Choosing the right dog breed for your lifestyle is as an important decision as bringing a dog into your life. Although every dog is individual and has a personality, each breed has particular traits. These traits can help you determine which breed will suit you and your lifestyle – ensuring a more harmonious home for you and your new pet.
The Siberian Husky and the German Shepherd are both wonderful breeds. The Siberian Husky is a medium size breed, and the German Shepherd is a large breed. They both have a weather-resistant double coat, are energetic, and need around 2 hours of daily exercise.
Let’s look at some breed traits to help you decide. These are general breed traits, and you should remember that breeding and life experiences will affect each dog differently.
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The Siberian Husky is one of 14 ancient dog breeds. The Chukchi tribe bred the Siberian Husky to pull sleds over long distances in harsh weather conditions. The Siberian Husky would work in teams to pull the sleds and sleep beside the children on cold nights to keep them warm.
Only the most social and playful Huskies would be used to breed, as cooperation and good natures were most important to the tribe. These traits are still found in today’s Siberian Husky.
The first breed club was started in 1881 when Max Von Stephanitz and others promoted the German Shepherd as a herding dog. From WWI onwards, the German Shepherd has consistently shown its intelligence, loyalty, courage, and eagerness to work with humans. The first guide dogs for the blind were, in fact, German Shepherds.
German Shepherds are often used as service dogs in the Police Force and Military, as they are easy to train and eager to please their human handlers. Their good natures and protective instincts also mean they are loyal family companions.
The Siberian Husky has a thick fluffy double coat, with colors ranging from white, sable and white, grey and white, agouti, black and white, and black. Upright pointed ears and almond-shaped eyes can be blue, brown, mixed brown, and blue. In addition, they have a fox brush tail which is often held high in a sickle curve but can also be held low and trailing.
The Siberian Husky is a medium size breed. The adult male Siberian Husky stands at 21-23.5 inches, with an ideal weight range of 45-60lbs (20-27kgs).
The adult female Siberian Husky stands at 20-22 inches, with an ideal weight range of 35-50lbs (16-23kgs).
The life expectancy for a healthy, well-cared-for Siberian Husky is 12-14 years.
The German Shepherd has a dense, weather-resistant double coat, ranging from white-colored to black. The most common being black and tan colored. In addition, the German Shepherd has a proportionately sized head, upright pointed ears, a strong wedge-shaped muzzle, and a bushy-haired tail – intelligent, lively brown eyes.
The German Shepherd is a large size breed. The adult male German Shepherd stands at 24-26 inches, with an ideal weight of 65-90 lbs (29-43kg).
The adult female German Shepherd stands at 22-24 inches, with an ideal weight of 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg).
The life expectancy for a healthy, well-cared-for German Shepherd is 7 – 10 years.
Common Breed Health Checks
The Siberian Husky breed is generally pretty healthy; however, breeders should regularly have the dams and sires screened:
- Hip dysplasia (BVA/KC)
- Eye testing – PLA (gonioscopy) (BVA/KC/ISDS)
- Eye screening scheme (BVA/KC/ISDS)
The German Shepherd is generally pretty healthy; however, breeding for specific characteristics has left the breed in Category 3 of the Kennel Club health watch, the highest category for health conditions affecting the breed. Good breeders should regularly have the dams and sires screened:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyopathy (CDRM)
- Eye screening scheme (including cataracts and multifocal retinal dysplasia)
- Pituitary dwarfism
- Haemophilia A and B
- Anal furunculosis
The Siberian Husky is a bundle of energy with outstanding endurance! This dog is at its happiest when it’s running, exploring, and playing. It can run for hours and still have the energy to play. However, to keep a Siberian Husky content, it will need at least 2 hours of daily exercise and some mental stimulation.
The German Shepherd is a high-energy dog. It will happily spend all day working, herding, or trekking with its human. However, it requires at least 2 hours of daily exercise and is happiest if it has a job. The German Shepherd is an intelligent, working dog that needs at least 2 hours of daily exercise and mental stimulation.
The German Shepherd is an excellent choice as a service animal. They have lots of energy and enjoy learning and making their human happy. The German Shepherd is most content when it has a job to keep it busy and is with its human.
The Siberian Husky is a highly intelligent dog. It was bred to decide whether to follow instructions or not for the musher and team’s safety. This intelligence is still present in the Siberian Husky. Once you know what motivates your Siberian Husky, training and cooperation are easier. Most Siberian Huskies are not food motivated, and you must get creative.
The Siberian Husky learns quickly and easily; motivating them to follow instructions consistently can be tricky. Furthermore, the Siberian Husky is not a biddable animal; they are not interested in pleasing their human. High prey drive also means that recall isn’t 100% for most Siberian Huskies.
The German Shepherd is an intelligent dog, much like the Siberian Husky. However, unlike the Siberian Husky, the German Shepherd is human-focused and biddable. In addition, the German Shepherd is a naturally loyal, protective, people-pleasing dog, and these qualities can make them very easy to train.
Being relatively easy to train with a good nature, the German Shepherd is used widely as a service dog in the Police Force and Armed Services. They love learning and pleasing their humans – the German Shepherd is loyal, courageous, and protective.
The Siberian Husky is friendly and cooperative with people and other dogs. They have never met strangers or dogs they didn’t want to play with. These were the main traits that the Chukchi looked for in their sled dogs.
The Siberian Husky loves children and being around children – they are pretty gentle. However, the Husky can get boisterous and accidentally knock down little children.
The German Shepherd is friendly with people it knows but can be wary of strangers. The German Shepherd can be aloof with other dogs but plays well once it knows them. A loyal and loving companion, the German Shepherd fits in well with almost everyone. They are energetic and intelligent dogs, well suited to families who enjoy going outside and have the time to put into training.
The German Shepherd is loyal and will focus on its human when working. This focus can make the German Shepherd seem stand-offish; however, it is just doing its job – and you should never distract a service dog from its work. However, if the German Shepherd isn’t working, it has plenty of energy for long hikes and lots of playtime.
Grooming and Shedding
The Siberian Husky has a fluffy, luxurious double coat to keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The fur has a protective layer that repels dirt and protects the skin, reducing the doggy odor that most other breeds have. In addition, the Siberian Husky is cat-like in its grooming, keeping its coat clean. As a result, they only need to be bathed a few times a year.
The Siberian Husky needs brushing regularly to keep the coat healthy. In addition, twice a year, the undercoat blows and requires daily brushing – there will be fur everywhere!
The German Shepherd has a thick, weather-resistant double coat. However, it will require regular brushing to keep the shedding hair under control. In addition, the German Shepherd will only need a few baths throughout the year to keep them clean.
The German Shepherd sheds a lot and will blow the undercoat once or twice a year. During this blowout, the German Shepherd will require brushing daily – hair will be everywhere!
The Siberian Husky doesn’t bark, as such. It does, however, huff, chuff, chatter, and howl – also known as singing. In addition, the Siberian Husky is known to chat and sing to their humans. Sometimes for no apparent reason and other times to communicate their point in the conversation.
The German Shepherd is a protective, herding dog who can protect their area. However, they are known for excessive barking. The German Shepherd will also bark excessively if it becomes stressed or bored.
The Siberian Husky suits active outdoor people with lots of time for training and exercise. They enjoy running, hiking, and biking – independent dogs who like to think and work things out for themselves. However, the Siberian Husky isn’t for everyone, as the extensive training and lifestyle can be intense.
However, once you have earned the Husky’s trust and loyalty, they are a fantastic companion and will give you hours of fun and laughter. So, if you are up for a challenge, and looking for a dog with a big personality, then the Siberian Husky might be for you.
The German Shepherd is a great all-round dog. It is naturally gentle, loyal, and protective and wants to please its human. This makes training easy, ideal for experienced people or people with the time to put into training and exercise.
All dog breeds require time for training and exercise. However, the German Shepherd’s natural biddability makes training easier for more inexperienced people. In addition, their loyal and loving natures allow them to fit into almost any family dynamic. The German Shepherd is a great dog that can adapt to many different environments.
For further breed-specific information, the Kennel Club UK and the American Kennel Club are excellent sources of information.
I hope you have found this article helpful.