Gerberian Shepsky

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
fast facts

About Gerberian Shepsky

Weight
45-90 lb
Lifespan
10-13 years
Group
not applicable
Best Suited For
Families with children, active singles, homes with yards, service/police dog, guard duty
Temperament
Devoted, gentle, loving, energetic
Comparable Breeds
German Shepherd, Siberian Husky
Height
20-25 inches
Gerberian Shepsky Basics


Looking for a dog who will quickly become a member of your family? An animal who loves nothing more than to become a new furry relative in your home? You may have just found that mystical pupper. The Gerberian Shepsky (also known as a German Husky or Siberian Shepherd ) is an active and playful dog who loves kids. When properly socialized, these dogs are known for get along well with both humans and animals alike. He is tremendously affectionate, gentle, and loyal. Plus, thanks to his alert nature, superior intelligence, and working dog background, the German Husky often participates in activities such as guard duties and police work. Because he is protective of his “pack”, he can be expected to bark to alert owners to “intruders” or strangers. This dog truly loves his fam and will do everything that he can to prove it.


In addition to his wonderful personality, the Gerberian Shepsky has unusual yet beautiful looks. A mix breed dog whose parents are a German Shepherd and a Siberian Husky, this hybrid has an imposing physique. Often these dogs combine the overall appearance of the Shepherd with the Husky’s eyes and coloring of the coat. Each dog of this breed will have a unique appearance, owing to their crossbreed lineage. You simply can’t predict how hybrid dogs will often look and in the eyes of many owners, that’s just another of their many charms. Does the Gerberian Shepsky sound like a dog that’s perfect for your family? Read on to find out all about them before bringing one of these beautiful pooches home.


The Gerberian Shepsky is often employed as a service or police dog, thanks to his alert nature and superior intelligence.


Origin


The origin of all designer dogs is a bit of a mystery. In the 1980s, people started crossbreeding purebred dogs to create new breeds. The resulting ‘hybrids’ were an instant hit with many prospective pet owners who were enamoured with their uniqueness and attractive qualities. Even though there were ‘ups and downs’ for these breeds, designer dogs have only become more popular in the last two decades. They are almost as coveted as pure bread dogs (but not quite). Unfortunately, their popularity doesn’t mean we know a lot about the breeders who initially developed them or the history of these new crossbreeds. Sadly, no one bothered to document this history of hybrid pups. The only way to learn more about them is to take a look at the parental breeds and make assumptions about what they will inherent from mamma and poppa.


The Gerberian Shepsky’s is the product of working dog parentage. The German Shepherd is a newer breed that dates back to 1899 and was developed for herding sheep. His quick intellect and strength soon saw assisting with search-and-rescue missions as well as police and military roles. As his name implies, the Siberian husky hails from the fiercely harsh environment of the Siberian Arctic. He was originally bred to pull heavy loads long distances through difficult arctic conditions. During the Alaskan Gold Rush, the dogs were imported as sled dogs and eventually became popular throughout the United States and Canada because they make such great pets.


Pedigree

The Gerberian Shepsky lineage includes the German Shepherd which was inducted into the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) “herding” group” back in 1908. Identified as “smart, confident, courageous”, this is one of the most loved and recognized breeds of dog on the planet. Spending even a few minutes in their presence will explain why.


The Siberian Husky was introduced to the AKC’s “working” group in 1930 and for anyone who has ever attended a dog sled race; they’ll understand why the words “mischievous, loyal, outgoing” are often used to describe this high octane canine. These pooches love attention and know how to get it.


Together, they produce a hybrid that is bright, loving, and high spirited. This hybrid first gained recognition when Dolce, the FBI’s first therapy dog, was stationed in the FBI’s Memphis division. That professional pup stole everyone’s heart.


Of course, even though the Gerberian Shepsky is the offspring of two AKC-recognized dog breeds, he himself doesn’t enjoy the same status. As a hybrid, he is not eligible for registration with any of the major canine organizations, and, therefore, Gerberian Shepsky puppies don’t have official pedigree papers. It’s a shame. However, if you get your Gerberian Shepsky’s from a reputable breeder, you should at least be able to see the papers of the parents for some peace of mind.


Food/Diet


To make sure your Gerberian Shepsky has a long and healthy life, you should make sure to provide a well-balanced diet. Not only that dogs need a variety of nutrients, but they need them to be in certain ratios in order to meet their dietary needs. Luckily, high-quality dry food for dogs provides all that without much fuss. Always choose a premium kibble for your pet. One that’s made from high-grade ingredients such as lean meats, healthy fats, and complex carbs. Protein content should be high and the protein meat-based. Avoid cheap foods that are full of fillers and dubious ingredients- those could do more damage than good.


As an active, large dog, the Gerberian Shepsky will need kibble whose formula is appropriate for their size and activity level. Additionally, it should suit their age group (puppy, adult, senior), as your dog will have different dietary needs throughout different stages of their life. Usually, dry food for large and athletic dog breeds will give your dog all he needs to be happy and healthy.


As always, if you are ever worried about your dog’s diet, make sure to contact your veterinarian and ask for advice. While blogs and pet food manufacturers provide useful feeding guidelines, every dog is different. The only person qualified to assess the personal dietary needs of your specific pup is your vet. So, always consult with them before making any major changes in your dog’s diet. They’ll be able to steer you in the right direction and what your dog actually needs may surprise you!


This is a highly intelligent breed that is eager to learn and keen to please his owner so training will come relatively easily.


Training


This is a highly intelligent breed that is eager to learn and keen to please his owner so training will come relatively easily. In fact, his trainable nature makes him the perfect choice for search and rescue or military roles as he is able to pick up simple tasks after just a few learning lessons and is known to obey within the first given command. Note that if he is not properly socialized the protective nature of this breed may present and he can become overly guarded and territorial of his family. Socialization training should take place when he is very young and training should be firm, consistent and focus on rewards for a job well done. It’s so important to begin the training process early while your puppy is still impressionable. Establishing an alpha status in the relationship is also crucial. However, training should always be focused on positive reinforcement and rewards. Anything less can easily transform into abuse. So, make sure to train that puppy with a firm, yet loving hand. The results will show quickly and last a lifetime!


Weight


The Gerberian Shepsky is the product of two larger breeds, and will typically weigh between 45 and 90 pounds. Muscular, tall, and robust, this is a large breed with a lot of strength. As such, they will have the care requirements that are typical for dogs of this size and weight. First of all is the free space: the Gerberian Shepsky cannot thrive in confined spaces and tiny homes. They need to have comfort and leisure, and plenty of room to exercise and walk freely. Of course, the best option is time spent outside, as you will need to provide your pet with plenty of daily exercise. Make sure that short hikes, play in the park, or exercise in the fenced-in yard are a standard part of yours and your pet’s daily routine.


Although large and robust, the Gerberian Shepskys don’t get obese easily. Still, this is not an open invitation to neglect their diet! Make sure it is balanced and healthy, and given in just the right amount. You want your pet to stay in their top shape. And to maintain all that muscle, the food will need to be right. After all, if you are not sure how to begin, your vet can certainly provide you with the information you need.


Temperament/Behavior

Gerberian Shepsky’s will be inclined to inherit the intelligent and alert nature of their German Shepherd lineage. They will also inherit the loving, happy,and playful personality of the Siberian Husky. What a delightful combination that will make any pup parent proud! Both sides deliver a great family dog that is loyal and loving towards kids, yet instinctively protective of his family. The breed is also inclined to have a bit of an independent streak. Fortunately, this can be curbed through consistent and gentle training. Patience is key!


It’s important to note that these Shepherd-Husky mix dogs are active and powerful working breeds that need a physical outlet for their energy. A minimum of one long daily walk should be anticipated as well as rigorous play and agility training to keep them happy, mentally alert, and out of mischief. This is a dog that needs an active family to keep up with him and burn off all of his excess energy. He is not a dog who will respond well to apartment living or elderly owners with mobility issues.


Overall, the Gerberian Shepsky is an intelligent, inquisitive, loyal, and protective breed. Their traits are perfectly balanced between fun and seriousness, and that makes them great pets. And if your personalities happen to match, there is no reason why a Gerberian Shepsky cannot become the perfect companion dog. They can be great in a family setting, being loyal and protective, and are also good for solo owners, especially those inclined to fun activities such as hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.


Common Health Problems


While hybrid dogs often escape many of the health issues that plague their parent breeds its important potential owners are aware of what their new family member may have inherited. With the Gerberian Shepsky, hip or elbow dysplasia, digestive problems, epilepsy, or eye issues such as corneal dystrophy, keratitis, or juvenile cataracts could occur. It’s always important to maintain regularly scheduled visits to the vet so that any potential health issues can be identified and treated early before they spiral out of control.


Life Expectancy


The average lifespan of a Gerberian Shepsky is between 10 and 13 years. While not the maximum life expectancy amongst dogs, a 13 year lifespan is still quite a respectable age. Considering their good health and a sturdy, muscular build, these dogs can reach their seniority with little to no problems. Of course, only if you are there to help them along. An owner’s devoted care is half the work done – and only with it can a dog reach its full lifespan. This calls for regular vet visits, a good and balanced diet, plenty of exercise, and a lot of affection. That is a tried and true recipe for a healthy and thriving doggo!


Exercise Requirements


The Gerberian Shepsky’s working dog background means that he’s in need of regular and rigorous exercise. A good long daily walk is the minimum expectation. Ideally, a dog park or open field where he can run and play off-leash will give him the variety of surroundings and freedom he needs to get a good workout in. This not only keeps him mentally stimulated and heart-healthy, but strengthens his bones, improves his resistance power and provides him with an active outlet that will prevent him from becoming bored, restless, and coming up with unpleasant ways to entertain himself! So get ready to burn off plenty of your own energy if you intend on keeping up with a Gerberian Shepsky of your own!


Gerberian Shepsky’s will be inclined to inherit the intelligent, alert nature of their German Shepherd lineage, as well as the loving, happy and playful personality of the Siberian Husky.


AKC


Because of his hybrid status, the Gerberian Shepsky is not a member of the American Kennel Club. He is, however, recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club and the Dog Registry of America Inc. So that’s a start!


Coat


Gerberian Shepskys have what is called a “double coat” consisting of straight, dense outer hair with an inner coat that is thick and soft. This double coat provides a service: protection from the cold in winter and heat in summer but also requires the owner to have a quality vacuum cleaner! This is a trait inherited from the Husky breed, who is known to shed their undercoat about three times per year. And just like their parent breed, the Gerberian Shepsky is considered a “moderate” shedder, and regular brushing (at least two to three times a week) will keep the problem in check. During these grooming dates, owners should also be cleaning their pet’s ears (which have a tendency to accumulate a wax build-up) as well as their eyes (which can be problematic).


Still, make it a part of your routine to brush your pet lightly a few times per week. This will help keep everything tidy and will keep loose hair down to a minimum. And for those times of the year when shedding becomes frequent and heavy, a grooming salon can be of help. Trimming all that shaggy fur can help keep your pet looking spic and span and feeling light and energized. And not to mention that your furniture will be free of all that lose hair – everyone’s a winner!


Puppies


A typical Gerberian Shepsky puppy (male) will weigh approximately 10 pounds at one month of age and will have quadrupled that by the time he is four months old. These dogs grow fast. Because of this rapid growth, he will need a top quality diet as a puppy. This diet should be rich in calories and minerals appropriate to his rapid pace of development. As with any puppy digestive system, frequent small meals are ideal and because puppies are usually good at regulating their intake according to hunger levels, you should allow him to consume what he needs during this initial growth spurt. It may seem like he’s eating quite a bit, but only because his rapidly maturing body needs all of those nutrients.


In addition to paying attention to their puppyhood diet, you should make sure to provide proper training in socialization in their early age. So much of these dogs’ temperament and behavior will depend on this because without exposure to strangers, children, and other animals while they’re young, Gerberian Shepskies can grow up to be reserved and even territorial. If you want to ensure that you end up with a loving and friendly dog, socializing your Gerberian Shepsky early and often is crucial to their development!


Photo credit: Caedmon Michael/Flickr; eriklam/Bigstock

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

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