What do you get when you breed two of the world’s most popular family dogs: the German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever?
The result is the German Shepherd Lab mix or “Sheprador”, to be concise.
This is a hybrid that combines some outstanding doggie genes. Care to learn more? We’ll answer every question you have about this fascinating canine in our detailed guide!
1. Where does the Sheprador come from?
The designer dog is a recent phenomenon, with creatively curious breeders shying away from purebred standards to experiment with new super breeds.
The spike of crossbreeding in recent decades has produced a whole new wave of dog breeds with little background information.
This is true for the German Shepherd and Lab mix. While we don’t know who is credited with breeding the first litter or the country it hails from, we do know that it first debuted sometime in the 1980s.
2. What is a German Shepherd Lab mix?
Here’s the thing about hybrids…ya never know what you’re gonna get.
There is no standard to how a Sheprador will look or act.
So, if you met your neighbor’s new puppy and fell in love based on what that puppy looked like, it’s time to lower those expectations.
We can’t say what the German Shepherd Lab mix looks like, but we can consider the possibilities.
This is a large dog, weighing up to 95 lbs (43 kg) and reaching a height of 26 inches (65 cm).
She can sport the tan and black saddle markings of the German Shepherd or be solid-colored (black, yellow) like the Lab.
After all is said and done, it really depends on the aesthetics of the parents. Let’s take a more in-depth look.
German Shepherd: athletic and wolf-like
This superstar purebred is like that all-around kid in high school that had the best grades, won all the sporting events, and was beloved by everyone.
The German Shepherd (GSD) is a wolf-like beauty, with long, thick fur, a streamlined body and alert gaze. Her muzzle is narrow, leading up to a wide head and triangular ears.
The Shepherd coat is traditionally tan with black markings, but can also be solid black or solid white. This definitely plays into how a Sheprador puppy coat can look.
Personality-wise, the GSD is highly intelligent, easy to train and protective of family. She excels as a working or therapy dog and is affectionate towards children and other pets.
Labrador Retriever: master of the hunt
Nothing exudes more kindness than the big eyes of the Labrador Retriever.
This is a hunting breed cherished by families for devotion and friendliness. The Lab is the perfect companion for children, the elderly, and those in need of a gentle service dog.
Large in stature, the Lab has a short, dense coat that can come in solid yellow, black or chocolate.
The velveteen ears hang on the sides of a wide face, with a broad body and tapered tail that make it an excellent swimmer.
Like the GSD, the Lab is an athletic fella, with a passion for exercise and activity. She is also intelligent, easy to train and energetic.
3. Is the Sheprador a heavy shedder?
Since the German Shepherd and the Labrador are both moderate to heavy shedders, it’s safe to assume that the Sheprador will also shed quite a bit.
Therefore, you’ll need to consider the added responsibilities of grooming.
If you don’t have a quality vacuum cleaner yet, you might want to put it on your next Christmas list to Santa. Other than that, brush your dog with a heavy-duty comb one to two times a week to keep loose hair under control.
This German Shepherd and Labrador mix’s coat also goes through a mighty “blow out” twice a year (during spring and fall), when shedding is at an all-time high.
I think it goes without saying, the German Shepherd and Lab mix is not hypoallergenic, so if you suffer from allergies this is not a good pet choice.
4. Is the German Shepherd Lab Mix a family dog?
The German Shepherd and Lab mix’s temperament is another big, fat question mark.
You need to look at the parents to somewhat garner an idea of how a puppy’s personality will be.
We know that the GSD and Lab are renowned family dogs.
They both do well around children and other pets. They are extremely devoted breeds that aim to please.
There are a few traits to be aware of that can come out in a Sheprador.
For instance, the GSD is highly protective. So much so, that unless it has proper training and socialization, it can get skittish with people and dogs it’s unfamiliar with.
This has given rise to whispers of “The GSD is dangerous”, but, honestly, it all comes down to training.
The Lab, on the other hand, doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She just wants to be happy and spread her happiness like an everlasting ray of sunshine.
That being said, the Lab wants to be by your side day and night. This behavior may make you feel cherished, but it can lead to separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety causes destructive behavior, particularly of those azaleas in the garden or those $200 high heels you’ve worn only once.
Overall, though, the pros outweigh the cons of both breeds, making for a crossbreed with highly desirable characteristics, such as intelligence, friendliness, easy trainability, and loyalty.
Check out how smart this Sheprador puppy is!
5. Is this breed easy to train?
Early socialization and training for your German Shepherd Labrador mix help in fostering good behavior.
Whether or not your dog turns out to be aggressive largely depends on the time you spend training your pet.
For the Sheprador, I’m happy to report that this crossbreed gets top marks in obedience.
Highly intelligent, eager to please, and quick to learn, the Sheprador will take whatever commands you throw her way and make short work of it. This makes her an excellent candidate for dog shows and service work.
An important training tip specific to this breed is to keep it light on dominance-based methodologies, as the Sheprador does not respond well to this type of training.
6. Are there any special requirements for the German Shepherd Lab mix’s care?
There’s big talk in the canine world about mixed breed dogs being healthier than purebreds (think broader gene pool).
No matter what, there will be common German Shepherd Lab mix health issues to regard, as with all dog breeds.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most serious genetic diseases that the Sheprador can inherit from the GSD and Lab.
- Hip dysplasia: This affects the joints, causing abnormal development that results in permanent deformity. Since hip dysplasia occurs while the dog matures, it is difficult to diagnose as a puppy. It causes loss of mobility, lameness, and severe pain.
- Obesity: This health issue comes from the Labrador. They love to eat and can get greedy, leading to rapid weight gain.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This is an eye disease causing the retina to fail as a dog ages, leaving her blind.
- Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy: This disease results from the loss of nerve fibers that control the back legs. When this happens, paralysis slowly sets in, becoming more severe over time.
As both the GSD and Lab are known to be athletic and strong dogs used for hunting and working jobs, the Sheprador will also inherit these hardy dispositions.
The Lab Shepherd mix’s lifespan is 10 to 14 years.
Feeding your German Shepherd Lab mix
Since this breed is prone to obesity, you’ll want to pay close attention to how much she eats and how generously the treats are tossed.
Always choose high quality, dry dog food.
Skip foods like beef, chicken or salmon because they can cause allergic reactions.
Make sure the kibble has a high protein content to help with the hip problems the German Shepherd Lab mix may experience.
If you are unsure about the best dog food for your German Shepherd and Lab mix, consult your veterinarian for proper guidance.
Get ready to exercise!
I hope you’re the active type, because this hybrid is hyped up! Both parents are energetic, smart dogs that crave physical and mental stimulation.
It’s best if you live in a house with a fenced-in yard or have close access to a park or field. The German Shepherd Lab mix is not for apartment life; it needs plenty of space to run and play.
Two hours of exercise per day is recommended to keep this boundin’ hound happy.
You’ll want to incorporate a mix of mental games as well, so boredom doesn’t set in.
Here are the best game ideas to get movin’ and groovin’.
- Long walks
- Playing fetch with a ball or Frisbee
- Tug of war with a tug toy
- Canine sports such as agility
- Puzzle games for brain stimulation
Beware of the chew craze
If you are the type of owner that prefers a pooch that will sprawl on the couch and watch hours of Netflix with you, you might want to reconsider the German Shepherd Lab mix.
The reason I stress this is because without enough exercise, this dog will display destructive behaviors that will affect your life and her overall health.
She loves to chew when bored, tearing apart your home and garden. Or, depression will begin to set in from lack of stimulation.
Her physical health will be affected, too, since this crossbreed is prone to obesity.
Besides exercise, I recommend keeping a diverse selection of chew toys on hand for a rainy day.
6. How much does a German Shepherd and Lab mix puppy cost?
If you’ve fallen head over heels in love with the Sheprador, let us enlighten you with the added costs of owning this dog before you begin shopping.
A German Shepherd Lab mix puppy will cost anywhere between $150 to $600. Alas, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
You’ll invest in daily care, which for the Sheprador, will mainly be focused on proper diet, exercise, and possibly training (if it inherits more of a German Shepherd personality).
Since this breed can suffer from medical ailments impacted by diet, you’ll want to purchase high-grade dog food that fits specific dietary needs.
Keep in mind that this is a large-sized dog that eats more, which will further heighten spending.
As mentioned before, exercise is vital for this dog and it has a knack for chewing, so investing in quality toys is essential to keep her from getting bored.
Veterinary costs cannot be determined, but with the types of health issues that the Sheprador can inherit, budgeting funds for medical care is highly recommended.
Buying pet insurance is the best way to be prepared, which will cost anywhere from $200 to $700 annually.
8. How can I find German Shepherd Lab mix puppies for sale?
Shopping for a dog is a serious endeavor that should not be rushed, especially if you want to get a designer dog.
The popularity of hybrids has unfortunately given rise to a dark force called the puppy mill.
These depressing businesses operate with the sole intention of making fast cash with very little regard to the health of the dogs involved.
It is common to breed female dogs to exhaustion. As well, health checks are not generally kept, nor are bloodline records.
This can mean that you’ll purchase a dog prone to serious health and behavior issues.
Take these precautions when shopping for breeders.
Don’t make an online transaction.
A puppy is a living creature, not a piece of clothing that you can just buy online and have shipped to you.
Any breeding website that offers a quick transaction over the Internet with shipping should be avoided, because you have no idea what the puppy will look or act like in real life, let alone where it’s actually coming from.
Don’t settle for the cheapest price.
You’re willing to pay a bit more for better quality in other important areas of your life, and the same principle should apply when you’re purchasing a pet.
Don’t believe the guarantees.
If a breeder promises that a Sheprador puppy will grow to a certain size, be a champion show dog or will look like a wolf – end the conversation and walk away.
No one can predict how a hybrid dog will turn out. Sketchy breeders will try to make a fast sell with empty promises.
Do read testimonials.
Nothing speaks the truth louder than customer testimonials. An ethical breeder should be proud to display past purchase experiences and how customer satisfaction is a top priority.
Do visit the breeder.
An ethical breeder should be open to having you visit where the puppies were bred, born, and raised. Were they kept in cages? Did they have plenty of outside space to play? Are the parents on the premises?
Meeting the parents gives you an idea of the German Shepherd Lab mix puppy’s disposition.
Do ask questions.
For hybrids, especially, you’re going to want to inquire about the parents’ medical background. Ask the breeder to produce health clearances for hereditary diseases like hip dysplasia.
Do keep in touch.
Once you bring a puppy home, keep the breeder’s contact info on hand. They should be available to offer guidance if complications arise.
Finding a German Shepherd Lab mix for adoption
There are plenty of Shepradors at rescues waiting for adoption. If this is more up your alley, check out these agencies.
Conclusion: Is the German Shepherd and Lab Mix the right dog for you?
The German Shepherd and Labrador mix has some pros and cons for you to consider.
The GSD and the Labrador are known to be excellent family dogs with high intelligence and easy trainability.
Still, it’s important to note that, with the Sheprador, you can’t predict how she will look or act.
Nonetheless, this crossbreed is gaining in popularity as a friendly and loving companion dog.
She is energetic and needs exercise every day, a healthy diet to stay trim, and training to combat destructive behavior.
The German Shepherd and Lab mix is recommended for families or pet owners that live in a house with a fenced-in yard.
If you spend a lot of time away from home, this breed is known to exhibit signs of separation anxiety, so you need to be able to give the time and interaction necessary for optimal mental health.
What do you think about the German Shepherd Lab mix? Tell us in the comments!