Also known as a Shepsky, the German Shepherd Husky mix is a breed that is certainly gaining in popularity in recent years.
Of course, this is partly due to people becoming more interested in mixed breeds in general, but what should you be really looking for when it comes to a Shepsky?
Well, we are going to check out everything on your behalf.
In the next few minutes, you will have a far better understanding of this mixed breed, and it may even become easier for you to then determine if this is a dog that you could be interested in owning.
Now some people can be wary of owning a designer dog such as this. However, that is often due to the combination being somewhat strange when it comes to the actual breed.
In this instance, you are about to see that there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to a German Shepherd Husky mix.
Their Physical Appearance
So first, what about their physical appearance? If you have never set eyes on a Shepsky before, then it’s going to be interesting to learn what they generally look like.
In this instance, you are looking at the German Shepherd Husky mix as being of a medium sized dog rather than the larger dog of the pure German Shepherd.
There is a size difference between male and female, but only in the weight department. Both sexes will tend to measure anywhere from 20” to 25”, but the male will weigh anywhere from 50-88lbs while the female is lighter at 45-72lbs.
For their build, then you are looking at a dog that is quite muscular in appearance, but it manages to remain very lightweight on its feet. Their head is a clear cross between both parents, but there is a tendency for it to remain rather long and pointed mixed in with jaws that are clearly very powerful. Also, they hold their ears high up on their head.
With their body, it may be muscular, but it’s lean. They have a thick coat along with a thick, bushy tail. Their legs are strong but clearly agile, and that’s because this dog is fast.
Also, this is one beautiful dog to look at.
For their eyes, then you would presume they would be spectacular thanks to the Husky part, and this is certainly the case. They will tend to have either blue eyes or golden eyes. However, don’t be surprised if they end up with a different color in each eye just like their Husky parent.
On their face, you will often see the black mask appearance, but this can either be full or partial.
There are various combinations regarding coat colors as well. This tends to cover:
But it’s more than that. You can have different color combinations at the one time. Also, the coat is relatively dense, and the hair remains straight.
To care for their coat, you should brush them twice a week to keep their coat in tip-top condition. However, bathing should only be done on an ‘as required’ basis. Bathing them too much removes important oils from their hair leading to potential problems in the future.
So what you have here is a mixed breed dog with clear characteristics from both parents. Exactly how those characteristics are distributed will vary a great deal, but there’s no doubt that you will be able to spot the breeds in your Shepsky.
Any breed of dog can have health issues, but people have a tendency to believe that mixed breeds fair worse when it comes to health problems.
As it’s a mixed breed, it’s reasonable to assume that a Shepsky will have some of the health issues commonly found in either breed, and that’s exactly what has happened.
In this instance, the list of potential health issues in the breed is not as long as it can be in other mixed breeds. That’s a real bonus as some designer breeds do tend to come with a healthy list of issues that you also need to contend with.
However, in this instance, the key things to be looking out for include:
- Patellar Luxation
- Hip Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
While those are the main concerns, there are several other conditions that could tend to cause a problem within the breed. They include:
- Endocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
However, as we said earlier, this is a shorter list than you can see elsewhere, so this breed is relatively health. Also, just because this list of potential health issues exists, it doesn’t mean that is what is actually going to happen to your dog.
You are going to want a dog that has an even temperament, but then you may have a slightly different idea of what you want if you have a young family. Let’s face it, you hardly want your dog to be a danger when a young child is playing in their vicinity.
So, with a Shepsky, you are going to have a dog that is not only very loyal, but also extremely affectionate. They are viewed as being working dogs, and this is helped by the fact that they are highly intelligent breeds.
You will also discover that they are very alert to everything that is going on. It will be difficult to sneak anything past them either as they will be interested in everything happening around them.
But here’s something you need to consider, and it won’t come as a surprise, but this dog is a breed that tends to have some energy that it needs to really burn off. You won’t have a dog that’s going to just want to sit around. Instead, walks and runs are the order of the day if you want to stop your Shepsky from becoming bored.
Aside from that energy, this breed knows how to have fun. They will love to play games and learn new things. It keeps life interesting for them.
Considering their size and power, they are very gentle. That means they are safe to have around young children as nothing will go wrong if you have them as a family dog. They will protect your family and home, and they will take a great deal of pride in doing so.
However, there’s another area that you need to be careful of, and that’s the way they interact with other animals, and not just other dogs.
This breed is going to require some work when they are a puppy in order to get them used to socializing with other animals. That’s not to say that they are going to attack other breeds. That’s not the case.
The problem is that they may become overprotective of things when they are young. They will protect their food and water, and that can pose a problem if you have a young child who is not aware of what is going on.
Finally, they do react well to commands from their pack leader. That is going to become important when trying to keep control of your dog. That’s not to say that they won’t try their best to see if they can challenge you, but it’s not going to be as forceful or obvious as it can be with certain breeds.
Training a Shepsky is going to be an absolute treat to train, and that’s not the biggest surprise.
Their intelligence means they will be open to learning all sorts of new commands and tricks. Their desire to learn and to be useful is why they are used in police forces around the world.
But you do need to be careful with how you train them.
A Shepsky needs to be entertained. They need to be able to keep their mind active, and you must be aware of the need to change their training on a regular basis. This is not a breed that is going to be happy doing the same old thing over and over again.
With this breed, they are going to also react better with a calm approach when trying to learn a new trick. There’s no reason for you to become tetchy with them if they are taking some time to pick up on a new command. That’s going to work against you.
But having intelligence can work against you as the owner. If you do not train them and keep them busy, then don’t be surprised if they start to try to get up to some mischief. However, this is being done out of complete boredom.
So with training a Shepsky, you need to keep on going and add variety. They will pick up on things, but don’t let them get bored or you will run into problems. Be prepared to work past the basic commands quite quickly, and then get creative with games and toys.
Who is it For?
So who do we see as being the best owners for a German Shepherd Husky mix?
Well, this breed is best for someone who has some experience in caring for dogs. They are not for a complete novice.
The reasons why they are more for an experienced owner are pretty obvious.
First, this dog is going to try their luck with a less experienced owner. They will keep on testing in order to see who is the leader of the pack. It takes an experienced dog owner to be able to nip this in the bud and to stop it from becoming an issue.
Also, there’s the need to discipline them if their boredom and high energy levels get the better of them. You need to be confident in your handling of dogs to be able to do this correctly, and to make sure you keep the upper hand in the relationship.
But this dog is also going to require an individual who is capable of helping them to burn off their energy. They do require 120 minutes of exercise per day, and it’s recommended that you cover around 11 miles of exercise in a single week.
Now, that’s going to mean you have to be able to cover that distance. Also, this dog does not enjoy a quiet stroll. Instead, they enjoy a bit of pace every now and then since that also helps with their energy issues that they have going on.
Basically, this dog is going to be perfect for people that love to be active and to get outdoors. However, they must have experience of dealing with dogs, or there could be one or two problems just waiting around the corner.
Do remember that they are safe to have around young children as well, so if you are a family looking for a dog, then a German Shepherd Husky mix could fit the bill perfectly.
A German Shepherd Husky mix is an interesting mixed breed of dog to own.
However, if you are planning on owning one, then do note that this dog requires a lot of exercise and will want to spend a considerable amount of time being entertained.
You need to understand that they have a lot of energy to burn off, and if you don’t have the time available to help, then this is not the dog for you. Also, they are not going to be good if you live in an apartment where there’s no direct access to a yard. They need to have some space to run around a bit and get rid of some of that energy.
But aside from the energy side of things, you will have a dog that is loyal, affectionate, protective of its family, and great fun to have around. Also, it’s quite interesting needing to come up with different training ideas that work for them.
A Shepsky is a beautiful dog both to look at, as well as their temperament. They have limited health issues, and will certainly keep you and the family entertained.