One of the most beloved dog breeds in the world is the German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever. The intelligence and loyalty of these two breeds are the features that make them popular with dog lovers. Individually, they are also among the most “good-looking” dogs around — the German Shepherd with its confident stance and the Labrador Retriever with its friendly aura.
The German Shepherd started as a companion for herding cattle, as the name suggests. On the other hand, the Labrador Retriever came from the now extinct water dog of St. John. Such retrievers were raised as a native of Newfoundland to help hunters and fishermen recover waterfowl.
Because both of these breeds are affectionate, compassionate, and easy to train, you will often see them as police dogs, service dogs, or blind guide dogs. They’re busy showering their families with lots of love and doggy kisses when they aren’t at work!
Brief History of the German Shepherd Labrador Hybrid
Like the other crossbreeds that have already been featured on this site, the German Shepherd-Labrador mix is also a “designer dog.” However, unlike the others, no one knows for sure when they started to come about, as there was no obvious demand for it like the other hybrids.
More likely, this mixed breed just started as an accidental mating. Some owners may have realized that the hybrids make great pets, so they had no problems deliberately breeding them again.
Designer breeds are usually born out of the desire of a breeder to produce a dog that inherits the best features of two purebred parents. The German Shepherd, as well as the Labrador, are big breeds that can reach up to 90 lbs. Their temperaments are also slightly similar, so this hybrid does not have any issues with the breeding process or puppy training when it comes to technicalities.
Perhaps the worst they could contend with is inheriting the health issues common to both breeds of dogs. Otherwise, this mixed breed, also called the Sheprador or Labrashep, is one of the most playful breeds you can ever have as a dog, depending on the parent it resembles more.
German Shepherd Lab Mix General Appearance
1. German Shepherd x Labrador Mix Vital Stats
- Height: 20 to 24 in. (females); 22 to 26 in. (males)
- Weight: 55 to 90 lbs.
- Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
The German Shepherd-Lab hybrid varies greatly in appearance, like most designer dogs or first-generation mixed breeds. Others will be more like a Sheprador, inheriting the German Shepherd’s muzzle and erect ears. Others, with droopy ears and friendly face, will be more like a Labrashep.
Typically a German Shepherd mixed with a black Lab produces pups with dark fur. On the other hand, the pups will be on the lighter side if the German Shepherd is matted with a yellow Lab. The colors can either be as solid as the Labrador or as the German Shepherd with black markings.
As for the coat length, it can inherit the Labrador’s short coat or the German Shepherd’s medium coat. Since both the Lab and the German Shepherd are double-coated, you can expect their offspring to be the same.
3. German shepherd Lab Mix Size
Because the sizes of the Lab and the German Shepherd aren’t far off, you can also expect their hybrid offspring to grow that big. Hence, if you aren’t ready to care for a dog that size, better stay away from the Sheprador.
How Much are German Shepherd Lab Mix Puppies (Price)?
Because German Shepherd-Lab mixes aren’t as popular as other designer breeds like Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, or Pomskies, they are also not as expensive. Depending on the puppy’s pedigree, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $600.
The price may vary depending on the breeder, so make sure you do your Sheprador breeders research carefully. Usually, if pups come from good, healthier pedigrees, the price of Sheprador puppies will be higher. In any case, you’re going to get your Sheprador from a reputable breeder, or you’re also going to be able to take one from a shelter, so you know how it looks like.
Personality and Temperament
German Shepherds are trustworthy, calm, and very intelligent. They prove to be excellent friends in both work and home as one of the best dog breeds out there. They are very loyal to their owners and able to do whatever they want to do. Why they are often the face of police dogs is no longer shocking.
The Labradors, on the other hand, are friendly, playful, and active. They love being around humans, and wouldn’t hesitate to express their affection in an instant. They are also a great choice for families with children.
Both the German Shepherd and the Labrador are high-energy dog breeds that need healthy and productive channeling of all their pent-up energies. That’s why they love their positions as service dogs— when working, it’s easy for them to feel that there is a lot of affection for them. Though being a service dog wasn’t their initial purpose, it seems as if both of them were born for that.
If you allow either of them to be that bored or that anxious, they might turn to destructive ways to soothe themselves. You can expect the aforementioned behaviors from their hybrid offspring since they are not that much different in terms of temperament.
The German Shepherd may be aloof and cautious of other dogs or outsiders, although both breeds can be confident around people. That’s why socializing your Sheprador puppy is important as early as possible. This can be done by using your puppy when he’s young to get used to other people.
Additionally, it will also be helpful to gradually introduce your pet to other animals so they don’t need to feel threatened and territorial when they come face to face with them. An occasional trip to a safe dog park will help with this or a regular meet-up with friends who also have dogs.
Dog training can be especially challenging especially if you’ve never owned a dog before. It may even be harder when you’re dealing with a hybrid since everything about them isn’t based on a particular standard.
We can only infer how a pup will behave based on its parents. Fortunately, the German Shepherd and the Labrador are both conveniently trainable, and so is their offspring.
The key to effective training is to consistently apply positive reinforcement, whether you’re potty training, housetraining, leash training, or dog trick training. Depending on how you deal with your Sheprador, you may even choose to train him to become a service dog, provided that the trainers see potential in him.
What is crucial is that you evaluate which forms of reinforcement function better and that you give him these things consistently during learning so that he stays mentally stimulated. Integrating playtime learning can be very successful, particularly for a mixed breed full of energy.
For example, you can play a game of fetch in the middle of training. You can also add it after training to drain your dog’s energy. Doing this ensures that your sessions are fulfilling for both you and your dog.
Caring for Your Sheprador
If you have ever owned a Labrador or a German Shepherd before, then caring for a Sheprador wouldn’t be significantly different. As long as you can allot enough time for play and exercise, this breed would prove to you how rewarding it feels to have a pet that adores you.
Sheprador would need at least one hour of daily exercise. Not everything has to be done at once. You can split the workout time into two 30-minute walks, for example, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. Try your best to meet this requirement to avoid getting frustrated and fidgety.
There are days when they’d be willing to exceed the minimum requirement, sometimes even having the energy for 90 to 120 minutes of exercise. As an owner, it is your duty to gauge what your dog is capable of.
If you’re a fan of regular jogging or running, it can be a good idea during your easy running days to take your dog on your runs. He should be fine as long as you’re bringing water to your dog and the weather isn’t too hot of course, make sure that he is fit enough to join you before you attempt to make him your new running buddy.
Given that you’re fulfilling your pet’s exercise requirements, you can expect that your Sheprador will have a big appetite. Hence, you have to be ready to spend a little more on dog food, because your pooch is bound to be hungry all the time!
In general, 30 calories per lb. will be needed for an active pooch body weight daily. That’s about 2 to 3 cups per day of high-quality dog food. This should, of course, be properly adjusted to the activity levels and weight of your dog.
Meals are best served twice a day, one for breakfast and one for dinner. It is worth noting that Labrador is prone to obesity when they are overfed. Your Sheprador may inherit this tendency, so make sure that you carefully monitor your pet’s daily activities and diet.
Daily grooming is necessary to maintain the double coat of the Sheprador. Usually, grooming once a week will be enough. Nevertheless, if the fur of your pooch is on the longer side, you should increase the frequency of your grooming to two or three times a week. And this is particularly necessary during the shedding season.
Sheprador Health Issues
Some health issues that are common to the German Shepherd and the Labrador are:
- Skin irritations
- Eye diseases
- Gastric dilation volvulus (aka bloat)
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Obesity and weight gain
Some of these will be difficult to avoid, while others will be completely controllable (e.g. obesity). You will lower his chances of getting into any health problems as long as you look after your dog well.
1. Do Shepradors shed?
Yes, and the shedding is especially heavy during springtime and autumn. That’s because those are the phases when your dog is preparing for their summer and winter coats.
2. Are they recommended for families?
Yes, Shepradors can be great family pets based on friendliness. In houses with a big yard, though, they would do well, as this allows them enough space to be as strong as they want. Also, they don’t do that well when left alone for a long time.
If you are planning to get a Sheprador, make sure that someone will be able to stay in the house all day, or you can hire someone to look after your dog. Otherwise, he might start to misbehave in the absence of known humans.
3. Are they destructive?
When not trained they can be quite destructive. The German Shepherd and the Labrador are both considered to be big chewers, even when trained. Therefore, you can expect your Sheprador to exercise his jaw from time to time as well.
That’s why it’s important to have a steady supply of chew toys because if he doesn’t have his chew toy, your pooch could go after your stuff. Go for chewing toys made from safe materials and make sure it’s heavy-duty. The mouth of your dog is strong, so he needs a toy to resist his biting power.
4. Should I get a Sheprador?
It all depends on whether you are ready for the responsibilities of having one. Take note that a lot of playtime and exercise are expected for this dog. The Sheprador is also a strong shedder, so it may not be ideal for allergy family members.
If these are not big issues for you, and if you want a fiercely loyal dog that works well as a guard dog, then the Sheprador is a good choice.
Dog lovers who are looking for a brave and friendly dog will be thoroughly pleased with a Sheprador. Even though it isn’t popular as a designer dog, this mixed breed surely will not disappoint.