14 Things You Didn’t Know About German Shepherd Husky Mixes

The German shepherd husky mix, or better known as the Gerberian Shepsky, is a cross breed of two intelligent and energetic dogs. Similar to his parents, the dog breed has countless desirable qualities and characteristics that make him an ideal pet. If trained and socialized well, this furry friend will become a great companion for your kids.

He is tremendously alert, loyal and protective of his loved ones due to his working dog background. Gerberian Shepskys are ideal for guard duties and make great police and service dogs. However, as the dog breed is protective of his pack, you can expect him to bark whenever he sees an intruder or a stranger.

Gerberian Shepskyvia Magic

Origin

This beautiful dog breed is a result of working dog parentage. Like other mixed dogs, the Gerberian Shepsky is not a pure-breed and takes on characteristics from both his parents. However, as a genetic rule, only the characteristics of the dominant breed can exclusively prevail in the resultant breed. While there are no records of why and how the cross was made, we can learn more about Gerberian Shepskys by examining his parents.

Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is not just any ordinary dog breed. As the name indicates, Siberian Huskys have typical Siberian Wolf features and are a joy to be around. With his thick, dense coat and intricate markings, the dog breed thrives best in cold environments. Beware, this beautiful dog breed can be independent and challenging for first-time dog owners. Siberian Huskies are intelligent, fierce and affectionate dogs who will not constantly pester you for attention. They generally do well with children and get along with other pets in the house. However, they are clever and not eager to please their owners.

People are inclined to adopt Siberian Huskys because of their beautiful coat that has captured the imagination of artists and writers from all around the globe. Unfortunately, soon enough most dog owners realize they cannot the dog’s fierce independence. Rest assured, with proper obedience training and socialization, the breed will learn to care for his owners without getting into mischief.

German Shepherd

This dog breed is one of America’s most popular. The German shepherd is an intelligent and capable working dog and can excel in practically anything you teach him. Whether it is guiding the handicapped or assisting the police in searching for clues, German Shepherds are incredibly popular and are particularly known for the searching, herding and recuing skills.

While the German Shepherd is an intelligent dog breed, he is not for everybody and can be aloof towards strangers. The highly energetic dog does not appreciate being locked up at home and needs a lot of activity and exercise to keep himself happy. If bored, your furry friend is likely to get involved in disruptive behavior and express his frustration in ways you will not like, such as excessive barking and chewing. However, like other dog breeds, early socialization and training can make all the difference in the world. Your furry friend is likely to become a well-rounded dog if you put in the effort.

Gerberian Shepsky– Temperament

While the Gerberian Shepsky has a calm and gentle temperament, he is often feared because of his muscular build. The mixed breed can act as either a pet dog or a working companion for humans. Because of their loyal and alert nature, Gerberian Shepskys can assist humans in a variety of tasks and are classified into the herding and working categories of dog.

Thanks to its pastoral nature, the mix breed possesses an uncanny ability to react to whistles and verbal commands. Generally Gerberian Shepskys are inclined to inherit their friendly nature from Siberian Huskys and their intelligent personalities from German Shepherds. Their curious nature also makes them excellent scout and guard dogs.

Luckily, both parent breeds deliver a great family pet that is sure to love your kids. It is not uncommon for German shepherd husky mixes to be protective towards their family and friends. The breed is also likely to have an independent streak but is more manageable than the German Shepherd. Experts encourage gentle and consistent training as German shepherd husky mixes are powerful and active dogs.

While they are gentle and affectionate, they can also act aggressively if they sense a threat to their master’s security. Also, these dogs are known to voice their opinions, making them loud barkers. This dog is certainly not the breed for you if you cannot devote them much time so ensure you can devote enough time to them before adoption.

Physical Appearance

The Gerberian Shepsky is medium to large sized dog with an average height of 20 – 25 inches and an average weight of 45-88 lbs. However keep in mind that your dog’s weight, height and grows primarily depends on their health and diet. The average life span of this breed is 13 years but that also depends on the overall wellbeing of the dog. This dog breed is thus ideal for people who are in search for a short-term emotional commitment to their pet dog.German shepherd husky mixes can be found in a variety of different colors and can exist in cream, white, red, blue, pepper, gray, light brown and golden shades.

They have a straight hair double coat which can be either be short or long, dense or medium, depending on the environment and the dog’s parents. Like the Siberian Husky, the Gerberian Shepsky usually features a thick coat with a fluffy appearance. The inner coat is generally soft and thick. Because of their Arctic heritage, the double coat provides the dog much needed protection from the cold and overly hot weather.

The dog’s eyes are usually dual-colored while their skull at times resembles that of a Siberian Husky or a German Shepherd. The breed is considered to be a moderate shedder though we do recommend that you invest in a vacuum cleaner to be on the safe side. Schedule regular grooming dates for your pet and adopt a habit of regular brushing.

Gerberian Shepsky with Children

Gerberian Shepskys are affectionate towards children are likely to become attached to them. Like other dogs, it is best you begin socialization with kids when they are a puppy. Such dogs usually grow up to become great companions and are usually patient with children. Do not leave your pet unattended with small children as their large size and strength presets a threat of knocking over.

Teach your children to be gentle towards the dog. Toddlers and younger children must be taught not to pull on the dog’s ears. Ask your kids to leave the dog alone when he is eating or sleeping as disturbing him may aggravate his temper, causing him to bark.

Gerberian Shepsky with Other Pets

Most people are afraid of bringing a dog home if they already have a pet, such as a cat or a hamster. Depending on the individual’s genetics and his socialization skills, Gerberian Shepskys may or may not get along with other pets in your household. Puppies that grow up with other pets are likely to be tolerant towards other animals and have a higher chance of living peacefully with them in the longer run.

However, the dog breed may feel the need to pounce on smaller prey animals, such as hamsters and ferrets (this is completely normal) so it is best you examine your dog’s behavior with other pets first and never leave them unattended.

Gerberian Shepsky with Strangers

The Gerberian Shepsky may have the tendency to be somewhat territorial because of their genes and can be wary of strangers, much like German Shepherds. Rest assured, your furry friend will not bark or display aggression unless they perceive the stranger as a threat to their owner. This makes them great guard dogs but frequent barking can be annoying. Expose your dog to new faces from a young age. It might help them become more social.

Socialization

Like any other dog breed, the Gerberian Shepsky also requires early socialization and is likely to become a well-rounded pet if you introduce them to new faces and surroundings from a young age.Your pet’s behavior with others also depends on their genes hence try meeting your furry friend’s parents to learn more about their temperament. Gerberian Shepsky can be suspicious of strangers hence we advise you follow these guidelines:

  • Exposure to Positive Experiences with other Dogs

If you want your furry friend to greet other pets with a smile, we suggest you pay attention to early socialization. Take your puppy to obedience classes or dog kindergartens where they can play with other pups. Arranging play dates with your friend’s dog may also help your Gerberian Shepsky get along with other fellow canines.

  • Exposure to Positive Experiences with other People

Whether it is adults, big kids, small kids or toddler, be sure to expose your dog to all types of people. With regular exposure to new faces, especially in puppyhood, dogs are likely to grow up to be less aggressive and fearful. Some experts recommend you throw ‘Puppy parties’ for your furry friend and invite your human friends and their pets. This will teach your dog to mingle with all kinds of different people.  You can also teach your dog to become friends with the neighbors or the mail carriers but ensure they do not interfere or bother them too much.

  • Expose your Dog to Different Sounds and Noises

Startling sounds may frighten your dog, hence expose him to all kinds of sounds when still young. Be sure to use the dishwasher, vacuum cleaner or any other appliance to help your dog become accustomed to loud noise. Additionally, having people around his food bowl or being grabbed by the collar should not work up your dog and cause him to become aggressive.

Gerberian Shepskys are by nature wary of strangers and thus require exposure to all kinds of experiences to prevent them from barking and displaying aggression. Reward your dog with tons of treats every time they complete a certain milestone or manage to behave well. Positive reinforcement is the best way to teach your dog to behave.

Dietary Needs

These highly active and energetic dogs require a nutritious meal packed with tons of proteins. By nature, Gerberian Shepskys may be picky eaters but generally have a very healthy appetite. Try to mix and match your dog’s food by testing different brands and flavors. It might take a while for you to find a brand or flavor your dog particularly enjoys.  If you have found a combination your pet enjoys, it is best you stick with it.

Gerberian Shepskys are prone to suffering from digestive issues hence be prepared to practice a little trial and error until you finally find the best dog food for your pet. Also, when it doubt, do not hesitate in consulting your vet for recommendations. Because of their large size, a Gerberian Shepsky’s diet is similar in quality and quantity to other large dog breeds. For a healthy meal, your dog’s food should contain at least 25% protein in foods containing grains and 30% of proteins in grain-free foods.

You can choose from moist, dry or frozen foods. Most dog breeds prefer moist foods (generally canned foods) because it is easy to chow down and digest. Moist foods also have better concentration of proteins and vitamins that is beneficial for your pet’s growth. Some dogs may have an allergy to foods such as lamb, corn, beef, egg and soy, hence it is probably best you take your puppy to the vet before you begin feeding him.

Care

Working dogs by nature, Gerberian Shepskys are built for action. This dog breed will not be too happy if you leave them alone for long periods of time. Additionally, the have high exerciser requirements and do not appreciate being locked up at home. Inactivity and boredom may lead to a number of behavioral problems, such as excessive barking, digging and chewing, similar to the German Sphered Dog. The Gerberian Shepskys desperately needs to be exercised every day if you want to keep your pet healthy and happy.

Like other herding dogs, Gerberian Shepskys can be barkers, especially if they sense danger. While this is not necessarily a problem, it can get annoying at times and might even bother the neighbors. You can teach your dog to behave and remain quiet with the help of obedience training. Begin obedience training when your puppy is still young and teach them basic commands such as “quiet”, “sit” and “stay.”

Like their parent (German Shepherds), Gerberian Shepskys also like to chew and have powerful jaws. To protect your furniture and other materials from getting damaged, buy your dog tons of chew toys and bones to keep them busy. Also, it might be best to protect your favorite belongings and lock them up somewhere safe. Overall, find ways to keep your dog entertained or else he might end up causing mischief.

German Shepherd Husky MixPicture By Caedmon/ Flickr

Caring for Gerberian Shepsky Puppies

Contrary to popular belief, puppies usually require more care compared to their adult counterparts. Puppies are without a doubt some of the most adorable creatures to ever exist. However, they require constant care and attention. A typical Gerberian Shepsky weighs about 10 pounds when he is a year old. Because of their rapid growth, puppies require a highly nutritious diet filled with adequate amounts of minerals, nutrients and calories to stay fit and healthy.

Because of their newly developed digestive system, it is integral you feed your puppy small frequent meals according to their hunger level. This results in better digestion and allows your little friend to consume what he needs during this growth spurt.

Here are some additional tips that will help you care for a puppy:

  • Ensure you find a good vet. Once you have adopted your furry friend, the first place you two ought to be is at the vet. Ensure the pet is healthy, free of serious health issues and birth defects. You must schedule frequent appointments to the vet to guarantee your dog’s health. If you do not already have a vet, it is best you ask your family and friends for recommendations. If you have gotten your puppy from a shelter, ask them to recommend you a veterinarian they swear by.
  • Invest in quality dog food. Your puppy’s well-being and overall growth largely depends on his dietary intake. It is critical you select a food that is especially formulated for puppies and not for adult dogs. Additionally, make sure your little pup has access to clean and fresh drinking water at all times.
  • Establish a bathroom routine. As soon as your furry friend starts to get accustomed to you, it is integral you begin dog training. Positive reinforcement is an effective way to ensure your puppy keeps the carpet clean at all times.
  • Watch out for early signs of illness. Despite being a healthy breed, do not undermine how puppies are more susceptible to major and minor illnesses. On the bright side, you can prevent these illnesses from taking greater form by highlighting it in the early stages. Some symptoms of early illnesses include vomiting, lethargy, poor weight gain and lack of appetite.
  • Be sociable. It is imperative you begin obedience training when your dog is just a little pup. This ensures he grows up to become a well-rounded dog in the future. Dogs begin to accept other animals when they are approximately 2-4 months of age. Enrolling your dog to kindergarten or socialization classes is an excellent way to rack up positive social experiences.

Exercise Requirements

Because of the Gerberian Shepsky’s working class background, he needs regular exercise. A long day at the dog park is the minimum expectation. When you adopt a German Shepherd Husky Mix, you will have to make the effort. If you have the time, take your furry friend out to a dog park where you can take off their leash and let them explore on your own. Taking your dog off their leash is not the best idea if they have not been trained to respond to basic commands yet.

Playing without a leash will expose your dog to a variety of surroundings, giving him the workout he needs and deserves. This will not only mentally stimulate your pet but will be beneficial for their overall well-being. Additionally, if you have a yard, allow your dog to explore on his own for a couple of minutes every day. You will thoroughly enjoy watching your dog leaping around and playing happily.

Coat

Similar to their parents, Gerberian Shepskys have a double coat that provides them protection against extreme heat and cold. The double coat consists of dense outer hair while the inner coat is usually much softer and thicker. Because of the breed’s double coat, it is integral you invest in a quality vacuum cleaner to get rid of excess hair. The dog’s coat exists in variety of colors, including brown, cream, gray, salt and pepper and black and tan.

Grooming Requirements

The frequency of grooming of the puppy depends on the coat type of the Gerberian Shepsky. However, since he has a double coat, it is imperative you brush him at least 2-3 times a week on an average. Regularly brushing your dog’s fur helps to get rid of dead hair and maintain the natural sheen. This also distributes natural body oils among the fur. Proper grooming alleviates fleas which may cause health problems in your dog.

Depending on their nature and temperament, some dogs hate having water poured over them, hence do not bathe them unless your furry friend actually needs one. Additionally, giving your dog a bath too frequently can strip its coat out off natural oils.

Here are a couple of things you should pay attention to with regards to grooming:

Teeth Brushing

Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth can prevent all sorts of unpleasant and unhealthy outcomes. Brush your dog’s teeth at least 2-3 times a week, if not daily, to reduce the risk of periodontal diseases. Feeding your dog hard and dry kibbles can also help strengthen his gums. Take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice signs of gum bleeding and cavities.

Invest in a good quality toothbrush and toothpaste for your dog. If you do not have a toothbrush, you may use your fingers to clean the dog’s teeth. Invest in a good quality dog toothpaste. Do not experiment by using human toothpaste as it contains large quantities of fluoride that might be harmful for the dog.

Bathing

Only bathe your dog when he absolutely needs it. Bathing your dog too frequently can strip his fur off of natural oils. Invest in a reputable dog shampoo or use baby shampoo instead. Baby shampoo is a good alternative since it is made using mild chemicals. Do not use human shampoo on your dog as it can damage its fur.

Nail Trimming

Dogs need to have their nails trimmed every few months or so. Little or no trimming can affect the way they walk and run on hard surfaces. Invest in a quality nail clipper and do not be afraid of doing it yourself. Stay clear of the quick to prevent any injuries. Even if your dog does not seem nervous, reassure him and offer lots of treats afterwards.

puppyHealth Concerns

Mixed breeds are widely considered healthier than purebred dogs as they are drawn from a broader gene pool. Producing or developing a mixed breed is the opposite of inbreeding. However, you cannot expect your dog to be the healthiest of the lot. Adopting the healthiest breeds does not make much of difference if the parents are not healthy.

While Gerberian Shepsky’s are generally healthy breeds, they are likely to inherit problems that are common among both parents. Some health issues that are common among this hybrid include epilepsy, cancer, blood disorder, eye problems, allergies, digestive issues and bloat.

  • Epilepsy: This is a neurological disorder that causes canines to have sudden, recurring and uncontrolled seizures. These physical attacks can occur with or without losing consciousness. Dogs may suffer from seizures for a variety of reasons, including brain tumors, genetic abnormalities, exposure to toxins or because of issues with your pet’s blood, or organs along with other reasons. Other times, seizures may occur for unknown reasons. Such seizures are commonly referred to as idiopathic.
  • Bloat: Bloat is what happens when your canine friend’s stomach is filled with gas, liquids or food, causing it to expand. However, this common condition can be quite dangerous, in fact even life threatening for some dogs. Affected dogs require treatment right away. In the most serious cases, the stomach can put pressure on the other nearby organs, resulting in problems, such as forming a tear in the wall of the stomach, making it difficult for the dog to breathe or affecting the blood flow of the dog that goes from his heart to the stomach lining.
  • Allergies: Allergies are fairly common in dogs. There are mainly three types of allergies. Food allergies that are caused as a result of what the dog eats. This allergy can be controlled or treated by eliminating certain foods from your dog’s diet. The second form of allergies, contact allergies are caused as a reaction to a topical or external substance, such as dog shampoo, bedding, flea powder or other chemicals. Such allergies can be treated by eliminating the use of certain shampoos and chemicals.

The final type of allergies includes inhalant allergies. As the name suggests, this type of allergy is a caused by airborne allergies including mildew, dust and pollen. The treatment of these allergies varies and depends on the cause and may include taking medication, making dietary restrictions and environmental changes.

  • Cancer: Unfortunately, cancer is as common in dogs as it is among human beings. Your dog can develop any sort of cancer depending on his health. Since there are many different types of cancers, the treatment depends on the cause. While some cancers and tumors can be removed surgically, others may have to be treated through chemotherapy. Some cancers may require both medical and surgical attention.
  • Ear Infections: Ear infections are generally common among dogs that have large ears. You can prevent such infections by regularly inspecting your dog’s ears and ensuring they are always clean and dry. You may ask your vet for appropriate ear cleaning products and aware yourself regarding the proper ear clearing techniques.

Other health conditions you must be watchful of include elbow and hip dysplasia, digestive problems and cataracts. If taken good care of, Gerberian Shepskys are prone to lead a healthy life. The average life span of this dog breed is 10-13 years but this depends on your dog’s overall well-being and health.

Gerberian Shepsky – Highlights at a Glance

  • Average Height: 20 -25 inches
  • Average Weight: 45 to 88 pounds
  • Coat Type: Double coat
  • Coat Appearance: Short to long length, fluffy-appearance
  • Coat Colors: Black, brown, golden, white, red, blue, pepper and salt, gray
  • Grooming Needs: Moderate
  • Shedding: Seasonal, Moderate
  • Brushing Requirements: 2-3 times a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: Maybe
  • Excessive Barking: Yes
  • Good Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Moderate to good
  • Good Pet: Yes with training and early socialization
  • Safe for Children: Yes
  • Good with Other Dogs: Yes, if trained properly
  • Good with Other Pets? Yes, if trained properly
  • Suitable for Apartment? No
  • Suitable for First Time Dog Owners? No
  • Training: Fast learners but may become bored easily
  • Exercise Needs: High
  • Tendency to Gain Weight: Normal
  • Major Health Concerns: Digestive problems, ear infection, eczema, epilepsy, eye problems, blood disorders
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 13 years

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