Like most mixed breeds, the Goberian’s history is a bit fuzzy (not unlike their impressive coats). They aren’t yet recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and therefore don’t have a breed standard detailing their appearance and temperament. However, the two parent breeds have been established with the AKC for nearly a century and serve as helpful templates for what you can expect if you add a Goberian to your family.
Golden Retrievers were bred to be hunting companions that could handle the Scottish Highlands’ rainy climate and rugged landscape. Today, most use their skills to excel as family pets, although you can still find them working as hunting helpers.
The Siberian Husky is a descendant of dogs bred by an indigenous group called the Chukchi, who live in the northernmost part of Siberia. Imported to Nome, Alaska, by a Russian fur trader in the early 1900s, Huskies soon made a name for themselves as tireless and tenacious sled dogs.
With a Golden Retriever-Husky mix, you can typically expect a dog of medium to large build (35–75 pounds) with chart-topping friendliness, intelligence, and playfulness. Some Goberians take after Goldens and have solid coats, dark brown eyes, and ears that flop, while others inherit multicolored coats; eyes that are light brown or blue; and erect ears from their Husky heritage.
Caring for a Goberian
Mixed breeds can be a mixed bag. When properly socialized and trained, Goldens and Huskies share a love of people and other dogs, and can do well in multi-pet homes and in families with children. And with their working-dog origins, both need close companionship and consistent physical and mental exercise.
But while Goldens are known for being biddable and eager to please, Huskies have a reputation for being a bit more opinionated when it comes to training. And though both breeds are highly adaptable and can make themselves at home in a wide variety of settings, the Husky’s fondness for barking and howling could make apartment living a no-go.
Thus, the ideal home for a Goberian has plenty of space to safely run and play with a pet parent who has the time, energy, and experience to give them the training, exercise, and friendship they need to thrive. And while you may be able to save your energy on grooming—Goberians generally only need to be brushed once or twice a week—your lint roller will work overtime removing fur from your clothes and furniture.
Goberian Health Issues
Both Goldens and Huskies are healthy breeds with life expectancies ranging from 10–14 years, and the Goberian’s lifespan is similar. Still, like all dogs, the two breeds are prone to various health conditions that can be passed to their offspring.
The following health conditions are more common in Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, or both (though this list isn’t exhaustive):
Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the hip joint doesn’t develop properly. It is characterized by a looseness that leads to degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis). Both Goldens and Huskies are prone to the condition. Mild cases are treated with interventions like physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs, but severe cases may require surgery.
Common signs of hip dysplasia include:
Reluctance to get up or jump
Shifting of weight to front legs
Loss of muscle mass in back legs
Goldens are prone to elbow dysplasia, in which an elbow joint hasn’t developed as it should. It’s one of the most common causes of osteoarthritis in canine elbows. Anti-inflammatory drugs can help with the pain and inflammation, but surgery is recommended before osteoarthritis develops.
Common signs of elbow dysplasia include:
Limping, especially after exercise
Reluctance or unwillingness to walk or exercise
Stiffness in the elbow joint
Grating or crackling sound when elbow joint is moved
Both parent breeds are prone to eye problems, prompting the official breed clubs to recommend all Goldens and Huskies be examined by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist before they’re bred. They will check for conditions like:
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): an umbrella term for a family of eye disorders in which the rods and cones of the retina either don’t develop properly in puppies (early-onset PRA) or begin deteriorating in adulthood (late-onset PRA). Signs of disease include a reluctance to enter dark spaces; clumsiness; dilated pupils that constrict slowly in response to light; eyes that are more reflective in the dark; and cataracts. There’s no cure for PRA, and the condition eventually leads to blindness. Blind dogs can still live long and happy lives with the help of their dedicated pet parents.
Pigmentary uveitis: More common in Goldens, the Morris Animal Foundation describes pigmentary uveitis as “a constellation of clinical eye problems that accumulate over time and result in vision loss.” The development of cysts is one of the first signs, but these can be difficult to see without special equipment and training. Other signs include prolonged eye redness and pain. Over time, it can lead to glaucoma, which can lead to blindness if left untreated. There is no cure, but the disease can be managed through medications or surgery.
Hereditary cataracts: Cataracts cause the lens to become cloudy, which impedes light from reaching the retina, resulting in vision loss. If you notice cloudiness or signs of vision loss (such as clumsiness) in your dog, notify your veterinarian. Cataracts are progressive, and surgery is the only treatment.
Hypothyroidism is when a dog’s thyroid glands aren’t producing enough thyroid hormones, which serve an important function in metabolism. This hormone deficiency affects the functioning of all organ systems, and treatment typically requires lifelong hormone replacement therapy with oral medication. Hypothyroidism tends to affect medium- to large-sized dogs like Golden Retrievers and Huskies, and it’s most common in dogs 4–10 years old.
Most signs of hypothyroidism are related to their decreased metabolism and include:
Unexplained weight gain
Inability to stay warm
Skin and ear infections
Subaortic Valvular Stenosis
Subaortic valvular stenosis (SAS) is an inherited heart condition more common in Goldens, in which the area underneath the aortic valve narrows and obstructs blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Moderate to severe blockage can force the heart to have to work harder, and this extra effort can negatively affect heart health.
Mild cases typically don’t require treatment, but dogs with more serious blockage are most often treated with medication and are kept from engaging in strenuous activities that could strain their hearts. The first (and sometimes only) sign of a possible heart condition like SAS is a heart murmur heard by your veterinarian during an examination.
Dogs with SAS don’t always have visible signs, but some exhibit:
Sudden death (in extreme cases)
Goldens are prone to multiple types of canine cancer, including:
Hemangiosarcoma: Hemangiosarcoma is a highly aggressive type of cancer that comes from cells that normally create blood vessels. Tumors can occur anywhere, but hemangiosarcoma most often affects a dog’s spleen, liver, heart, and skin. The signs of illness depend on the tumor’s location and whether it ruptures, causing internal bleeding. When possible, surgical removal of the tumor is the treatment of choice, though some may need chemotherapy and radiation.
Lymphoma: Lymphoma is a cancer arising from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. One of the most common cancers in dogs, it most often affects lymph nodes but can also affect other parts of the immune system, such as the spleen and bone marrow. Symptoms can include firm, enlarged lymph nodes; weight loss; decreased appetite; swelling of the face or limbs; and increased thirst and urination. Treatment options include chemotherapy and oral steroids.
What To Feed a Goberian
Every Goberian dog is unique, so you’ll need to partner with your veterinarian to develop a feeding plan that’s nutritionally complete and balanced for your pup’s age, size, and health history.
How To Feed a Goberian
Most full-grown Goberians should eat two meals a day: once in the morning and again in the evening.
Because puppies have a higher metabolism than adult dogs, it’s generally best to add a midday feeding, for a total of three meals. Your vet can help you determine the best schedule for your dog’s age and energy needs.
How Much Should You Feed a Goberian?
The nutrition label on your dog’s food bag includes a feeding guide that gives a general idea of how much you should feed your Goberian based on their weight. But for a more accurate amount, it’s best to ask your veterinarian. They will tailor their recommendation not only to your dog’s weight, but also to their body condition score, lifestyle, and health needs.
Remember to factor treats into your daily calorie count. Even in dogs as active as Goberians, treats can add up fast during training.
Nutritional Tips for Goberians
If your Goberian is eating a complete and balanced dog food approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), they shouldn’t need anything extra. However, nutritional supplements and even prescription diets are sometimes used to treat or prevent certain health conditions. Talk to your veterinarian before adding anything new to your dog’s diet.
Behavior and Training Tips for Goberians
Goberian Personality and Temperament
The Goberian’s parents were bred for work and companionship, and the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.
Goberians are smart, eager, and athletic dogs that need to engage their body and brain every day, whether that means joining you on a hunt or a long neighborhood walk. They also care deeply about their people and are highly affectionate and playful—often toward strangers as well.
As retrievers, Goldens have been known to snatch and munch on things they shouldn’t, like your socks, shoes, and trash. In addition to being annoying—and sometimes costly—this habit can be dangerous to your pup, causing gastrointestinal problems and even obstructions.
Huskies have destructive tendencies as well, although theirs extend outdoors in the form of digging holes. Because of their history as sled dogs, Huskies jump at the chance to bolt, and need to be kept on a leash or within a safely fenced yard or park at all times. They also have a loud voice, and they aren’t afraid to use it.
Bored, lonely Goberians with energy to burn will be more likely to engage in these unwanted behaviors.
All dogs go through a critical development period from birth to around 16 weeks. During this time, they learn how to interact with humans and other animals. It’s essential that your Goberian puppy is socialized properly, as it pays off in adulthood.
Regardless of whether your Goberian resembles their biddable Golden parent or their independent-minded Husky parent, consistent positive training that uses rewards instead of punishment is the best approach. The training process is also a great way to provide Goberians with physical and mental exercise and to build the human-animal bond.
Fun Activities for Goberians
Goberian Grooming Guide
Both of the Goberian’s parents were designed to withstand harsh climates and rough terrain. Because of this, their thick, water-repellent double coats need little attention. However, their talent for shedding will keep your lint roller busy.
Also called acute moist dermatitis, these are red, irritated, infected lesions that can stem from moisture getting trapped next to the skin. The dog then scratches, chews, and licks at the uncomfortable area until a painful lesion forms. If your dog develops a hot spot, schedule a veterinary appointment to determine the exact cause and treatment plan.
Goberians need to be brushed at least once or twice a week to keep shedding under control and matting at bay. However, you’ll likely need to increase your brushing when they shed their undercoat (about once or twice a year).
Both Goldens and Huskies are prone to eye conditions, so reach out to your veterinarian if you notice anything abnormal such as cloudiness, discharge, or inflammation.
Talk to your veterinarian about how and how often you should clean your dog’s ears. If you notice signs of infection (pain, shaking, foul odor, redness), call your vet. Water-loving Goberians are particularly prone to ear infections because water can get trapped in their ears.
Considerations for Pet Parents
Here are some questions to consider before adding a Goberian to your family:
Do I have the time and energy to provide a dog with substantial amounts of mental and physical exercise every day?
Do I live in an apartment or house with close neighbors who would be annoyed by barking?
Do I have space for a dog of this size in my home? (Remember, they can weigh up to 75 pounds as adults. Consider how you will transport them to and from the vet, as well.)
Am I OK with dog fur on my clothes and furniture (especially during the two times a year the undercoat is shed)?
Can I give a dog daily companionship?
Can I keep a dog on a leash, or within a fenced yard or park, at all times?
Do I have the skills and patience to train a dog using positive reinforcement—even if they chew my favorite pair of boots or dig up my yard?
Am I financially prepared to provide veterinary care?
Can I provide a dog with a loving home for his lifetime, which could be 14 years or more?
If you can answer these questions with an enthusiastic “Yes!” you might be ready for a Goberian.
Is a Goberian a good family dog?
Properly socialized and trained Goberians can be excellent family dogs. A mix between Golden Retrievers and Siberian Huskies, Goberians are outgoing, athletic, and incredibly intelligent. They are also affectionate, loyal, and friendly with people of all ages. They thrive with owners who have the time and experience to give them the companionship and exercise they crave.
How much does a Goberian cost?
The price of a Goberian can range from $300 up to $1,500. Before you buy, ask questions about crucial factors like DNA testing and socialization to ensure your breeder is ethical and has the dogs’ best interest at the forefront.
You can also find Goberian puppies and dogs at rescues and shelters.
Are Goberians rare?
Goberians are a relatively new mixed breed and still fairly rare. Because they aren’t yet recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club, it’s difficult to guess their population size.
Featured Image: Getty/Unai Arnaz Imaz
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