Owning an Alaskan Shepherd dog pros and cons
Alaskan Shepherd dogs were developed by crossing a Malamute dog with German Shepherd and the offspring of these two strong working breeds inherits many positive qualities such as the intense working drive, protectiveness, impressive size and the attributes of dogs that are well adopted for a life in the colder climate. While there are many advantages to owning an Alaskan Shepherd, some of the challenges associated with Alaskan Malamute and German Shepherd mix dogs make this hybrid dog very challenging and not suitable for many people to own. What are the pros and cons of owning an Alaskan Shepherd dog?
Let's first look at the challenges of owning an Alaskan Shepherd. Alaskan Shepherds are large in size and in combination with their high energy the dog is not suitable for apartment living. Alaskan Shepherds are very specific in their needs when it comes to living conditions. If you are thinking about getting an Alaskan Shepherd, ask yourself these questions. Do I have a large fenced yard where the Alaskan Shepherd can run free and get enough exercise during the day? Alaskan Shepherds prefer to live in the rural area where finding plenty of outdoor space to exercise a large dog is not an issue. Can you spend hours every day with your dog doing different activities where the dog can actively be involved as this working dog needs to have a purposeful life where he is not just waiting around to get a nice walk. Alaskan Shepherds need a job to do during the day to stay mentally and physically active and to live a happy life that these intelligent dogs deserve.
If you are looking for a family pet to cuddle on the couch with, Alaskan Shepherd is not the right dog for you. Owners of this energetic dog need a lot of energy to spend on not only exercising the dog, but also on taking good care of the German Shepherd and Malamute cross dog's abundant coat - if your dog lives indoors then brushing the dog daily is not an option, but rather a necessity. One of the cons to owing an Alaskan Shepherd is that this dog sheds a lot, especially during the spring and fall. Don't even think about brushing your dog indoors - take the Alaskan Shepherd outdoors and be prepared with a good deshedding tool such as the Hertzko Deshedding brush or FURminator for large breeds to remove all the shedded undercoat and any shedded hair from the dog's luxurious fur. You will be glad that you took the dog outdoors to brush because there will be so much hair flying around as you are brushing your dog, that cleaning up all this mess indoors would be a monumental job even for a very powerful vacuum cleaner.
Besides abundant shedding and very high energy, there are other challenges associated with owning an Alaskan Shepherd. Not all Alaskan Shepherds inherit the same willingness to learn new commands as German Shepherds - some can be stubborn and not interested in following your commands. Independent thinkers that have Alaskan Malamute's genetics that carried into the Alaskan Shepherd's temperament may be easy to spot - the dog is not into pleasing you and there's no interest in following commands - he'd rather do something else than get obedience training that is truly necessary for this large dog. Since it is difficult to predict a hybrid dog's temperament and trainability levels, assume that his genetics may come from either of the two breeds and be prepared for difficulties during training if one of the parent breeds is independent minded - like the Malamute dog. For a seasoned dog owner who worked with large and dominant breeds in the past, training an Alaskan Malamute may not be a problem, but for someone who is not experienced in obedience training and has little knowledge of how to approach this important aspect of raising an Alaskan Shepherd - training the dog can prove to be a complicated matter. That is just another reason why Alaskan Shepherds are not for everyone - only well seasoned dog owners should consider this hybrid dog.
Another con to owning an Alaskan Shepherd is that the Alaskan Malamute German Shepherd mix puppy can be almost as demanding in terms of care and attention as a newborn human baby. Not only do you need to spend most of your time housetraining your new addition to the family, but socializing the dog during his early months of life is another time-consuming task that only people who have all day long to dedicate to their dog can consider undertaking. Socializing an Alaskan Shepherd is of key importance if you want to raise a well behaved dog that is comfortable in different situations that a dog and his owner may encounter together on their life journey. If you don't socialize your pup, be prepared to deal with an overprotective dog that may be very suspicious of strangers and could even be dangerous around other unfamiliar people or dogs. The strength and size of a full grown Alaskan Shepherd require that the dog should be properly trained and socialized, otherwise the owner of this breed may be liable for any troubles that may occur.
Large dogs such as the Alaskan Shepherd can be more expensive to care for, to groom, to feed and to travel with. Additional expenses associated with owning an Alaskan Shepherd make this breed not suitable for people with limited financial means, which is yet another con to owning this dog.
Are Alaskan Shepherds good family dogs? That depends on case by case scenario. For example, families with young children are not advised to get a large and demanding dog such as the Alaskan Shepherd mainly because this dog requires a lot of dedication and time to care for that families with small kids often do not have. Also, Alaskan Shepherds may not be ideal pets for older people because they are large in size and require a lot of exercise during the day - not all seniors are willing to spend most of the day just walking the dog. Also people with mobility issues or with balance problems may not be able to walk the dog as the strong animal may be uncomfortable to control during walking and may be risky for someone who is not physically able to control the dog.
People who are considering getting a large dog such as the Alaskan Shepherd may have additional expenses associated with dog care in case the family goes for vacation or the owner needs to take a business trip. Finding a reliable dog boarding facility where your pet can be properly cared for when you are away may be necessary.
While we considered many challenges to owning an Alaskan Shepherd, there are many positive qualities about these dogs that make them attractive to experienced dog owners who truly understand what it takes to properly care and train this dog. Alaskan Shepherds are loyal and intelligent companions that are capable of succeeding in many important jobs - search and rescue missions in extremely cold weather conditions, for example.
Alaskan Shepherd health problems
Many crossbreeds are known to inherit genetic disorders from their parents. Although the breeding of the German Shepherd and the Alaskan Malamute gave rise to a much healthier dog than the parents. However, The Alaskan Shepherd still has a potential risk of suffering from the following health issues:
Congenital Heart Defect
Canine Hip Dysplasia
More, the Alaskan Shepherd still gets affected by common dog diseases such as allergies, dental issues, eye and ear infections which still require owner's and veteriarian's attention. Such infections can be treated by a veterinarian. However, it is important to take the dog for regular checkups for the prevention of foreseeable diseases and to just ensure that it has a clean bill of health.
Alaskan Shepherd information
Pros and cons of owning an Alaskan Malamute
Pros and cons of owning a German Shepherd