You’ve probably noticed, but designer dogs are in at the moment. From the time that wolves first interacted with humans thousands of years ago, we’ve been manipulating them to suit our needs and tastes. We’ve molded their personalities and shapes, honed their skills, and used their amazing abilities to help us in hundreds of different ways.
Traditionally, breeders have settled on certain shapes, which have become accepted as the dog breeds we know and love.
However, in recent times, it has become the norm to break these well-established molds and produce hybrids or mixed breeds.
The Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix is just one out of hundreds that have arisen in recent years. Breeders have taken the courageous, confident German Shepherd (also known as the GSD) and crossed it with the faithful, alert Shiba Inu from Japan to create a unique hybrid.
The GSD is a firm favorite, coming in at number two in the list of America’s favorite dogs. The Shiba Inu has risen in popularity, but it isn’t as well-loved as the GSD, reaching number 45 in 2015.
This could be because the first Shiba Inu puppies in the USA were only produced in 1979, so they’ve taken some time to become better-known. Also, there’s an awful lot of competition from other breeds out there!
So, what is the hybrid of these two breeds like? Join us as we find out all about these unusual and fascinating dogs.
What Does A Shiba Shepherd Look Like?
Photo from: @dogsoftsawwassen
Is it a Shiba Shepherd or a Shepherd Inu? There isn’t an official name yet because they’re so new!
This should serve as a warning; most designer breeds are so new to the scene that we don’t have a lot of information as to how they might turn out.
Even so, we can see from examples so far that the Shepherd Inu pups inherit the beautiful features that make their parents so appealing. They keep the long, pointed snout and upright triangular ears. They have a distinctly fox-like appearance, often with a tan or reddish coat and black markings on their faces and bodies.
These dogs are muscular, athletic, and well-proportioned, and they are built for strength and stamina. They’ll need a lot of exercise to keep them fit and healthy, so be prepared.
They have a double coat that is either short or medium length. The outer coat is coarse, with a thick undercoat that blows twice annually in spring and fall. You’ll need to brush this regularly to keep it under control!
Shiba Inu German Shepherd Mix Size
How big will your Shiba Inu German Shepherd be? There’s quite a size difference between the GSD and the Shiba Inu, so let’s see how this reflects on the offspring of the two breeds:
|German Shepherd||22—26 inches||49—88 pounds|
|Shiba Inu||13.5—16.5 inches||17—23 pounds|
|Shepherd Inu||19 to 22 inches||40—60 pounds|
As you can see, the hybrid is somewhere between the two, just as you might expect. The females, as usual, are on the smaller end of the scale.
We’ve picked on the poor Shiba Inu with this question about aggression as it’s one that people often ask.
So, why are Shiba Inus so aggressive?
The trouble with the word ‘aggression’, particularly pertaining to dogs, is that it is open to interpretation. Any dog, no matter its breed, can be aggressive under the right (or wrong!) conditions.
A barking dog may not be displaying aggression. A snarling dog might not necessarily be an aggressive one. Even a dog that nips at your heels or bites your hand might not be aggressive. It all depends on the circumstances, and whether it’s an isolated event or a common occurrence.
Dogs communicate with humans in different ways. They can’t tell us what they’re thinking or feeling in words. If they’re scared, anxious, fearful, nervous, feel threatened, or are in pain, any dog has the potential to act aggressively.
Of course, the history of the breed has some bearing. Dogs that were originally bred for hunting or fighting will retain some of those instincts. The Shiba Inu is a Japanese hunting dog with a high prey drive. This can be an issue with them today as Shiba Inus will chase small animals if you let them off their leash in an open, unconfined area.
Let’s get this out there: Shiba Inus have been known to chase and kill cats and other small pets. Does this make them aggressive?
Well, the evidence seems to be mounting to suggest that they might be. Many breeders won’t recommend this breed to people with small kids. They have sharp teeth and are infamous for guarding their food or toys jealously and for being territorial (the Shiba Inu, that is, not the kids!).
Try to take something away from a Shiba Inu and you’ll likely get bitten.
Shiba Inus are also pretty aloof. Though they love human company, they aren’t a breed that craves physical contact, so they aren’t likely to enjoy being hugged or pulled about by small children.
They are happy enough just to be in the room with you. But, what’s the first thing a small child will do when it sees a fluffy dog? Yes, it’ll toddle towards them with open arms expecting to be welcomed.
In defense of this breed, it has to be said that humans are part of the problem. Before getting any dog, you must do your research (which might be exactly what you’re doing now!), and you have to be prepared to do what it takes to overcome any problems.
This breed is notoriously stubborn, and they can be difficult to train. Many Shiba Inu owners find this too much of a challenge and give up, resulting in a dog that does its own thing.
Add boredom and a lack of exercise into this and you have a recipe for an aggressive dog. With the right training and socialization, coupled with mental stimulation and plenty of physical activity, you can all but eliminate aggressive behavior.
Why are Shiba Inus so aggressive? To be fair, not all of them are. And, most of those that are aggressive have been failed by their owners.
How does this relate to our feature on the Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix? Well, it’s important to know what traits might be passed on from the parent breeds to the pups as well as to understand your own responsibilities. With this in mind, we’ll move onto the next heading…
Are German Shepherds Aggressive?
Feels like Déjà vu, doesn’t it?
We could recycle a lot of what we’ve said about the Shiba Inu. However, the GSD has its own history with regard to aggression. They have traditionally been used as police dogs because of their fearless nature and intelligence. They make excellent guard dogs, and they are often trained to be intimidating.
These are large and powerful dogs, with one of the strongest bites of all dog breeds. They have been branded as one of the most dangerous dogs based on the frequency of biting and bite severity.
But, is this a fair assessment? Recent studies show that other breeds (such as the Labrador or Chihuahua) are far more likely to attack or bite people, whether it is their owner or strangers, than the GSD.
Once again, we have to look at all the facts. German Shepherds are very popular and are used for many different roles. Some of the statistics regarding dog bites that need medical attention could relate to police or security dog incidents. And, we have to bear in mind that there are more German Shepherds around than many other breeds because they are so popular. This means that the chances of them being included in any statistical studies will increase.
Like any breed, the GSD can be aggressive, but it can also be a loving, loyal, and safe member of the family. It will dote on any young children and be very protective over them. It all comes down to you and how you build your relationship with your dog.
All of the same things apply here as with the Shiba Inu; early training and socialization, perseverance, and tenacity. These are all key to helping your dog behave around strangers and other dogs or animals.
So, what can we expect from the Shiba Shepherd?
Shiba Inu German Shepherd Mix: Temperament
Photo from: @mametokuma
The first thing to say is that all the evidence suggests that the Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix is a high-energy dog. If you do manage to get one for yourself, then be prepared for a lot of walks!
This is important as they need at least 75 minutes of daily exercise.
They’re also extremely smart, so they need mental stimulation as well as exercise. Neglecting their needs is a recipe for disaster. A bored dog with excess energy levels will resort to chewing up your home, especially if left alone.
If they have access to a yard or garden, this might alleviate the problem, although you might find that they’ll start digging everywhere and destroying your lawn or flowerbeds. Your dog could even develop behavioral problems, such as excessive barking and aggressiveness.
All of this is because both the Shiba Inu and the GSD were originally created to be working dogs (the AKC now lists the Shiba Inu as a non-sporting dog).
Admittedly, the Shiba Inu isn’t usually as destructive as some other dog breeds, but the combination of two intelligent, high-energy dogs seems to have resulted in a hybrid that becomes seriously frustrated when they’re not active and being challenged physically and mentally.
Other than this, the Shepherd Inu is a loyal companion that loves to protect you and your home. They probably won’t be overly affectionate, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t adore you. Some individual dogs may be more open to petting than others, but it’s likely that they’ll just be happy with your company rather than always seeking affection and attention.
There’s also a very good chance that they won’t welcome strangers into your home. At the very least, they’ll give them a cool reception. At worst, they might try to prevent them from coming in.
We mentioned the high prey drive earlier, and this is definitely something to be aware of.
In addition, you should also watch for signs of herding. Working dogs were often used for this purpose, and the instinct is deep within them. They’ll round up small children, pets, slow-moving elderly humans, or anything they set their minds to.
While this isn’t a problem in itself, it is usually accompanied by nipping. When herding livestock, the dogs would nip at the animals’ heels to bring them in line or make them move faster. And, they’ll do the same to whoever or whatever they decide to round up, children included.
These instincts can be kept under control through obedience training sessions and socialization. Getting your pup used to the presence of other dogs, animals, and people can go a very long way to reducing their natural inclinations. It takes the stress and anxiety out of the situation, and it helps the pup to relax.
Obedience training is absolutely essential, and you must persevere if you want this to work. These dogs have to understand that you are the alpha in this relationship, or they will assume this role themselves. Once they get this and have had proper training, it will be much easier to control any unwanted behavior.
You still need to remain vigilant, especially if you let your dog off its leash!
Shiba Inu German Shepherd Mix: Price
Photo from: @pattiesworld___
The Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix is pretty rare, which will certainly affect the price. However, don’t be duped by unscrupulous breeders who play on this in order to push their prices for hybrid dogs sky high.
Because of their scarcity, it’s not easy to find an average price for these dogs. Going on the information available, as well as checking the prices of the parent breeds, we can tentatively suggest a price range of between $1,000 and $2,500.
Prices will vary depending on the breeder and whether this hybrid dog is in demand in your local area. This is the case with purebred dogs, too, but breeders have some justification for charging higher prices as many will have spent decades building their reputation, refining their breeding programs, and producing pure bloodlines.
Most mixed-breed designer dogs are not accepted as official breeds by organizations such as the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Therefore, anyone breeding the Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix has little justification for charging too much for their dogs as they are not purebred and won’t be able to boast a strong bloodline.
However, breeding is an expensive process! The majority of reputable breeders often incur a loss. The trick is to find a breeder who you trust.
Shiba Inu German Shepherd Mix: Health Issues
Photo from: @ohsnapsjanie
As you would expect, these dogs might suffer from the same health problems as the parent breeds. Once again, it’s difficult to say exactly which ones would be the most likely as mixed-breed dogs can often benefit from the widened gene pool and have breed vigor.
However, the breeding of purebred dogs is regulated by kennel clubs (such as the AKC) to ensure that strict standards are kept. The rising popularity of designer dogs has led to more breeders experimenting with different breeds, not always with much thought for the possible health concerns.
Here are some of the possible health issues that might affect the Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix:
• Elbow/Hip dysplasia – Many different dog breeds are prone to this condition, which is the result of the hip or elbow joint not forming properly as the pup develops. The bones in the joint rub together painfully as the dog moves, causing inflammation that can lead to arthritis.
• Glaucoma – Fluids in the eye are not able to drain away properly, resulting in a build-up of pressure in the eyeball. This often leads to blindness if not treated.
• Patellar luxation – The dog’s kneecap sits in a groove in the leg bone. Sometimes, this groove is too shallow, so the patella slips out of place, causing pain and lameness.
• Allergies – Many dogs suffer from allergies related to their food, or environmental allergens, such as pollen or mold spores. The symptoms are usually seen on the skin as a rash or dry, itchy patches.
• Eye problems – Aside from glaucoma, Shepherd Inus might develop cataracts.
• Degenerative myelopathy – A disease of the spinal cord that causes hind limb weakness, and eventually, paralysis. This usually affects dogs between 8 and 14 years of age.
• Hemophilia – A blood coagulation deficiency that is more often seen in purebred dogs (and it affects males more than females). Depending on the severity, a dog can suffer from spontaneous bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth, and at trauma sites in cases of injury. Internal bleeding in the chest cavity can also occur, which can be fatal if not detected.
• Panosteitis – Inflammation of the bone marrow, often found in German Shepherds, leading to pain and lameness.
Remember, these are possible health issues, and there’s no reason to think that your Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix will fall victim to any of them. It just pays to be aware of these, just in case!
The Shiba Inu is considered a very healthy breed, although the German Shepherd dog does have its fair share of health conditions. In fact, most of these listed here are connected with the GSD rather than the Shiba Inu.
The best thing you can do for your dog is to check it thoroughly yourself (grooming time is a good opportunity) and take it to the vet at least twice a year for a routine health check.
To get the best possible start, choose your breeder carefully!
Shiba Inu German Shepherd Mix: Lifespan
Photo from: @south__paw__opie
The Shiba Inu enjoys an average lifespan of between 13 and 16 years, while the German Shepherd is between 9 and 13 years.
This highlights the fact that Shiba Inus are the healthier of the two breeds as they have a higher life expectancy than the GSD. With this in mind, you’d expect to find that the Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix would fall somewhere in the higher end, living for at least 13 to 15 years, possibly longer.
In fact, the figures we have at the moment suggest that their lifespan is between 7 and 15 years! This lower figure will set alarm bells ringing for most dog owners and anyone considering getting one of these lovely pooches.
Nobody really wants to invest all that love, care, and devotion into a dog that you expect to be with you for fifteen years, only for it to cross the rainbow bridge in half that time.
Of course, it does happen. Tragically, some of our beloved dogs leave us unexpectedly despite our best efforts. But, most of the time, for medium-sized and small dogs, we expect them to be with us for well over a decade.
So, what is responsible for this anomaly?
The Shepherd Inu isn’t a giant dog as we’ve seen above in the section on size. Very large dogs generally don’t live as long as small dogs, so you could understand it if the Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix was the same size as a Great Dane (lifespan 8 to 10 years).
One possible reason is that this breed is just too new to provide reliable figures on longevity. It could very well be that out of a few Shepherd Inus recorded, a handful of them succumbed to sickness or was even met with an unknown end (accidental poisoning, severe allergic reaction, road traffic collision, etc.) at a young age. This would skew the average figures downwards, giving us the impression that they may not live longer than seven years.
However, this is just a theory. The only way to be certain is to encourage better recording of the data, and to wait a few years until more information is available.
Designer Dogs: Right Or Wrong?
Photo from: @ohsnapsjanie
Before we end, we should say a few words about designer dogs. The Shiba Inu and the German Shepherd have been mixed with other breeds as diverse as the Poodle, the Golden Retriever, the Corgi, the Husky, the Border Collie, the Labrador, the Rottweiler, and even the Pomeranian and Chihuahua!
It might be popular, but is it right? There are concerns about the results of some of these hybrids as some breeders are rushing to produce new breeds without giving thought to the consequences.
Breed standards are set in place to protect the breed and (hopefully) produce healthy dogs. Certain colors are not accepted as it is believed by some experts that the genes that create them can be responsible for specific health problems and even certain behavioral traits.
This is the case with sable (a pattern on the coat where hairs are lighter at the root than at the tip) in German Shepherds, which is thought to increase the chances of ill-health. Blue and liver-colored dogs are also thought to carry flawed genes, and they are excluded from breed standards for this reason.
Summing Up The Shepherd Inu
Photo from: @south__paw__opie
Anyone who has one will swear that they’re the best dog ever. But, that’s only to be expected as we all feel fiercely loyal to our own pooches.
However, it has to be said that the Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix is not for everyone. You must have an assertive nature and be able to keep the upper hand at all times. You must be dedicated to obedience training and see it through to the end. It is essential that you ensure that your dog gets the exercise and mental stimulation it needs and deserves.
For these reasons, most breeders will not recommend this breed to first-time dog owners. It takes an experienced hand to keep these dogs in check.
That’s not to say that they are anything but beautiful and special animals. Owning one will be very rewarding for the right person. You’ll have the best of both breeds: courage, fearlessness, watchfulness, alertness (they make excellent watchdogs!), faithfulness, and never-ending loyalty.