Although the choice to adopt a Gerberian Shepsky puppy is an exciting one, it’s especially important to be careful in choosing a reputable breeder to purchase your puppy from. As a so-called ‘designer dog’, some German Shepherd/Husky mixes may be bred by people simply seeking to cash in on the fact that these types of dogs are popular right now.
These unethical breeders may produce litters of pups that are unhealthy, poorly socialized or with extremely fearful temperaments. These majestic dogs definitely need the right breeders and owners! It’s best to search for an experienced breeder who is very knowledgeable about both the German Shepherd and Husky breeds, who can work with you to find the right fit for your family, and who will provide you with help and support as your puppy grows and changes – in other words, who will care just as much about your dog’s future as you do!
So how do you find such a breeder, particularly one who breeds Gerberian Shepskies? The best place to begin your search is probably though mixed breed associations or breeder listings in magazines or on the internet. Take the time to visit with them to check out their dogs, facilities and their breeding practices. To help you out, here are some questions that you should be asking any Gerberian Shepsky breeder before you purchase a pup from them.
- Can I visit your facility? A reputable breeder will not only say yes, but should actually encourage you to come and meet their dogs and talk with them. You should at least be able to see the available pups in the litter, meet the dam (mother), and see where the puppies spend most of their day. Although it’s normal for some breeders to keep their dogs in a kennel, pups should be indoors, in a clean, warm and well-lit area, and kept with their mother until at least 8 or 9 weeks of age.
- How long have you been breeding dogs/Gerberian Shepskies? It’s always best to purchase from an experienced breeder that’s been involved with one or both parent breeds and who can fully support new puppy parents who purchase their dogs. Those who have been involved in responsible breeding for years will have planned carefully for each litter and can help you pick the most suitable furry friend.
- What is the family history of the parents? Ask how long their breeding dogs have lived, or whether they’ve had any history of serious health problems, for example.
- Have the mother and pups visited the vet recently, and is the dam (mother) up to date on vaccinations? A puppy’s immune system isn’t complete when they’re born, so they receive protection against contagious diseases from their mother. If the mother’s vaccinations aren’t up to date, she may not pass those important antibodies on to her pups, making them more likely to pick up dangerous viruses at a young age before they get their first vaccines themselves! Don’t take their word for it, either – ask to see actual proof.
- How have the pups been raised? Gerberian Shepskies in particular need lots of early loving care and socialization with people, so the best environment for them is to be raised in a home with daily handling and human interaction. No amount of training or socialization later on in life can fully make up for a lack of early human contact, so these first weeks are the most important for your potential pup. Early cuddles are a good thing!
- What health clearances have the parents undergone? Although Gerberian Shepsky puppies are a mix of two different breeds, long term health is still important! A responsible breeder shouldn’t breed either parent dog unless they have certification to prove that they’ve passed health clearances for hip dysplasia, inheritable eye diseases and von Willebrand’s disease, since these are all issues that can be common in both Shepherds and Huskies.
- Can I speak with other owners of your dogs, or do you have references? Since a dog’s looks and personality can change so much from puppyhood to adulthood, ask if the breeder can give you references or recommendations from other owners who have purchased puppies from them in the past.
- What activities do you do with your dogs? A truly involved and experienced breeder should participate in some sort of regular activity with their dogs, and know how their dogs behave and what they excel in! Although Gerberian Shepskies can’t participate in conformation shows, there are many kennel clubs that offer activities for hybrids as well, like obedience, tracking, earth dog trials, mushing and other pulling sports, herding, and Schutzhund. If the breeder simply keeps their dogs at home, with puppy-producing as their only job, that’s a red flag to walk away from!
- Will you provide a health certificate or guarantee? At minimum, a Gerberian Shepsky breeder should be able to provide you a certificate of health for your chosen pup from their veterinarian that ensures your furry friend has no congenital health problems (like a heart murmur, for example) at the time you adopt them.
- Are there other Gerberian Shepsky breeders you would recommend? Although this question seems counterintuitive, an ethical breeder is willing to work with and recommend others who also breed Gerberian Shepskies in order to improve the breed in general, and to find the best type and personality of puppy for each owner. Some lines may be far more driven to work, for instance, while other Gerbian Shepsky breeders may breed for a calmer temperament that’s more appropriate for a family pet.
Although researching the perfect puppy breeder may seem like a lot of work (after all, you just want to bring that fluffy ball of fur home!), having all your questions answered gives you peace of mind that you’re truly picking the right dog for you. Responsible, ethical breeding practices, early positive socialization and long-term support from a good breeder will make all the different in the long-term health of your canine companion, as well as determining just what kind of dog your Gerberian Shepsky is going to turn out to be. Good luck in your puppy search!