Wolf-like dogs are a popular preference with unpopular complications. Getting a Siberian Husky in hot climates means constantly keeping your dog cool, and getting a German Shepherd means you need lots of room. Both Huskies and GSDs can also be a little challenging for upscale suburban locales. However, a German Shepherd Husky mix can be an excellent alternative in most cases.
A German Shepherd Husky mix is a good dog for families and single owners alike. Their loyalty and affection make them an ideal family dog, and their social appeal sparks conversations for singles. They are an intelligent, friendly, active, mischievous, yet playful mixed breed.
In this article, you will learn all about the Gerberian Shepsky. We will explore how these dogs differ from purebred German Shepherds and Huskies and answer the questions you may have in mind, including:
- What is a Gerberian Shepsky’s personality?
- Do Gerberian Shepsky howl?
- Is the German Shepherd Husky mix easy to train?
- What health problems does a Gerberian Shepsky have?
But before getting to any of that, let’s return to the original question and dive deeper into whether the German Shepherd Husky mix is a good dog.
Are Gerberian Shepskies Good Dogs?
Gerberian Shepskies are good dogs if you want a protective, affectionate, and intelligent dog that is good for families and will get along with kids – and is simultaneously majestic. They take the best traits of both the Siberian Husky and the German Shepherd to make a smaller and friendlier mixed breed.
They have a wolf-like appearance without the intimidating size or the demands of their larger ancestors. Here is a quick breed overview:
|German Shepherd Husky Mix||Breed Characteristics|
|Other Names||Gerberian Shepsky, Shepsky|
|Type||Companion / Working|
|Temperament||Intelligent, Loyal, Friendly, High-energy, Confident, Devoted, Watchful, Curious, Mischievous, Stubborn|
|Appearance||Athletic, Muscular, Long Body, Long and Pointed Head, Broad Face, Piercing Blue Eyes, (or a mix of blue and brown) or Brown Eyes, Partial or Full Black Mask, Long Bushy Tail, Erect Ears, Strong Slim Legs|
|Health Issues||Hip Dysplasia, Bloat (GDV), Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Epilepsy, Hypothyroidism|
|Coat Colors||Brown, Black, White, Cream, White, Blue, and Red. They are usually a mixture of two or more colors.|
|Coat Type||Double-coated, Medium-long and Dense|
|Easy to Train||Yes|
|Pet Friendly||Yes, but only if socialized with them|
|Good for new owners||Yes|
|Cost||Average of $2000 from Reputable Breeder|
This next section explores exactly what Shepskies are like, starting with a brief personality overview.
Gerberian Shepsky Personality
The Gerberian Shepsky is loyal and empathetic. They’re intelligent enough to recognize you as their provider and build a strong bond with you like a child with its parents. They make good companions and working dogs, such as police and military dogs.
The German Shepherd Husky Mix is a great family dog. They are especially friendly, loyal, fun, and affectionate towards children who love to play with them. They are brave and protective of their family and are highly trainable due to their intelligence.
A Gerberian Shepsky is loving and smart but mirrors his owner in emotional intelligence. If the puppy grows in a household where emotions aren’t processed healthily, he also develops a personality like that of the more vocal members of the house. But if he can learn from a smarter model, he can become a well-disciplined member of your home.
A Shepsky can be an extrovert or an introvert, depending on how socialized he is. But regardless of his preference for socializing, he still loves attention.
An extroverted Shepsky will look for attention in general and feel good when admired by the average person. On the other hand, an introvert will want to be appreciated by his owner and may become a little clingy.
The German Shepherd Husky mix has an appealing look, the preference of which can dictate its price. Purebred Huskies have unique piercing blue eyes – the Shepsky will often have one blue eye and one brown eye. But to me, an essential aspect of having positive visual appeal is that the dog has a positive experience with humans.
Being smaller than German Shepherds, Shepskies do not look as intimidating yet have a wolf-like appearance that inspires awe. When awe meets “aww,” a Shepsky is appreciated by people and, in turn, develops a favorable opinion of humans.
The German Shepherd Husky mix doesn’t do well in intense heat due to its double fur coat.
They also have a strong prey drive, especially if they favor the Husky’s genes. As Huskies were bred to pull sleds and run, they would chase things if given the opportunity. They are also famed for their escape artist tactics, such as jumping fences or digging.
German Shepherd Husky Mix Price
If the personality profile of the German Shepherd Husky mix excites you, then you’ll love reading about the specific pros listed later. But it would be unfair to get you excited about a dog that might be out of your budget. So, let’s go over pricing real quick.
Given that the breed isn’t recognized by the AKC due to its crossbreed status and cannot be shown, you won’t get price gouged by show-focused breeders. Still, getting a Shepsky can be expensive because breeders often charge a premium for the risk they take cross-breeding a dog that might not get adopted due to mainstream disinterest.
A Gerberian Shepsky can cost up to $2000 from a reputable breeder. Prices are influenced by the parents’ pedigree, location, litter size, breeder reputation, and experience. Be wary of puppy mills that will charge a lot less than a puppy with papers and will let a puppy go for as little as $450.
Please get your Gerberian Shepsky from a reputable and trustworthy breeder who conducts relevant health testing and cares about who they release their pups to.
Learn More About The Shepsky In This Video…
Pros of German Shepherd Husky Mix
Every dog breed has its advantages. To understand the pros of the Gerberian Shepsky, let’s compare the benefits to the dog’s ancestors, the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky.
A German Shepherd Husky mix is easy to train if they are socialized early and taught basic obedience commands using reward-based training. They are intelligent, active, and loyal, and like having a job to do due to their strong working drive.
They are easier to train than purebred Siberian Huskies, renowned for being a little stubborn. However, they’re slightly harder to train than purebred German Shepherds who excel in this area – such is their intelligence and immense desire to please.
If you get a Gerberian Shepsky as a puppy, you’ll have enough time to properly train him using good obedience training and positive reinforcement techniques.
That said, the above doesn’t apply to an untrained adult Shepsky as they are challenging to train when they grow up with bad habits. They are smart enough to detect and follow commands but can be slightly egotistical when changing their preferences and old ways.
To train your German Shepherd Husky mix, make sure you start early and establish yourself as the alpha. Use reward-based training such as treats or toys, with lots of praise. Be ready to correct your Gerberian Shepsky’s behavior no matter how cute he seems when doing the wrong thing.
You can learn more on how to train a German Shepherd Husky mix puppy in this article.
If you get an older untrained German Shepherd Husky mix, you should first try to discourage bad habits and make him unlearn them before adopting new ones. Forcing a switch of habits doesn’t prove fruitful with adult German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, and GSD Husky mixes.
Good Family Guard Dogs
A German Shepherd Husky mix is a good guard dog because they are courageous, intelligent, loyal, and protective, thanks to their German Shepherd DNA. However, they are more suitable for guarding family homes and low-effort positions due to their wanderlust potential and mischievousness.
Positions that Gerberian Shepskies can be good guards in
- Guarding private family property – A watch dog that’s responsible for barking to deter intruders has an easy job compared to an inventory-protecting hound. This job can be done by a German Shepherd Husky mix.
- Protecting people – Being a good guard dog for people is easier than being one for animals. A Gerberian Shepsky can sufficiently protect teenagers when hiking or on a walk, given that the potential threat cannot overpower the dog.
Positions that Gerberian Shepskies shouldn’t be put in
- Guarding inventory – Gerberian Shepskies aren’t suited for extended periods of uninterrupted guard work, which is why they shouldn’t be raised to guard inventory, warehouses, and factory depots.
- Protecting animals – Even though German Shepherd Husky mixes are fairly social, they don’t excel when put in charge of protecting sheep or other animals. This is due to their smaller size, and super strong prey drive, unlike their GSD counterparts.
Less Aggressive Towards Strangers Than German Shepherds
German Shepherds are aloof with strangers and will show aggression toward intruders due to their strong protective and territorial instincts. These traits stem from their original breeding purpose as sheep dogs.
You can also train a German Shepherd to show acts of aggression which is why they are often used in law enforcement. As a former Police Officer, I certainly wouldn’t like to be on the wrong end of a dog from a K9 unit! Ouch!
In general, purebred Siberian Huskies, bred for sled pulling and companionship in Siberia, Northeast Asia, are more friendly and aren’t as aloof with strangers as the German Shepherd. However, a crossbreed can take the dominant traits of either parent.
So, where does this leave the German Shepherd Husky mix regarding aggressiveness?
A German Shepherd Husky mix is not an aggressive breed but friendly and affectionate if well trained and exercised. A lack of structured exercise often causes aggressiveness, and as both parent breeds are working dogs, the Shepsky is highly active and needs to get rid of its pent-up energy.
Socialization is also an essential factor here. No matter their breed, a poorly socialized dog does not know how to behave around people, other dogs, and when faced with new experiences. The stress and anxiety they feel are often displayed as fear aggression.
Gerberian Shepskies can, therefore, be more aggressive than Huskies and less aggressive than German Shepherds but are functionally tame if appropriately socialized.
But, what about other pets?
German Shepherd Husky mixes are good with other dogs and cats if socialized properly with supervised exposure at a young age. Otherwise, the Shepsky’s high prey drive will keep him from befriending cats and smaller pets, and his protective instincts will make him cautious of bigger dogs.
Other Factors to Consider if You Have Other Pets
Biting and Clawing
Gerberian Shepskies don’t bite or claw if raised properly, but your other pet might try to dominate the new puppy. Before bringing home a German Shepherd Husky mix, ask yourself if the pet you already have claws or bites when insecure.
It’s also best to choose a pup of the opposite sex to prevent same-gender aggression, so the older dog doesn’t see the Shepsky as a threat.
Gerberian Shepsky howl to communicate with humans they see as belonging to their “in-group” due to their wolf ancestry. These howls are often not loud enough to startle other pets or annoy the neighbors. Still, you should teach your Shepsky to be silent on a “QUIET” command.
My article on German Shepherds’ compatibility with babies covers the in-group mentality that the German Shepherd Husky mix also has, so check it out if you’re interested in learning more about why your Shepsky might be howling at you.
The kind of love you’ll show your adorable Gerberian Shepsky can inspire jealousy.
This is a factor you have to consider from both perspectives. Ask yourself whether your current pet is the kind that can get jealous, but also consider the possibility that your Shepsky might feel insecure as well.
Gerberian Shepskies can get jealous if you show more affection to another pet. However, they’re not likely to get possessive if the other pet is already an occupant of the house they’re brought into.
To make your current dog less insecure, you can introduce them to the scent of the Shepsky before you bring the puppy home.
Life With Gerberian Shepskies
Will I Have to Clean Up?
When you bring a Shepsky home, you have to make your peace with cleaning up. Fortunately, it’s not the type of cleaning up you have to do with low-IQ dogs as a German Shepherd Husky mix is easy to house train and is less likely to potty around the house. However, they can still make you follow them around with a broom.
Gerberian Shepsky shed a lot because they’re a mix of German Shepherd and Siberian Husky, both high-shedding breeds due to their dense double coats. Shedding is constant, and even with frequent grooming and brushing, you’ll always find a layer of fur on surfaces they frequent.
Will I Need to be Active?
Even though Shepskies don’t have as strong a working drive as a working line German Shepherd, they come pretty close. Their appetite for exercise is still pretty high due to the Huskies’ heritage as super active sled dogs. Remember, Huskies could run for miles pulling the sleds across the ice.
A German Shepherd Husky mix requires lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation. One to two hours of walking at an average pace provides enough physical activity for a Shepsky. Follow this up with stimulating games and playtimes throughout the day.
Puppies will need a different level of activity than a grown Shepsky. Generally, a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age twice a day until the puppy is fully developed.
Sled dogs like the Husky have a high prey drive and are known for their escape tactics like fence jumping or digging. If the Shepsky takes the Husky’s genes, keep him on a long lead or take him to an enclosed field for off-leash running.
If you don’t provide sufficient exercise for your Gerberian Shepsky, they will become unhealthy and engage in mischief and destructive behavior around the house.
Will My Shepsky Need His Own Space?
It is also worth asking how big your Shepsky might get because knowing the answer can help you set expectations and benchmarks. More importantly, you can determine how much of your home space you’ll need to dedicate to the Shepsky.
A German Shepherd Husky mix is a medium-sized dog and will average 20-25 inches tall. Gerberian Shepsky can weigh between 45-88 lbs though most will average between 60-70 lbs depending on their gender.
You’ll need to dedicate a corner of your home to your dog and place his crate there so he can feel secure and confident in his stake within your house. That said, it is crucial not to let the dog get too possessive.
To discourage possessive behavior, you must:
- Show ownership – Make sure that the dog sees you clean up the crate or fluff up his bed so he can understand that you own what he owns.
- Use commands for access – Teach your Gerberian Shepsky to come to you on command. Then command him to come, so he leaves his corner/crate. When he leaves his area, you can access it to show him that he must obey your command even if it involves forfeiting his space. Of course, you have to reward this behavior as well.
Gerberian Shepskies do not do well in smaller homes such as apartments due to their high exercise needs. It can be done but will require a lot more work on your part as you’ll need to constantly take them outside to walk, play, and potty.
What Health Problems Can a Gerberian Shepsky Have?
Many purebred dogs come with their fair share of health problems, however, being a crossbreed, the Shepsky has relatively good health. A recent study of genetic diseases in mix-breed and purebred dogs found that fewer mixed-breed dogs than purebreds were affected by the disease-causing mutations tested.
However, the study also found that although crossbreeds are less likely to develop the recessive disorders evaluated, they may still be carriers.
Gerberian Shepskies are still prone to health conditions characteristic of their parent breeds, but they are usually less problematic. These are:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Bloat (GDV)
How Long Does a German Shepherd Husky Mix Live?
German Shepherd Husky mix can live up to 13 years in good health, and most usually make it to the 10-year mark if they’re taken care of. Some Shepskies might pass away early because of medical complications arising from weight gain and joint problems.
Even though Gerberian Shepskies are medium-sized dogs, some of them can grow up to be pretty big. Using a big-dog-friendly orthopedic bed can help minimize the chances of your dog suffering from joint problems.
This is the bed that my dog uses, as it’s clinically proven to reduce joint pain and discomfort and helps to protect joints. It also comes with a 10-year no-flatten guarantee.
Steps to Bringing the Right Gerberian Shepsky Home
If you like what you’ve read so far about the Gerberian Shepsky, let’s look at the best practices to consider when choosing your pup.
Select the Right Breeder and Aim for Excellent Genes
Bad genes aren’t like bad jeans because you cannot remove the former! However, you can eliminate poor genetics from a lineage by careful breeding. Reputable breeders do their best to curate the best genes for the puppies they put up for sale.
Make Papers a Non-negotiable Factor
Certain unscrupulous breeders will try to talk you out of valuing tests and papers. Don’t even negotiate with them because this is a sign of a breeder who is not looking out for your interests or that of the puppy. Some will insist you see the papers but don’t take them home. Again, this indicates a level of opaqueness that I’m uncomfortable with.
Ask to Meet the Parents
Meeting the parents might be a step that comes down the line when you’re dating as a teenager, but it should be among the initial stages when you’re adopting a puppy. While asking for the stud’s blessing is entirely optional, you should meet the puppy’s parents to assess their health.
If the breeder doesn’t want you to meet the parents of the puppy you’re about to buy, the following possibilities might be driving his hesitation.
- One or more of the parents has health complications at an advanced age, and the breeder doesn’t want to disclose the possibility of medical problems down the line.
- The breeder is charging a premium for non-premium stock. Just viewing the parents and monitoring their behavior for a while can be a good indicator of this.
Gerberian Shepskies are fantastic dogs cross-bred from German Shepherds and Huskies, which gives them a striking wolf-like appearance. They are attractive not only for their looks but their more friendly and smaller size than the German Shepherd.
However, if you’re still on the fence about mixed breeds in general, check out this article, Are Mixed Breeds Bad? 5 Reasons NOT to Get a Mixed Breed.