The German Shepherd breed is known for a number of desirable characteristics. Because of this, they…
The German Shepherd breed has countless traits that make them excellent dogs, both as pets and working companions. When mixed with other breeds, they often contribute their size, intelligence, and protective nature. But what about crossing one with a Whippet? Is a Whippet German Shepherd mix a good dog to have?
About the German Shepherd Breed
The German Shepherd is one of the most beloved dog breeds not just in the United States but throughout the world.
They have a long history as herders and have always been recognized for their strong work drive, protective instincts, and capacity for independent thinking. The GSD is also an incredibly loyal breed.
But they are also sweet and affectionate enough to be service dogs and emotional support dogs as well as beloved household companions.
About the Whippet Breed
The Whippet is a dog that looks very much like the Greyhound but much smaller.
They were first produced by miners in Victorian England who enjoyed the assistance of sighthounds but did not have the space for nor the resources to feed such large dogs. The result is a medium-sized version of the Greyhound but one that shares its speed and hunting skills.
Despite their reputation for running, Whippets actually love to relax. They are mild-mannered dogs that are known to be affectionate and loving companions.
They are generally low-maintenance dogs with a family-friendly nature, and they get along excellently with other pets.
Why Cross a Whippet With a German Shepherd?
Individually, both the Whippet and the German Shepherd are already well-loved breeds. Crossing the two, however, has the potential to produce dogs that improve the best qualities of the Whippet and soften some of the undesirable traits of the GSD.
For example, the German Shepherd – Whippet mix is typically calmer and more mild-mannered than a purebred GSD. They are much less vocal and slightly less vigilant. Additionally, they often have a smaller and slimmer frame.
General Characteristics of a Whippet – German Shepherd Mix
Because there are no breed standards for producing the Whippet – German Shepherd mix, these dogs can vary greatly even among puppies in the same litter. Nevertheless, these are some attributes you can expect from this cross:
The Whippet is a medium-sized dog while the German Shepherd is one of the larger dog breeds. Here’s how the two compare in terms of height and weight:
|Breed||Height (in.)||Weight (lbs.)|
|German Shepherd Dog||24 – 26||22 – 24||65 – 90||50 - 70|
|Whippet||19 – 22||18 – 21||25 - 40|
Given the size of each parent, the Whippet – German Shepherd cross is still considered a large dog but tends to be smaller than the average purebred GSD. They are typically around 21 to 22 inches tall and weigh approximately 60 to 65 pounds.
The Whippet – German Shepherd mix can take on a number of appearances depending on the parent it takes after. They can take on a wide variety of coat colors and patterns, including solid black (from both breeds), saddled black & tan (from the GSD), and brindle (from the Whippet).
While Whippets are short-coated with smooth hair, GSDs typically have medium-to-long hair with dense undercoats. The offspring of these two breeds could don either of the two coat types.
The difficulty of grooming a GSD – Whippet cross would depend on what type of coat they inherit. If they take after the GSD, they will need more frequent baths and brushing.
They will also shed throughout the year and blow their coats twice a year. On the other hand, their short coats will need very little maintenance if they take after the Whippet.
The Whippet might seem small and lanky, but its body is actually composed of lean muscle. Combine that with the genetics of a solidly built GSD and the strength of the German Shepherd – Whippet mix shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Apart from body strength, these crosses can also inherit the considerable bite strength of their GSD parent. German Shepherds have an average bite force of 238 psi.
The Whippet – GSD cross can run at top speeds of 30 to 35 miles per hour. They’re fast dogs that can run long distances. They are also incredibly agile. Nevertheless, they perform best in sprints with long rests in between.
The GSD – Whippet mix is an energetic dog but is quite calm if they’re given enough opportunities to exercise daily. Generally, they thrive best when they get several vigorous exercise sessions per day. Three 20-minute sessions of fetch or regular long walks should be enough.
Exercise requirements can vary between each individual dog. Nevertheless, as long as they get to expend their excess energy, they’re happy enough to spend the rest of the day relaxing and keeping you company at home.
Whippets are not as easily trained as German Shepherds. While GSDs are among the smartest and most obedient dog breeds, Whippets are more self-willed and not as intelligent.
In fact, while GSDs rank as the 3rd most intelligent dog breed, Whippets rank at #51. At this level, they are expected to take up to 40 repetitions to master a new command and obey only 50% of the time.
Nevertheless, given ample time to form a strong bond and with enough determination from its handler, a Whippet – German Shepherd cross can be quite eager to please and can learn fairly quickly.
Ideally, the Whippet – GSD mix takes on the most desirable traits from each parent. These dogs can be affectionate with family and are patient with young children. With early socialization and proper introduction, they also get along with cats and other pets.
Although the GSD – Whippet mix can be quite wary of strangers, they can become playful and sociable with guests once welcomed by the rest of the family.
Nevertheless, they can still inherit the strong protective tendencies of their German Shepherd parent.
The German Shepherd – Whippet mix is generally a healthy cross. Because they’re smaller and leaner than the average purebred GSD, they are less likely to suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia. They could, however, be just as prone to life-threatening bloat.
This crossbreed can also inherit orthopedic problems from the Whippet’s side. However, this can be avoided through proper screening of breeding stock and keeping the dog at a normal weight. Additionally, these dogs can sometimes suffer from eye disorders and deafness.
Because they’re generally of good health, German Shepherd – Whippet mixes enjoy long and happy lives. In fact, they typically live between 12 and 15 years. Ensuring proper nutrition and keeping them at a healthy weight could further contribute to their longevity.
The American Kennel Club does not recognize the Whippet – German Shepherd mix as a breed. Because it is a cross between two purebreds, it does not have breed standards that can be used for conformation events.
Nevertheless, these dogs can participate in AKC canine sports and vie for titles by enrolling in AKC Canine Partners.
Through this program, both purebreds and mixed breeds come together and take part in events like Tracking, Obedience, and Rally.
How Popular is the German Shepherd – Whippet Mix?
It’s not very common to find breeders purposefully reproducing the German Shepherd – Whippet mix. These crossbreeds are undeniably extraordinary dogs with many positively unique characteristics.
However, most breeders prefer to keep their pedigrees pure not only because purebreds are more profitable but also because there are too many uncontrollable variables when trying to produce crosses.
For these reasons, finding the offspring of a Whippet and a German Shepherd would be difficult. These rare crossbreeds are typically the result of accidental mating. If you’re lucky, you might also find a responsible enthusiast producing these mutts for a specific purpose.
The Whippet – German Shepherd mix may be smaller and more mild-mannered than the typical purebred GSD, but they’re just as energetic. They thrive best when they have a job to do and have access to some open space. If you believe you can meet their mental and physical needs, a Whippet-GSD would definitely be a wonderful companion.