hollow Hills German Shepherds (Pennsylvania)
- Haus Amberg Shepherds (California and Virginia)
On the other hand, there are also adoption websites to visit in case you are interested in adopting a GSD-Husky puppy. Check out Arctic Rescue (Utah), Husky House (New Jersey), or Westside German Shepherd Rescue (Los Angeles) for information on adopting
Is the German Shepherd Husky mix the right dog for you?
If you are searching for a friendly, high-energy dog to be your faithful canine buddy for years to come, then the Gerberian Shepsky is undoubtedly a good fit for you.
Gerberian Shepskies are loyal and loving companions. They are some of the best guard dogs around, and their intelligence makes them easier to train.
However, these canines need a lot of exercise and may not be suitable for people with sedentary lifestyles. They also shed heavily and need to be groomed daily.
Do you think this dog is worth the effort? Comment down below if you’ve had experiences with a Gerberian Shepsky.