The Alaskan Shepherd is a popular crossbreed amongst large dog owners thanks to its impressive parent breeds, the Alaskan Malamute and the German Shepherd. They are a fiercely powerful dog with a working history, but they are also incredibly friendly and loyal to their owners.
Their stubborn personalities can make them sometimes difficult to handle but owners of Alaskan Shepherds will be rewarded with a lifetime of love and companionship.
Considering adopting an Alaskan Shepherd? Keeping reading for our guide on everything you need to know about the wonderful breed.
In a hurry? Here’s a quick roundup of everything you need to know about the Alaskan Shepherd.
Average Lifespan: 10-13 years
Average Heights: 21-25 inches
Average Weight: 60-130lbs
Coat Appearance: Dense, thick, medium length and brown/grey in colour
Eye Colour: Brown (most common), hazel, blue
Activity Level: Very High
Grooming Frequency: Weekly
Typical Temperament: Loyal, stubborn, intelligent, affectionate, independent
New Owner Friendly: No
ALASKAN SHEPHERD APPEARANCE
The Alaskan Malamute and German Shepherd are generally very similar in size and build so it’s unsurprising that the Alaskan Shepherd looks like both parent breeds. They will have a large, muscular build with pointed ears and a long, plumed tail that curls upwards.
Their eyes will be almond-shaped and usually brown, although they can have hazel or blue eyes depending on their parents.
Male Average Size: Height = 23 – 25 inches, Weight = 70 – 130lbs
Female Average Size: Height = 21 – 24 inches, Weight = 60 – 120lbs
What is harder to pre-determine is the markings and colourings that an Alaskan Shepherd’s coat will have. The colour of their coat can vary greatly between two different dogs with some appearing greyer like an Alaskan Malamute and having browns and reds like the German Shepherd.
Regardless of the colouring, their coat will be very dense. Their fur is usually quite thick and straight, taking after their parent breeds, and will be medium to long in length.
ALASKAN SHEPHERD GROOMING
Much like both parent breeds, Alaskan Shepherds need regular grooming to keep their coats looking healthy and in good condition. They have a very dense double coat that sheds heavily, especially when they are blowing their coat which usually happens once or twice a year.
As a result, Alaskan Shepherds will need a grooming session at least once a week to remove loose hairs and keep their coat looking shiny and healthy. Daily or twice-daily grooming will be necessary during coat blowing season.
We recommend prospective owners to invest in a good deshedder tool, along with a slicker brush and a pin brush in order to be well equipped for grooming.
Alaskan Shepherds only need bathing with shampoo occasionally, for example once a month, as their double coat is designed to stay naturally clean. In between baths, their undercoats should be checked for any debris that may have gathered whilst outside.
Alaskan Shepherds are not a hypoallergenic breed and therefore, they are not suitable for owners with allergies. As with all dogs, their nails will need to be trimmed regularly and their teeth should be kept clean with dental chews or otherwise.
ALASKAN SHEPHERD TEMPERAMENT
The Alaskan Shepherd is a loyal and affectionate breed. They are known for becoming attached to their owners, viewing them as the ‘pack leader’ of the home. They are very intelligent dogs and benefit from being trained to learn commands and tricks.
Their intelligence does mean that they can become restless and bored if they are not given stimulation, which can sometimes lead to anxiety and destructive behaviours such as chewing.
Much like the Alaskan Malamute, the Alaskan Shepherd is a stubborn breed and they enjoy their independence just as much as they enjoy company.
They will happily walk all over their owners if they are allowed to and owners need to be as strong-willed as their dogs to prevent any destructive or dominant behaviours from developing. For that reason, we do not recommend the Alaskan Shepherd to first-time dog owners.
Whilst Alaskan Shepherds are very friendly towards humans, they can be aggressive to other dogs and pets within the home. They should be socialised with other dogs at a young age to prevent aggression in later life.
The breed is suitable to live with children, but they should always be supervised when around young children due to their large size and build.
ALASKAN SHEPHERD HEALTH
Note: If you have any health concerns about your dog, please speak to a registered vet.
The expected lifespan of an Alaskan Shepherd is 10 to 13 years.
As with all dog breeds, the Alaskan Shepherd is prone to certain health problems in their lives. The main health concerns to look out for are:
Obesity – Both the Alaskan Malamute and German Shepherd are prone to obesity caused by overeating.
Canine Hip Dysplasia – A skeletal condition that’s common in large dog breeds and causes the hip joint to deteriorate over time.
Chondrodysplasia – an abnormal growth of cartilage that results in disproportionate dwarfism, sometimes seen in the Alaskan malamute.
Degenerative Myelopathy – a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs that can eventually result in the inability to move the hind legs, more commonly seen in the German Shepherd.
These are all typical concerns of large dog breeds. Don’t be put off though, every dog breed has some major health concern that they are prone to, especially as they get older. There is no guarantee an Alaskan Shepherd will get these problems, but it is a good idea to be aware of them if you’re considering adopting the breed.
As the owner of an Alaskan Shepherd, there are several health tests you can ask for at the vet to ensure their health is on the right track. Booking them in for these tests on regular occasions (once yearly for example) can help to identify any of the above-mentioned health problems early.
The recommended health tests for an Alaskan Shepherd are:
- Elbow and hip evaluation
- Cardiac examination
- DNA test for von Willebrand disease
- Ophthalmologist evaluation
If you are adopting an Alaskan Shepherd puppy, make sure you have them vaccinated against preventable diseases and regularly worm and flea them.
ALASKAN SHEPHERD EXERCISE NEEDS
Both the Alaskan Malamute and the German Shepherd were bred to be working dogs and as a result, require a lot of daily exercise to keep them occupied. It should be no surprise, therefore, that the Alaskan Shepherd is also a high energy and high endurance breed.
The average Alaskan Shepherd will need around 60 minutes of activity a day but this will typically decrease with age.
Alaskan Shepherds love the outdoors so having a large yard for them to run around is essential. They should also ideally live somewhere close by to parks or long walking trails to help fulfil their daily exercise needs.
As previously mentioned, Alaskan Shepherds are highly intelligent breeds and they need plenty of ways to keep their mind stimulated throughout the day to prevent them from getting bored. This can be in the form of teaching commands or through playing with toys.
Before engaging in rigorous activity with an Alaskan Shepherd, you should always consider the current climate. This is because their thick double coats can cause them to overheat quickly if they exercise when it is too hot outside.
By now, you should know everything you need to know about the wonderful Alaskan Malamute German Shepherd mix. If you still have any questions though, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.
Own an Alaskan Shepherd? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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