The German Shepherd Lab mix is a clever, active, loyal designer dog with two strong working backgrounds. Their watchdog and hunting dog ancestry makes them protective, loving, affectionate and easy to train. Also known as the German Sheprador, they have one purebred Labrador parent and one German Shepherd Dog parent. German Shepherd Lab mix adults are 60-70 lbs in weight and stand about 22 inches tall when full grown. Today we’ll share the breed traits, personality, nature and characteristics you can expect from this cute hybrid. They are high shedders which need regular grooming and aren’t a great mix for allergies. Apartment living and young kids are best avoided with this cross due to their lively and bouncy behavior. But can be great for larger adult only homes, or those with older kids and big backyards.
- Origins of the German Shepherd Lab mix
- What do Lab German Shepherd mix dogs look like?
- German Shepherd Lab mix temperament
- Training a German Shepherd Lab mix
- German Shepherd Lab mix health and care
- Do Lab Shepherd mixes make good family pets?
- Adopting or buying a German Shepherd Lab mix puppy
Today we’ll look at the pros and cons of this gorgeous large sized cross breed dog. Checking out their history, coat color, grooming, behavior, health and breed traits. We’ll see whether the characteristics of a German Shepherd Lab mix puppy will fit in with your lifestyle, and help you to adopt, raise and care for your new dog. German Shepherd Lab mix dogs are growing in popularity, because they combine the reserved protective nature of the German Shepherd with the friendly exuberance of the Labrador Retriever.
Today we’ll help you to decide whether a German Shepherd Lab mix puppy is the right dog for you. We’ll look at how well they fit into apartments and larger homes, what they are like with kids, and how much attention and focus they need to stay happy and healthy as they turn into full grown adults.
What is a German Shepherd Lab Mix?
Shepherd Lab mix dogs are a designer breed, a cross between a purebred Labrador and a purebred German Shepherd. Their other names include Lab Shepherd mix, and Sheprador. This is usually a medium sized breed, that is friendly, active, and intelligent. Because this breed is a hybrid, it’s tricky to predict the exact appearance and temperament of each dog. Looking at the parent breeds can help us get an idea.
- Popularity: An up and coming mixed breed!
- Purpose: Companion or working dogs.
- Weight: Up to 90 pounds.
- Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, protective.
Where Did The German Shepherd Mix Lab Come From?
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!
To get a better understanding of this 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 waterfowl 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.
German Shepherd History
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.
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 Lab Mix Appearance
The Shepherd Lab can be one of the more easily identifiable cross breeds. There is often a strong hint of both Lab and Shepherd, with a German Shepherd-like dark saddle markings and ears that are typically neither erect like a Shepherd, nor fully dropped like a Lab.
Often, but not always! One thing we can predict more reliably is size.
Lab Shepherd Mix Size
A common deciding factor when it comes to purchasing a dog is the potential for full-grown size. A Lab Shepherd mix will always be medium- to large-sized dog.
A Labrador German Shepherd cross can weigh up to 90 pounds and measure up to 26 inches tall at the shoulder once fully grown. Most will be between 60-70 pounds and 21-23 inches tall. This is quite a sizable pet to accomodate in your home! And you’ll need to provide some space, plenty of food, and a large dog bed.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Colors
As mentioned previously, it is hard to predict the exact physical characteristics of a hybrid puppy. German Shepherd Lab mix puppies may exhibit a combination of their parents’ traits. Or they may more closely resemble just one of their parents.
Generally speaking, these mixes can be solid-colored. Or they may resemble the Shepherd with its characteristic black markings on the face, back, and legs. If Lab Shepherd mix puppies more closely resemble 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 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 yellow Lab mix? Or German Shepherd chocolate Lab mix, or even a white German Shepherd Lab mix? Just remember that the color of the parents does not guarantee the color of the pup.
German Shepherd Labrador Mix Coat
A white, yellow, chocolate, or black Lab German Shepherd mix puppy may have its Labrador parent’s short coat. But it could also have its German Shepherd parent’s medium or long coat. Or something in between!
Additionally, both the Lab and Shepherd have double coats. A double coat means a soft undercoat is below the rough top coat. So their hybrid offspring will also exhibit a double coat.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Shedding & Grooming
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 as a Lab Shepherd mix owner you will need to invest in a good grooming tool as well as a good pet hair vacuum!
German Shepherd Lab Mix Temperament
On average a German Shepherd Lab mix is loyal, loving and devoted to their family. They will be a clever dog, with plenty of energy and enthusiasm. But their watchdog and guard dog traits will vary from pup to pup.
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 guess what his temperament will be. This is true even when taking the general temperament of his parents into consideration.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Personality
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 a Lab Shepherd mix puppy 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.
Are German Shepherd Lab mixes friendly?
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 Lab Shepherd mix 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 Shepherd mix puppies will be hard to predict.
Training Your German Shepherd Lab Mix
Both German Shepherd Dogs and Labradors are intelligent and active dogs. You will therefore most likely gain a puppy who is clever, and requires lots of mental and physical stimulation every day.
Long walks, lots of retrieving games and training is essential for a German Shepherd Lab mix throughout their lives.
Best Training Methods
It is very important to use positive reinforcement training methods with breeds such as German Shepherds and Lab Shepherd mixes. These clever dogs love to learn, but don’t respond well to dominance based methodologies.
These smart 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.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Exercise
You will need to commit to exercising and training your 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 your Sheprador to play and stretch his legs.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Health And Care
As with any dog, regardless of breed, a Sheprador 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.
If you’re working with a breeder to obtain a puppy, be sure that they utilize genetic testing on both parents. This will 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.
A hybrid puppy typically has the same life span as its parents. So the Sheprador mix can be expected to live for approximately 10 to 14 years.
Do German Shepherd Lab Mixes Make Good Family Pets?
Before you purchase this 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 Sheprador puppy will definitely need some space to stretch his legs.
Your dog will need a large secure backyard. Your German Shepherd Lab mix pup will also need company! 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.
What do German Shepherd Lab mix puppies need?
Labs are very bouncy puppies who love to chew. German Shepherds require intense socialization to reduce the possibility of their guarding you or your property. 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 short, this mix could be a good family dog if its parents have been health-tested. And if you have the time, energy and space to commit to socializing, training and exercising them well.
Pros And Cons Of Getting A German Shepherd Lab Mix
- Will need a lot of exercise
- May be very protective
- Can be prone to chewing
- May shed a great deal
- Highly intelligent
- Very loyal
- A great companion for an active lifestyle
German Shepherd Lab Mix Rescue
Finding a German Shepherd Lab mix puppy may require you to do a bit of homework! Since Labs and Lab mix puppies tend to be rather enthusiastic and exuberant, you may also want to consider rescuing an adult Sheprador.
Rescuing dogs has a few advantages. For one, you can see what their personality is like, as opposed to a puppy which still has lots of developing and changing to do.
It may cut down on some bad behaviors, such as chewing and digging, which are more common with puppies. And adopting from a rescue or shelter often is cheaper than purchasing from a breeder.
Finding A German Shepherd Lab Mix Puppy
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 believes 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.
How to Find the Right Sheprador Breeder
The right breeder 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 have a strong bond with the mother of the puppies.
They will have made sure that both dogs have a minimum of 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. Remember, the Sheprador amount varies based on the parents and how much they are worth to the breeder.
Raising A German Shepherd Lab Mix Puppy
Caring for a vulnerable puppy is a big responsibility. They will need to be very well socialized, and you should focus on using positive reinforcement based training methods.
Get your puppy used to being groomed from early on, and their potentially quite high maintenance coat will be easier to control.
For tips on types of training for your Lab Shepherd mix, check out our crate training and potty training guides. And for some extra help and guidance on training GSDs and your German Shepherd Lab mix, take a look at our in-depth guide.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Products And Accessories
For more reviews and suggestions on products for your Sheprador, check out our review pages.
Fun Facts About The German Shepherd Lab Mix
With two such popular breeds as this, it’s no wonder that both the Lab and the GSD have enjoyed some stardom alongside celebrity owners.
- Celebrities like Minnie Driver love their Labradors.
- Ben Affleck and Jake Gyllenhaal, among others, adore their German Shepherds.
- And actress Edie Falco has a Lab Shepherd mix named Marley.
Comparing The German Shepherd Lab Mix With Other Breeds
Are you interested in the Shephrador, but still not entirely sold?
Take a look at some of these other breed options for comparison.
Still not entirely sure?
On the other hand, here are some more similar dog breeds you might want to consider.
- Golden Shepherd
- Poodle German Shepherd mix
- German Shepherd Bernese Mountain Dog mix
- German Shepherd Husky Mix
Finding German Shepherd Lab Mix Breed Rescues
- All Shepherd Rescue
- Missouri German Shepherd Rescue
- Lucky Lab
- Nola Lab Rescue
- Lab Rescue Canada
- Dog’s Trust UK
Do you know of any other rescues that work with GSDs, Labs, or mixes of those breeds? Leave us a message in the comments!
Find Out More
To learn more about the diseases and conditions that a GSD is prone to, refer to our article on German Shepherd Dogs. To learn more about the diseases and conditions that a Labrador Retriever is prone to, refer to our article on Labrador Retrievers. Find out all about raising a puppy when you work full time here.
References And Resources
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- O’Neill et al. 2013. Longevity and Mortality of Dogs Owned In England. The Veterinary Journal
- Schalamon et al. 2006. Analysis of Dog Bites In Children Who Are Younger Than 17 Years. Pediatrics
- Duffy D et al. Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied Animal Behavior Science 2008
- Strain G. Deafness prevalence and pigmentation and gender associations in dog breeds at risk. The Veterinary Journal 2004
- Packer et al. 2015. Impact of Facial Conformation On Canine Health. PlosOne
- O’Neill et al. 2017. Demography and Disorders of GSDs Under Primary Veterinary Care In The UK. Canine Genetics.
- Howell, T, et al., 2015. Puppy Parties And Beyond: The Role Of Socialization On Adult Dog Behavior, Vet Med.