Gerberian Shepsky
Intelligent and Obedient

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Gerberian Shepsky

The Gerberian Shepsky is also known as the German Husky and is a hybrid dog that crosses a German Shepherd with a Siberian Husky. This is a beautiful dog with the intelligence of both breeds and a great temperament. Since this is a cross of two working breeds the Gerberian Shepsky needs to be active and is quick to train. Sometimes called a designer dog while it has qualities from both breeds often one will be more dominant than the other. It is a large dog so is best suited for people with space for them including a yard. He has a lifespan of 10 to 13 years.

Here is the Gerberian Shepsky at a Glance
Average height 20 to 25 inches
Average weight 45 to 88 pounds
Coat type Double, short to long, straight
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Moderate
Shedding Moderate to fairly high
Brushing At least twice a week if not daily
Touchiness Fairly sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Moderate – not for long periods of time
Barking Moderate to high
Tolerance to Heat Moderate – not extreme
Tolerance to Cold Very good to excellent
Good Family Pet? Very good
Good with Children? Very good with socialization
Good with other Dogs? Good to very good
Good with other Pets? Moderate to good, needs socialization
A roamer or Wanderer? Moderate
A Good Apartment Dweller? No
Good Pet for new Owner? Moderate to good – he has a stubborn streak
Trainability Very good to excellent
Exercise Needs Fairly high
Tendency to get Fat Moderate
Major Health Concerns Epilepsy, cancer, EPI, DM, blood disorders, Von Willebrand's, PRA, bloat
Other Health Concerns Eye problems, joint dysplasia, dwarfism, allergies, digestive issues and eczema.
Life Span 10 to 13 years
Average new Puppy Price $350 to $850
Average Annual Medical Expense $485 - $600
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $930 - $1100

Where does the Gerberian Shepsky come from?

As this a a hybrid dog the Gerberian Shepsky is not a member of the American Kennel Club but he is recognized by the Dog Registry of America Inc and the American Canine Hybrid Club. If you are thinking of buying a Gerberian Shepsky you need to be sure of the breeder and make sure it is reputable. As a designer dog there are breeders out there who are just trying to cash in on their popularity and so not much care about the dog's well being. Find one who is happy for you to ask questions including a health history of the parents. Visit their facility and ask about health clearances, vaccinations, activities and references. To understand more about these designer dogs the best way is to look at the parents, in this case the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky.

The German Shepherd

The German Shepherd dates back to the late 19th century and was bred to be a herder. He was made to be strong, quick and intelligent. However the need for herding dogs was on the decline with industrialization and so his breeder used his military contacts to get him working for the military and police. In World War I he was used as a guard dog, a sentry, a pack carrier, a messenger and more. Allies saw what a great dog he was and brought him back with them to America. Rin Tin Tin is a famous Hollywood movie star and also a German Shepherd.

Today he is still extremely smart, hard working, energetic and also very loyal. While he is reserved and does not immediately see every human as a friend, he is not aggressive unless he or his family are being threatened. With his family he is affectionate, playful sometimes even and easy going.

The Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky has origins in the harsh climate of the Siberian Arctic which is why the Gerberian Shepsky does not do well in warm climates. The Husky was bred for strength and endurance to pull heavy loads on sleds across significant distances. While originally bred as sled dogs they became popular in Canada and USA especially as pets. He was included in AKC in 1930.

Today he is still a pack animal and his family are his pack. He prefers to be with you and does not do well in long periods of solitude. He has a lot of energy and become destructive if not given a physical and metal outlet. He will test your leadership so needs very firm but fair handling. He is also friendly, loyal and can be quite charming.

Temperament

This is a loyal, intelligent and energetic dog who is also very social. His gentleness and loyalty make him a great family pet but his intelligence, strength and obedience make him a great work dog also. They can be used in a variety of roles including search and rescue, police work, military, acting, scouting, guard dogs and more. Training is highly successful with them. They can bark a lot though and howl particularly when left alone and they are wary of strangers. As mentioned there is usually a dominant side to them, he will be more like the Husky in temperament or lean towards the German Shepherd.

When he leans towards his Husky heritage a Gerberian Shepsky is loving, gentle and playful. They are loyal to their family unit but can be harder to house train due to their independent nature. Their owners need to be very firm and established as a strong pack leader. With early socialization they will not take their protective nature too far.

When he leans towards his German Shepherd heritage he is alert, energetic, playful and very spirited. He needs lots of exercise and can be difficult when that does not happen. They are very vocal and neighbors may complain that when you leave the house your dog howls a lot. They are intelligent and require activates that stimulate them mentally as well as physically.

What does a Gerberian Shepsky look like

A key feature that often catches people's attention is the piercing blue eyes the Gerberian Shepsky sometimes has. It is a large dog at a height of 20 to 25 inches and weighs between 45 to 88 lbs. He comes a variety of color the most common of which is brown with black but other variations include red, white, cream, gray, blue, golden or light brown. They have a double coat that is straight and can be medium, short or long. His fluffy fur tends to be thick and the inner coat is softer. The double coat is for protection against cold elements. His ears and muzzle are usually pointy and sometimes those eyes can each be a different color. His skull resembles a mix between the German Shepherd and the Husky.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Gerberian Shepsky need to be?

This is a large-sized dog and comes from a mix of two dogs who are active and full of energy so of course this mix needs that too. At least one long walk a day is needed, if possible two is better, as well as some play in there too, something like tug of war, Frisbee, fetch and so on. Add in too some agility training or some other mental work to avoid the mischievousness in him coming out! Have a yard for them to play in when you are not visiting dog parks and letting him off the leash to run, or walking or jogging. Exercise is really important in the behavior of this dog. Many owners get one liking their looks not fully realizing how much energy they have. If he does not get the exercise he needs he could become destructive.

Does he train quickly?

He needs training and socialization from a young age. With its intelligence and strong mindedness this dog trains very well but needs you to be firm and consistent as you do it. A good idea is to take him to puppy school when he is young and then develop his training from there. Keep the training rewarding and positive and make sure you continue to keep him engaged in the process. Avoid using punishments as he will not respond well to these methods of training. Keep training sessions full of purpose, praise them and be firm and he will be happy to learn and eager to make you happy. Often Gerberian Shepskys pick up training fast too, requiring less repetition than many other dogs.

Living with a Gerberian Shepsky

How much grooming is needed?

This dog is not one to have if you have people in the house with allergies as he is a moderate shedder. The Gerberian Shepsky needs regular brushing, at least twice a week, to remove dead fur and keep the coat looking healthy. Because of its fluffiness the coat can tangle and mat easily. Be sure to start grooming from a young age to get him used to the process. You can also use this time to check him for general health and get him used to having his paws and mouth touched when you check his teeth.

You should also check his eyes on a regular basis as this is somewhere this dog can have problems. Another place you need to look after are his ears. They can get a build up of wax there quite quickly which needs to be cleaned carefully with cotton balls. Do not stick anything like a cotton tip in his ears as this could cause damage. If you are wary of some aspects of grooming like cleaning his ears, brushing his teeth or clipping his nails take him to a professional groomer who can do it all for you.

What is he like with children and other animals?

When trained and socialized they are good with children but can be over protective of their family if this is not done. If he is not adequately trained or socialized the Gerberian Shepsky is not good with other pets in the house and has a tendency to being over protective of his territory including the children which can lead to aggressive behavior if he deems a threat is imminent. If you make sure from a puppy he gets socialization and obedience training he does well with children and can learn to tolerate other animals. It is important to also teach your children what is acceptable when playing with any dog. No pulling at his ears or tail, leave his food alone and so on. Very young children should be supervised just because he is a big dog and may accidentally bump them down, and they do not yet understand that pulling his tail is a no no.

General information

He is a good watchdog and will bark to alert you if there is an intruder. He can be quite vocal so if barking is going to be a problem with neighbors this may not be the best dog for you. He will need to be fed 4 to 5 cups of high quality dry food a day divided into at least two meals to avoid triggering bloat or other digestive issues. He can live in very cold climates but is not good in extreme heat.

Health Concerns

Most hybrid dogs do not inherit the problems that are common to their parents but some health issues that this hybrid may be more prone to include epilepsy, cancer, EPI, DM, blood disorders, Von Willebrand's, PRA, bloat, eye problems, joint dysplasia, dwarfism, allergies, digestive issues and eczema.

Costs involved in owning a Gerberian Shepsky

Puppies will cost between $350 and $850 and you will also need a collar and leash, a crate and have him checked over, neutered and micro-chipped. Those initial costs will be between $415 and $500. Ongoing medical costs will be between $485 to $600 for check ups, flea prevention, pet insurance and shots. Ongoing non medical costs a year will be between $930 to $1100 for things like long hair grooming, food, treats, toys, license and training.

Names

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  • This is a large dog so be prepared for that cute small puppy to grow into a big dog with needs. They are not suited to warm climates. He will need lots of physical exercise, he would be excellent as a work dog or a family dog, but he still needs mental stimulation too because of his intelligence.

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