The German Shepherd is one of the most intelligent and hard working dog breeds. As such it’s also one of the most popular. By contrast, the Whippet probably isn’t classed as the smartest dog in the pack… and as anyone who owns a Whippet knows, hard working is not the first description that comes to mind!
So what happens when these two breeds combine?
In this post I’m providing an overview of the Whippet German Shepherd mix. I’ll be looking at what this cross bred dog is like and what you might expect as a potential “German Whippet” owner.
I’ll be looking at the following areas…
Table of Contents
- A Note on Mixed Breed Dogs
- Whippet German Shepherd Mix Appearance
- Exercise & Care
- Whippet German Shepherd Mix Images from Instagram
A Note on Mixed Breed Dogs
There are no iron clad absolutes when it comes to cross bred dogs. Many of the characteristics that pass on to mixed breed puppies can be dominated by one of the parents only. Hence a Whippet German Shepherd puppy might look more like a Whippet than a German Shepherd.
In this post, I’m focusing on the most likely result of crossing these two breeds… but please remember that the characteristics of any mixed dog breeds can vary considerably.
Whippet German Shepherd Mix Appearance
Of all the Whippet mixes the German Whippet is one of the largest. It may have a height ranging from 20″ to 24″ (51cm to 61cm) and a weight between 35lbs to 80lbs (15.8kg to 36kg). Consequently, a Whippet German Shepherd mix will likely be a medium to large dog.
Whippets and German Shepherds are muscular dogs, but where the Whippet is lean, the Shepherd is stockier. Perhaps a mix of the two breeds will be somewhere in between.
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German Shepherds have a double coat of thick outer fur covering a soft undercoat, where Whippets have a single coat. German Whippets then will tend to have a thicker coat than its whippet parent that will require regular grooming.
Find out how to groom a Whippet
It may well be that the German Shepherd’s most common coat colour of black and tan passes into the puppy mix, but of course this isn’t guaranteed. German Shepherds can also be coloured black, red and sable and these colours may also pass on to a mix.
Purebred Whippets too have a range of coloration, such as brown, black, blue and white. They can also have a combination of colours as well as a variety of markings. Hence the colours of and markings of German Whippets might be equally varied.
German Whippet Temperament
If you’ve read my introduction to the Whippet dog breed, you’ll know the Whippet is a calm and loving companion. They can be a little highly strung given their strong prey drive, just like other members of the sighthound family. They are loving with their families and those they know but they can be a little independent and cautious with those they don’t know.
German Shepherds also have a strong prey drive, so it’s more than likely that German Whippets will retain this. Additionally, German Shepherds are intelligent, loyal, fearless and confident.
Given the temperament of its parent breeds, a Whippet German Shepherd mix will likely be intelligent, confident, loving and loyal to it’s family. They might also be very protective of their homes, as German Shepherds are.
As with all dog breeds, German Whippets will benefit from early training, especially if you have you have children. Both Whippets and German Shepherds are know to be great family dogs, but puppy and obedience training will be essential to curb undesirable behaviours.
Socialisation too will be important, since any dog must learn how to play nicely with other dogs they’re likely meet on walks.
Find out about how to socialise Whippets.
German Whippet Health
As I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s very difficult to predict the health issues from which a mixed breed dog might suffer.
Some people argue that mixes are generally more healthy and hardy than purebred dogs and that they’re less prone to breed-specific conditions. Others disagree and suggest that unregulated designer dog breeding results in a greater chance that mixed breeds will be prone to more illness rather than less.
For the purposes of this post, I’m only going to comment upon the health issues commonly associated with the Whippet and German Shepherd breeds.
- Canine Hemangiosarcoma
- Orthopaedic Injuries
- Canine von Willebrand’s Disease
- Anaesthesia Sensitivity
- Mitral Valve Disease
Find out about more about Whippet health problems.
Please Note: This is not an exhaustive list of all the health conditions that Whippets and German Shepherds might suffer.
Whippet German Shepherd Mix Exercise & Care
As with all dogs, exercise is extremely important. A dog that doesn’t get the exercise it needs is more likely to become overweight and suffer a number of health problems as a consequence.
Exercise also makes it less likely that your dog will develop undesirable behavioural problems and destructive tendencies.
Whippets and German Shepherds are athletic breeds and both require the right amount of exercise to remain emotionally happy and physically healthy. It’s likely that a Whippet German Shepherd mix will need an hour of off the leash exercise every day. This might include running with other dogs, chasing toys and simply sniffing around.
Given that both parent breeds have a strong prey drive, German Whippets should remain on a leash if not in a safe enclosed area. Whippets especially are so excited by the prospect of chasing something that catches their eye they simply can’t resist the chase. Unleashed this can be dangerous, since they may run on to a road.
Obedience training will probably help to curb this to a degree, especially given the intelligence of German Shepherds, but be under no illusion that the urge to chase can be very strong.
I’ve touched upon grooming earlier. However, it’s likely that a German Shepherd Whippet cross will need more regular grooming than a purebred Whippet: it’s coat will very probably be thicker and more prone to shed.
You may find you need to groom a Whippet German Shepherd mix 1 or 2 times each week with bathing too featuring more frequently.
Whippet German Shepherd Mix Images from Instagram
The Whippet German Shepherd is one of the larger Whippet mixes. It’s likely to be an intelligent, courageous and loyal dog that’s protective of its family, but it will probably require training.
Given the nature of its Whippet / German Shepherd parentage, it will require daily exercise of up to an hour each day. It will also required mental stimulation and play on top of this to ensure it remains happy and fulfilled.
Do you own a Whippet German Shepherd mix? I’d love to hear about your experiences and / or advice for potential German Whippet owners. Please leave a comment or question below.