Like a number of other mixed breed dogs, the name of the German Shepherd Husky mix is a mouthful. So, we can go by the portmanteau moniker Gerberian Shepsky.
With both its parents coming from the working class of dog breeds, the Gerberian Shepsky is bound to inherit a sturdy body built for copious amounts of exercise and play.
Given their bold looks, German Shepherd Husky mixes are bound to capture the attention of individuals who are looking for a canine companion with features that more resemble their lupine ancestors rather than a ball of fluff lap dog.
But unlike some other mixed breeds, the Gerberian Shepsky is more consistent when it comes to size or looks. Whether you’re fascinated by this breed or looking to own one, here’s all you need to know about the Gerberian Shepsky.
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Table of Contents
- Gerberian Shepsky Basic Profile
- Meet The Parents:
- The Shepsky’s Appearance
- The Gerberian Shepsky’s Temperament
- Exercise and Diet
- 4 Common Health Issues of Gerberian Shepskies
- How to Groom a Gerberian Shepsky
- Is the Husky German Shepherd Mix For Me?
Gerberian Shepsky Basic Profile
Friendliness: The Husky German Shepherd mix is a good balance of friendliness and caution. For the most part, they’re quite playful and affectionate. However, expect them to be cautious when strangers are nearby. It’s why they’re such good guard dogs.
Trainability: Depending on which parent the dog takes more from, they can be a little stubborn when it comes to training. Fortunately, Gerberians are highly intelligent and have top cognitive abilities to breeze through obedience training (if they want).
Grooming: These dogs are not low shedding dogs. They’ll shed a lot and even more during shedding season (spring or autumn). Aside from frequent coat brushing, they need all the basic grooming essentials. Tooth brushing, bathing and nail clipping are a must.
Adaptability: A Gerberian Shepsky will not be able to adapt well to warm climate. They’ll manage, but they’re the happiest when its cold. As for living situation, don’t expect to keep these dogs if you live in an apartment. It’ll drive them nuts.
Activity: Crossbred from a working and herding dog, you can expect them to have plenty of energy. With that said, physical activity is a must – and lots of it! Expect to keep them occupied for up to two hours a day. Without sufficient physical stimulation, expect to see some destructive behavior.
- Height: 20 – 25 inches
- Weight: 50 – 75 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 10 – 13 years
- Dog Breed Group: Mixed breed
Meet The Parents:
The Siberian Husky goes hand in hand (or rather, paw in paw) with mischief and mystery. They’re a breed known for their curiosity and willingness to explore. Originally bred as sled dogs, they’ve become a fan-favorite breed thanks to their unique looks and playful demeanor.
But behind their piercing eyes is a dog that can become a lifelong companion. Though perhaps stubborn at first, Huskies can develop into loyal dogs who fill their owners’ lives with loads of fun.
Huskies are infamous for having a mischievous side to them. They’re also known to get into trouble from time to time, but only if they become bored. These dogs love exploring the environment and are always curious about the world around them.
One look at a German Shepherd and you can sense the dignity right away. Also from the working class, these dogs are part of the herding group, meaning they were (as their name implies) bred to help their owners herd sheep.
As a result, they are incredibly intelligent dogs and highly trainable. Because of this they fill a wide range of roles in modern society, such as working with police, disability assistance, and even acting! There are few things a GSD can’t do.
Much like the Siberian Husky, this dog also is built to work. If left idle, they can get bored easily. A GSD needs to be stimulated – both mentally and physically. Enough exercise and playtime will be sure to keep them content with life!
The Shepsky’s Appearance
Unlike some other mixed breeds such as the Pitsky, the Gerberian Shepsky’s parents are both of similar size and shape. As a result, they’ll generally be consistent with how large they grow.
Their height and weight will be within a more predictable range, and their coloring will likely reflect that of their parents. However, as with any mixed breed, there will still be a measure of variation because of the different genes at play.
Gerberian Shepsky’s Size
For height, a German Shepherd Husky mix will be somewhere in the range of 20-25”. This will depend on which parent it takes after more. German Shepherds tend to be on the taller side. So if it takes after the GSD parent, you can expect a dog with a little more height to it.
While by no means short, if the Husky genes dominate, you can expect a Gerberian Shepsky to be closer to 20”. Overall, the average is 23”. But of course, there will always be exceptions.
In terms of weight, somewhere between 50-60 pounds will be the average, with some growing as large at 75 pounds. As with any dog, their weight will depend on their diet and amount of exercise.
But keep in mind that a heavier dog does not necessarily mean it is overweight, nor does a leaner dog signal better health. You’ll need to make sure your Shepsky receives sufficient nutrients and meals to ensure they reach their intended size.
Physical Traits of the Shepsky
Both German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies are known for their striking good looks. They both sport angular, erect ears with deep pockets and snouts that are long and narrow.
These features give them an appearance somewhere between austere and playfully alert. A Gerberian Shepsky can be expected to inherit these characteristics of the parents.
In addition, you can’t mention a husky breed without also noting the possibility for icy blue eyes, or the mysterious-looking combination of two different colored eyes called heterochromia iridum. Of course, a few may inherit this unique trait as well.
The Gerberian Shepsky’s Coat
Gerberian Shepskies comes in a range of colors, but it’s almost a guarantee that they will have a thick double coat. So, while they might love to run around and play in chillier, snowy weather, they will be far from pleased to even go on short walks in stifling hot climates.
Desert dwellers might do well to consider for other breeds if they are looking for a dog. It’s probably a safe guess that you wouldn’t want to stroll around the Mojave Desert in a fur coat, and neither would a Gerberian Shepsky.
Depending on the parents, you could end up with a dog that has fur in shades of black, cream, gold, or red. However, predicting the color of a Gerberian Shepsky requires a bit of genetic knowledge. Darker coats tend to be dominant, while lighter colors are a more recessive gene.
What this means is that even if one of the parents has a light coat, but the other has a dark one, there is a greater likelihood for the offspring to have darker coats. In order to have pups with lighter hair, you would need both parents to have light coats.
The Gerberian Shepsky’s Temperament
A mix of two breeds of smart working dog, a Gerberian Shepsky is going to have plenty of energy and very high intelligence. If kept properly stimulated, they become keen dogs with a love of learning and a deep loyalty to their owners.
However, keeping up with a Gerberian Shepsky is no small task. Their top trait is their high level of energy. As a result, it takes an owner who is at the top of their game to successfully match their own temperament to that of their dog.
Training Your Gerberian Shepsky
It’s no secret: these dogs are downright smart. German Shepherds are known for their ability to learn complex commands and perform various tasks. It is for this reason, they are popular as police dogs or assistants for disabled individuals.
A Gerberian Shepsky is likely to inherit this cognitive ability from its parents and will be ready to put it to good use. However, this willingness to learn can be somewhat tempered by the dog’s Husky side. The Husky side is known for their stubbornness.
But it is far from a hopeless case. Huskies themselves are rather intelligent and respond well to training so long as it is consistent and firm.
Both German Shepherds and Huskies can display a high prey drive, which manifests as a tendency to see smaller animals as potential meals. A way to curb this drive is to introduce a Gerberian Shepsky to smaller animals from a very young age.
This way, the puppy learns to recognize little furry creatures as friends rather than something to hunt. Otherwise, be ready to watch a Gerberian Shepsky spend its afternoons chasing after every squirrel it sees.
They will gladly put their minds to the test in learning more complex tasks. Plus, they respond well to using whistles and clickers as cues. Whether you’re looking for help herding flocks of sheep or simply want to have fun, a Gerberian Shepsky will be a good fit.
Living With a Gerberian Shepsky
Life with a Husky German Shepherd mix depends a lot on you and the training regimens you implement. You can train one to be an easy-going dog who enjoys relaxing at home. On the other hand, you can work toward molding her into a paragon of a guard dog.
It’s all up to you. Gerberian Shepskies are highly versatile dogs who can fit into a variety of roles so long as they get the mental and physical exercise they need.
But there is always a need for balance. If you train a Gerberian Shepsky to be alert and protective, he may take it too far and develop a tendency for barking at anything that encroaches on your territory.
A squirrel in a tree? Bark. Postman dropping off the mail? Double bark. You get the picture.
Likewise, if you are looking for a more relaxed dog, this does not mean that you can forego exercise. He may be happy to curl up next to you in front of a fire, however, your Gerberian Shepsky will still need to explore, play, and spend plenty of time outdoors.
While they can and do love spending time indoors with their owners, at heart they are outside dogs that relish the open air and a chance to run about.
Exercise and Diet
A Gerberian Shepsky comes from a heritage of working dogs, animals who are built for large amounts of physical activity. This may not be the case with your Shepsky though.
But even if you aren’t looking for a dog to add to your Alaskan sled team, a Gerberian Shepsky will still need a very active life in order to stay happy and healthy. In addition they will need a nutrition-packed diet to match their lifestyle.
For a Gerberian Shepsky, there is a time for curling up on a couch, and there is a time for running around with your tongue lolling about. Both are going to be vital, but be prepared for a great deal of time spent with the latter.
Physical Exercise Requirements
In the absence of actual work, a Gerberian Shepsky is still going to need plenty of physical activity. While a human might be content to lounge about at home all day, this energetic dog breed will find much more enjoyment in long walks and playing catch.
In general, to keep a Gerberian Shepsky healthy and in decent shape, they will need minimum 45-60 minutes of physical exercise each day, with up to 2 hours being recommended to keep them in peak physical health.
A good way to deal with the daunting amount of exercise these dogs need is to break it up into portions rather than trying to get it done all at once. This works especially well if you split the responsibilities between family members.
One of you can take the dog for a leisurely afternoon walk, another can bring the dog along for morning runs, and another can spend time playing games in the yard.
Which brings us to another point: Gerberian Shepskies will gladly spend time indoors, but apartment life is not suitable for them. A yard will be in order. Nothing sprawling is necessary, but enough room for a dog to run around will be the ticket.
Being in the small enclosed space of a room for too long can drag down their fitness and leave them bored, which might result in them chewing on anything from shoes to cables.
Mental Stimulation is Essential
Like other highly intelligent dog breeds, Gerberian Shepskies will relish the chance to use their cognitive abilities. This can take the form of training or games. With a Gerberian Shepsky, the opportunities are wider than with other dogs thanks smarts.
Besides tricks, they can learn to do basic tasks like fetching the mail or, obviously, herding sheep. If not properly stimulated though, they can grow bored or restless. So, to keep their minds sharp and content, a minimum of 15-20 minutes of daily mental exercise is suggested.
The good news is that this can often be combined with physical exercise. One way to go about meeting a Gerberian Shepskies exercise needs is to go for a long walk or a run. Next, you’ll want to incorporate the mental exercise into the rest of their physical exercise by way of dog games.
Of course, any way you look at it, at least an hour a day of exercise is quite a commitment, but one that can be highly rewarding. Rather than a chore, it can be used as a time to bond with your dog, or to stay fit oneself as well!
The Shepsky’s Diet Requirements
When it comes to diet, the number one rule is to keep in line with how much exercise the dog is getting. Gerberian Shepskies that are less active will need somewhere between 1200-1500 calories a day.
On the other hand, those with a more active lifestyle will need a higher caloric intake in the range of 1700-2100.
The dog’s weight also needs to be taken into account. Smaller dogs, so long as they are fit, will require less calories per day and larger ones. In order to keep the calorie levels appropriate, it is important to keep an eye on any weight gain or loss that the dog experiences.
In addition to watching calorie levels, protein and fat are going to be crucial parts of their diet. This dog breed expends a lot of energy throughout the day, and will need to store these nutrients to replenish and keep their energy levels up.
The exact intake will depend on the dog’s size and activity levels, but a good rule of thumb would be to make sure that protein accounts for about 20% of their nutritional intake, and fat to account for about 5-8%. These levels will vary depending on the age of the dog as well.
Younger dogs usually eating more than older ones due to the constant growth they are experiencing. In any case, these dogs like to eat, so if you are considering owning one, be ready to be hauling around big bags of kibble!
4 Common Health Issues of Gerberian Shepskies
Despite being sturdy and healthy dogs overall, there are still a few health concerns that bear mentioning. And, as always, if you are considering owning a Gerberian Shepsky, learning the medical background of its parents its vital.
Knowing what diseases or disorders the puppy might later develop can be very important in recognizing early symptoms and subsequently getting proper treatment.
1. Ear Infections
This dog has some furry ears. And while this fur offers protection, it can also result in accumulating dirt and grit that might lead to infection.
To keep those perky ears healthy, be sure to regularly clean them out, and watch for any early signs of infection such as redness or scratching.
It’s rough to admit, but both German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies are susceptible to developing cancer. Though it is far from common, there is always the chance.
And like most illnesses, early detection can make a huge difference in treatment options and success.
3. Eye Conditions
The Gerberian Shepsky can potentially be vulnerable to several eye conditions such as canine glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, juvenile cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy.
It is important then to keep an eye on those eyes and have them regularly checked for any abnormalities. Though treatments are far from perfected, early diagnosis can work toward protecting your dog’s eyesight.
4. Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
This vulnerability comes from both parent lines. What happens is that abnormal development occurs in the elbows and/or hips, which can lead to anything from consistent pain to severe loss of mobility.
Their joints can become loose and unstable, resulting in difficulty with movement.
Though there is no guaranteed way to prevent this development, keeping your dog’s weight in check is a good step in the right direction.
Obesity is known to exacerbate and even cause this problem, so being smart with the dog’s diet and exercise can go a long way to keeping them healthy.
Lifespan of Gerberian Shepskies
With an overall clean bill of health, a Gerberian Shepskies life expectancy is going to be between 10-13 years. Unfortunately, this is somewhat shorter than other breeds of a similar size (for example, purebred Siberian Huskies average about 10-15 years).
However, the advantage that Gerberian Shepskies have is that, as hybrid dogs usually are, they are less susceptible to any genetic health issues that might plague purebreds.
How to Groom a Gerberian Shepsky
Both German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies have thick double coats…which means you will need to be ready to bust out your heavy-duty lint roller on the daily.
Brushing frequency will change throughout the year as the thickness of the coat can vary with the seasons and changes in the climate.
This means that during Spring and Autumn, as the weather changes, you can expect copious amounts of shedding and more frequent brushing sessions.
Be ready for giving their coat a good brushing at least twice a week, with an extra brushing during spring and autumn. Not only does brushing keep the coat healthy and cleaner, but will help keep the shedding under control.
Better for all the fur to be gathered up in one place with a brush than to shed at will, covering your home in a veritable layer of dog hair.
And, despite any ostensibly adorable videos you may have seen on Instagram of shaved huskies, please do not shave a German Shepherd Husky mix. Shaving any dog that has a double coat could lead to health problems.
For sensitive dog owners, you may want to check out our list of 55 hypoallergenic dog breeds. The Shepsky isn’t recommended for those that suffer from allergies.
In addition to brushing, regular baths will both keep shedding under control and keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy. In general, a bath every month or so should do the trick. But you will know your dog’s needs (and smell) better than anyone.
If they have racked up a good amount of grime from time outside, then go ahead and bathe them as needed. Odds are they won’t complain and even are known to enjoy bath time.
Something to keep in mind is that during the molting seasons (when shedding becomes heavier), you can actually give less baths.
The dog is shedding hair at such a rapid rate that it would be better just to wait until it resumes its regular levels. Otherwise you’ll just end up with extra clumps of wet hair in your doggie bath.
And, as mentioned in the health section, ear hygiene is very important for a Gerberian Shepsky! Clean ears mean less chance of infection, which means a happier dog, which means a happier owner.
Is the Husky German Shepherd Mix For Me?
Got allergies? Then you’ll be needing to look elsewhere (try one of these dogs instead). Unless you are ready to be sneezing all day every day for the duration of your Gerberian Shepsky’s life.
Their thick double coat also means they do much better in milder to colder climates. Snow is a plus. A hot baking sun, not so much. They are great for people who live in cooler mountainous regions, for example.
Get ready for commitment. German Shepherd Husky mixes require some of the most exercise of all dog breeds. If you are ready for up to two hours of exercise a day, then you’ve found your match. These dogs make great companions for outdoors activities and adventures!
Highly intelligent, the Gerberian Shepsky can fit into a variety of roles. Whether you have a specific job in mind, or just want a clever canine companion you will be pleased by how quickly they can learn and adapt.
Both loyal and social, these dogs are great for families and can even be very good around kids. Owning one is a lot of responsibility, so spreading the duties between family members can make it much more manageable. And you can be sure the dog will love all the extra attention.
Do you own a Gerberian Shepsky? Let us know how they are in the comments section below! Share with other owners and potential owners what you love (or find annoying) about these dogs!
Other mixed dog breeds:
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- Are German Shepherds Dangerous?
- Everything About the Cavachon Dog
- 21 Interesting & Weird Mixed Dogs
- 31 Most Adorable Poodle Mixes
- 27 Cute Corgi Mixes for Dog Lovers
- Horgi – Guide to the Husky Corgi Mix
- The Guide to the Playful Pitsky
- 18 Cool Australian Shepherd Mixes
- 19 Most Bizarre Terrier Mixes