Fashioned from top-tier hunting and herding genes, the Australian Shepherd Lab mix is essentially a working dog prodigy.
Also called Aussiedor, Australian Sheprador, Aussie Sheprador, Aussie Lab, Sheprador, and Lab Aussie Mix, this hybrid is known for its intelligence and athleticism.
But veteran dog owners will tell you that the most capable dogs require the most competent handlers. Do you have what it takes?
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Where does the Australian Shepherd Lab mix come from?
Like many other designer breeds, we don’t have much information about this hybrid’s origins.
Given that its parent breeds, the Australian Shepherd and Labrador Retriever, are both quite popular, it’s likely that the mix has been around for a while.
Intentional breeding probably started during the 1990s in North America, arguably intending to cultivate an exceptional working dog.
To get a feel for what instincts and behaviors may crop up in your Aussie Sheprador, we need to study its lineage. Let’s start with the Australian Shepherd.
Australian Shepherds: America’s farm dogs
Though their name suggests otherwise, Australian Shepherds, also known as Aussies, actually have roots in the Pyrenees Mountains.
Descended from the Pyrenean Shepherd, Australian Shepherds were bred to herd sheep and cattle along Basque hillsides.
When Europeans colonized Australia, they brought their invaluable herding dogs with them. (This stint in the Land Down Under is where the breed gets its name.)
Eventually, these canines made their way to California ranches and became a staple of the Old American West.
Australian Shepherds are still famous for their physical and mental awareness. Take a ride to a farm out west or visit a rodeo, and you just might see an Aussie hard at work.
Labrador Retrievers: America’s favorite breed
If you never owned a Labrador Retriever yourself, you probably know someone who does. Or maybe even several people. Labradors have been America’s most popular dog breed since 1991, after all.
Nicknamed Labs, these canines originated in Newfoundland, Canada, as waterfowl retrievers.
In the early 19th century, British nobility took note of the Labrador’s skills as a hunting and fishing companion.
Over the next several decades, the breed became a hallmark in homes across Great Britain and North America.
Today, Labs fulfill their life’s purpose as hunters, retrievers, and goofy family pets. They’re also frequently used as service or police dogs.
What you may not realize is that there are two distinct types of Labrador. While these varieties aren’t officially recognized, Labrador enthusiasts can tell the difference between an American and English Lab from a mile away.
Stocky and thick-necked, English, or British Labs are generally bred to be show dogs. They’re often quite social, if not a little precocious.
The leaner, taller American Lab is bred to work and hunt. This Lab variety is both highly trainable and incredibly driven. They’ll require more in the exercise department than English Labs.
Both English and American Labradors can be used to breed Aussiedors. Knowledgeable breeders will be able to tell you which variety they use for their Australian Shepradors.
What does an Aussiedor look like?
If we had to describe the Australian Labrador Retriever’s appearance in one word, we’d go with hodgepodge. There’s literally no way to accurately predict how these pups will turn out.
Purebred Labradors are almost always solid shades of yellow, black, or chocolate. Purebred Australian Shepherds, however, can be combinations of black, red, blue merle, or red merle.
Your Aussiedor could be any of these colors, as well as brindle or cream. Needless to say, the only way to know how an Aussiedor will look is by, well, looking at it!
A quick word of caution about merle-coated dogs: the genes that cause merle patterns can also cause serious health issues.
When a dog inherits two copies of the merle gene, they are at greater risk for hearing and vision impairments.
Labrador Retrievers don’t carry the merle gene, but Australian Shepherds can. For this reason, an Aussie Lab may be a good choice for owners who want the merle look but don’t want to sacrifice their dog’s health.
Lab genes don’t guarantee an automatic clean bill of health, though. If you find a breeder with merle Aussiedors, do further research into their breeding practices to be safe.
Complementing their multicolored fur, Lab Aussie mixes can have blue, brown, or amber eyes. Their ears are often floppy, drooping down into triangular points.
A broad, proportioned head and moderately deep chest round out the Australian Labrador Retriever’s intelligent, athletic countenance.
How big will an Australian Shepherd Lab mix get?
The exact size and build of your Aussiedor can be hard to pin down, but you can expect them to be medium- to large-sized.
When fully grown, Australian Shepradors often measure 22-25 inches (56-64 cm) and can weigh anywhere from 40-80 pounds (18-36 kg).
You may be wondering why the Aussie Lab’s weight can vary so much. It all comes down to your pup’s parentage.
If your pooch comes from an English Lab, they’ll be stouter than an Aussiedor from an American Lab.
Likewise, your pup may come from a miniature Australian Shepherd, resulting in a tinier version of the standard Aussie Sheprador.
To get a better idea of how your Australian Shepherd Retriever may look like an adult, talk to your breeder and meet your pup’s mom and dad.
It may come as no surprise that, between their energy needs and size, Lab Aussies need as much space as they can get. This breed isn’t suitable for apartment life and will be happiest in a home with a large, fenced yard.
Do Australian Shepradors shed?
In addition to their impressive array of fur colors, Aussie Labs also boast warm, water-resistant double coats. While their hair is short to medium in length, those double coats shed…a lot.
Some Australian Shepherd Lab mixes shed more than others, but you can expect moderate to heavy shedding no matter what. Sorry, allergy sufferers. This may not be the hybrid dog for you.
Temperament: Are Australian Shepherd Lab mixes good dogs?
Coming from two beloved parent breeds, Aussiedors are renowned for their family-oriented nature. Eager to please and always ready to work or play, this designer breed fits well in most active homes.
Lab Aussie mixes tend to be quite patient with children, but they’ll do best with older kids.
Younger tots may find themselves herded and corralled during playtime, so constant supervision is a must.
Along those lines, you may see your Australian Sheprador nipping at your kiddos’ heels. This isn’t aggression, but rather your dog’s herding instinct kicking in.
Similarly, you should be careful around smaller animals or in unfenced areas.
Given their hunting and herding background, Aussie Labradors are always up for a good game of chase.
Be proactive, and use positive reinforcement training to channel your dog’s natural proclivities into fun and productive pastimes.
In your day-to-day training sessions, focus on developing reliable recall, as well as the difference between appropriate and inappropriate herding.
Labrador Australian Shepherd hybrids are among the worker bees of the dog world, so training will be a piece of cake. They’ll learn basic obedience in no time, freeing you up to work on those breed-specific behaviors.
Want to make things interesting? Aussie Shepradors are perfect for agility trials and service dog training. They also have an affinity for learning canine party tricks!
Take a minute to watch Luna the Aussiedor show off her repertoire in this video, and maybe get a few ideas for your future pup.
In addition to doggie manners and recall, your Lab Aussie mix’s training regimen should include a robust socialization component.
Australian Shepradors are incredibly social and pack-oriented, but they’re not always keen on making new friends. Their protective, guard dog tendencies can turn into downright territorial aggression if you’re not careful.
As soon as you can, start teaching your Aussie Lab puppy how to greet new dogs and people. Show them that you’re in charge when a stranger approaches.
While you train your dog, you should be training yourself, too. Study your pup’s body language in different situations. Learn their signs of discomfort or fear.
The sooner you can pick up on Fido’s apprehension, the quicker you can intervene.
Because of their bold personality, first-time dog owners may struggle to keep up with the Australian Shepherd Lab mix.
You don’t necessarily need to be an expert on all things canine, but you should have experience with driven, high-energy breeds.
Additionally, the ideal Australian Sheprador owner thrives on attention from their four-legged best friend.
As far as Aussie Labs are concerned, the sun rises and sets with their humans. Prepare for adorable anecdotes of your pup wedging their way onto the couch for snuggles and following you around the house nonstop.
This dependency comes at a price, however. The Australian Shepherd Lab cross is prone to separation anxiety. They should not be left alone or crated for more than a couple of hours a day.
Keep their companionship needs in mind before you buy one of these pups. How often can you realistically be home with your dog? How much attention and energy do you have left at the end of a workday?
Given this breed’s suspicious streak and Velcro dog status, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to develop a relationship with a dog sitter, even if you don’t think you’ll need one.
In the event that you do have to be away from home for awhile, your pooch will already have a familiar substitute to keep them company until you return.
Schedule meet and greets with well-reviewed sitters in your area. When you find one or two good candidates, set up playdates with them and your pup once a month or so.
This will keep your sitter in Fido’s good graces and ensure that you can meet family and professional demands without worrying about your pooch.
Taking care of your Aussiedor
Seasoned dog parents know the importance of regular maintenance.
Establishing grooming, feeding, and exercise routines smooth out many of the speed bumps we experience with our first pets.
Meeting the Australian Labrador’s physical needs can be somewhat demanding.
But with a system in place and a good dose of dedication, your pooch will thrive.
How often should you groom an Aussie Lab?
Labrador Retriever Australian Shepherd mixes require moderate to heavy grooming. Plan on brushing their fur a few times per week. Aussiedors with longer or denser coats may need more frequent beauty sessions.
You might consider taking your pup to a professional groomer. Light trims and haircuts (especially around your dog’s hindquarters) can help keep them cleaner and reduce the amount of time you spend on coat maintenance.
Whatever you do, don’t shave them! Shaving a double-coated dog can do more harm than good, as their fur helps protect their skin and regulate their body temperature.
Bathe only when needed with a mild shampoo. When their hair dries, give them a good brushing to disperse natural oils throughout their coat.
Check your dog’s ears every week for signs of infection. You’re looking for debris, redness, or strong odor. Wipe their ears with a damp cloth or cotton balls.
If you use any sort of wash, don’t put it directly onto the ear. Dry their ears thoroughly when you’re finished to prevent irritation.
Once or twice a month, trim your Aussiedor’s nails. And be careful if your pup has brown or black claws!
It’s harder to see the quick in darker doggie toenails. Take your time and go slowly. If you cut your dog’s nails too far back, the result could be messy and quite painful.
Likewise, if you go too long between puppy paw-dicures, don’t trim your dog’s nails to its regular length all at once.
Once trimmed, it can quickly grow, so it’ll be longer than normal. Trim a little off to start, wait a couple of days, and then trim a bit more. They’ll be good to go in no time!
Their teeth should be brushed once a day to keep their chompers healthy. Toss Fido a dental chew every now and then for extra plaque defense.
Diet: what’s the best dog food for an Australian Sheprador?
As Aussiedors are good-sized canines with above-average stamina, they need a diet rich in protein.
3-4 cups of dry kibbles is usually a healthy amount. Give your dog 1.5-2 cups of food at breakfast and the remaining portion at dinner. Try to feed them at the same time every day.
Keep in mind that this amount is for the typical adult Aussiedor. Your dog’s food intake could be different and will likely change over time.
Young puppies need multiple small meals, for example, but older dogs can eat larger portions less frequently.
Your dog’s physique and activity level also play a role in how much they should eat.
Matching their caloric intake to their body structure and exercise output will give them the fuel to live life fully while avoiding unhealthy weight gain.
How much exercise do Aussiedors need?
If you tell Netflix you’re still watching more than once in a day, you may need to steer your doggie search elsewhere.
Australian Shepherd Lab mixes seem to have an endless supply of energy. They need at least an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise every day.
Continual physical and mental activity is critical to the Aussie Lab’s well-being. These dogs are biologically built to stay busy.
Denying them opportunities to work their brains and stretch their legs can be incredibly damaging. Restless Aussiedors can quickly become destructive and depressed, so make their exercise a top priority.
Thankfully, Aussie Labs are up for just about any adventure you can imagine.
Chasing frisbees in the backyard? Awesome. Diving off the dock for a watery game of fetch? Perfect. As long as these pups are doing something, they’ll be happy.
They’ll be even happier if you switch up their exercise routine every now and then. Think about it this way: would you eat the exact same foods every day? Of course not! Just like humans need a bit of novelty in our lives, so do Aussiedors.
To sweeten the pot, Australian Shepradors are heat- and cold-tolerant. You’ll be able to satisfy their exercise requirements year-round.
Still, if temperatures dip or soar to extreme proportions, take steps to keep Fido comfortable and safe. Try to keep your pooch inside during the hottest parts of the day in summertime. Consider using a protective paw wax during icy winters.
Health: How long do Australian Shepherd Lab mixes live?
Because Aussie Shepradors combines two distinct breed lines, they don’t carry the same genetic risks as purebred dogs (a concept called hybrid vigor).
With an average life expectancy of 12-13 years, the Australian Labrador’s lifespan is indicative of the crossbreed’s overall health.
But while hereditary conditions and their prevalence can be minimized, they can’t disappear completely. Aussiedors could be predisposed to the same medical ailments common in their parent breeds. These include:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Eye conditions, like cataracts and PRA
Purebred Labs are also prone to obesity and bloat, and Australian Shepherds are known for multiple drug sensitivity. You and your vet should be on the lookout for these conditions, as well.
No one wants to think about their fur baby developing health problems. Take comfort in the fact that several of these maladies can be prevented or alleviated with proper care.
Visit your vet once or twice a year. Store your dog’s medical records in one place, and set a reminder on your phone for their monthly heartworm and flea/tick treatment. Stick to your feeding schedule, and dole out treats sparingly.
Finally, shower your pup with plenty of love and affection. After all, loved dogs are happy dogs, and happy dogs are healthy dogs.
Where can you buy Aussiedor puppies?
Australian Shepherd Labrador Retriever mixes are a new designer breed, so you may have to do some digging to find your perfect pup.
Expect to pay around $400 to $800 if you buy from a breeder. Rescue Aussie Labs will cost a bit less, usually no more than $250.
Finding an Aussie Lab breeder
Given the Aussiedor’s rarity, you’re in an exciting position as a breeder’s potential customer.
Because the hybrid isn’t particularly well-known, Aussiedor buyers can have limited options, depending on their location. Sketchy breeders could take advantage of the untapped market.
On the other hand, legitimate breeders may have a hard time finding suitable homes for all of their pups. Thus, serious buyers will be even more welcome than usual.
To discern between less-than-trustworthy kennels and reputable ones, employ a few best practices.
Do your research ahead of time. Know your stuff, and plan out what you want to ask. The better prepared you are, the easier it will be to gauge your breeder’s expertise. Don’t forget to ask about the double merle gene!
Don’t rush. Buying a dog isn’t as simple as choosing a melon at the supermarket. Give yourself time to visit breeders in person, interact with their puppies, and check references. Trust us, and it’ll be worth it when you find your perfect dog.
Trust your gut, and watch out for red flags. If something seems off about a breeder, it probably is.
A search for Australian Shepherd Lab mixes for sale didn’t turn up many results, but there are a few breeders out there:
- Australian Shepherd, Lab mix (check here for leads on upcoming litters across the U.S.)
- Hidden Valley Aussiedors & Aussiedoodles (Millville, MN)
Australian Shepherd Lab mix rescue
Adopting a dog is a fulfilling option for cost-conscious pet lovers. Going through a pet adoption also gives you more flexibility. You can choose a dog at any life stage and be better able to get a feel for your dog’s personality before making a decision.
That being said, there can be more about your Aussiedor. It’s possible that you won’t have much information about your pup’s history, so there’s always a chance that they’re a unique combination of other breeds.
You can always check local shelters, but don’t forget to comb through specific rescue organizations like these:
- Aussie Rescue San Diego (CA)
- Aussie Rescue and Placement Helpline (St. George, UT)
- Lu’s Labs (Berlin, MD)
- Brookline Lab Rescue (Warrington, PA)
Other Australian Shepherd hybrids and Labrador mixes
Aussie Shepradors are full of positive qualities and desirable traits. For some dog owners, however, they may also have a couple of deal-breakers.
If you need sharpened herding instincts, look into a Border Collie Aussie mix.
If you’re in the market for canine protection, consider a German Shepherd Lab mix.
If you don’t want a guard dog, perhaps a Husky Lab mix is a better option.
Is the Australian Shepherd Lab mix your perfect match?
Australian Shepradors are a blend of hard work and joyful play.
With a get-up-and-go attitude, this crossbreed is just right for active, experienced owners.
Frequent mental and physical exercise is key to helping the Aussiedor live up to its potential.
But think carefully about how your stamina stacks up with theirs.
How would your lifestyle be like with an Australian Labrador?
Share your ideas in the comments!