Can German Shepherds and Huskies Live Together?


German Shepherd and Husky lying in grass

German Shepherds and Huskies both have reputations for being difficult breeds that don’t get along well with other dogs. But how much truth lies behind these reputations? Can German Shepherds and Huskies live together?

German Shepherds and Huskies can and often do live together in harmony. However, owners need to ensure that the individual dogs have complementary temperaments, ages, and genders. Proper training, socialization (important for Shepherds), and adequate mental stimulation is also essential for these dogs.

Many factors determine whether or not two dogs can live with each other: breed characteristics, individual temperament, age, gender, and good ownership.

The key to a happy dog owner’s home is a stable pack. The key to a stable pack is smart and responsible ownership, and this includes choosing the right dogs with which to share your home. There are definitely some dog breeds that are less likely to live together harmoniously, so doing research is essential.

Good ownership starts with researching compatible breeds, but it certainly doesn’t end there. There are various ways that a responsible owner can encourage a good relationship between their German Shepherd and Husky.

The History Behind The German Shepherd And Husky Breeds

It is interesting and often enlightening to know the history of your dog’s breed because you can trace most of the typical breed characteristics back to their original purpose.

German Shepherds and Huskies are both working dogs; they just started in different professions.

Captain Max von Stephanitz first bred German Shepherds in the late 1800s. German Shepherds were initially bred as sheep herding dogs, but they were later introduced to military and police work when industrialization minimized the necessity and demand for herding dogs.

Related: Why Are German Shepherds Good Police Dogs?

Huskies, or Siberian Huskies, are a much older breed. They originated in northeastern Asia, where the Chukchi people bred them as family companions and endurance sled dogs.

They earned world-wide fame and popularity in the 1900s when Leonhard Seppala used a Siberian Husky team to carry life-saving medicine to a town in Alaska that was experiencing a diphtheria epidemic.

The team covered 658 miles in less than six days!

Compatibility Of Breed Characteristics In German Shepherds And Huskies

The breed characteristics for German Shepherds and Huskies are quite different, but different doesn’t mean incompatible. In a good home, German Shepherds and Huskies’ characteristics can complement and balance each other out.

Intelligence And Trainability

German Shepherds and Huskies are both intelligent. German Shepherds are trainable and like to please their owners, whereas Huskies are independent and notoriously difficult to train. Having two smart dogs is a handful, but there are benefits.

Related: German Shepherd Training Guide: All You Need to Know

German Shepherds and Huskies can entertain each other at the same level. A less intelligent dog may bore your German Shepherd or be bullied by your Husky.

Both German Shepherds and Huskies can become destructive when bored, so being able to entertain each other can spare your furniture and yard.

Related: How to Keep a German Shepherd Busy While You’re at Work

Additionally, your Husky’s training may benefit from the good example set by your German Shepherd, especially when they see the rewards of obedience (as mentioned previously, Huskies are clever).

Activity Levels And Strength

German Shepherds and Huskies are both strong and have high energy levels. German Shepherds prefer activities that stimulate them mentally as well as physically, such as agility training. Huskies just like to run.

Regardless of their preferred activity, having a German Shepherd with a Husky means that they can exercise each other, which takes some of the pressure off of you.

Now it’s time to pause for a moment of cuteness that illustrates this point perfectly – just take a look at the video below to see just how hilarious it can be when a German Shepherd and Husky decide to ‘entertain’ each other!

Their similarity in size and strength means that they can get as rough and rowdy with each other as they like, and neither is likely to sustain an injury.

However, it’s best to stop rough play if your dogs are getting too excited because it may lead to a fight.

Friendliness And Protection

German Shepherds need to be well-socialized as puppies. This socialization should involve other dogs, other pets, and other people, including children.

If they are well-socialized, they are great family dogs, living peaceably with other dogs and pets and acting as nanny to the children.

Related: How To Socialize Your German Shepherd

Huskies require less socialization with other dogs and children, but they have a high prey-drive, which can cause problems with smaller pets.

German Shepherds are wary of strangers and extremely protective. A Husky will welcome anyone into your home or yard, even intruders. However, huskies are very vocal dogs, so they may alert you to danger by talking to the intruders.

This combination of one protective dog and one friendly dog is not necessarily a bad one. It’s always comforting to have a guard dog, but they can make it difficult to have guests over.

Your husky can draw the attention of guests who are determined to pet your dog, allowing your German Shepherd some time to adjust to their arrival.

Loyalty And Neediness

Neither German Shepherds nor Huskies are needy breeds. However, German Shepherds are very loyal and are usually one-person dogs. This means that they prefer to be by their owner and want to please their owners.

Huskies are friendly but independent, so they are happy to share their affection among all the family members.

These opposing characteristics are actually very compatible. Your German Shepherd and Husky will not compete for your attention, a situation that can cause problems with two single-person dogs.

Both German Shepherds and Huskies are prone to separation anxiety. Although Huskies aren’t attached to just one person, they are very attached to their families and dog-siblings, and you shouldn’t leave them alone for long stretches. This is also where having them together can be a benefit.

Related: How to Deal with German Shepherd Separation Anxiety

Prey-Drive And Possessiveness

Huskies have a very high prey-drive. This makes them unsuitable in homes with small dogs and other small pets, such as cats, unless they have been introduced to them from puppyhood.

German Shepherds do not have high prey-drives, but they are herders, so they might join in the chase. This is a drawback of having these two dog breeds together.

German Shepherds are territorial and can become possessive if not checked.

Huskies are not particularly territorial, but as a result, you have to stop your German Shepherd from claiming everything and getting cross if your Husky tries to play with a toy or walk into a room that they consider their particular property.

Compatibility Of Temperaments In German Shepherds And Huskies

German Shepherd and Husky playing with stick

Individual temperament, linked closely with personality, is extremely important if you want your German Shepherd and Husky to live peaceably together.

There are ways to test a dog’s temperament before buying or adopting them.

What Is A Temperament Test?

A canine temperament test is a non-invasive way to evaluate a dog’s temperament.

Temperament tests assess how dogs react to strangers; auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli; and neutral, aggressive, and threatening situations. 

Dogs are scored on their prey-drive, aggression level, protectiveness, friendliness, stability, confidence, and ability to distinguish between threats and non-threats. The way that these traits combine and interact defines temperament.

Who Can Assist With Temperament Testing?

Canine behavioral specialists are the best people to perform a temperament test on a dog. Some breeders get their puppies tested, and others have enough experience to do the tests themselves.

Rescue shelters can employ specialists to check the temperaments of the dogs that come in, but the high-stress environment makes it difficult to get an accurate result.

Combining Temperaments

One of the professionals mentioned above can help you select a German Shepherd and a Husky with compatible temperaments.

For example, if two dogs score high in dominance, they will constantly be fighting for the pack’s top position and may even challenge your position as alpha.

If one scores high in dominance and the other scores low, then the more dominant dog may bully the other. A high-dominance dog is best matched with a mid-dominance dog that can hold its own.

With this combination, there is a well-established order that will not easily be rocked.

Compatibility Of Age And Gender In German Shepherds And Huskies

German shepherds and Huskies are both large, strong, and high-energy dogs.

If you have an old German Shepherd and get a Husky puppy, they can worry, bully, and hurt your older dog. The same applies if you have an old Husky and you get a German Shepherd puppy.

Huskies have a very high prey-drive, so if you have an adult Husky and get a small German Shepherd puppy, your Husky may start hunting and chasing the German Shepherd.

If you want a German Shepherd and Husky together, the best choice is to get them as puppies.

German Shepherds display same-sex aggression. This means they are more likely to fight with another dog of the same gender. It is not only male German Shepherds who display this behavior; females are also same-sex aggressive.

Related: Do Male German Shepherds Get Along?

To mitigate the chances of your German Shepherd and Husky fighting, the best choice is to get dogs of opposite sexes. This is particularly important if you aren’t going to get them both as puppies.

Smart And Responsible Ownership

Smart and responsible dog ownership has just as much to do with the compatibility you and the dogs that you choose as it does with the dogs themselves.

Let’s take a look at the finer points of this to give you a better idea if this canine combination is right for you.

Your Compatibility With A German Shepherd And A Husky

German Shepherds and Huskies are both high-maintenance dogs, requiring consistent time and effort from their owners.

Related: Are German Shepherds High Maintenance?

Both breeds tend to become destructive when bored. While they can entertain each other, you have to make sure that they are well supplied with toys, chews, and mentally stimulating activities (particularly for your German Shepherd).  

Both breeds require lots of exercise to work off their energy. You have to be dedicated to providing them with the correct exercise.

As mentioned earlier, they can exercise each other, but if you live in a smaller house or apartment, you will need to take them on walks, etc.

Related: Can a German Shepherd Live in an Apartment?

Both breeds suffer separation anxiety. While they may derive comfort from each other for shorter periods (your Husky especially), they love their owners and become upset when they are not around.

German Shepherds and Huskies are both big dogs. German Shepherds are territorial, and Huskies are naughty. While they can live together, they are likely to disagree on certain things.

If you have a nervous temperament, you should not get these dogs together. They need a strong and confident owner; they need an alpha.

Related: Is a German Shepherd the Right Dog for Me?

Remember that you are supposed to be the alpha of your pack. If you are not, it can cause problems between your German Shepherd and Husky.

Huskies need an alpha, or they will push you. Your German Shepherd, very loyal and protective, might take exception to this, causing fights.

Another factor to consider is that German Shepherds and Huskies both shed. You need to be diligent in their grooming, and you need to resign yourself to the fact that their hair will be everywhere.

If your pet peeve is dog hair around the house, don’t get either of these breeds and especially do not get them together.

Your Home’s Compatibility With A German Shepherd And A Husky

German Shepherds and Huskies are large breeds with high activity levels, so they need space to live and exercise. You also need to fortify your perimeters heavily.

German Shepherds are very athletic and can jump high walls and fences. Huskies are known for their escape-artist tendencies. They climb walls and fences, and they also dig.  

If you have cats and other small pets, you may want to avoid getting a Husky because of their strong prey-drive. As discussed earlier, your German Shepherd may also join in the chase if they become excited.

German Shepherds and Huskies have thick coats, so they do well in cooler climates. If you live somewhere very hot, these might not be the best breeds to get together.

When dogs are hot, they can become irritable, and they are less likely to run off their energy. This creates a tension-filled environment and may lead to fighting.

Choosing The Right German Shepherd And Husky

German Shepherd and Husky playing with stick

As mentioned previously, temperament makes a big difference in how well dogs get along together.

Speak to your breeder, rescue shelter professional, or canine behavioral specialist about which individual German Shepherd and Husky to get.

A Good Introduction Between Your German Shepherd And Husky

Never go to fetch your new dog with your current dog in the car. A back seat is a bad place for an introduction!

The first introduction should occur in a calm and neutral location, preferably outside and nowhere near food. Both dogs should be on a lead, and you should correct negative behavior immediately to prevent escalation.

You and whoever else is present at the introduction also need to remain calm.

Socialization And Training For Your German Shepherd And Husky

Socialization is essential for German Shepherds. Their history as herders means that they naturally fixate on one person and don’t require dog companionship to be happy.

If your German Shepherd is not socialized from a young age, introducing another dog can be difficult, especially if that dog is a Husky who loves canine companionship.

Proper training is essential for your German Shepherd and your Husky.

German Shepherds benefit from the mental stimulation and attention from their owners that are associated with obedience and agility training. It also helps to curb their possessive tendencies.

Huskies can be very naughty and so they need obedience training. Although it may be harder to progress through the levels because Huskies are very independent, you mustn’t give up on the training.  

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds and Huskies have compatible breed characteristics, so they can happily co-exist in the same house under the right circumstances.

They are both strong, intelligent, and active dogs, so they can entertain and exercise each other. Where their characters differ, they balance each other out.

It’s best to get them as puppies, especially if the dogs are the same gender, and you need to make sure that their individual temperaments are compatible.

A canine behaviorist can assist you with choosing the right German Shepherd and Husky.

Good ownership is crucial to German Shepherds and Huskies living together. You have to make sure you are the right person to own these dogs, and you have to put in lots of time and effort to entertain, exercise, and train them.

However, all the effort is worth it. They are lovely family dogs, and your life will never be dull with them around! 

Hunter Reed

I've owned and trained German Shepherds and a variety of other large and medium breed dogs for over 20 years now - Rottweilers, Dobermans, Pit Bull Terriers - just to name a few. Myself, along with my team of highly experienced canine professionals, strive to bring you the best and most useful information to help you raise your dog the right way. Read my story here.

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