Alaskan Shepherd dogs are similar to their parents, the German Shepherd and the Alaskan Malamute, and share many common traits of both breeds. They’re a large breed of dog, loyal and courageous, and suitable for many family units – where an experienced dog owner is present!
The Alaskan Shepherd dog needs lots of mental stimulation, physical activity, and regular coat maintenance. Firm training should be in place from the very beginning, but with this breed, you really will get out what you put in, and they’re said to adore their human companions completely.
In this post, we’re going to look into everything to do with the Alaskan Shepherd, from their origin and the history we know to the parent breeds, breed care, and training advice. Hopefully, by the end, you will agree that there is little not to love about this stunning breed of dog.
What is an Alaskan Shepherd Dog
Unlike most new hybrid or designer dogs, the Alaskan Shepherd dog may have been bred as early as the 1900s. However, there isn’t much of a traceable history for the breed, and a lot of things we know today are based on presumptions and guesswork. The Alaskan Shepherd is not a recognized breed by the AKC, and it is a reasonably scarce hybrid.
The parent breeds were prevalent in the 1900s in the United States, when we think the Alaskan Shepherd was created. The breed’s purpose was for companionship, hunting, and guarding with its large stature and loyal personality making it perfect for these roles.
The German Shepherd and Alaskan Malamute share many physical characteristics, and as a result of this, the Alaskan Shepherd looks similar to both breeds. An Alaskan Shepherd dog will be longer than tall with pointed, erect ears, a dark nose, almond-shaped eyes, and a strong, muscular build. His tail is long and plumed, and his paws are large and arched.
The Alaskan Shepherd can come in various colors, typical to its parent breeds, such as; white, gray, red, blue, black, brown, silver, sable, or cream with typically darker markings on forehead and muzzle.
Alaskan Shepherd Dog Quick Facts[wpdatatable id=54]
Where is the Alaskan Shepherd From?
The exact origin of the Alaskan Sheperd, like with most designer dogs, is open to speculation and pretty much undocumented. However, it is believed that they originated sometime in the early 1900s.
Combining the Alaskan Malamute and the German Shepherd, two working dogs both known for their courage and willingness to work for man, may have seemed a natural step at the time to result in the Alaskan Shepherd Dog – a fine example of a designer dog if ever there was one.
Alaskan Shepherd Physical Appearance
Due to the parent breeds looking reasonably similar, the Alaskan Shepherd has an appearance like both dogs. He is a large, handsome dog that is sure to impress. When the adult size is reached, a fully mature male can measure up to 66cm and weigh up to 43kg, making them heavier than the typical German Shepherd.
Alaskan Shepherds have long faces with strong jaws and a broad muzzle. Their eyes are almond-shaped and can be blue, hazel, or brown. They have triangular, erect ears and a muscular, long body with solid, sturdy limbs.
The Alaskan Shepherd’s coat is straight and dense and will have the darker traditional facial markings of their parents – darker noses and foreheads to the rest of their body color. They can be more white, grey, or silver, or have a darker coat and be brown or black.
The breed is pretty far from a hypoallergenic dog and can shed heavily, making them unsuitable for owners with allergies. Their coat is medium in length and highly dense so they will require regular – even daily – grooming to keep their coat in the best condition.
Alaskan Shepherd Exercise and Training
The Alaskan Shepherd is a high-energy breed and will require lots of exercise and mental stimulation. Due to their high intelligence, physical activity is crucial to prevent any unhappy dog’s disruptive behaviors.
This breed directly descends from two hearty, working dogs so that they will be high-endurance and high-energy. The Alaskan Shepherd loves to be outside and will eagerly join you on runs, hikes, and jogs as much as you desire. The recommended amount of daily exercise for an Alaskan Shepherd is a minimum of 90 minutes a day.
As much as this breed needs heavy activity, its dense coat needs to be considered, especially if you live in a warmer climate. Items like cooling vests while out and about and a good-quality cooling mat for when you get home will significantly help this breed.
In addition to physical activity, the Alaskan Shepherd requires a lot of mental stimulation. They will benefit from training from the very beginning as this powerful breed can quickly take over if the pecking order isn’t determined from the onset. They thrive on learning tricks, commands and doing a specific job for their owner.
Although German Shepherds are great assistant dogs and have various roles within the emergency services and the military, an Alaskan Shepherd can have a role just playing hide and seek at home or even tug of war, puzzle toys are a great buy for this breed too. What the mental activity is isn’t so important. It just matters that it is there.
Alaskan Shepherd Dog Breed Health
As with any large breed of dog, the Alaskan Shepherd can be prone to muscular and skeletal issues later on in life. Other breed-related health problems are:
- Canine Hip Dysplasia Chondrodysplasia (Chd)
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Congenital Heart Defect
With a good life expectancy, the Alaskan Shepherd isn’t a breed that’s linked to a large number of health conditions. There are, however, always things you can do to increase the probability of a long, healthy life for this breed, such as regular exercise, keeping up with routine vaccinations, and a nutritional, balanced diet.
Alaskan Shepherd Breed Parents
The parents of this breed are both impressive dogs. The German Shepherd and the Alaskan Malamute are two of the hardiest, courageous and strong breeds out there.
Both parents were bred to guard, protect and hunt.
The Alaskan Shepherd has inherited the bravery, endurance, and protective instincts of their ancestors which makes them ideal guard dogs with the right amount of loyalty and affection to make them perfect for families too.
This breed will protect his master, family, and home from any potential threat. They’re loyal but often at times aloof and independently minded. They will require early socialization from being puppies to deter their natural dog and animal aggression.
Let’s look a little further into the ancestry of the Alaskan Shepherd Dog.
The German Shepherd
One of America’s most popular dog breeds, the German Shepherd was bred in the 1800s in Germany and is a direct descendant from the wild wolf – ¼ percent. The intention was to have a strong, powerful dog with a protective instinct who would respond well to clear instruction.
They’re believed to be the third most intelligent breed in the world – behind the Poodle and the Border Collie.
German Shepherds, also known as Alsations, are highly intelligent and very capable working dogs with unmatched courage and devotion. As well as being faithful companions, the German Shepherd can excel at anything he is trained to do; search and rescue, herding, assisting humans, and within the police and military service.
The Alaskan Malamute
The largest of the Arctic sled dogs, the Alaskan Malamute have a 4,000-year-old history from their origin within the Inuit Tribes of Alaska. They were bred to hunt large animals such as Polar Bears, pull sleds, and as hard-working companions for humans.
A healthy breed with an average life expectancy of 12 years. They’re an extremely affectionate dog who will adore and protect every member of the family with their life – they have a particular fondness for children. They’re easy to train and quick to learn.
Due to their high intelligence, the Alaskan Malamute needs a large amount of physical and mental activity to prevent destructive behaviors and excessive howling. They do howl at their owners as a form of communication and are a particularly vocal breed. They can be stubborn and need a firm hand and early obedience training or they’re likely to rule the roost!
Summary of the Alaskan Shepherd Dog
Despite a towering, muscular exterior, the Alaskan Shepherd dog can make an extremely affectionate, loyal, and loving family dog. They’re very protective of their owners and will guard the home instinctively.
The Alaskan Shepherd requires experienced handling and obedience training from the beginning. They are easy to train and quick to learn what is expected of them. The order of the pack needs to be established or the dog can become aloof, strong-willed, and stubborn and become a powerful force quick to take over the home.
They’re a hardy breed that isn’t susceptible to many health conditions but their coat does require regular maintenance, in the form of daily brushing, weekly deshedding, and regular bathing. Their nails should also be trimmed monthly.
A happy and healthy Alaskan Shepherd is one who is regularly exercised, with veterinarian guidelines suggesting an average of 12 miles per week for running and 90 minutes of physical exercise per day.
Mental stimulation is important for this intelligent breed, or he may excessively howl, chew and destroy the home or become aggressive. A perfect home is one with lots of room and land for him to explore in between outside exercise sessions.
If you’re prepared to take on a large, hairy, strong dog that requires a large amount of time, attention, and patience then you will be rewarded with a gentle giant companion who will love you with all that he has. This breed isn’t recommended for a first-time owner or someone who is out of the home for long periods – without suitable provisions being made.
The Alaskan Shepherd would be better suited to being the only dog in the home and has a built-in dislike of other dogs and animals, although, with early socialization and obedience training from the start, this breed could learn to tolerate another dog.
The Alaskan Shepherd is a perfect family dog who will love and protect his family.[wpdatatable id=4]
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.