Quite frankly, I’ve never heard that one before. Sure, we all kinds of doodle and -oodle and -poo designer breeds, and I’ve even heard of some -inu and quite a few -eagle breeds as well. Though, actually they are not breeds per se, but “hybrids”. That is – until they start breeding true after a certain number of generations (and some of them never will).
I guess though, the difference really lies in the intent of the breeding – hence the “designer” label. A regular mixed breed (or mutt) could be unplanned and random. Designer breeds are intended to make the best of two known breeds. There’s planning involved.
But, what the heck could a Gerberian Shepsky be?
Well, the name kind of looks like “Siberian Husky“, and… hey, wait a minute – if you look at just the first syllable of each word there’s a suggestion of “German Shepherd”. Ah ha! Riddle solved. It must be a German Shepherd/Siberian Husky cross. Creative name. Well done.
I also found references to it as a “German Husky”. But, to me that name really suggests some obscure breed I’ve never heard of rather than a hybrid or designer dog.
Now, I really do like mixed breeds (which is why most of my “dog shopping” nowadays is done at rescue shelters). Most of the time they pick up decent traits from both parents, and if trained properly, can learn to perform the tasks that each parent is best known for. They also avoid problems associated with inbreeding.
When I was a kid, we had a couple German Shepherd mixes. The first was crossed with a standard Collie (Nipper), and the second was crossed with a Border Collie (Skipper – who turned out to be completely and totally white). Both dogs were very smart and personable, though Skipper became one of those “the only thing I think about is chasing the ball” kind of dog.
So, what should I expect from a cross between a Shepherd and a Husky?
Well, the German Shepherd is a herding/working breed, and well known as a guard dog. They are also very smart, attentive, loyal, and sturdy. We have all seen Shepherds being used by police and fire departments, as well as the military. This is because they can be trained to perform actions that require a larger, more muscular dog.
Siberian Huskies, on the other hand, are the quintessential sledding dogs. They are also very strong and sturdy, but because of their “pack” lifestyle, tend to be more playful and sociable. Endurance is very high in these dogs as can be imagined pulling sleds in the arctic.
So, what would you get if you crossed these dog breeds?
Well, my first thought is that they have a similar appearance to begin with. So, I’m imaging a smaller version of a German Shepherd. Maybe a bit more tan/brown color variation with slightly longer fur than the Shepherd. And, since huskies quite often have silver blue eyes, I’m sure eye color can vary.
Because Shepherds and Huskies are both relatively large, I would expect a dog somewhere between 50 and 100 lbs. A lot of that depends on which parent the body is mostly inherited from.
Grooming should more or less be a task of excess hair removal by regular brushing. The dogs will shed (since both parents shed), but I would not expect anything a good dog brush and vacuum cleaner couldn’t handle :).
As far as temperament is concerned, a Gerberian Shepsky should be pretty smart and trainable. The herding instincts and protectiveness of the Shepherd should be toned down a bit, but as with any dog, socialization skills should be learned and reinforced early.
Both dog breeds should have enough space to get a good run in, but it would especially be important for the husky half. Again, huskies are known for endurance. If the dog is in a small house or apartment, I would want to have a large park nearby for exercise sake.
These dogs would probably love agility training. High energy dogs are always great candidates for agility. They should also be good police and rescue dogs if you want to put them to work.
Now, for the questions of health. Our Shepherd crosses were generally pretty healthy. Nipper did have a growth that required amputating the tail, but other than that we had no real issues. For a Shepherd crossed with a Siberian Husky I would be on the lookout for hip dysplasia and eye problems like cataracts.
I did find out that this hybrid is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (it’s not – yet – a purebred), but it is recognized by a couple of the official Hybrid clubs. You could check with the American Canine Hybrid Club or Dog Registry of America for more detailed info about registration.
So, that’s what my quick research of the Gerberian Shepsky. I did find one website that specializes in this German Shepherd Husky mix. They have several articles with far more detailed information, and tips regarding such topics as training, grooming, where to find one, behavioral problems, and so on. Anyone interested in this hybrid breed should definitely visit (and bookmark) GerberianShepsky.com.
Until next time…