Have you ever owned or met a Labrador Retriever? It’s likely, as they’re extremely popular. In fact, they’ve been at number one on the American Kennel Club’s top 200 most popular dog breeds for some time now.
It’s easy to see why, as Labs are just so loving and affectionate. They’re great with young kids and they are friendly with everyone, even other dogs. They’re easy to train, full of energy, enthusiastically playful, and pretty smart. In short, they’re brilliant!
So, who’s at number two?
Well, that would be the equally brilliant German Shepherd dog, also called the GSD.
While there’s not much difference in size, there are subtle differences in temperament. Just like the Lab, they’re loving and affectionate towards their families, but more guarded in their attitudes towards strangers and other dogs.
These two wonderful breeds have been around for a while and have earned their places in our hearts. It’s not easy to choose between them, even though the Labrador has the coveted number one position in the top 200 most popular dogs.
But, now you don’t have to choose, as there is a German Shepherd Lab mix!
Imagine that; a mixed breed that combines the best bits of both dogs.
If you’re wondering what this dog would be like, then wonder no longer. We’re going to examine the German Shepherd Lab mix to let you know exactly what to expect.
First, we need to meet the parents…
The German Shepherd
Originally a herding dog from, you guessed it, Germany, the German Shepherd dog was produced by breeding the best of the best among the sheepdogs of rural areas in the country.
Few are used for this purpose these days, as most are now family dogs, although thousands of these beautiful creatures are employed by the police, security services, the military, and by people with disabilities. Their unique skills and innate intelligence make them ideally suited for being search and rescue dogs, guard dogs, sniffer dogs, seeing-eye dogs, and so on.
Their key attributes are trainability, obedience, intelligence, and adaptability.
One thing that helps in all these respects is their size, as they are fairly large dogs. Females are generally smaller than males, measuring between 22 and 24 inches, and weighing between 50 and 70 pounds. Males are bigger, measuring between 24 and 26 inches, and weighing between 65 and 90 pounds.
As for coat colors, the GSD has a much wider range, with eleven standard colors listed in the AKC breed standards. While most of us imagine the German Shepherd as a black and tan dog, they also come in black, white, sable, blue, black & cream, black & white, and black & silver.
The purebred German Shepherd dog is great for more active families, and is good with small kids as long as it has been properly socialized. He can be overprotective when other dogs or strangers are around, which can come across as aggression. Once again, socialization is the key to reducing this behavior.
On the whole, they are affectionate, calm, and confident dogs. They have a playful side and they are very energetic. You must give them an outlet for this energy and engage them in exercise and activities that stimulate their minds as well.
When they are well trained and socialized, German Shepherds make great family pets.
The Labrador Retriever
Exactly how the Labrador Retriever got its name is a bit of a mystery, as they originated in Newfoundland and have no real association with Labrador at all!
Nevertheless, the name has been used ever since British nobles returned from Canada with these gentle, sturdy dogs. They were impressed by the dog’s abilities as a retriever, as well as its short, dense coat and thick tail. These qualities were gradually perfected and standardized by British breeders, making the dog ideal for retrieving fallen game birds on a shoot.
However, it is this breed’s temperament that endears it to millions of dog lovers worldwide. In short, it’s a big softy. Everything and everyone is her best friend. She is always smiling and happy, and you’d better keep out of the way of her tail!
Labs differ from the GSD in that they really only come in three colors: yellow, chocolate, and black. Their double-coat is short and dense, with the undercoat blowing in spring and fall. Ideally, you should brush your Lab daily, but you might get away with brushing it once a week if you don’t mind hair about your house!
Labrador Retrievers are slightly smaller than German Shepherds, measuring between 21.5 and 24.5 inches, and weighing between 55 and 80 pounds. As with the GSD, the females are generally on the smaller side.
These dogs are great with kids, especially when raised together, as they form special bonds with them. They are also usually okay around other dogs and animals, including family pets. It’s still wise to always be on guard and make introductions gradually, just in case.
Like the GSD, the Lab has a lot of energy and will need long walks and playtime to use it up. Agility classes, obedience training, obstacle courses, dog sports – all of these are good ways to keep them active and provide mental stimulation.
Again, like the German Shepherd, the Labrador is highly trainable. They are attentive and eager to please, and will soon learn a good range of commands.
What Is A German Shepherd Lab Mix Called?
Referring to your dog as a German Shepherd Lab mix all the time will become tedious very quickly, so they need a snappy name.
Currently, the Sheprador seems to be the favorite, but there are other contenders. Some dog owners like to use German Sheprador, while others prefer Labrashepherd.
This is the trouble with mixed breed dogs, as they have no officially registered name.
In the end, it’s up to you as to which name you use!
And, if you’re like millions of other dog lovers, you’ll relish the chance to discuss this with people who are certain to stop you and ask what breed your dog is while you’re out and about.
What Does A German Shepherd Lab Mix Look Like?
As you might expect, it looks like both parents!
There’s a definite touch of Labrador in its body, with the black muzzle and earnest expression of the GSD.
However, because it’s a mixed-breed dog, you can never tell exactly how it’s going to look. Most will have floppy ears like the Lab, though there is a slim chance that those ears might just be erect and triangular like the GSD!
Their coat color might be a bit of a lottery, too. They could have a solid color like the Lab, or a beautiful mix of colors like the German Shepherd. Some have a black and tan coat, but it seems so far that many have a tan-colored coat with darker shades across their body. Others will have white markings on the chest and feet, just like the Labrador.
Because of the way that genetics work, the color of the parent does not guarantee pups of the same color!
There is always a possibility of a solid white or solid black pup.
Is The German Shepherd Lab Mix Hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look that way.
Neither of the parent breeds is considered hypoallergenic, so there is no reason to believe that the Sheprador will be.
However, recent studies have found that the term has been used incorrectly, in that some breeders and kennel clubs take it to mean that a dog will not cause an allergic reaction. The fact is, any dog can cause allergies, even the Poodle, which is promoted as being the best dog for allergy sufferers!
Hypoallergenic simply means that something is less likely to cause an allergy. Even some moderately shedding dogs can be classed as hypoallergenic… it all depends on the amount of protein from their saliva and dander that sticks to the loose hairs. It’s not the hair itself that you’re allergic to; it’s these pesky proteins!
If your allergy is mild, then try to spend time with a German Shepherd Lab mix to see what kind of reaction you get – if any. And, make sure you have medication with you just in case! If you have fairly severe allergies, then this is perhaps not the best idea.
Grooming the Sheprador
Your German Shepherd Lab mix will almost certainly have a medium-length double coat, meaning that they have an upper coat of tough, weather-proof guard hairs and an undercoat of furry fluff.
Here’s a piece of advice you’d be wise to take on board: invest in a decent vacuum cleaner if you don’t already have one!
It’s very likely that your pooch is going to be a moderate to a heavy shedder. You’ll need to brush him regularly, ideally three or four times a week. This will have to increase to daily brushing during the shedding seasons in spring and fall when the undercoat falls out in a rather dramatic style. Seriously, you won’t believe how much fur there is! This is when your vacuum cleaner will be your best friend.
You can reduce the amount of hair that sticks to you and your furniture (and somehow gets into your coffee!) by grooming your dog with a good-quality brush.
Grooming should also include clipping your dog’s toenails. These are probably going to be very tough, just like the GSD and the Lab’s, so you may need to employ the services of a professional groomer to get the job done properly.
You should also check their ears and eyes for infections, and give them a wipe with a damp cotton swab to clean away dirt and debris.
Finally, use this opportunity to check for any strange lumps or signs of skin infections.
This is a time for you and your dog to bond, and the earlier you start the process, the quicker they’ll get used to it. They’ll probably even start to enjoy it as you are paying attention to them and nobody else!
German Shepherd Lab Mix Price
Photo from: @shepherdseekers
Finding an accurate price for the German Shepherd Lab mix isn’t an easy task! In some cases, breeders will charge more for purebred dogs and less for hybrids. Others will do exactly the opposite; charging far more for designer dogs that they’ll sell as rare breeds.
Also, we all have our own perception of what is expensive and what isn’t. From the research so far, it looks like you can pick up a Sheprador for around $800. To some people, this is an awful lot of money.
However, relatively speaking, this is a pretty good price for a large dog, especially when you learn that some breeders are charging up to $2,500.
Obviously, it all comes down to how much you’re prepared to pay as well as the amount of money you have available. As much as you want to have a dog in your home, it’s never a good idea to bankrupt yourself doing so!
Why is there such a wide price margin?
It mostly comes down to the individual breeders. Some are well-established, with high-quality bloodlines and extensive pedigrees. Does this mean that cheaper dogs from newer breeders are low-quality and not worth the price?
No! It just means that you have less information about the parents and grandparents of each pup. Bloodlines do matter, but as long as a breeder is ethical and knows what they are doing, there is no reason to avoid buying an $800 dog over a $2,500 one.
The only thing that matters is that the breeder is reputable and that your pup is healthy.
We’ll talk more about breeders further along.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Puppies
Are you ready for your Sheprador puppy?
Here’s a piece of advice… whether you think you’re ready or not: hide your shoes!
There’s a fair chance that your pup will be a serial shoe-chewer. And, if they can’t get your shoe, they’ll chew on something else.
It pays to have a good selection of tough chew toys so that you can keep your pup happy. All pups chew to some extent, especially when they are teething, but the German Shepherd Lab mix is probably going to be worse.
On top of this, they are pretty mouthy. Mouthing is a natural part of exploring their world, and it forms an important part of playtime as well. When they are with the litter, pups will play with their siblings. This involves mouthing and nipping, which helps them test their bite strength. If they nip too hard, their siblings will soon yelp to tell them to stop!
The problem is that mouthing, chewing, and nipping can become a habit. It’s your job to teach them that this is not okay. Be firm, but never too harsh. Use simple commands or you will confuse your pup. Positive reinforcement is always the best path, as it encourages your pup to listen. So, when they learn and obey, be sure to reward them with praise, cuddles, and treats. ‘Clicker’ training is particularly good, as they will associate the sound with being a good dog, and they’ll be sure to obey as they know that there’s a treat coming!
Raising pups can be very hard work. You need to be prepared for disturbed nights and a few accidents as you potty train them. Some breeders don’t release their pups until they are twelve weeks old. This is an ideal point at which to start potty training, as the pups will be developed enough to control their bladder and bowel movements.
Full-Grown German Shepherd Lab Mix
The puppy stage will soon pass and your Sheprador will be an adult dog. So, how big will it be?
Going by the examples we’ve seen, as well as taking into account the parent breeds, you should expect your dog to weigh between 50 and 80 pounds, and measure between 22 and 26 inches at the shoulder. If you get a female, she will probably slot somewhere into the lower end of this scale.
These are considered medium- to large-sized dogs, leading some experts to suggest that they are not ideal for first-time dog owners. Of course, this is entirely up to you. Their temperament and trainability, coupled with their gentle and affectionate nature, make them perfect for families, whether they’re seasoned dog owners or not. It’s simply the fact that large dogs need to be handled properly. To do this, you need to be firm and assertive.
If you are considering one of these hybrid dogs and you’re not an experienced dog lover, then you would be advised to start training them as soon as possible.
As beautiful, friendly, and happy as these dogs can be, they need guidance. You need to establish that you are in control at all times.
If you can do this, then there shouldn’t be a problem!
Sheprador Health Issues
Like all dogs, the German Shepherd Labrador mix will have its share of health problems.
The good news is that mix-breeds are often healthier than purebred dogs because they escape the hazards of selective breeding. A wider gene pool helps to bypass some of the inherited genetic problems that affect so many purebreds.
Even so, you still need to be aware of the possible health conditions that might arise, so we’ve listed a few here:
Hip dysplasia – This is caused by a malformed hip joint, and it is painful as the bones tend to grind together as the dog walks. Surgery is the preferred remedy in severe cases.
Elbow dysplasia – Similar to the above, but in the dog’s elbow joint.
Bloat – Also called Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV), this potentially fatal condition often happens after the dog has over-eaten or drank too much water, usually just before or after exercise. The stomach fills up with gas, cutting off the blood supply to vital organs and rupturing the stomach lining. This condition mostly affects large breeds with deep chest cavities such as the German Shepherd.
Obesity – Excess weight can be a serious issue for dogs, as they quickly become unfit. It puts strain on the heart, leading to poor circulation and heart disease. It also puts the joints under more stress, resulting in arthritis. Obesity can be a symptom of other health problems, but it is often caused by overeating. Be sure to only give your pooch high-quality dog food, and feed it an amount that is appropriate to their activity level, size, and age.
Progressive retinal atrophy – Sadly, this condition is incurable. It starts with night blindness, where the dog will bump into walls and furniture in low light levels, and then it progresses to complete blindness. Although some sources sell medication for this, it really does nothing to slow the process. The only sensible course of action is to prepare the dog for life without sight. The good news is that most dogs cope amazingly well with this.
Hypothyroidism – Some dogs have an underactive thyroid, meaning that the gland doesn’t produce enough of the hormones to allow its metabolism to operate efficiently. This leads to weight gain, loss of appetite, lethargy, and visible changes in the skin and coat.
As mentioned earlier, there’s a fair chance that your Sheprador will avoid these because of the fresh genes. You can boost your chances of getting a healthy dog by choosing a good breeder!
Speaking of which…
Be sure to pick a good one.
It’s never a good idea to buy a dog online, as there are too many scams and unreliable sellers looking for a fast buck. Also, you have no idea of the pup’s condition, or even if the pup exists!
Likewise, you should avoid puppy mills, pet stores, and backyard breeders. They have a track record of keeping their dogs in appalling conditions, along with using tiny cages, mistreating animals, and feeding them poor-quality food. They do not deserve your custom or your money.
Check online forums and get testimonials of any breeder you are interested in. If possible, speak to customers who have bought from them in the past. Check kennel club websites for lists of approved dealers. Some also have lists of who to avoid!
This is vitally important for three reasons. First, you want reassurance that your pup will be fit and healthy and have the best chance of living a long and happy life. Second, you want your money to go to someone who deserves it; someone who has a passion for their work and who will invest in the welfare of their animals.
Third, without funding, puppy mills and all other places that don’t treat animals with the love and respect that they deserve will eventually be forced to stop trading. And, that’s great news for the dogs and everyone who loves them!
German Shepherd Lab Mix For Adoption
Adoption is always an option, and a cheaper one.
You can save yourself a lot of money by heading to a local shelter. And, you’ll be saving a life – literally, in many cases.
The only possible problem is that you probably won’t get a puppy. For some people, this would not be okay, as they want to enjoy that boisterous, cute little furball bouncing about their home. For others, this might be ideal. The puppy stage can be a real trial, and your home (as well as your nerves) can take a hammering.
It’s a gamble, as you may not know the dog’s background, and it’s easy to misidentify mixed breed dogs if you don’t know for sure. This is important, as it’s good to know what attributes will be inherited. It’s also vital in some cases, as in England, where anything remotely resembling a Pitbull Terrier (except for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier) can be confiscated and destroyed, even if it has no record of aggressive behavior.
German Shepherd Labrador Retriever Mix Lifespan.
When we look at the parents, we find that the German Shepherd generally has a shorter life expectancy than the Labrador. The AKC puts the Lab at between 10 and 12 years, and the GSD between 7 and 10 years (although other sources put the upper limit at 14 and 13 years, respectively).
Why is this?
Some experts believe that the German Shepherd has a shorter lifespan because of selective breeding that has resulted in a range of health conditions such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, and spinal problems. While these don’t necessarily shorten the dog’s life, they cause a great deal of pain. When this happens to older dogs, it affects their quality of life and their mobility, leading many owners to euthanize their precious pooches in order to free them from their suffering.
So, how long should we expect the German Shepherd Lab mix to live? Records so far indicate that they live for at least ten years and as long as fourteen years.
This seems to endorse the claims that mixed breeds are healthier than purebred dogs, as owners are not having to euthanize their older dogs due to inherited diseases that impact their quality of life!
Black German Shepherd Lab Mix
There is a chance that your Sheprador will be all black, as both the Lab and the GSD have black versions. It could be solid black, but it also might have white markings on its chest.
However, just because the parents both have black coats doesn’t mean that the pups will automatically be black! Dog coat colors are tricky to predict, as the genetics can be complicated. Black Labs can also carry the gene that provides a yellow or a chocolate coloring.
Black dogs seem to divide opinions. Some people love them, while others actively avoid getting one. The reason behind this isn’t fully understood, although it could be because there is a lingering belief that black dogs are more aggressive or somehow unlucky! Black dogs have been traditionally connected with bad omens and evil spirits. For example, Bram Stoker included a black dog in his classic tale about Dracula. This dog was seen running ashore on the night that Dracula appeared in the fishing town of Whitby.
Whether stories like this have added to the fear (and the appeal!) of black dogs is not known. But, if you visit a dog shelter and count the number of black dogs there, they usually outnumber the other colors.
White German Shepherd Lab Mix
At the other end of the scale, we have the white dog, which splits opinions almost as much as its black counterpart!
The chances of getting a white German Shepherd Lab mix are slim unless one of the parents is an American White Shepherd rather than a purebred GSD.
Many people mistakenly believe that these (and all white dogs) are albinos or are somehow deficient. While it’s true that some white dogs (such as the Dalmatian) carry genes that cause deafness and eye problems, most, including the German Shepherd, are just as healthy as any other color.
Kennel clubs and breed enthusiasts don’t help, as they frequently label white dogs as faulty and disqualify them from shows, which perpetuates the myth that these dogs are inferior or defective.
However, there is no evidence to prove that white dogs are any different from their colored counterparts, whether in terms of health, lifespan, or temperament.
Albinos do exist, but they are extremely rare, and will usually have pink eyes (sometimes blue, but these aren’t true albinos).
If you do find a white German Shepherd Lab mix, you’ll have a rare treasure, as they are difficult to find.
Are Shepradors Aggressive?
Labrador Retrievers are not known to be aggressive, although the German Shepherd has more of a record in this area.
Dog aggression is a complex subject, and many dog breeds have earned a reputation for being aggressive when all the evidence suggests that humans are more to blame than the dogs themselves.
Any dog can be aggressive. It all depends on how it is treated, or whether it is in pain, afraid, or sick in some way. Unfortunately, despicable individuals still breed (or steal) dogs for fighting. Other equally unpleasant people mistreat dogs, making them fearful of humans.
German Shepherds can be aggressive, as they are trained to be so for various roles. There’s no point in having a k-9 police dog that chases a criminal and licks their face when he catches them! The trick with the GSD is in the training. Ex-police dogs can still sometimes make great pets, as they only go into attack mode when given a command.
However, German Shepherds are generally not aggressive dogs.
The combination of the two, the Sheprador, is very unlikely to show any real aggression. It has the affectionate sides of both the Labrador and the German Shepherd parent dogs, as well as the happy and carefree side of the Lab.
With the right training and socialization, your Sheprador will be one of the friendliest dogs around!
A Few Final Words
By now, you should have enough breed information about the German Shepherd Lab mix to tell whether this is the right dog for you.
But, just in case you need a recap, let’s go over some of the main points and fill in any gaps.
The Sheprador is a mix of two brilliant working dogs: the German Shepherd (not Shepard, as some people say) and the Labrador Retriever.
The proud and noble GSD has a history of herding, although in recent years, it has found its niche in police work, military services, search and rescue, and as an excellent helper for people with disabilities.The trusty and loyal Lab was bred as an aid to hunters, but it is mostly kept as a companion dog these days; a role in which it excels.
The mix of the two is an incredibly loyal dog that won’t want to be parted from you. It will shower you with affection at every opportunity and seek your attention always. Be prepared for a lot of love, kisses, and cuddles.
Shepradors might make good watchdogs, barking at noises or passing strangers just to alert you. However, if an intruder breaks into your home, your dog will probably act in one of two ways. If it takes after the GSD, there’s a good chance that it will attack or at least warn the intruder off. On the other hand, if it takes after the Labrador, it might bring the intruder a toy and see if he wants to play!
These dogs will have bags of energy, and will require a couple of hours of daily exercise. Long walks and runs or even a swim will be ideal in using up those energy levels. They will enjoy playtime, especially if others join in, including young kids. Any exercise session should include something to exercise the dog’s mind, as they are very intelligent animals. Give them a puzzle to work out, or hide a toy or a treat and send them to find it. Enroll them in agility classes or dog sports, as they’ll be in their element.
Because they are so intelligent, boredom is this dog’s worst enemy. If left alone, a bored and frustrated Sheprador will soon turn his attention to your soft furnishings, rugs, potted plants, or whatever takes his fancy. These will be destroyed without mercy.
If you need to leave them at home, give them a good run beforehand to tire them out. Leave them plenty of toys to play with, and fill a KONG or similar product with treats. It’s really worth it in the end just to save your home from destruction.
A high-energy dog needs a good-quality diet that is high in protein. Don’t skimp on this, as your dog surely deserves the best, and will suffer if it is fed inferior food. Exercise and diet are essential to keep your dog fit and healthy and to avoid obesity. Dogs can gain weight very easily, and this puts pressure on their heart and leg joints, leading to health complications that could shorten your dog’s life.
Due to the two parent breeds being smart and trainable, obedience training should be a breeze. You should begin this as soon as you get your pup home, as you need him to understand the house rules from the very start.
Your pup is going to chew stuff. It’s up to you to remove as many things as possible from the destruction zone, but you also need to make them aware that this is not okay. Give them a tough chew toy and let them know that this is allowed. If they nip or are too mouthy, teach them firmly but patiently that they need to stop. This is one intelligent pup, so it shouldn’t take long for it to learn the ropes!
Once your puppy develops, it will lose its first coat, and you’ll have fur everywhere. After this, it will shed a fair amount throughout the year, and even more in spring and fall. Have you got a good vacuum cleaner? Good, because you’re going to need it!
Regular brushing will help, particularly if you invest in a specialist brush, like the Furminator, which pulls out the loose hairs in the undercoat before they have a chance to stick to your sofa or breakfast muffin. Be sure to do plenty of research to see which is the best brush, and always use it properly.
Get those nails clipped, wipe those ears (floppy or pointed!) to keep them clean, and check their eyes for infections.
These tasks are all part of owning a dog and keeping it healthy. If you can’t cope with this without complaining, then perhaps you’re not cut out for owning one. These are living, breathing creatures with feelings. They love you unconditionally, and are dependent on your love, care, and support.
Think you’ve got what it takes? Then, go for it!
The German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever are the two most popular dogs in America, and possibly around the world. If you can’t decide which one you like best, then the Sheprador is made just for you!
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