We all love them. Their high level of loyalty, intelligence, trainability, and boldness is what makes German shepherds among the highly-recognized dog breeds around the world.
However, there is one thing that tends to put off the majority of their admirers; their large size. The massive size of German shepherds needs more space to play and move on– something that most potential owners just don’t have.
But spare a minute and think about this– getting a dog with everything that your favorite dog has only in a smaller size. Sounds a nice deal, right? Well, and that’s why Miniature German Shepherds are increasingly gaining popularity. In this article, we will be giving you everything you could want to know about these furry colleagues.
What Is A Miniature German Shepherd?
A Mini German Shepherd is a type of breed that is achieved by cross-breeding a German shepherd dog with a smaller type of dog breed. Therefore, one of the parents of these dogs come from the German shepherd breed while the other parent is from a different breed. That said, these dogs carry in their genetic makeup some traits from their German shepherd parent and others from the other parent.
When it comes to appearance, there is no standard for mini German shepherds simply because they are not purebreds like any of the parents. I mean, this type of breed is achieved from German Shepherds and any other breed, making it impossible for it to have some specific traits. However, breeders have observed that some specific parts take after those of the German shepherd parent. A case in point is the ears.
Common Mini German Shepherd Mixes
We have so many kinds of Miniature German Shepherds. The differences in appearance, traits, and size are influenced by the other type of breed used. The good thing about crossbreeding is that it minimizes the chances of passing along some undesirable characteristics from the parent to the offspring. For instance, it minimizes the likelihood of passing some genetic health problems if the 2 parents aren’t susceptible to the same conditions. Here are some of the common mixes.
Miniature German Shepherd Siberian Husky Mix
As the name suggests, this kind of Mini German Shepherd is gotten by breeding a GSD dog and a Siberian Husky breed. The resultant hybrid is commonly known as Gerberian Shepsky although it’s still fine to call it Shepsky if you don’t want to use the full name. Shepskies inherit some of the best qualities from the parents.
For instance, they are generally intelligent and hard-working breeds that excel in search and rescue missions, guarding, police work, and other areas that require a high level of reasoning. Although it borrows its traits from 2 pure breeds, traits from one parent are likely to manifest more on the offspring than those from the other parent. The hybrid has a lifespan of about 13 years. However, you may see a great variation in their number of days since this is just a rough estimate.
These medium-sized dogs will bear the height of 20-25 inches and weigh anywhere between 45 to 88 pounds. Their coats are normally a blend of those of the parents. Therefore, you will see them with a mixture of two or more colors. The most common colors are brown, white, red, blue, gray, black, and cream. Their coats are generally long and heavy, normally with a fluffy-like appearance and will shed a bit. For this reason, they may not be the most suitable dogs for people that are allergic to fur. Also, since they are double-coated, Gerberian Shepskies thrive better in cold environments than in warm areas.
Shepskies generally have a calm and gentle temperament. Also, coming from two clever breeds, Gerberian Shepskies learn commands and tricks with just a few repetitions. Their incredibly smart nature makes them among a few dogs that will obey the first command most of the time. They also show a high level of curiosity, a quality that makes them a breeze to train and faithful to their masters. However, like any other dog breed, positive reinforcement works as the best approach when training Shepskies.
Just like the parents, Gerberian Shepskies are very protective of their very own. They are a type of breed that won’t befriend anyone they meet the first time. This makes them look aloof around unfamiliar faces. However, with proper socialization at an early age, it’s easy to address their aggressive behavior to strangers and other dogs before it grows deeper in them. This working-class category of dog is also a kind that gets along with all members of the family including youngsters, cats, and other animals.
Miniature German Shepherd Poodle Mix
If you love German shepherds and Poodles, then you can consider this mixed breed. It is achieved from a cross between a German Shepherd and Poodle dogs (standard, toy, or miniature) and that’s where we get its name; Shepadoodle. However, some dog folks use other names like Shepapoo, German Doodle, Shepherdoodle, Shepdoodle, and many others to refer to the same hybrid.
German shepherds and Poodles are 2 dog breeds that have more differences than similarities. However, we know that the 2 kinds are very sharp-minded and loyal, and that’s why Shepadoodles are very intelligent mix breeds. In fact, that’s where we get this famous saying, “If you want loyalty, get a dog. If you want loyalty and intelligence, get a Shepadoodle.”
Like any other hybrid dog, Shepadoodles don’t come in specific coat color. These little furry colleagues can come in a solid color or a mix of colors; it’s a matter of chances. However, most colors include black, white, dark brown, and light brown.
The type of coat here depends on whether they obtain more traits from the German shepherd parent or the Poodle. Where the Poodle traits are more, the resultant hybrid is more likely to have a curly coat that is hypoallergenic and non-shedding. Nevertheless, where the German shepherd’s traits dominate over the Poodle’s, there are very high chances of the offspring having straighter coats that will shed just like those of GSDs. But that’s not all that dictates about them, the generation also plays a central role in determining the qualities of Shepadoodles including their sizes.
Let’s talk a little about Shepadoodle generations. There are several types: F1, F1b, F2, and more. F here stands for “filial”, meaning that they are hybrids. The proceeding numeric number represents the generation whereas the “b” coming after the numeric shows a case of back-crossing.
Therefore, F1 is from a purebred German shepherd and Poodle dog breeds. F1b comes when you cross F1 with another a purebred of either of the parents. For instance, when you cross the first generation Shepadoodle with a purebred Poodle. This is known as back-crossing and it’s done when you want to achieve more poodle qualities in the resulting offspring. When the first generation (F1) Shepadoodles mate, we get the second generation (F2), and the process continues. The several generations make it easy to get a Shepadoodle that carries the exact qualities you want in a dog.
However, speaking from a general perspective, Shepadoodles are very loyal and loving. In fact, most experts hold that it’s the only dog that will love you more than itself. Also, despite being too hairy, most of them won’t shed. Combining these general traits with their off-the-charts intelligence means that this hybrid can do well as service dogs.
Shepadoodles serve incredibly well in detecting allergens, as animal pack leaders, watchdogging, mobility assistance, and other areas. And of course, for a dog of its level of intelligence, we don’t expect Shepadoodles to become your friend day one. But once the bond is established, probably you will never get a better one!
Miniature German Shepherd Border Collie Mix
Our next Miniature German Shepherd kind comes from the hybridization of two popular breeds, German shepherds and Border Collies. The hybrid is known as Shollie. Amazingly, even with the great popularity of the 2 dog kinds, the fame of Shollies doesn’t get closer to that of either. However, with the great qualities that German shepherds and Border Collies possess, we must admit that the Shepherd-collie mix is one of the most attractive ideas in crossbreeding.
GSDs range anywhere between 22-26 inches when fully grown with a weight of between 50-90 pounds. Border Collies on the other side are smaller and lighter than German shepherds, with the height range of 18-22 inches and the weight of 30-55 pounds. That said, Shollies will grow to a height of 18-26 inches and weigh between 30-90 pounds depending on whose parent traits dominate in them.
When it comes to their coats, it remains a game of possibilities. German shepherds have a medium-length double coat that comes in any color, although brown and black are the most popular. Collies have a double coat that can be long or short, with white and black color or other colors. With the great differences in the parents’ coats, it’s quite hard to foretell the exact type and color of the hybrid. However, most hybrids come with a thick, soft, and medium-length coats that will shed when the warmer months approach. Like other shedding breeds, regular grooming will remove any debris, prevent tangling, and help keep them looking magnificent.
When it comes to the temperament of the Shollies, it’s easy to predict given that the 2 parents have a lot of similarities. For instance, the 2 parents are intelligent, loyal, hyper-alert, protective, curious, and always ready to work. Therefore, we expect Shollies to have all these traits locked up in their genetic makeup. They are also generally energetic and a kind of dog that won’t thrive when left alone. Most people petting this hybrid claim that they get along well with kids and other pets in the family. However, since they fetch their protective instincts from both parents, socializing your German Shepherd Border Collie Mix will improve how they relate with other dogs and strangers.
Shollies are trainable, just like the parents. They master commands within a few repetitions and are almost always ready to respond in the first time to your commands. They excel in all areas where the parents perform well. Therefore, whether you want to use them for herding, guarding, search and rescue, or any other area, you will definitely like how good they are at it.
However, being energetic dogs, Shollies will require some regular exercise to help them stay physically and mentally fit. To be more precise, a daily exercise of 60 minutes should help keep them in perfect health. That said, they may not thrive well in small apartments where there is no enough room for keeping their bodies busy.
Miniature German Shepherd Corgi Mix
Our next type kind of Miniature German Shepherd breed is the Corman Shepherd. As the name hints, this dog is developed through a crossbreed between a German shepherd and a Corgi. The hybrid goes by other names such as the German Corgi, Corgi German Shepherd, and many other adorable names.
Corman Shepherds will adopt the height of between 12 to 15 inches and weigh within the range of 20-70 pounds. And with these two common traits, it is clear that these dogs can either be medium in size or large. The designer dog will normally have short legs like those of Corgi but generally strong-looking. Also, breeders have found that most of Corman Shepherds to have a flat head with almond-shaped eyes that are black while the ears are long and erect.
The coat in most cases is like that of German shepherds and is easy to brush. Being a moderate to a high shedder, brushing daily will be a great way to keep their fur healthy and remove any loose hair. The coat colors vary widely ranging from black and white to golden, brown, and more.
Also, this kind of designer dog has a generally sweet temperament. As the parents, Corman Shepherds are very loyal with a strong work ethic and are always ready to do whatever it takes to please their families. Also, we can still trace the German shepherd protective instincts in this lovely hybrid. For that reason, they make fantastic guard dogs and show some curiosity about their surroundings.
Their eagerness to please their human partners along with their high level of intelligence makes them among the easiest dogs to train. They are also obedient to commands from their masters and will most of the time respond to the first command. However, since Corgis are somewhat stubborn, Corman Shepherds can portray some level of stubbornness and dominance. They can also be aggressive to unfamiliar faces. Luckily, you can curb all these undesired behaviors by introducing them to training at a young age.
Corman Shepherds pack a good amount of energy, just like any other Mini German Shepherds. Therefore, it’s good you ensure that you keep their bodies busy to help burn the excess energy. Walking daily for 30 minutes to an hour is a good amount of exercise for them. Their size and qualities imply that they can serve as great family dogs and will thrive well in smaller spaces such as apartments on the condition that you can provide them with plenty of mental stimulation.
German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix
Our next hybrid is also between 2 of the of America’s most favorite breeds; German shepherd and Golden Retriever. Some call the mix-breed Golden Shepherd although there are still other names such as Golden German Shepherd and German Shepherd Golden Retriever. Although there are chances that this kind of dog has been existing for many years, Golden Shepherds began to gather fame in 2009.
These dogs have a solid color although their coats can also have a mix of colors. The most common colors include black, tan, cream, red, and blue. With all the parents have a double coat, it’s still the case with this lovely hybrid. The long and dense fur is easy to care for. In fact, it will only need a few brushes a week to keep it healthy and looking great. However, since Golden Shepherds shed throughout the year, they may not be the perfect Miniature German Shepherd Mix for people who are allergic to fur.
Like all other mixed breed dogs, Golden shepherds don’t have a standard size. However, since German shepherds are larger than the Golden Retrievers, we don’t expect them to be any larger than there German shepherd parent. Normally, their height will range between 20-26 inches from the paws to the shoulders while their weight will be anywhere between 60 to 95 pounds for a fully grown adult.
So, what is the temperament of these lovely dogs? Well, just before we get to delve into that, it’s good to understand what made breeders come up with this idea. The major aim of creating this mix breed was to minimize health issues associated with the purebred breeds, such as German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. However, that wasn’t the only thing that was driving them to cross the two breeds- they were also looking for a way of creating a dog that will act as an ultimate family companion like the Golden Retrievers when also possessing the guarding abilities of the German Shepherd.
Having that said, it’s easy to get the trait of Golden Shepherds by looking at the qualities of the 2 parents. For instance, these dogs make excellent watchdogs and family companions. They get along well with kids and don’t mind dedicating some of their energy to have fun with them. Also, since they come from 2 working-class dog breeds, Golden Shepherds are generally dedicated dogs. Their intelligent parents make them among the smartest and therefore easiest to train hybrids. They aren’t as barky, although they will alert you when they see unfamiliar faces around. But beware, Golden Shepherds still have the territorial thing flowing in their veins. Therefore, they may portray some stand-offish behavior around strangers when not properly trained from an early age.
While they may require a lot of physical exercises and mental stimulation, Golden Shepherds don’t necessarily need a large compound provided that you can keep them engaged in the smaller space. Finally, these great breeds will live up to about 14 years, albeit this may differ depending on the side of parents dominating their genetic makeup.
Other Miniature German Shepherd Mixes
Other than the five Miniature GSD Mixes, we still have Mini GSD Mixes. They include with pugs (Shugs) and Yorkshire Terrier (German Shepherd Yorkie Mix), and many others. Therefore, you can pick a mix of Mini German Shepherd that features your other favorite dog breed to get all their admirable qualities in a single canine.
How Do You Care For Miniature GSDs
Like the normal German shepherds, Miniature GSDs need the best care to stay healthy and happy. While their care requirements may differ depending on the mix, there are some common things that these lovely hybrids need to stay healthy.
For instance, Miniature GSDs require proper grooming. Doing this regularly will keep their fur healthy and prevent it from scattering all over your home. You will also need to keep their nails at a good length to minimize the chances of paw infection. Also, these dogs are highly energetic.
Hence, you have to dedicate about an hour to help them burn the excess calories. A walk will be nice, but you can also have them join you in your morning run provided that you first get the green light from the vet.
Food Requirements For Miniature German Shepherds
Miniature GSDs come from purebred German shepherds. Therefore, these lovely dogs need nutrient-rich foods to help them grow healthy. And since most of them are picky, it’s wise to identify what your dog loves most and stick to it. However, some mixed breeds like Shepadoodle will require a change of diet throughout their development stages.
So, what is the right amount for your Mini GSD dog? Well, due to their varying sizes and differences in activity levels, the calorie-intakes of Mini GSDs differ widely. For instance, Gerberian Shepsky needs 1300-2400 calories a day depending on their activity level.
To know the right amount of calories for your dog, experts suggest 30 calories for every pound of their body weight. Therefore, if your Mini GSD Mix weighs 50 pounds, the body will need 1500 calories. You may add or deduct the amount depending on their level of activity. But ensure that you split the daily food requirement into three or four meals to avoid indigestion issues.
Health Problems Associated With Miniature German Shepherds
Although the major aim of cross-breeding is to discontinue genetic health issues from the parents, Miniature German Shepherds have slim chances of inheriting health problems from either of the parents. The most common genetic issues are those shared by the 2 parent breeds. However, like any other dog, they can also develop other uninheritable health conditions. Here are some of the common health issues you need to be aware of.
Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
When we are talking about the health issues of the famous German Shepherd, hip dysplasia is one of the most bothering conditions. In fact, about 20% of GSDs develop this condition. It is a congenital disorder although it can also be brought about by obesity and involving your dog in strenuous exercises before their bones are developed fully. The condition involves the malformation of joints in the ball or/and socket sections.
All Miniature GSDs have a chance of inheriting or developing this condition since they bear some genes from the standard GSDs. Although the condition is irreversible, it can be easily prevented by ensuring the right amount of exercise. Once your dog develops the condition, the only way out is surgery to replace the hip.
This condition is scientifically known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus. It is common in larger dogs although it may at times not consider the size. It is a condition through which gas builds up in the stomach making it difficult for the dog to breathe. It is a life-threatening issue that should be addressed as soon as possible. Common signs include a swollen belly, drooling, unproductive vomiting attempts, and many more. Ways to curb it include feeding your Mini GSD small amounts and avoiding exercise immediately after eating, and others.
The esophagus is a tube-like structure that connects the throat to the stomach. It has well-coordinated muscle contraction and relaxation movements that move food and water down to the stomach. When the esophagus lacks this muscular tone and motility, swallowing becomes hard, a condition known as megaesophagus. It can be congenital or acquired. Although there is no clear known cause of congenital megaesophagus, scientists believe that it occurs when there is incomplete nerve development in the gullet. You may not detect this condition at the puppy stage until the pup switches to solid foods. Acquired megaesophagus are caused by pre-existing conditions such as trauma to the nervous system, esophageal inflammation, and blockage in the esophagus. For congenital megaesophagus, it’s unfortunate that there is nothing that can be done. However, the acquired type can be managed by treating the other disease.
This condition is very common in pure breeds. In fact, it has been reported in almost all pure breed of dogs although larger dogs such as German shepherds are at a higher risk of developing the condition than the smaller kinds. It is caused by the deficiency of Factor VIII-coagulant (FVIII: C), a protein that plays an essential role in blood clotting. This deficiency causes difficulties in blood clotting, making even the minor cuts life-threatening. It is a hereditary condition characterized by excessive bleeding following trauma. Although it’s incurable, it almost doesn’t have any impact on the lifespan of the affected dogs.
This condition is also known as anal furunculosis. It is very common in German shepherds. Although it can be caused by multiple factors, hereditary component is also presumed. It occurs when painful sinus tracts and ulcers develop in the skin around the anal region. Major signs include straining during defecation and at times blood in the stool. And since the condition is painful, your lovely dog may react when their tail is touched. Excessive licking at the tail and rectal region are also great signs you should look out for. Drugs are available to manage this condition although it may take months to get it under control.
Cost Of Miniature German Shepherds
The cost of Miniature German shepherds will differ depending on the type of breed the German shepherd is bred with as well as the Breeders price. Where GSDs are cross-bred with Border Collie, expect to pay a price of about $950 for a puppy while Shepadoodle pup may cost as much as $950 and up. To get a Golden Shepherd, you may have to depart with around $800 while the Corman Shepherds have their cost ranging close to that of their German shepherd parent, that is, between $200 and $500. Siberian Shepskies will cost between $350 and $850.
Should You Buy, Rescue, or Adopt A Miniature German Shepherd?
If you want a dog to serve a specific purpose in mind, getting it from a breeder is the best option. With so many breeders, finding a Mini German shepherd puppy is easy. However, when buying one, ensure that you get it from a breeder with a solid reputation. Be sure to ask the breeder about the parents of the puppies, any known temperament issues, any health problems portrayed by the parents, health guarantee, number of breeds involved, and many more. Any breeder who isn’t able to provide answers to these questions isn’t worth striking a deal with you.
If you want a general family companion dog without serving any special purpose, it’s better to rescue or adopt it. These dogs are as good as those from the breeders and don’t cost much. In fact, with as little as $300, it’s easy to get one unlike in breeders where you may have to pay thousands of dollars.
Although they are smaller, Mini German Shepherds have almost everything that the normal GSDs have. The most interesting part about them is that you can get one that combines the GSD’s desirable qualities with those of your other favorite dog breed.
Being a result of cross-breeding, it’s quite hard to predict precisely some of their characteristics. The color and the type of their coat are cases in point. Also, it’s hard to tell how long they will live. However, most Mini German Shepherds will most of the time outlive the majority of the normal GSDs.