Have you ever wondered what the unique differences between a German Shepherd and a Husky are?
Both are powerful, athletic working dogs bred to withstand cold harsh environments. They do have their differences, and this mainly stems from their differing personalities and origins.
If you can’t decide between the two breeds after reading this article, you may find that the Shepsky, a cross between both breeds, is the dog for you.
The German Shepherd is from Germany and was bred for herding. With industrialization, they have been largely repurposed as working dogs in the military and police force, and are growing in popularity as personal defense dogs.
The Husky originates from Serbia raised by the Chukchi people to pull heavy sleds and for hunting and herding. These dogs have incredible stamina and can run all day, every day without tiring.
The German Shepherd is the larger of the two breeds in terms of height, weight, and physical appearance. The table below shows the differences between the two breeds.
|German Sheperd Male
|German Sheperd Female
The life expectancy of a German Shepherd is around 9-13 years. A Husky will live slightly longer between 10 and 14 years.
The Husky is the healthier of the two breeds undoubtedly. The husky is prone to obesity if not exercised enough, and separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.
The German Shepherd has many health predispositions. They suffer from elbow and hip dysplasia, due to their selective breeding for low-sloping backs. Cauda equina syndrome, degenerative myelopathies, and immune-mediated skin disease are all common conditions affecting the Shepherd. Another condition to be aware of is Gastric Dilation and Volvulus. This is where the stomach becomes bloated and twists around on itself. Only surgery can fix this condition and it’s not always successful. There is a preventative surgery that can be done so talk to your vet about this option if you own a German Shepherd.
Whilst both of these breeds are intelligent, the husky is considered to be the more challenging of the two breeds to train successfully. Both breeds can be trained well with patience and understanding of their personality traits. Whilst a German Shepherd can easily be trained to guard, and have a ferocious bark on command, the Husky does not bark readily (preferring to howl) and is not a good guard dog on account of their love of people, regardless of who they are!
The German Shepherd is one of the smartest breeds of dog (the smartest being the Border Collie). This is reflected in their use in police, assistance dogs, and even in the detection of cancers. German Shepherd bonds well to their handler or owner and loves to learn. They are diligent and respond well to repetition. Firm boundaries are needed due to their intelligence, and you may find they get bored of basic commands easily, so don’t be shy to try new things!
The Husky, on the other hand, is a master in the training class and can be a total dropout at home! They are very clever, and can selectively choose when to respond to commands. This makes the Husky a difficult breed to train for a first-time dog owner.
These two breeds are high shedding breeds, and lots of attention to grooming needs to be factored into their care. Both are bred for working outdoors so their coats reflect this.
German Shepherds have a thick double coat. They can be long or short-haired and shed a lot. Invest in a good vacuum cleaner if you choose this breed. If kept indoors in warmer conditions they can shed year-round rather than just twice a year. Brushing should be a minimum of three times a week.
Huskies have voluminous coats and shed twice a year in spring and autumn. Around these times you will need daily sometimes twice daily brushing. They occasionally will need bathing to remove excess dirt and hair.
Both of these dogs have powerful bites due to the overall size of their body. Whilst it would be unusual for a husky to bite you, they can if feeling threatened or frightened. The German Shepherd, used in the police and military has been trained to bite on command, and to not let go until instructed to. A bite from a German Shepherd can easily break the bones in your hand and cause significant muscle and soft tissue damage. It is to be avoided at all costs.
Despite their strong bites, these dogs still get fractured teeth from chewing on bones and stones. When choosing toys and treats for your husky or German shepherd, use chew toys or rope toys that are less likely to cause accidental tooth damage.
The German shepherd is the larger of the two breeds and has been selectively bred for attacking and defending. The husky on the other hand has been bred to be a hard-working family companion, not known for being a guard or protection dog. Whilst you could never say for sure, it would be reasonable to think that the German Shepherd will have the upper hand based on greater physical size, strength, and their renowned powerful bite.
Whilst both of these dogs have incredible strength, stamina, and endurance they do have marked differences. The husky is more of a people-friendly dog, willing to accept strangers whereas the German Shepherd is loyal to its family and wary of new folk. They both have exceptionally high exercise requirements and need an owner with a large amount of time to exercise them properly and engage them in play. A large outdoor space well secured with fencing is needed for both of these breeds to be safely confined.