Fur, Fun, and Fidelity: Deciding Between Huskies and German Shepherds
Whether you’re looking for a companion that’s protective, loyal, or hardworking, you’re sure to find those attributes in both German Shepherds and Huskies. Let’s dive into what sets these two amazing dog breeds apart.
Beloved by many, Huskies and German Shepherds are eye-catching, beautiful, and highly recognizable large dog breeds. So long as you're not against a bit of fur flying, a home will be well-protected and full of love with either of these dogs.
While they are similar in many ways, some notable differences between them may make one better suited as your companion over the other. If you're looking for a large dog breed and considering a Husky or German Shepherd, we're here to help you find the perfect pup.
Big ears, furry tails, can't lose
There's no denying the apparent similarities between Huskies and German Shepherds. Their big, soft ears can be spotted from a mile away, and those fluffy wagging tails are undoubtedly hard to miss!
But how similar are these two breeds when you get into the nitty-gritty details of their appearance? Let's dive into size, weight, eye color, and every coat color variation that sets them apart.
German Shepherd Stats
For a large breed, you might be surprised to find that when it comes to weight, German Shepherds are not quite as heavy as you might expect — combined with their tall stature, this gives them a strong, lean appearance.
Weight & Height
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), males are between 24-26 inches tall, while females are slightly shorter at an average of 22-24 inches. Weight-wise, males have a pretty sizable range from 65 up to 90 pounds, and females range from 50-70 pounds.
While most commonly known for their black and tan coloring, German Shepherds also have a variety of coat colors — there are pure white and black German Shepherds, too!
Often compared to wolves in their appearance, Huskies are a beautiful breed with gorgeous coat variations and striking eyes — usually piercingly blue. Some huskies may have an especially interesting and unique trait: one blue eye and one brown eye.
If you're interested in a somewhat more compact, but still large, dog, a Husky might be a better choice over the German Shepherd.
Weight & Height
According to the AKC, the Siberian Husky is shorter than a German Shepherd, with males ranging from 21-23.5 inches tall and females from 20-22 inches tall. Weight-wise, there's also a significant difference — so if you're looking for a dog you can lift with a bit more ease, this is good to keep in mind! Male Siberian Huskies have a weight range of 45-60 pounds, and females are slightly smaller at 35-50 pounds.
Like the German Shepherd, Siberian Huskies have several coat colorings beyond their standard black and cream coat. The AKC recognizes nine!
We want to give an honorable mention to the Alaskan Husky, too. Though not recognized by the AKC, the Alaskan Husky shares many similar traits to the Siberian Husky, including similar size and weight ranges, but technically it is a mixed breed. According to A-Z Animals, the Alaskan Husky is "a mix between northern spitz dogs (like the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute) and a variety of European spitz dogs."
Superlative win? Most talkative
Whichever of these two breeds you choose, be prepared to be serenaded with sound! German Shepherds and Huskies are known to be very vocal dogs — though Huskies take the crown in this department. These pups make their feelings known audibly, from barking to moaning and groaning.
Other personality traits?
Both breeds are undeniably playful and love some good ol' fashion fun with their human.
When it comes to their nature in social situations, though, you'll see these two breeds differ. German Shepherds are warier of people they don't know, whereas Siberian Huskies are more open and friendly toward strangers.
With other dogs, socially, these two breeds generally are easy to get along with. Still, every dog is different, and it's important to monitor interactions to be on the safe side.
The same goes for German Shepherds and Huskies with children. Both breeds are generally known as good family dogs, but it's essential to monitor these interactions, too, until a strong relationship of respect and trust is established.
If you're looking for a companion that will keep you safe, you can trust both breeds to be protective, though the German Shepherd is undoubtedly a stronger candidate for a watchdog.
Must love walks
While there's always a time for downtime, know that both German Shepherds and Huskies are high-energy dogs. They're going to need both physical and mental stimulation for extended periods throughout the day — every day.
Remember how we said they're vocal? If they're feeling bored, expect them to let you know it!
Long walks are a great way to help these breeds get some energy out, but if you cannot accommodate that within your day, having a fenced area for them to run around will certainly help.
Regarding mental stimulation, things like treat puzzles or fun little treat scavenger hunts around the house are great, simple ways to keep them entertained. Need healthy, tasty treats? We've got you covered.
When the downtime does come, expect lots of love! Both breeds are known for being very loving with their humans, if not a little needy for affection. These big-hearted breeds always welcome cuddles, scratches, and belly rubs!
Smart and strong-willed
Puppyhood is the best time to start the training process. At-home training is a great place to start with your puppy, and both breeds can benefit from group training, too (for socialization and learning how to stay focused with distractions all around).
Intelligence runs high in German Shepherds and Huskies, but one breed is easier to train. If you guessed German Shepherd, you're right!
German Shepherds are eager to please and highly trainable — the truth is, both breeds are this way, but Huskies are a bit more strong-willed and may give you a bit more of a run for your money through the training process.
Finding the right motivation for training is key to keeping your dog engaged in the learning process. If your dog is treat-motivated, we've got a great assortment of flavors to keep their taste buds happy and their focus on you, your commands, and the rewards for good behavior!
It's no surprise that these pups love mental stimulation and having a task to do — with their intelligence, high energy levels, and eagerness to please, they have historically been amazing working dogs.
What are German Shepherds known for? Unsurprisingly, this breed is touted for its protective nature. It's common knowledge that German Shepherds are often K9 unit police dogs, but their work extends beyond that! According to the AKC, "GSDs are known for their bomb and drug sniffing work, tracking, and search and rescue."
What are Huskies known for? A husky's warm, thick coat comes in handy for their most notable line of work — sled dogs! As the story goes, according to Wisdom Panel, "Siberian Huskies became famous in 1925 when they traveled 658 miles in less than six days to deliver diphtheria serum after the city of Nome, Alaska, was stricken by an epidemic." This breed is also great for herding, protecting livestock, and search and rescue, too!
Healthy diets, healthy pups
If you're not a fan of going to the vet (odds are, your pup might not be either), you'll be glad to know that both breeds are not prone to many hereditary health issues. Of course, things can unexpectedly arise, but these breeds generally have minimal health concerns.
As is common with larger breeds, German Shepherds and Huskies should be monitored for hip and elbow dysplasia.
One stand-out issue for Huskies revolves around their most unique attribute — their beautiful eyes. According to Embrace Pet Insurance, "Siberians can also be affected by three serious eye problems: juvenile cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy. All Siberian Huskies should have their eyes examined by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist once a year."
Another common issue among larger, deep-chested breeds is bloat. Because of this issue, it's essential to be mindful of your dog's diet and keep an eye on things that may trigger digestive issues.
If your pup is a lover of treats, but you need to keep their gut health top of mind, check out Shameless Pets' digestive support treats to keep your pup healthy and happy! Our soft-baked biscuits Pumpkin Nut Partay and Duck, Duck, Beet are fan favorites. If you want to keep your pup busy, try our dental sticks, A Cluck A Day, for dental and digestive support!
The bottom line…
There's no doubt that these two breeds share many commonalities — they're intelligent, affectionate, and hard-working.
There are so many things to consider when it comes down to finding the right breed for you. Size-wise, Huskies fit the bill if you're looking for a smaller-sized large breed. Personality-wise, German Shepherds will never disappoint if you're looking for a dog with an undeniable protective nature.
Fortunately, both breeds are generally known to be healthy and don't have a long list of hereditary concerns to be wary of.
When choosing a furry companion, doing your due diligence is essential. What matters most is finding the breed whose personality matches what you're looking for and having the ability to provide that dog with the lifestyle and environment they need to thrive.