The Australian Shepherd Husky Mix | Ausky Breed Profile
This article will explore a popular designer breed, the Ausky.
This cross between the Siberian Husky and Australian Shepherd offers a lot of potential, but isn’t a good fit for everyone. We will give you all the information you need to decide if this cross is the right dog for you.
Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa | Doctor Of Veterinary Medicine
Sara is Wileypup’s Veterinarian Adviser and helped compose this article to ensure the information is up to date and accurate. For more information on Sara click here
First, we will look at this interesting hybrid dog in some detail so that you might know what to expect.
Of course, characteristics that are stable in pure bred canines are often lost to chance in hybrids. In addition, individual dogs always have their own personality so taking the good with the bad is par for the course with any new addition to the family.
For more in depth information on the parent breeds, read on!
We will cover the history as well as a detailed overview of common characteristics to give you a better idea of what to expect from an Aussie and Husky cross.
Finally, stay tuned or jump to the end of this article to find out for sure if the Husky Australian Shepherd mix is right for you and your family with our detailed guide giving expert advice on who this adorable mix would work best with, and who might be better served by looking elsewhere.
Australian Shepherd Husky Mix | The Ausky
Given that the two parent breeds are known to be extremely intelligent, tenacious and playful – you can expect your Ausky to have all of those qualities in spades.
The good news is, these mischievous canines are likely to feed off of your laughter and become the “clown” of the family in short order.
You can expect them to be easy to train as long as you keep things challenging and interesting. Fun tricks? This is the perfect pup!
The bad news is that if allowed to get bored or if left alone too often, you can expect trouble in the form of destructive behavior, attempts at escape, and even obnoxious and pushy behaviors that border on aggressive tendencies.
Both of the parent breeds have high mental and physical stimulation needs that must be met in order to have a balanced member of the family.
Neither of the parent breeds are recommended for urban living unless you have quick and regular access to open outdoor spaces or plan to participate regularly in dog sports such as flyball or agility.
Walking around in the neighborhood on a leash won’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the physical demands of these athletic pooches.
Both breeds are loyal, and as long as they are provided with good leadership, are likely to bring a lot of personality to the table.
Family friendly, these dogs are likely to be good with children. If socialized early, they are likely to get along with other canines as well.
A good estimate of size for the Australian Shepherd and Husky hybrid is between 18-23” at the whithers, and between 50-65 pounds.
Of course, you will get a better sense of size by looking at the actual parents of your pup, and averaging their weight and height.
Both breeds are absolutely built for endurance.
Despite their short stature, an Ausky is likely to be the kind of companion that will tirelessly keep you company if you enjoy outdoor adventure.
Coat and Appearance
It is hard to predict the color of the offspring of these breeds since the two couldn’t be more different looking in terms of the overall appearance and coloration variety.
Reds, browns, black, grey and white are the palate, but the pattern can vary anywhere from merle, solid to the wolf-like coloration of the Husky.
One thing you can count on, however, is a thick double coat that will shed in the Spring, and again in the Fall.
You may find yourself grooming vigorously during the seasonal molts, but likely experience less maintenance the rest of the year.
Health and Life Expectancy
Both parent breeds have an average life expectancy between 11-14 years, which is also fairly typical for medium sized dogs in general. No surprises there.
However, one word of caution to be aware of is that since both parent breeds carry the gene for heterochromatic (different color) eyes, they are prone to eye problems like glaucoma and cataracts. Epilepsy is another shared congenital issue.
Make sure your breeder has been screening for both before purchasing a puppy.
Pros/Cons of the Australian Shepherd and Siberian Husky Hybrid
Keeping in mind that all individual dogs are different, here are some pros and cons based on the relatively predictable shared qualities of the parent breeds:
For more Australian Shepherd & Husky Mixes check out these articles:
Australian Shepherd | Ausky Parent Breed Profile
The history of this hardworking breed includes a long and winding road across continents, with few records kept along the way to know for sure the ancestral roots of the breed.
What is understood with some clarity is that the first known parents of the breed were kept by shepherds in the Basque region of Western Europe where the Pyrenean Shepherd reigned supreme.
By selecting the best herding dogs over the course of hundreds of generations, these dogs traveled with the Basque shepherds as they emigrated to Australia in the early 1800’s. During their time down-under, the dogs were bred with several of the herding dogs common to that region.
Although the exact breeds are unknown, it is likely that Border Collies and Collies were among the stock used to further improve the breed during their short stay on this southern continent.
Despite their name, Australian Shepherds were further refined only after the same Basque herders came to California in the early 1840’s after only a brief stay in Australia.
They quickly became the herding dog of choice among ranchers in the American West and across the Midwest where they were further developed for their strong working abilities.
The breed we have come to know today is largely a result of American breeding efforts.
The arid climate with hot and cold temperature extremes, long tracts of expansive grazing terrain, and the constant danger of predation made unique circumstances for Aussies.
Breeding selection favored resilient, intelligent, protective and even slightly aggressive animals capable of herding in such a rouged environment.
Today the breed remains popular for ranchers the world over.
In addition, due to their high intelligence, trainability, and great looks, this breed has become a popular choice for use as therapy dogs, athletic competition, herding trials, drug sniffing, service dogs as well as search and rescue.
This extremely intelligent dog also has high energy and drive.
Left to become bored, Aussies are known to become neurotic and even aggressive. Although all Aussies are talkative, if they are neglected their barking can become incessant.
They simply must be given adequate exercise, consistent training, and early socialization with both people and other dogs.
Provided their needs for mental and physical stimulation are met, this is a breed that will simply never stop trying until they get the job done.
They are extremely easy to train with positive reinforcement based methods.
Persistent and strong willed, if you don’t watch out, your Aussie will be running the show in no time. If they don’t have a boss, they will gladly take over the role.
However, with strong leadership, this breed is a consistent over-achiever.
If you have a family with small children, the Australian Shepherd may be a poor choice.
They require more time and focus than new parents often have to spare, and they can be nippy with kids even if only in an attempt to keep them out of trouble.
On the other hand, if you are an active person who enjoys the outdoors, ranch life, or dog sports such as agility, the only other breed that comes close to matching the Aussie is longtime rival and distant cousin, the Border Collie.
Considered a medium sized dog, the AKC breed standard calls for a height of between 18-21” for females and 20-23” for males, although outside of the show ring does show more variance on both sides of that range.
A trend towards miniaturizing the Aussie is also underway.
The parent club, The American Stock Dog Registry already recognizes Toy (10-14”) and Miniature (14-18”) Aussies as acceptable sizes.
Coat and Appearance
The accepted colors for the breed are solid red or black, and blue or red merle (with tan points or white markings on the chest, legs or face allowed in all color variations).
For many, the striking marbled color of the merle coated Aussies is the hands-down favorite for good looks.
A medium to long silky top coat covers a downy undercoat. Plan on a heavy shed in the Spring, followed by another milder molt in the Fall.
At other times of the year, grooming is as simple as the occasional brush through of the coat.
This breed also carries the gene for heterochromatic eyes, in other words, eyes of different colors. The look of the bright blue eyes are particularly lovely, adding an intensity to the gaze that accents this canine’s strong drive for excellence.
Although some are born with naturally bobbed tails, most short of the short-tailed dogs in this breed have been docked, often for improved hygiene and to prevent injury in working dogs.
Health and Life Expectancy
11-13 years is the average life expectancy for this hard-working canine. Eye problems such as cataracts and Collie Eye Anomaly are fairly common to this breed, typical of those dogs carrying the heterochromatic gene.
Hip and elbow dysplasia are also problems that are common, although modern genetic testing is helping responsible breeders test before breeding.
Epilepsy and some cancers are also something to be on the lookout for.
Overall, the Australian Shepherd gets high marks for health. A long history of being bred for temperament and working ability has kept the stock healthy and diverse.
Siberian Husky | Ausky Parent Breed Profile
The roots of this breed date back to the Chukchi, an ancient indigenous culture native to northeastern Asia. As hunters, these people bred dogs that would help with taking down prey as many as 500,000 years ago.
Over time the Chukchi became nomadic in order to reach the game they needed to sustain their way of life.
They began selectively breeding their dogs to help haul camp across long distances in the extreme northern climate. The Husky we know today is nearly identical to these hard-working sled dogs.
The breed came on the American scene in the early 1900’s when sled racing was all the rage in Alaska. They quickly became favorites for dog handlers involved in the sport.
They were the breed selected for the Richard Byrd Antarctic Expeditions in 1928, and were also used by the US Army’s search and rescue operations during the Second World War.
However, Huskies are most famous for their participation in the life saving race to bring vaccines during a diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska in 1925.
The famous statue of Balto was erected in Central Park, New York to commemorate this feat.
The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1938, although the original name was Arctic Husky, changing to Siberian Husky only as recently as 1991!
Extremely intelligent and playful, Siberian Huskies can be trained with ease, although expecting them to perform when you want them to is sometimes a problem.
They also have a strong will and independent streak that can get in the way of obedience on your time table. They totally make up for it with personality though.
Bred to work in packs, Sibes are known to generally do well with other dogs if socialized at an early age.
They are typically quite loyal to their pack, human and otherwise, and are a good choice with children in most cases. They are a popular breed for family dogs.
Another stand out feature of this breed is that Huskie’s don’t often bark. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are quiet – they can be quite talkative.
Many find their complex howls and soft sounds that evoke human talk to be quiet entertaining.
The high energy and drive of this breed mean that exercise is a requirement, not an option. A walk around the block won’t put a dent in their daily exercise needs.
In addition, they will roam if given the chance. They do best when they have access to a large and secure fenced area, with the addition of weekly runs in the outdoors.
As a result, they are generally not a good fit for urban living.
This breed is medium in build, but stocky on a compact frame.
Height varies from an average of 20-22” for bitches, 21-23.5” for males, with weights averaging 35-50 pounds.
Coat and Appearance
Although Huskies can have brown and gold eyes, the most common are the striking icy blue eyes the breed is famous for, along with a unique almond shape.
Their good looks extend to their wolf-like coats ranging from white to black with striking facial markings that give each dog a unique look. A curled bushy tail completes the look.
You might imagine that a dense double coat would be important for a dog bred in Siberia, and you would be right.
They will require weekly brushing using a solid grooming brush suited to Huskies to keep that undercoat from being matted, and of course, expect a major molt in the Spring and Fall.
It is not recommended to keep this breed in warmer climates. The heavy double coat was designed to trap heat.
Heat stroke is a very real possibility even from short bursts of activity on a warm day.
Health and Life Expectancy
The average life span is 12-14 years, typical for medium sized dogs.
The most common health problems are similar to the Australian Shepherd, giving some pause for concern with the Husky/Aussie hybrid.
Seizures and eye problems can be a congenital flaw, although good breeding and genetic testing offers hope for the further improvement of the breed.
Overall this is considered one of the healthier pure bred dogs out there. And more good news, hip dysplasia occurs at a very low rate in this breed.
Is an Australian Shepherd and Husky Mix Right for You?
This is a
great dog for
- Families with plenty of time and energy to devote to basic training and regular exercise.
- Folks with a large and very secure fenced yard for lots of fetch, Frisbee and other physical activities.
- People that love the outdoors and are looking for a loyal trail companion.
- Participants in mixed breed dog sports such as agility, flyball, and dog parkour.
- Someone seeking a dog with a big personality for fun tricks and unmatched companionship.
- Experienced dog owners that can provide strong leadership and basic obedience training.
This is a poor choice
as a dog for
- Families living in apartments or urban environments.
- Folks who have to spend a great deal of time away from home.
- Those living in hot and humid southern climates as Huskies are prone to heat stroke in such environments.
Sharon Elber (M.S. in Science & Technology) - Professional Dog Trainer
Sharon is a professional dog trainer with over 10 years experience. She is also a professional writer that received her M.S. in Science & Technology Studies from Virginia Tech.
For more info on Sharon click here