Welcome to your complete guide to the German Shepherd Lab Mix!
If you are thinking of bringing this fabulous mixed breed dog into your home, then let’s make sure that they are the right choice for you.
In this article, we’ll discuss the history, temperament, color, grooming needs, behavior, health, and pet suitability of a gorgeous German Shepherd Lab mix.
So let’s get started by finding out – what is a German Shepherd Lab mix!
What is a German Shepherd and Lab mix?
The German Shepherd x Labrador, also known as a “Sheprador,” is a cross between the two most popular dog breeds in America.
A Labrador German Shepherd is a mixed or “designer” breed that results from the mating of a purebred German Shepherd Dog (GSD) with a purebred Labrador Retriever.
It’s no wonder that the Labrador cross German Shepherd was developed, what with its parents being the American Kennel Club’s top two most popular dog breeds!
Let’s dive a little deeper into the Labrador x German Shepherd’s lineage.
Where did the German Shepherd mix Lab come from?
To get a better understanding of the German Shepherd Lab Mix, we need to learn about its parent breeds and where they came from.
The Labrador Retriever was first bred in Newfoundland, Canada. There, smaller dogs used for water fowl hunting were mated with Newfoundlands.
Their offspring started the line that created today’s much loved Labrador Retriever, which was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a member of the sporting group in 1917.
Just like their water-faring ancestors, modern Labs are used as hunting dogs and even service dogs. And as we mentioned previously, they are incredibly popular family pets.
As its name suggests, the German Shepherd Dog hails from Germany. The breed was developed as the perfect herding or guide dog that was strong enough to endure the toughest of conditions.
Eventually, Shepherds became popular military and police dogs, and the breed was recognized by the AKC as a member of the herding group in 1908.
Their role today is very similar to the breed’s ancestors. They are extremely popular as police dogs, guard dogs and service dogs too.
German Shepherd mixed with Lab – temperament
Preparing to bring a dog into your home? One of the most important characteristics to look at is the dog’s temperament.
The Labrador and German Shepherd hybrid is a mix of two breeds.
Therefore you can only assume what his temperament will be. Even in comparison to the general temperament of his parents.
The German Shepherd Dog is sometimes the subject of controversy. Since Shepherds are popular police dogs, they are often portrayed as vicious attack dogs.
They are not usually randomly aggressive dogs, but can be protective.
If a German Shepherd Lab mix puppy takes after its German Shepherd parent, then it’s imperative that they are handled and socialized with other dogs, places, and various humans from a young age.
Socialization in this manner will help the dog to feel comfortable, thereby reducing their need to guard their property or family.
You won’t know either way how your pup’s personality will develop, so good socialization is key for this potentially very loyal dog.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Labrador Retriever is a typically good-natured but sometimes excitable dog.
People who aren’t used to a larger and “in your face” type of dog may find a Labrador mix German Shepherd that takes after its Lab parent to be intimidating.
You must note that with any mixed breed, the temperament of a hybrid dog or puppy may more closely resemble that of one parent breed than the other parent breed.
When breeding for a German Shepherd with a Labrador, the traits and personality characteristics of their Lab German Shepherd puppies will be hard to predict.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Training
Both German Shepherd Dogs and Labradors are intelligent and active dogs.
It is very important to use positive reinforcement training methods with breeds such as German Shepherds.
These clever dogs love to learn, but don’t respond well to dominance based methodologies.
These sharp cookies work really well when rewarded for their efforts, and can make exceptionally fun training partners.
These breeds are both also know for the strong bonds they form with their families.
Labradors in particular do not like to be left alone for extended periods of time. Neither of these breeds are well suited to homes where people are out during the day.
Lab German Shepherd mix exercise requirements
You will need to commit to exercising and training your German Shepherd Lab mix every day, come rain or shine. This doesn’t just need to involve physically going for a long walk, but can also incorporate training sessions as well.
When considering welcoming this mixed breed into your home, you should plan for lots of walking, running, and playing.
There should also be plenty of room in your house and/or yard for the dog to play and stretch his legs.
When your puppy is young you will benefit from using a crate to help prevent him from destroying your home when your back is turned. It will also help with potty training.
A puppy play pen will also help to keep him out of mischief when you are not able to supervise him for a few minutes.
German Shepherd Lab mix height and weight
A common deciding factor when it comes to purchasing a dog is its full-grown size.
Due to the size of the German Shepherd and Labrador, a German Shepherd and Labrador mix will most definitely mature to be a medium- to large-sized dog.
Based on its parent breeds’ typical measurements, a Labrador German Shepherd cross can weigh up to 88 pounds and measure 26 inches tall at the shoulder.
As such, the Labrador Retriever German Shepherd mix can be a fairly large pet to consider.
German shepherd cross Labrador colors
As mentioned previously, it is hard to predict the exact physical characteristics of a hybrid puppy.
The only certainty is that German Shepherd Lab puppies may exhibit a combination of their parents’ traits. Or they may more closely resemble one of their parents.
Generally speaking, German Shepherd Lab Mixes can be solid-colored. Or they may resemble the Shepherd with its characteristic black markings on the face, back, and legs.
If Lab German Shepherd mix puppies more closely resembles the Labrador parent, then their coat color may be dependent on their Labrador parent’s coat color. But not necessarily.
A German Shepherd black Lab mix might be black or have the traditional German Shepherd markings. Due to the way in which their genes are carried, a German Shepherd black Lab mix could however also potentially be another traditional Lab color. Not to mention white as German Shepherds can be sometimes.
Looking for a German Shepherd yellow Lab mix? Or German Shepherd chocolate Lab mix, or even a white German Shepherd Lab mix? You are not necessarily guaranteeing the color of the resulting pups.
German shepherd and Labrador mix coat
A white, yellow, chocolate, or black Lab German Shepherd mix puppy may have its Labrador parent’s short coat. But could also have its German Shepherd parent’s medium or long-length coat. Or something in between!
Additionally, both the Lab and Shepherd have double coats. When a soft undercoat is below the rough top coat. So their hybrid offspring will also exhibit a double coat.
We’ll talk about how a double coat affects grooming and shedding in the next section.
German Shepherd Labrador Retriever mix grooming and shedding
With their dense double coat, your mixed breed pup will need at least weekly grooming.
Furthermore, if a German Shepherd Lab Mix puppy has its Shepherd parent’s longer and shaggier coat, then its grooming requirements will increase to several times each week.
Even more so during shedding season!
Both of these breeds can be prolific shedders, so you will need to invest in a good grooming tool as well as a good pet hair vacuum!
German Shepherd Labrador cross health
As with any dog, regardless of breed, a German Shepherd Lab mix may be born with health issues. Or they may develop various issues as they age.
A few common canine ailments include hip dysplasia, eye diseases, allergies, and skin irritations.
However, hybrid dogs like Black Lab and German shepherd mixes may inherit the conditions that their parents are prone to. For instance, both GSDs and Labs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia.
To learn more about the diseases and conditions that a German Shepherd dog is prone to, refer to our article on German Shepherd Dogs.
To learn more about the diseases and conditions that a Labrador Retriever dog is prone to, refer to our article on Labrador Retrievers.
If you’re working with a breeder to obtain a puppy, be sure that they utilize genetic testing on both parents. In order to determine what health conditions they may pass on to their offspring.
Furthermore, it is very important that you make sure that both parents have good hip and elbow scores and clear eye certificates less than a year old.
How long do Lab and German Shepherd mixes live?
A hybrid puppy typically has the same life span as its parents.
So, the German Shepherd Lab Mix can be expected to live for approximately 10 to 14 years.
Buying or adopting a Lab German Shepherd mix
Finding a German Shepherd Lab Mix may require you to do a bit of homework!
Most breeders are interested in purebred dogs of one line, not mixing two. Some breeders will mix two inappropriate dogs just to make money from a new designer dog trend.
You want to find a breeder who loves German Shepherds, loves Labradors and genuinely belives the resulting puppies to be great family pets.
Make sure that you meet both parents. This is especially important for the German Shepherd parent, as the breed can sometimes have less friendly temperaments than Labs.
Do not be tempted to go for the cheapest puppy. Good breeders have spent a lot of money on health testing their dogs. Not to mention finding the right mate for them. Their puppies will therefore inevitably cost more.
The right breeder for you will ask you lots of questions about your dog knowledge, home and how you intend to care for the puppy. They will encourage and assist you in meeting both parents. And seem to have a strong bond with the mother of the puppies.
They will have made sure that both dogs have a minimum excellent hip and elbow scores, and recent eye tests.
We recommend that you do not buy a puppy whose German Shepherd parent is walking on it’s hocks. You can see how to spot this in this article.
The amount varies based on the parents and how much they are worth to the breeder.
Is a Lab mixed with German Shepherd a good family dog?
Before you purchase a German Shepherd Lab mix, you’ll want to think about whether you can meet their requirements right now.
Both German Shepherds and Labradors are larger breeds, so a hybrid puppy will definitely need some space to stretch his legs.
Your dog will need a large secure backyard, and to be at home for most of the day even during the week. Or alternatively to pay for doggy day care if you work full time.
Labs are very bouncy, chewy puppies.
German Shepherds require intense socialization to reduce the possibility of their guarding you or your property. You will need to be prepared to deal with all of these things as your pup matures.
And that you are happy to commit to spending lots of time exercising and training your dog for the next ten or more years.
Both parent breeds have dense double coats that require weekly grooming at minimum. If the hybrid puppy inherits its German Shepherd parent’s longer coat, then this grooming requirement will increase.
In sort, a German Shepherd Lab mix is a lot of work. But they could also potentially be a really loving, rewarding, loyal member of your family.
In conclusion, a German Shepherd Lab Mix could be a good family dog if its parents have been health-tested. And you have the time, energy and space to commit to socializing, training and exercising them well.
If you feel confident that you can tick all of those boxes, then a German Shepherd Lab mix could well be your new best friend!
Choosing The Perfect Puppy
Still unsure of which breed of puppy to bring home? Then check out Choosing The Perfect Puppy.
A complete guide to picking the right new friend for your family.