The German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever are two of the most popular dogs on the planet. The GSD is known for its signature black and tan coat, supreme intelligence and loyalty to its owner. The Labrador Retriever is known for its affectionate, laid back and sweet countenance. Both large dog breeds are known for being great companion and family dogs. A German Shepherd mixed with Lab is the best of both worlds. This article will take a look at both breeds and why the combination makes such a great pet!
German Shepherd Lab Mix Quick Stats:
- Breed Popularity: Semi-Popular
- Life Expectancy: 10 – 12 years
- Group: Herding/Sporting
- Height: 21.75 – 25.25 inches
- Weight: 52.5 – 85 lbs
- Temperament: Even-Tempered, Intelligent, Protective
- Coat colors: Black with tan or white markings, Tan and black, Tan with white markings
History of the German Shepherd Mixed with Lab
The German Sheprador is considered a designer breed so the history isn’t documented like the original two breeds.
It is hard to tell exactly when the first German Sheprador came into existence. In the beginning, there were probably natural occurrences of the mix. But the true history and origin is currently unknown.
That being said, the explosion of designer breeds in the late 20th century led to the mixed breeding of many popular dog breeds. The German Shepherd Lab Mix was one of those. It is believed that they were first intentionally bred in the 1990’s.
Fun Fact: The very first designer dog breed was the Cockapoo, a crossbreed combining a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. It was created in the 1960’s in the United States.
The first designer dog mix to explode in popularity was the Labradoodle, developed by Wally Conron in Australia during the 1980’s. His intentions were good, creating the breed for a blind woman whose husband had an allergy to dog hair.
However, mixing the two breeds was one of his life’s regrets because it subsequently skyrocketed the popularity of designer dogs.
“I opened a Pandora’s box and released a Frankenstein’s monster,”Wally Conron – NYPost.com
He regretted his decision because of the health and temperament issues from mixed breeding. He stated that the majority of the dogs at that time were either crazy or had a hereditary problem.
Obviously, their appearance can vary depending on several different factors. But typically, the face will look more like a Lab than a German Shepherd.
The muzzle will usually be a tad bit longer than a Lab’s with some possible GSD characteristics or markings. The eyes will be dark brown in color and the ears will depend on what percentage of German Shepherd is present in the mix. They will be soft and could be down or standing up.
The body can be either long like a GSD or more stocky like a Lab. It can have characteristics from both breeds depending on the mix. Some of the typical German Shepherd markings may be present on the body, hindquarters, legs or stomach.
The feet will be medium in size and usually resemble the GSD. The tail can go either way, either tapering towards the tip like a Lab or a more sable like tail that is fluffier like a German Shepherd.
The German Sheprador will have a medium length double coat of fur that is soft and shiny similar to the Labrador Retriever.
The colors can vary but typically they will be black with white or tan underneath. They favor the Lab’s coat color due to the dominant black color gene. However, they can also be light tan or brown with darker brown or black markings similar to a GSD’s pattern.
There is no standard size for the German Shepherd Lab Mix since it is not a pure breed and relatively new. However, since the GSD and Lab are both large dogs, you can expect the same from the mix.
The average German Shepherd stands anywhere between 22-26 inches tall and weighs in the range of 50-90 pounds. The Lab’s height and weight are similar standing between 21.5-24.5 inches tall and weighing between 55-80 pounds.
Combine the two and the average height of a German Shepherd Lab Mix will be 21.75-25.25 inches tall. The average weight will be somewhere between 52.5-85 pounds.
Because both dogs are excellent with families and kids, the mixed breed is no exception. They are a good family companion, friendly and kind to children of all ages.
Strangers on the other hand are a different story. German Shepherds are protective by nature so the mix will most likely be aloof with people they don’t know or recognize.
Both breeds are working dogs so they will have a propensity to stay active and busy. It is very important that they have something to do on a daily basis. They need a sense of purpose to stay sharp.
German Shepherds have a strong work ethic which is why they are used in so many professions such as the military and police. They are great guard dogs who know how to protect and serve.
Labrador Retrievers are no exception and used as guide or hunting dogs. Combine the two and you have a hard-working mixed breed with a desire to please.
Both dogs are easy to train so the mix will be the same. Positive reinforcement training shouldn’t be a problem as long as it is done on a consistent basis.
The German Sheprador can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. This can lead to them getting bored or frustrated which can result in unwanted destructive behaviors.
Here is a quick look at the characteristics and temperament of both breeds and what happens when they mix producing the German Shepherd Labrador Mix.
|German Shepherd||German Shepherd Mixed With Lab||Labrador Retriever|
Unfortunately, because the Sheprador is still a large dog breed, certain health issues will be more common. One of the main issues being elbow and hip dysplasia, a joint condition that larger dogs are prone to get.
Shared Health Conditions:
- Eye disease
- Elbow and Hip Dyplasia
The best way to prevent these conditions is to provide a high-quality diet that is lean contains the proper amount of protein. This along with regular annual check-ups at the vet and regular exercise should help reduce the possibility of health issues later on down the road.
Caring for a German Sheprador will be very similar to the GSD and Lab. The main two issues that may vary a little include the calorie intake based on their size and possibly some extra health issues since it is a combination of both breeds.
A regular care routine should be implemented by coming up with a health plan based on your dog’s specific needs.
A high-quality lean diet that is low in fat and high in protein is recommended. Your vet should help you come up with a healthy diet that is formulated for a large dog that is high in energy.
Don’t over feed your dog and make sure to go easy on the treats. Obesity can lead to many health issues and the German Shepherd Lab Mix can gain too much weight if you’re not careful.
The amount of food and type of food will vary also depending on their age. Here is a growth chart that may need to be altered slightly to fit the need of your specific dog.
The German Sheprador will have a double coat of fur so the grooming and maintenance will be the same. Brush them once or twice a week for at least ten minutes using a good brush or under coat rake.
Follow this up by grooming them twice a year when they have their seasonal shedding. During this heavy shedding, brushing them once a day is recommended.
One of the most important things when it comes to care is brushing your dog’s teeth. Make sure you brush their teeth daily to avoid the buildup of tarter. It can help prevent other health conditions.
Use a dog toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste. Your vet can help you with the proper technique for cleaning your dog’s toothy trains.
Is a German Shepherd Lab Mix a Good Dog?
The German Sheprador is a great dog and combines two of the most popular dogs on the planet. If you can find one up for adoption, don’t think twice.
They are excellent with families and gentle enough to be around children of all ages. They are super smart, loving, obedient, loyal and easy to train.
However, because they are part German Shepherd, they aren’t recommended for novice owners. They are much better suited for someone who has at least some experience with owning a large dog that has high energy.
Is the German Shepherd Lab Mix Aggressive?
For the most part, German Shepradors aren’t too aggressive even though the GSD has that reputation. However, they are extremely alert and hesitant when it comes to strangers. This is why socialization is so important.
While it may take this mix longer to warm up to someone new, once they are familiar with that person, they will be loving and loyal. This aloofness is part of the reason they make such great guard dogs.
How Much does a German Shepherd Mixed with Lab Cost?
German Shepradors can range anywhere from $500 to $1500 depending on the breeder and quality of the dog. This is similar to the average price of a German Shepherd or Labrador Retriever.
This mix is one of the more common designer breeds making it easier to find. But do your research and make sure you know what you are getting into. Some people look down on designer dogs because of the inconsistencies and health issues that can stem from mixing breeds.
The Problem With Mixing German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers
Before considering any mixed dog, consider the challenges that you may face depending on the breed. The German Shepherd and Lab are two of the most popular breeds in the U.S. but consistently end up in shelters.
This is due to the large numbers of each breed. The only dog more consistently found in shelters is the Pit Bull and Pit Bull Mix. This is because GSDs and Labs have the reputation of being great family dogs with easy trainability.
But a lot of times people don’t realize just how much work it is to take care of and meet the physical needs of both breeds, especially the German Shepherd. They have an exuberant amount of energy and require a lot of exercise to stay content and sharp.
The problem with mixing German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers is a lot of times you don’t know what you are going to get. It is very difficult to control the outcome of the traits associated with each dog.
Some of the puppies may favor one breed over the other. They could also either inherit the best of both dogs or the worse. Then on top of that, you have certain unethical dog breeders producing designer dogs that haven’t had the proper genetic health testing.
These are definitely two of the best breeds out there which makes for a great mix. However, adoption is the way to go if you can find one. Make sure you do your research on the GSD and Lab to get a good idea of what you are in for.
While super smart and easy to train, they also require a lot of time to fulfill their need to work. This can be simply exercise, spending time with them, playing games, training or giving them jobs they can do around the house.
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Have you ever owned a German Shepherd mixed with Lab? Let us know! We would love to hear about your personal experience!