German Shepherd vs Husky – What’s the Difference?Last updated: by Jessi Larson
So you’re ready to get a dog? Hooray! Let’s compare the German Shepherd vs Husky to discover the differences and similarities.
Dogs are a long-term commitment, so don’t let those puppy eyes melt your heart before you do some serious research into which breed best fits your lifestyle.
At first glance, these dogs may seem very similar, but there are some key differences that will be extremely crucial to your decision of which breed is right for you.
German Shepherd vs Husky
To fully understand how the two breeds compare, we’ll review their appearance, temperament, training and grooming needs, and overall health.
This will give you a full picture of the German Shepherd vs Husky.
As far as appearance goes, the Husky stands out for its medium-length, bushy coat and pointy ears. They’re also known for having beautiful, striking eyes that can often be different from one another in color.
The breed comes in many different colors, ranging from sable to grey to black and white.
On the other hand, German Shepherds have long, lean, muscular bodies prime for demanding jobs.
This strapping breed is noteworthy for its tall, erect ears, long snout and distinct athletic prowess. These dogs can be one of 13 different colors.
As a whole, Huskies tend to be much smaller than German Shepherds with more compact bodies and fluffier coats. On average they stand just under 2 feet tall and weigh 44-59 lbs for males and 35-38 lbs for females.
German Shepherds are larger, weighing anywhere from 75-100 pounds and standing over 2 feet tall.
The German Shepherd vs Siberian Husky temperament involves several tradeoffs.
Siberian Huskies are extremely friendly and love to meet new people. They also have a bit of a mischievous side – which can be good and bad!
Huskies also require a lot of exercise otherwise they will get bored and potentially destructive. You’ll have to make sure you give them the proper attention and play time they need.
Also, the breed isn’t a big barker, but they can howl at times. If left alone for too long, they’re prone to separation anxiety so make sure they get plenty of time with others, whether that’s people or other pets.
German Shepherds, on the other hand, are pure people pleasers. Give them a task to do and they’ll be in their element.
The breed is highly intelligent and easy to train, which is why they are so often used as rescue, police and guide dogs.
One key difference is that the German Shepherd isn’t as open with its affection. They have a bit of an aloof personality at first until they get to know someone.
Once they bond with a person, however, they are loyal for life. This breed develops an incredibly deep connection with their owner and family.
Because of their backgrounds as working dogs, both German Shepherds and Huskies require a great deal of exercise. Huskies are generally more energetic, needing long runs multiple times a day, while the German Shepherd is content with a couple of shorter walks.
Highly intelligent and headstrong, the Husky needs proper training to reach their full potential. It’s said the best Husky owners are ones who act as the alpha and are clearly in charge.
Notably, Huskies have an overwhelming desire to run. We’ve heard many people give their Husky the nickname “Houdini” for their ability to escape. Because of this, Huskies should always be properly secured. (There’s no going off the leash for this breed!)
In comparison, the German Shepherd is one of the easiest dog breeds to train. Because of this, they are often in service jobs.
They are extremely loyal to their family, but they tend to be suspicious of strangers, which is why they make excellent guard dogs.
Similar to the Husky, if left to their own devices, especially when young, the German Shepherd may become destructive. This is why chew toys and plenty of exercise are so important.
Both Huskies and German Shepherds, if properly conditioned, can live harmoniously with children and other pets.
Whichever breed you choose, socialize your puppy early and often to ensure they acclimate to their environment.
Both breeds shed, but there is no competition in the Husky vs German Shepherd shedding war.
Huskies tend to shed in the spring and autumn, but German Shepherds shed year-round – a LOT. So get yourself a powerful vacuum while you’re at it. (The breed has even earned the nickname the German Shedder!)
Due to their thick coats, both of these dogs need to be brushed at least twice a week to keep their coats shiny and healthy. Since they are naturally pretty clean and odor free, they only require the occasional bath.
As with all dog breeds, they need their nails trimmed regularly, too.
The German Shepherd vs. Husky life expectancy is slightly different. Huskies tend to live between 12-15 years while German Shepherds live around 9-13 years.
One of the most important ways to keep your dog healthy is to feed it properly. The best way to go for both of these breeds is a high-quality diet with few additives that’s tailored to their size.
As far as common health issues go, Huskies can have eye diseases and problems later in life, including cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy and corneal dystrophy.
The Husky is also prone to hip dysplasia, as is the German Shepherd. The German Shepherd can also face elbow dysplasia. (Dysplasia is when limbs pop out of their sockets due to wear and tear on the joints.)
Other common ailments for the German Shepherd include bloat and epilepsy.
With both breeds, proper screenings from a vet early in life will help you prepare for and mitigate any health issues that could come up.
German Shepherd vs Husky: Conclusion
Both Huskies and German Shepherds are wonderful dogs to have in your life. They can be faithful, loyal, loving companions if given the proper exercise, discipline and affection.
Do your research and think hard about which one best suits you, and the feeling of bringing home that adorable new puppy will be even sweeter when you do!
German Shepherd vs Husky Bonus Tip: How to Pick the Right Dog
When you’re looking for a dog but don’t know what breed to get, these nine easy questions can help quickly narrow down your search and find a four-legged friend who perfectly fits your lifestyle.
This guide will help you in the German Shepherd vs Husky debate and give you a clearer idea of which one is for you.
1. Why Do You Want a Dog?
First things first, let’s talk about why you want a dog. This will guide you more than you realize!
For example, do you love cuddling up on the couch and want a furball to curl up in your lap and keep you company? Or do you want an energetic and enthusiastic dog who fits your active lifestyle?
Stop for a minute, close your eyes and think about it.
2. What Type of Dog Did You Have Growing up?
Believe it or not, the dog (or dogs) you grew up with often have an impact on what type of dog you want when you’re older.
That’s certainly not to say you couldn’t pick a different type of dog by any means. It’s just that people often have a comfort level with the type of canine they were conditioned to growing up.
3. Do You Have Any Allergies?
Dogs can be awful for allergies. But fortunately, there are many hypoallergenic dog breeds that make it easier for allergies sufferers.
Always learn more about the breed before bringing it into your home.
4. Who’s in Your Household?
Another important thing to think about is who is in your household.
Is it just you? Or do you have a partner? Roommates? Children?
This is incredibly important to consider. Especially if you have little ones in the household.
Fortunately, in the German Shepherd vs Husky debate, both are great family dogs in different ways.
5. Where Do You Live?
As you think about which dog breed is right for you, where you live is incredibly important.
It goes without saying that certain breeds just aren’t cut out for small spaces. For example, a Great Dane in a tiny apartment would be a disaster!
Also, certain dogs, including both the German Shepherd and Husky, need space and a yard to run and exercise.
6. How Much Time and Energy Do You Have?
Dogs are A LOT of work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But some dogs require much more effort than others.
Potential pup parents should always make sure they have the time, energy and resources to care for a dog, no matter what the breed. But that level of care can increase depending on the dog.
Before making a decision regarding the German Shepherd vs Husky, make sure you understand their instincts and how much mental and physical stimulation they’ll each require.
7. What is the Dog’s Temperament?
Just like appearance, a pup’s temperament can vary greatly by breed. And it’s absolutely critical to find out how a dog will act based on their breed instincts.
Both the Husky and German Shepherd have great personalities. The Husky is more outgoing yet a little more headstrong and mischievous. In comparison, the German Shepherd is more reserved yet deeply loyal to family and very easy to train.
8. How Much Does the Breed Cost?
Owning a dog isn’t cheap, but some breeds are more expensive than others. Especially for some of the rarer canines.
Cost is a consideration, and it’s always a good idea to understand the full picture before making a commitment.
Things to consider include the initial expense, vet bills, food, grooming and other expenses like daycare or boarding.
9. Breed Finder
And finally, try out our online breed selector and get a list of the best breeds for you and your lifestyle.
It allows you to enter details like where you live, who’s in your house, your climate, what size of dog you’re looking for and more. You’ll receive a list of breeds that will work for you.
This could settle the German Shepherd vs Husky debate once and for all.