Ever since i have read The Hounds of Baskervilles, the third crime based novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ( the mastermind behind Sherlock Holmes) i have been fascinated by Hounds in general. Though the inception of the hound in this novel is paranormal and a figment of everybody’s imagination until, of course, Sherlock Holmes solves the mystery, it nonetheless, built an image of somewhat of a dreadful but magnificent dog.
J.K Rowling’s Prisoner of Azkaban introduced to the world yet another fanciful but faithful dog called Padfoot, who in reality ( in J.K Rowling’s wizarding world) is a full grown wizard called Sirius Black. The dog that played the character was also a hound, Scottish Deerhound to be exact. And this brings me to the subject matter of a dog breed that has particularly caught my fancy, the hybrid of remarkable German Shepherd and the Greyhound. The differences between Arthur Conan’s Black hound, J.K Rowling’s Deerhound and the Greyhound are minimal but when Greyhounds are crossed with the German Shepherds, that is when you get a truly incredible breed of dog called Shephounds or “Best Friend” as some affectionately calls it so. Cute right?
Indicative of the name, German Shepherds materialised in Germany in the late 1800s. They were propagated by Max von Stephanitz, an ex military officer and were picked out as labour dogs. They were drilled categorically as watchdogs for the protection and herding of sheep against external threats.
Greyhounds are rumoured to have originated in Egypt in 4000BC. There are also claims that the Greyhounds came from the Celtics of Western Europe. Though the Celts are of the belief that Greyhounds originated from Greece and thus named them “Greek hounds”. The name Greyhound is said to be a derivative of Greek hound.
The scepticism at least encourage the notion that Greyhounds did not originate from Greece or Europe but may have emerged in The Middle East. For millenniums, greyhounds were procreated to catching their prey by overtaking them. What so ever the origin is, it is clear that German Shepherds in comparison are a new breed. Although the name of Greyhound is a casualty of its ancient history, it is not at all called “Greyhound” because if its colour grey. Being the owner of a Greyhound was a right enjoyed solely by the nobility roughly until 1700. An interesting fact about the Greyhound is that it is the only breed of dog that is mentioned in the Bible, Proverbs, 30:29-31
German Shepherds and Greyhounds in a “dog shell”.
As new owners of German Shepherds and Greyhounds respectively, they have found them both to be better choices, though the German Shepherds takes the spotlight by just a margin. Between the two breeds, Greyhound is the friendliest of two around children making it best suited as a family dog.
Due to its shorter mane of hair, Greyhounds are easier to groom than German Shepherds. Comparatively, they have thick furry coats that is prone to shedding and tangling if left unattended for longer than a few days.
Greyhounds and German Shepherds are both very loud dogs and howls/barks incessantly.
How do they look?
Well, when you cross two of the most magnificent and stately breed of dogs, you are bound to get a dog in the process that has personality and looks, aka, beautiful. The Shephounds stand tall, with able-bodied physicality and are very intelligent. They are also very loyal and are trained easily.
Because the parent dogs, German Shepherds and Greyhounds, are distinct in their nature, the resulting Shephounds also come in varying physical attributes. It is important to know that as these dogs are a mix of two very different dogs, every puppy will be different. As the genes work in mysterious ways, one can never know what attributes are inherited from which breed. The main feature that is common in the Shephounds in terms of inheritance is its size, owing to the big size of both the parents.
The German Shepherds stand 23 to 26 inches tall whereas the Greyhounds stand somewhere between 27 to 30 inches in height. An adult German Shepherd weighs about 40kgs (50 to 90lbs) and Greyhounds around 27 to 40kgs (60 to 88lbs), based on their diets.
Greyhounds have very short coat and are available in about thirty varying shades of grey, light brown, black, reddish brown, mottled and white. German Shepherds come in brownish black or blackish red. It is very unlikely that they are either entirely black or brown. Their fur is luxuriant and dense.
The number of puppies depend on who the mother is. Pups born to a German Shepherd mother can count up to 4 to 9 in a litter. The Greyhound mother gives birth to generally 12 puppies.
Like mentioned earlier, with the mix of German Shepherds and Greyhounds, it is impossible to know whether the baby pooch is going to look more like a German Shepherd or the Greyhound. Characteristically, the pup is active like both its parent and bringing it into your lives will have you on your toes. Initially, the puppy has a tendency to be wary of strangers, but once they get to trust you and everyone around, Shephound puppies are playful and make excellent friends with children and grownups alike.
Even when this mix is small, Shephound puppies require more calories compared to other pups in order for these cuties to be healthy and happy.
What do they eat?
As is the custom with any other dog, caution should be administered when feeding your Shephound. These dogs do not respond well to table scraps and will develop gastric issues. Any grains based food is another big NO when feeding this mix of dog. It will give them Gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV) which can prove life threatening. The best thing is to give your Shephound organic food and avoid overfeeding it as this will render them obese, give them bad joints and diabetes.
Shephounds, like any other dog, are not cranky eaters and their diet is not overly complicated. However, taking care of their dietary requirements and feeding the Shephounds non fatty food will prevent the chances of these dogs developing elbow and hip dysplasia. Because Shephounds are strong and sporty, giving them food rich in proteins will help build their muscle and keep them fit and healthy. Once again, as Shephounds are large and active dogs, they need to stay hydrated and so will need plenty of water to be safe against dehydration.
As is the case with other dogs, Shephounds are susceptible to a condition common among canines called Cherry eye. It is caused on the eyelids which makes it appear lumpy and swollen. The cause may be hereditary or an infection of some kind but can be cured by anti-inflammatory medicines or surgically, if the case is severe.
Given the exemplary genes of Shephound’s, generally it is as healthy as it gets. The standard life of a German Shepherd spans 7 to 10 years. A Greyhound lives up to a good 10 to 13 years. So expect a Shephound to live 10 to 14 years and depending on their diet, hygiene, training and regular visitation to vets, they can outlive their parents.
Grooming of Greyhound Shepherd/ Shephound.
A Shephound has a coat reminiscent of a slightly bald German Shepherd, but not in a bad way, like medium length and taking care of it should not be hard. Grooming the hybrid is a lot easier if it has inherited the Greyhound ‘s short haired fur. Keeping it clean is manageable and being single coated, it will not shed a lot of hair. Even primping them with a wet cloth would do the trick just fine.
Those who have inherited their fur from the German Shepherds will, consequently, have a lot more hair and will require grooming suited to their fur type. The long and thick coat is predisposed to tangling which can discomfort the dog. Ignoring the situation can make it harder for you to clean and groom the dog in general. Brushing it every week can make your and your dog’s life easier and will allow the Shephound’s hair to be healthy and grow naturally. It will still be prone to shedding twice a year and more than usual in the shedding season. Apart from this, giving them regular baths and tooth brushing, irrespective of which parent they have taken after, is also best suited for them.
Exactly how much exercise does your Shephound require is uncertain. The mainstream German Shepherds require more exercise than Greyhounds. It needs up to 2 hours of exercise daily whereas Greyhounds are fine with 40 minutes of daily walking. Your Shephound will need exercise time that is somewhat in between. It would still need more exercise than any other small breed so be mindful that you have ample space for them to run around and be happy.
Given their diverse gene pool, it is difficult to be sure if this hybrid are easy to train or not. Both the German Shepherds and Greyhounds have rich personalities and high intelligence quotients. The Shephounds are inherent to these traits and although, the owner has a shrewd idea that he is getting a canny canine, he can not tell if the dog is easy to train or not. The reason being that the German Shepherds have impeccable reputation for the ease with which they can be trained. Greyhounds on the other hand, call for a little more patience and legwork to train because of their tendency to get bored easily.
According to the Dog Intelligence Ranking, German Shepherds stand on the 3rd position meaning the obedience level is 95%, requiring only about five attempts to learn a new command.
Greyhounds, in comparison, are placed on number 46. It means that they take around 40 tries to pick a new command and their obedience level is 50 % and will ignore your commands altogether the other 50 % !
The silver lining? At least they are eager to please you, which sort of makes up for their disobedience.
The answer to how trainable are the Shephounds lies in the gene build-up of the dog. More of German Shepherd or Greyhound? Though the breeds are both intellectually different, their hybrid, the Shephound can be easily trained in the house and taught fundamental compliance.
The decision of whichever breed of dog you want to get is highly affected by the nature of the dog. Who does not want their dog to have a lovely disposition !
The German Shepherds and Greyhounds are naturally active, playful and loyal and their brood will be too. If the Shephounds have dominant Greyhound genes, they’ll probably need a little more work in training them because of their natural inclination towards “prey drive”.
Other than that, Shephounds are normally finely tempered and make excellent family dogs. They would love to snuggle with you on your lazy and comfy days and are extraordinarily affectionate towards the family they live with.
She Shephound vs He Shephound.
Although isolated differences in the overall nature is not subjected to its gender, a female Shephound is probably shorter and will be lighter in weight when compared to her male relative.
How much are the Shephounds worth?
Both the German Shepherds and Greyhounds are greatly desired dog breeds, so without any doubt, expect your wallet to bleed profusely when paying to buy its hybrid. The German Shepherds normally cost between $500 to $1500 and Greyhounds between $3000 to $7000. Because the German Shepherd and Greyhound mix is not very customary owing to the fact that both the dog breeds are very expensive, the breeders are not usually motivated to breed this mix. But when they do, they make sure you pay an arm and a leg for these Shephounds.
Do Shephounds behave themselves around other pets?
It is in a dog’s nature to be reserve around cats but they will never be hostile or threatening towards your cat. It will be that graceful protecting sort of presence around the cat ,even if she is rude (which cats generally are), because it befits the nature of your Shephound. It is of paramount importance that your dog is trained for it, because being the bigger animal, it can otherwise hurt the smaller pets around your house.
Your Shephound will most probably avoid the cat altogether just incase the situation gets worse. Other than that, Shephounds are an excellent decision if you want to bring in a new pet into your house that already has a different selection of pets.
Relationship with other dogs.
Shephounds are frisky creatures and befriending them with other playful animals is a healthy idea for their overall wellbeing. If all the dogs, including your Shephound, are made accustomed to each other in the beginning, there is no reason why your Shephound should not get by with any other dog in the house.
As Shephounds are compliant by nature, it is obviously not a good idea to keep them with dogs that are not friendly and are more territorial, for example, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, Bull mastiffs to name the obvious ones. Shephounds will most probably not start a fight but will win it if it comes to that.
Safety of children around Shephounds.
It is a general misconception among people who don’t own dogs or own the smaller ones that it is unsafe to have large dogs in house with children in it. Contrary to this belief, if the Shephound is introduced to the child early on, they prove to be very caring, kind and gentle towards them. The dogs are also very protective.
This, however, does not mean that you leave your Shephound unattended with your children. Be particularly careful when you have toddlers or infants because these big dogs are playful and can get disorderly if carried away.
If taken necessary precautions, Shephounds make wonderful family dogs. It is easy to do away with their misconduct like growling and biting or whatever they can endanger your child with, by training them against it.
And rounding up ..
Unquestionably, Shephound is a handsome dog with aristocratic bearing, brim full of energy, unfaltering loyalty and of course, the level of intelligence not common with other dogs (thanks to the German Shepherd genes). Nevertheless, if you want to be the proud owners of “Their Magnificence, The Shephounds “, make sure you are up for it and address their material, mental and emotional needs in a constructive way which may save them from getting into damaging behaviour that can get your loved ones in harm’s way.
They are very high functioning dogs, both mentally and physically and it is important that these Shephounds have a lot of space to be active in and mental stimulation to keep their boredom at bay. Rest assured, go ahead and make them a part of your life and i hope you are just that lucky to get and afford one, they are sure to make extraordinary pets.