Although a German Shepherd Husky mix might not be the most popular crossbreed out there, he still attracts a lot of attention from dog lovers and those looking to get themselves a new pet. This hybrid breed is also known as Gerberian Shepsky and this article will teach you everything you need to know about them.
History of the Gerberian Shepsky
German Shepherd’s history as a breed dates back to the very end of the 20th century with the goal of being an ideal herding dog. It is believed that Max von Stephanitz and several other people wanted a breed that will guard and herd livestock throughout the year. In less than two decades, this protective and intelligent dog found its way to the rest of Europe and the USA. However, as the time passed, they were more used as working dogs, particularly in the military and the police.
Unlike the German Shepherd, a Siberian Husky has a much longer history as it is believed that they were used in Siberia as sled dogs by the people of Chukchi. Over time, they domesticated Huskies and taught them to live with families while still sending them on travels and hunting. It is believed that they were first exported to Canada and Alaska at the beginning of the 20th century. They became popular when they carried a serum that saved the lives of many people suffering from diphtheria for more than 600 miles in 1925. From then, they became exported to USA and Canada and later to Europe, too.
Unfortunately, we can only assume when the first crossbreed between these two breeds was born. It probably didn’t happen until the middle of the 20th century, but nobody knows for sure.
Who Are the Parents?
If you want to know more about your puppy’s characteristics, you should take a look at the parents. That rule also applies to Gerberian Shepskys and you can expect their traits to be a mixture of a German Shepherd and Siberian Husky. That is why it is important to get to know both of these breeds and you can do that by reading the segment below.
They have a history that dates back over 100 years and today they are known as multi-purpose dogs that exhibit exceptional intelligence and an excellent level of cooperation with humans. They are strong, large, and powerful, and their weight can reach up to 90 pounds. Their average height is about 25 inches and the females are, in most cases, a bit shorter than males.
When they were first registered as a breed, the idea was for them to be all-purpose dogs that will guard livestock. It seems that they accepted the idea of being a multi-purpose breed and took it to the next level as today they are both pets that live with families and working dogs. They are extremely loyal and protective of their families, but they are rarely playful. In most cases, they are calm when they go through the socialization process.
Considering their extremely high intelligence, they are trainable for various roles that involve protecting, searching and rescuing, as well as other military/police work. They are tireless and resilient and they are known as bold dogs. You will recognize a German Shepherd by having a bi-colored sable and black thick coat, while they undercoat may be grey or fawn.
According to recent studies, Siberian Huskies are descendants of Taymyr wolf, a breed that you could find in North Asia before they went extinct. On the other hand, there are people who believe that the Siberian Husky’s origin comes directly from the grey wolf. Either way, they have a long history that dates back up to 8,000 years ago. Today, they are officially classified as Nordic sled hounds by the FCI, but they are also known as working dogs. Their average lifespan is 12-15 years and females can weigh up to 50 pounds, while the males often reach 60 pounds.
The experts confirmed that Siberian Huskies share certain traits with Alaskan Huskies, Chukotka Sled Dogs, and Alaskan Malamutes. They are used to cold weather conditions as they are considered to be sturdy, resilient, and tough. Thanks to the fact that they often spent their lives together with Chukchi families, they are used to kids and they get along well with them. Although they were also going hunting, they learned to adjust their behavior and be friendly around children.
Siberian Huskies are resilient and sturdy as a wolf, which is probably a reason why they rarely have a health issue. They are known to be prone to hip dysplasia, as well as cataract, retinal atrophy, and other eye problems. However, this is nothing compared to a variety of issues that large-sized dogs may have with their health.
The important thing with a Husky is to start their training as soon as possible. You need to teach them how to behave from puppyhood or you are risking that the Taymyr wolf characteristics kick in, which will result in your pet becoming independent and not caring about your instructions. Huskies are known as outgoing and alert at all times and they are also extremely intelligent, which means that they should learn commands quickly if properly taught.
Let’s take a look at some basic info about Gerberian Shepskys so that you can know a bit more about this breed:
- Their average life expectancy is from 10 to 13 years and they rarely live longer than that
- They can significantly vary in weight as there are specimens that weigh only 40 pounds, but you can also find dogs that weigh 90 pounds
- When it comes to height, you can expect them to be tall anywhere from 20 to 25 inches. The females are likely to be a bit shorter than males
- Gerberian Shepskys have a double coat that can vary in colors from brown and black up to gray and golden. In some cases, they might even have blue, red, and white coat colors
- Depending on the dominant breed, their coat might be both short and long, but you can expect it to look fluffy
Things You Should Know
There is no doubt that a German Shepherd Husky mix is an intriguing crossbreed that you might consider enticing to own. But before you welcome a Gerberian Shepsky into your family, here are some things that you should know about them.
It is believed that both parents of a German Shepherd Husky crossbreed are intelligent, which is why they are also easily trainable. It won’t take long to teach them to listen to your verbal commands and they also react well to whistling. As with other breeds, you can use a reward system when teaching him various tasks. You will notice that he will learn quickly and be able to perform up to your expectations in no time. Although training this breed is a piece of cake, please acknowledge that it is vital to train them from puppyhood. As they grow up, their independence might start showing and that makes them almost impossible to teach.
Considering that Gerberian Shepskys are extremely active, their appetite is healthy and they might eat a lot of food to secure enough energy. They are not prone to obesity or having issues with extra pounds, but you still need to be careful with portion sizes. When it comes to the flavor or brand of food they love, it can vary from one dog to another. However, they are not a breed that likes to eat anything and they might pick up their meals. That is why it is recommended to stick to a certain food if you see that your pet loves it. Keep in mind that you also need to find a flavor and brand that won’t disrupt your dog’s stomach as this breed might be prone to having issues with digestion.
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You will need to devote a lot of time if you want to secure proper exercise to a German Shepherd Husky mix. They require regular exercise sessions, which is why it is vital to take them on long walks on a daily basis. It is always a good idea to take them to a park where you can take off his leash and let him run free for a long time. An alternative destination can always be an open field and the only thing to consider is that he needs a lot of space to get the feeling of freedom and use up his energy.
Regular exercise will help with your dog’s overall health, particularly proper heart function, and it will also boost his bone health and stimulate mental abilities. It will also keep him from being restless and bored and prevent him to find other ways for entertaining, such as biting your shoes or something like that.
If you know a thing or two about dogs, you won’t be surprised that this crossbreed needs proper socialization from puppyhood. You need to get them used to other pets and people while they are young to prevent any possible issues of aggressiveness once they grow up. A good idea is to take your puppy to a pup kindergarten or a park where he will get the opportunity to play with other dogs. Also, try to get him in contact with people as much as possible, including both adults and children. Another useful thing to do is to make your pet familiar with weird noises and sounds while he is at a young age. That means you should turn on the vacuum cleaner and other appliances while he is around so that he can be assured they do not present a threat.
Keep in mind that it is in the genes of a Gerberian Shepsky to be alert when a stranger is around. They won’t resort to any aggressiveness unless they notice that their master is in danger, but they are usually not friendly toward strangers.
If you want your Gerberian Shepsky to keep its natural sheen, you need to brush him regularly. This breed requires brushing up to three times on a weekly basis due to their double coat. Regular brushing will prevent fleas from attacking your dog and causing him all sorts of health issues and it will remove dead hair. When it comes to bathing, only bathe your pet when you think it is absolutely necessary. Not only they hate bathing, but it will also remove some of their natural fur oil, which will affect the quality of their coat.
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While we are on the topic of hygiene, let’s mention that teeth brushing is also essential for German Shepherd Husky crossbreed. You can use a toothbrush or your fingers, but make sure to brush their teeth for two times per week to decrease the chance for periodontal disease.
Hybrid breeds are typically stronger than their parents, but that doesn’t mean that they are entirely free of health issues. Both of their parents might be prone to hip dysplasia, which also makes Gerberian Shepskys susceptible to that problem. Aside from that, they might have eye problems, such as juvenile cataracts and keratitis, and certain digestive problems.
As with any other breed, it is essential that you take your pet to check-ups regularly and visit the vet in any situations where you notice that something might be wrong with your pooch.
Despite the fact that they can look large and muscular, the truth is that a German Shepherd Husky Mix is a breed that is known to be gentle and calm. They combine the working traits of a German Shepherd with the characteristic of Siberian Huskies to be around children and families. Thanks to that mixture, they can be both working dogs and family pets.
They are extremely loyal to families and their human companions and they are easily trainable. It is believed that is because of their Shepherd origin, but they can learn both verbal and whistling commands quickly. Their intelligence and curiosity come from GSDs, but their Siberian Husky’s part of personality makes them friendly, especially towards children.
These dogs are strong, active, and protective of their owners and family. They are affectionate and gentle to their human companions, but they may show aggressiveness if they feel that their master is in danger. Gerberian Shepskys need to be trained from the puppyhood or the independence of a Husky may kick in. They are also known to be loud barkers, so it might be a good idea to consider whether that will disturb your neighbors before getting this dog.
You may also like our breed guide on the White German Shepherd.