Linda Simon(MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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HeGerman ShepherdyHusky siberianoThey are two of the most popular dogs in the world and certainly two breeds with a lot going for them. It should come as no surprise that they were crossed, resulting in a new cross called Shepsky. Owners and breeders were impressed with this new breed of dog that is incredibly attractive, energetic and mischievous.
While some look more like their German Shepherd ancestors and others are more 'Husky', as this new breed becomes established we are sure we will see a stronger personality and appearance in the future. For now, it may be difficult to predict the appearance and character of this new dog, although some trends are already emerging.
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About & History
The Shepsky, also known as the Gerbarian Shepsky, is a relatively new hybrid breed that resulted from the crossing ofGerman Shepherdit's himHusky siberiano. These two breeds are incredibly popular, both in North America and internationally, so it was almost inevitable that one day they would join forces and form their own breed.
The German shepherd comes from Germany and was bred at the end of the 19th century. Initially used as sheepdogs, they were soon employed in a variety of industries including the police, the military, and in search and rescue operations. They have always been known for their high levels of intelligence, strong work ethic, and beautiful wolf-like appearance.
The Siberian Husky, on the other hand, is a truly ancient breed of dog that originated thousands of years ago in the Arctic. They were an integral part of society, providing transport and mail service via sleighs, herding reindeer, acting as guard dogs, and also hunting for their owners' sustenance. Over time, they spread to Canada and the United States, where they grew in popularity and became established as pets.
Exactly when these two exceptional breeds merged to form one is unknown, and it is likely that German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies have been independently mixed by owners across the world in recent decades. Recently, the new breed has been recognized in its own right and is rapidly gaining popularity.
In a word, the Shepsky is impressive. Having taken the best physical attributes from his parents, this is a truly impressive looking dog.
A muscular, powerful dog that is agile and athletic, the Shepsky has a long, lean body. These dogs have a relatively large head with a pointed muzzle and a strong jaw. Its black nose is wide with large nostrils. Its ears are particularly large and erect. Although their alert eyes can be either blue or brown (or one of each), breeders and owners prefer light blue eyes that contrast beautifully with their dark faces. They may have the Husky's Spitz-like tail that curls over the back, or a lower tail like the German Shepherd's.
Its soft coat is thick and offers ample protection from the outside environment. Although most dogs are a mix of brown and black, their coat can be a number of different colors, including:
Most dogs measure 20 to 24 inches at the withers. Their weight varies dramatically from individual to individual, with members of the breed weighing between 22kg and 40kg.
Character and Temperament
With parents that include the larger-than-life German Shepherd and the eager and skittish Siberian Husky, the Shepsky would never run out of personality! Until this breed becomes established, there will be some individuals who are more like German Shepherds and others who have a temperament more like the Siberian Husky. Even within broods there will be a variety of characters and traits. Until the dog is fully mature, it can be difficult to predict their nature, especially if they are first generation animals.
The Shepsky dog tends to have a lot of energy and is always willing to live life to the fullest. Incredibly intelligent and conscientious, they also love to play and are loyal to their families. Dogs that inherit more of their genetics from the German Shepherd side of the family are generally focused and disciplined, while those that inherit more of their Siberian Husky genes will be a little less obedient and more boisterous and goofy.
Most Shepskys greet new people at home suspiciously, however, some act more reserved and stay away from newcomers. Most of this breed are very sociable with the whole family, including children, and will bond closely with those they spend the most time with. With proper socialization and provided introductions are made early in life, most Shepskys get along well with other pets. However, caution is advised when around prey such as rabbits and guinea pigs as they can be chased and harassed.
Certainly not a task for the faint of heart, training a Shepsky can give mixed results and requires a lot of dedication and time. Your trainer must act firmly and fairly and must always be in control. As they can have a short attention span if not entertained, all training sessions should be fun, interactive and not too long. They are annoyed by repetitive and boring training and perform much better if they are mentally stimulated at work.
A breed that loves to have a job to do, a Shepsky thrives when given sensible tasks to complete and enjoys when his mind and body are stimulated at the same time. This is definitely a breed that requires an experienced owner with plenty of time to dedicate to developing this intelligent canine.
Although no specific health studies have been performed on Shepsky himself, we can predict the illnesses he is likely predisposed to from studies performed on his parents.
We all know that the German Shepherd is the representative of hip dysplasia, and unfortunately, mixing him with a Siberian Husky (another commonly affected dog breed) is unlikely to improve the Shepsky's hip health.
Screening for this disease in parent dogs is essential as it has a known genetic component and can dramatically affect the quality and quantity of a dog's life.
Anal furunculosis, a painful disorder that is not fully understood, is believed to be an immune-mediated disease that causes discharge tracts and ulcers in the tissue around the anus. Dogs may experience pain when going to the bathroom and may scream.
Owners may notice an unpleasant odor and may see stains left where the dog was sitting. This condition is usually treated with medication, although it can persist and recur in some dogs.
A life-threatening condition, "bloating" is the swelling of the stomach with air and fluid. Why this happens remains a mystery, although some studies have linked drinking large amounts of food and water before exercise. The danger is that, once inflated, the stomach can rotate around its axis, preventing any gas or liquid from escaping. The stomach may continue to expand, compressing local blood vessels and causing the dog to go into shock. The sooner swelling is treated, the better the prognosis.
Chronic allergies can be incredibly frustrating for both dogs and owners, leading to itchy and infected skin. Any part of the skin can be affected, although it is usually the face, armpits, groin and feet that are most inflamed. Although allergies are rarely curable, they can be well managed with lifestyle changes and medications.
Exercise and activity levels
The Shepsky has a particularly high demand for exercise and needs brisk daily walks and runs to keep him satisfied. This breed loves to try new activities and will excel in many dog sports, including agility and fly-ball.
A Shepsky dog is not a suitable pet for anyone who lives in a confined space without a good-sized yard. They love their space and their freedom, so they shouldn't be expected to live in confined spaces. An under-exercised Shepsky will be forced to expend his energy elsewhere, developing unwanted vices such as incessant barking, tail chasing or furniture chewing.
The Shepsky's thick, luxurious coat is undeniably beautiful, but sheds a lot of hair. Owners should be prepared to brush a lot and never have a hairless home again!
Declawing may be necessary every couple of months or so, especially if not walked on firm ground, and this is a task that should be introduced as a puppy to ensure compliance.
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