On the subject of high-maintenance dogs, the German Shepherd might not be among the first breeds…
German Shepherds are excellent both as working dogs and personal companions. Their build as well as their intelligence and temperament make them a good breed to cross with other dogs. But is it a good idea to cross the GSD with the Shiba Inu? What can you expect from the Shiba Inu German Shepherd Mix?
This article will dive into those questions and give you a complete guide to this lovely mixed breed.
About the German Shepherd Breed
The German Shepherd breed got its start in the fields of Germany where humans relied heavily on them to herd and protect their livestock. Those dogs might have been smaller in frame than the heavy-built GSDs of today, but they were just as agile, intelligent, and confident.
Now that herding livestock is no longer a common canine occupation, the GSD has proven to be a versatile breed in its many modern functions.
About the Shiba Inu Breed
The Shiba Inu is one of Japan’s most popular dog breeds. They were bred with excellent sight and scenting abilities to assist humans that hunted in the mountains.
Although it is an ancient breed, it first made its way to the United States around the 1950s when they were brought in by a military family.
It wasn’t until 1992 that the Shiba was recognized by the American Kennel Club, and it has steadily gained popularity in the country since then.
Today, Shibas are best known for their fox-like appearance and are especially loved for their bushy ringtails.
Why Cross a German Shepherd with a Shiba Inu?
Both the German Shepherd and the Shiba Inu are well-loved breeds. Each has many desirable traits for working dogs as well as household pets. Crossing them could result in offspring that combines the best traits of the two breeds.
GSDs and Shibas have similar temperaments. They’re both headstrong and tend to be aloof to strangers. Additionally, they can be very affectionate, but only to certain people.
Because of their similarities in personality and behavior, the most common reason to cross them is to mix their physical appearance.
General Characteristics of the Shiba Inu German Shepherd Mix
Although Shiba Inus and German Shepherds have similar temperaments, they have many characteristics that vastly different from one another. So, it can be difficult to predict what an offspring of the two might be like.
Nevertheless, here are some general traits that you can expect from a GSD-Shiba Inu mix:
Shiba Inus are among Japan’s smallest native dogs. They are much smaller than German Shepherds but are similarly well muscled. Here’s how the two breeds compare in terms of height and weight.
|Breed||Height (in.)||Weight (lbs.)|
|German Shepherd Dog||24 – 26||22 – 24||65 – 90||50 - 70|
|Shiba Inu||14.5 – 16.5||13.5 – 15.5||23||17|
A cross between the Shiba Inu and the German Shepherd is expected to be at least a medium-sized dog. It will be no shorter than 13.5 inches and not lighter than 17 pounds.
Most likely, this mix will be the average of the two breeds, which is around 20 inches tall and around 50 pounds.
The Shiba Inu-GSD mix will have a double-coat, just like its parents. The outer coat will be straight and coarse while the undercoat will be soft yet dense. Very likely, it will have short to medium-length hair.
Black & tan is a popular color combination in both the GSD and the Shiba Inu. Most German Shepherds are tan with a black saddle. However, there is also the bi-color GSD, which is more similar to the Shiba’s popular coat.
Shibas are mostly black with tan markings around the face, ears, chest, legs, and tail. The offspring of the two breeds can don either coat.
Other coats that the GSD-Shiba cross can inherit from the Shiba Inu parent is a solid cream, red, or red sesame coloring with white markings.
Since the GSD-Shiba Mix is double-coated, they shed steadily throughout the year and much more heavily in the spring and fall. They will require thorough brushing at least once a week, and daily during shedding season. Bathing should be around once a month.
The Shiba-GSD cross has upright ears that are comparatively low maintenance, although they do still need regular ear cleaning. Their other essential grooming needs include frequent tooth brushing and nail trimming.
Although the Shiba Inu is not particularly known for being strong, its offspring with a German Shepherd is expected to have above-average strength.
GSDs are reputed for their bite strength, pulling strength, and capacity for hard work. Ideally, the Shiba Inu-German Shepherd Mix would inherit those traits.
German Shepherd-Shiba Inu crosses have impressive running speeds, a trait they inherit from both parents. Shibas are known to sprint at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour while GSD can reach 30 miles per hour. Apart from speed, these mutts are expected to be incredibly agile.
Shiba Inu-German Shepherd crosses need ample daily exercise. Although they’re not known for destruction, using up excess energy is important to make sure they are well-mannered.
Ideally, they would get at least one hour of physical exercise per day, especially if they don’t have enough space at home to keep themselves busy.
Apart from regular exercise, GSD-Shiba Inu mixes need opportunities to exercise their mental faculties. The abilities they inherit from their German Shepherd parent need to be honed in order to have a well-behaved and well-rounded dog.
The Shiba Inu-German Shepherd Mix is expected to have above-average intelligence. Although the Shiba Inu is not particularly smart (#49 in the dog intelligence ranking), the German Shepherd is known as one of the world’s smartest breeds (ranks #3).
Additionally, Shiba Inus can become quite stubborn. Ideally, the Shiba-GSD cross would inherit the GSD’s eagerness to please and follow commands.
That makes them more enjoyable and fulfilling to train. Regardless, training and disciplining them from a young age will help develop obedience and a strong work ethic.
The German Shepherd-Shiba Inu Mix is a confident and strong-willed dog. They need early training and socialization as well as the guidance of a firm handler in order to keep their manners in check. Mutts that take after their Shiba parent may also be more mischievous and spirited.
When properly trained and socialized, the Shiba Inu-German Shepherd cross is an enjoyable companion. They can be very affectionate to the people of their choosing, and also show a remarkable sense of loyalty.
However, a high prey drive that they could inherit from the Shiba parent requires heavy supervision in households with children and small animals.
The Shiba Inu-German Shepherd Mix is generally a healthy cross. Pedigreed Shibas are typically tested for proper eye health as well as abnormalities in the hips and kneecaps.
Their most common health issues are allergies, which manifest as itching and irritation on the skin.
Responsibly-bred German Shepherds are also monitored for hip and elbow issues. A serious condition that the GSD-Shiba cross can inherit is the German Shepherd’s tendency for bloat.
Owners of this mix should consult with an experienced veterinarian in order to avoid this issue.
Because they are generally healthy, Shiba Inu-German Shepherd crosses live quite long. In fact, they are expected to live between 12 and 16 years old.
To ensure your own dog’s longevity, it helps to feed them a high-quality diet from a young age. Following their vaccination protocols and keeping them in low-stress environments will also help them enjoy life for longer.
For the sole reason that it is a crossbreed, any German Shepherd-Shiba Inu Mix cannot be entered into the American Kennel Club’s purebred registry.
Nevertheless, it can be registered through the AKC’s Canine Partner’s Program, which allows mixed and hybrid dogs to participate in various AKC events.
How Popular is the German Shepherd Shiba Inu Mix?
The Shiba Inu-German Shepherd cross is quite rare. You’re not likely to come across them at pet stores and even less likely at animal shelters.
Some breeders do try to produce them as designer breeds that are sometimes called Shiba Shepherds or German Shibas. Nevertheless, they are hard to find and are likely to come with a large price tag.
The German Shepherd Shiba Inu mix will be a well-rounded working dog who is loyal and loving to those in their circle. This mix will take a strong and committed handler to raise these crosses as well-mannered dogs. It helps to start socializing them at a young age and to make sure they have ample mental and physical stimulation.
If you’re up to the challenge of raising a confident and energetic pup but would still like to consider other GSD crosses, check out the German Shepherd Cane Corso mix or the German Shepherd Pomeranian mix.