Is a German shepherd husky mix the right dog for you?
Perhaps you’ve fallen for those wolf-like good looks or like the idea of strengthening a German shepherd’s genes with those of the husky.
Whatever your reason for being attracted to a German shepherd husky mix, be 110% sure you know what’s in store because living with this beautiful designer dog is not a stroll in the park.
Recent times have seen the deliberate mating of two different types of purebred dog to produce a mixed-breed puppy with strong characteristics from both parent breeds.
As an example, many of you will be familiar with the explosion in popularity of poodle crosses, such as the Cavapoo, Cockerpoo, Labradoodle, and Goldendoodle.
Crossing a German shepherd dog with a Siberian husky has led to a distinctive dog known as the German shepherd husky mix, Siberian shepherd, German husky, Husky-shepherd or Gerberian Shepsky depending on your preference.
An optimist would say that mixing two purebreds together creates a stronger, healthier dog.
The opposite side of the argument from a pessimist is that there is the potential to bring out the worst of both breeds.
The truth lies somewhere in between.
In fact, when viewing German shepherd husky mix puppies you need to be aware that those puppies’ future health and temperament is a bit of a lottery.
Whilst you may get a 'good 'un' and have a pup that is bred free from hip dysplasia but has a highly trainable temperament you could also end up with a 'bad 'un'.
This could be a dog that inherits bad hips from the German shepherd side and a stubborn, intractable character from the Husky parent.
This means that the prospective owner of a German shepherd husky puppy mix needs to be fully aware of the pros and cons of the parent breeds, in order to be sure this is a task they truly want to take on.
German shepherds are much beloved and with good reason.
On the plus side this intelligent, courageous, and loyal dog responds well to training and in the right hands will excel at whatever is his future role, be that working dog, assistance dog, or faithful companion.
These are also high energy dogs that need plenty of exercise, but when well trained they are good mannered and get on with children.
However, if they lack a guiding hand they can put their intelligence towards mischief making.
Indeed, it’s essential that any German shepherd is well socialized as a puppy or they can be prone to anxiety and nervousness.
Perhaps one of the German shepherd’s biggest problems though are the breeds leaning towards a number of potentially serious health issues such as hip dysplasia, allergic skin disease, and digestive problems.
Also, in later life they are also over-represented amongst dogs with serious cancers of the blood vessels.
Powerful and athletic, these distinctive dogs with their thick coats, blue eyes, and wolf-like looks definitely command attention when out and about.
But huskies are no dog for a novice owner because they are willful and expert escape artists. (They are said to have put the ‘H’ in Houdini.)
Whilst they are rarely aggressive, it is their character which is the most demanding part of a Husky.
The don’t like being alone and love the sound of their own voice – which means barking or howling when left to their own devices.
Neither are they particularly motivated to please people, which can make training a trial.
Even those dogs which are trainable often employ selective hearing and don’t obey when it doesn’t suit them.
Team this up with an almost inexhaustible capacity for exercise and you have a ticking time bomb of a destructive dog on your hands.
When you fall in love with the white German shepherd husky mix pup, take a deep breath and remove those rose-tinted glasses.
Look at what the two breeds have in common and you begin to build up a picture of what might lie in store.
Both breeds are high energy and require lots of exercise.
Both are intelligent dogs, but whereas the German shepherd is trainable, the Husky is more likely to use their wits to their own end.
A German shepherd husky mix full grown can be quite a handful.
Bred for their vulpine looks, many owners of Siberian shepherds admit that any wolf-like character traits are not so much the call of the wild, but down to the Husky’s indomitable character.
You may well end up with a dog that is strong, muscular, and energetic but has an inbuilt programming to escape.
That six-foot fence is not enough to contain a German shepherd husky mix and he’s highly likely to escape and go wandering.
Not only is he a risk to himself should he stray onto a road, but they are often destructive dogs that love to dig and chew.
This could land you in hot water with damage to a neighbor’s property, so insurance is definitely a must.
Another element to consider is the German shepherd trait for anxiety combined with the husky’s dislike of solitude.
This could land you with a puppy with severe behavioral difficulties that howls and barks constantly when not in your company.
Takes some thinking about, doesn’t it?
The perfect owner is someone experienced with demanding dogs and has what it takes to train them.
In addition, they need to have plenty of space, an escape proof yard, and the ability to give the dog almost limitless amounts of exercise.
Also, they should live in a cooler climate, because the German shepherd husky mix’s coat is super thick which can him cause distress in extreme heat.
If you decide a shepherd husky mix is for you, then select your puppy carefully.
It is a mistake to fall for the cuteness of a black German shepherd husky mix pup without first asking a few questions.
Try to source puppies whose German shepherd parent has been screened for hip dysplasia.
If this is the case the breeder will have paid for the test and will be keen to show you the certificate.
This does not guarantee the resulting puppies will be free from crippling joint disease, but it is reassuring to know that the risk is much less.
In addition to the health aspect, play close attention to how the puppies are reared and their socialization.
Both parent breeds are strong-willed, and if the pups are to grow up understanding people are in charge and not be fearful of them, then the pups need good socialization.
A litter raised within the hubbub of daily life in a home and exposed to people from an early age, are going to be better adjusted than dogs raised outdoors in a kennel.
Also, it’s imperative that the pups are handled and encounter all manner of people, smells, sights, and sounds from just a few weeks old so that they see these things and accept them as normal.
When viewing a litter watch how the puppies interact with each other and be alert for signs of being too bossy or too submissive.
And don’t forget to see the puppies with their mother.
Given the rise in popularity of Huskies and German shepherd husky mixes, they have become a target to puppy mill breeders.
A hallmark of a puppy mill breeders is that they are reticent about you seeing the mother (mainly because she is in poor physical condition from being used as a puppy-producing machine.)
So if it’s not possible to see the mother, no matter how plausible to reason, walk away because to patronize a puppy mill is just to perpetuate misery.
Your German shepherd husky mix may be a roughy-toughy outdoorsy type of dog, but that doesn’t mean he should be trained using harsh punitive training methods.
It is much better to use reward-based training in order to encourage desirable behaviors.
There is no denying these hybrid dogs are a handful, but with the right person and with consistent training, they make an enduring canine companion for the active, outward bound owner.
Dr Sarah Robinson attended veterinary school at Oklahoma State University receiving a D.V.M. in 2008. Sarah’s longtime interest is to help people to better communicate with their pet companions, and in doing so, to help them to strengthen their relationships with their dogs and cats. Sarah has published numerous articles on canine feeding in pet related magazines, veterinary journals and leading natural health web sites.