Have you been thinking about adding a German Shepherd Russell mix to your family? This relatively rare crossbreed combines the best traits of the intelligent German Shepherd and the energetic Jack Russell Terrier.
Read on to learn all about this active, loyal dog’s appearance, temperament, health, exercise needs, and more!
Overview of the German Shepherd Russell Mix
Also known as the German Jack, the German Shepherd Russell mix is an intentional cross between a purebred German Shepherd and a purebred Jack Russell Terrier.
While this mix occurs less frequently than crosses between more similarly-sized breeds, some breeders have intentionally mated female German Shepherds with male Jack Russells via artificial insemination. Their goal is to produce an intelligent, energetic medium-sized dog with the German Shepherd’s trainability and the Russell Terrier’s lively personality.
Let’s look more closely at the parent breeds:
The German Shepherd Dog
- Originally bred as a herding dog, now often used as working, service, and protection dogs
- Known for intelligence, loyalty, courage, confidence, and trainability
- Ranked 2nd or 3rd most popular breed in the U.S.
- Large in size, 22-26″ tall and 50-90 lbs
The Jack Russell Terrier
- Originally bred to hunt foxes in England
- Small in size, 10-15″ tall and 14-18 lbs
- Energetic with a strong drive to work and play
- Intelligent and trainable but can be stubborn
Crossing these two breeds produces puppies with a wide range of traits depending on which parent they favor. The result is an energetic, highly intelligent dog of medium size perfect for an active owner or family.
Appearance of the German Shepherd Russell Mix
The German Shepherd Russell mix can vary significantly in its appearance, but most pups will fall somewhere between the statures of the two parent breeds.
- Height: 16-22 inches
- Weight: 30-60 pounds
Puppies closer to the German Shepherd side may reach 60-70 pounds. Those favoring the Jack Russell will stay under 40 pounds.
- Length: medium or short
- Colors: black, black and tan, brown, white, bi-color
The German Shepherd contributes medium-length fur in black, black and tan, or sable. The Jack Russell passes on its short smooth white coat with brown or black spots.
German Shepherd Russell mixes generally have medium shedding levels and need weekly brushing. Bathing can be done every 6-8 weeks.
Temperament of the German Shepherd Russell Mix
Since crosses can inherit a range of traits from their parents, temperament varies from dog to dog. However, some general characteristics emerge when you mix the German Shepherd with the Jack Russell Terrier:
- Trainable and eager to please
- Loyal and protective
- Loving and affectionate
- Confident and courageous
- Vocal; prone to barking/howling
- Loves to play and work
With early socialization and training, the German Shepherd Jack Russell mix makes an excellent family companion. Their energy and athleticism also makes them ideal adventure buddies for hiking, running, or dog sports.
Because of their alert nature and loyalty, they often serve well as watch dogs. But their vocal tendencies mean this mix is better suited for a suburban or rural home rather than apartment living.
Training and Exercise Needs
As the offspring of two working breeds, the German Shepherd Russell mix needs plenty of daily exercise and mental stimulation.
- 60+ minutes per day
- Highly energetic; needs space to run
- Enjoy activities like hiking, running, dog sports
Even if you have a yard, be sure to walk or play actively with your German Shepherd Russell mix every day. They thrive when given a “job” to do.
- Eager to please and highly trainable
- Responds best to positive reinforcement
- Needs early socialization and obedience training
- At risk for separation anxiety without proper training
Both parent breeds are intelligent and able to learn quickly. Use reward-based methods and set clear boundaries to bring out your pup’s best behavior.
- Needs mental challenges to prevent boredom/destructive behavior
- Enjoy puzzle toys, search games, learning tricks
- Can excel at dog sports like agility, fly ball, rally
Grooming and Care of the German Shepherd Russell Mix
- Medium to light shedding
- Weekly brushing required
- Bathe every 6-8 weeks
- 1-2 cups of high quality dry dog food per day
- Split into two meals
- Avoid overfeeding
- Annual checkups & vaccinations
- Heartworm, flea, and tick prevention
- Spay/neuter at 6-9 months old
- Brush teeth 2-3 times per week
- Dental cleanings as needed
- Trim nails monthly
Health Issues in German Shepherd Russell Mixes
All dogs are prone to certain health problems, whether mixed breed or purebred. Here are some conditions to look out for in a German Shepherd crossed with a Jack Russell Terrier:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Degenerative myelopathy
Jack Russell Terrier:
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
- Luxating patella
- Eye problems like cataracts
With proper nutrition, exercise, vet care, and genetic health screening, your German Shepherd Russell mix can enjoy a long and healthy life. Lifespan is generally 12-15 years.
Finding a German Shepherd Russell Mix Puppy
Since this crossbreed occurs less frequently than more popular mixes, you may need patience finding a breeder with a litter available.
Never buy puppies from pet stores or websites selling dogs. Seek out responsible breeders who:
- Genetic health test parent dogs
- Allow you to meet parents on-site
- Socialize pups appropriately
- Stand behind their health guarantees
Expect to pay $800 to over $1000 for a German Shepherd Russell mix puppy from a quality breeder.
Adoption is another great option if you want to give an adult or senior dog a loving home. Check local shelters and breed-specific rescues.
Is the German Shepherd Russell Mix Right for You?
Before bringing home this crossbreed, make sure you can provide:
- A securely fenced yard
- 60+ minutes of daily exercise
- Time for training and socialization
- Proper outlet for their energy and intelligence
- Patience with vocal tendencies
- Grooming and healthcare
If you’re an active person or family looking for a loyal adventure buddy, the German Shepherd Russell mix could be the perfect pooch for you! Their intelligence, athleticism, and devotion make them wonderful companions.
Frequently Asked Questions about the German Shepherd Russell Mix
Curious to learn more about this unique crossbreed? Check out answers to some common questions below.
Are German Shepherd Russell mixes good family dogs?
Yes! With socialization and training, these dogs do great with kids and thrive when given lots of attention and activity. Their energetic nature may be too much for very young children though.
How big do German Shepherd Jack Russell mixes get?
They are medium-sized dogs, usually 16-22 inches tall at the shoulder and 30-60 pounds. Size varies depending on whether they take after the larger German Shepherd or smaller Russell parent.
Do German Shepherd Russell mixes bark a lot?
They tend to be vocal dogs. Their alert nature and tendency to bark comes from the Jack Russell side. Proper training is needed to control excessive barking.
Do German Shepherd Russell mixes make good guard dogs?
Yes, their loyalty and protectiveness coupled with barking tendencies make them excellent watch dogs and guard dogs. They will alert you to anything unusual.
Are German Shepherd Russell mixes easy to train?
Extremely! Both parent breeds are highly intelligent and eager to please. Use positive reinforcement and set clear rules. Early socialization is also critical.
How much exercise does a German Shepherd Russell mix need?
At least 60 minutes of vigorous activity daily. These high energy pups love running, playing, hiking, and any type of job or game that challenges their body and mind.
What health problems do German Shepherd Russell mixes have?
They are at risk for hip/elbow dysplasia, bloat, eye issues, legg-calve-perthes disease, deafness, allergies, and obesity. Lifespan averages 12-15 years.
The Loyal, Fun-Loving German Shepherd Russell Mix
The German Shepherd crossed with the Jack Russell Terrier results in a highly intelligent, energetic dog that thrives when given plenty of exercise, attention, and training. They make wonderful active family companions and loyal protectors.
If you can provide them an outlet for all their energy, this rare crossbreed will shower you with love and devotion for years to come. Their one-of-a-kind mix of traits makes the German Shepherd Russell mix a dog like no other!