The German Shepherd Lab mix is an increasingly popular designer breed and an ultimate family dog. Highly energetic and large, the Sheprador combines the best traits of its parenting breeds – the German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever.
Is a German Shepherd Lab mix a good dog? Devoted, loyal, and protective, the German Shepherd Lab mix is one of the best family dogs with watchdog abilities. Intelligent and easy to train, this mix bonds deeply with its owners and likes being a part of the family. When properly socialized they get along with everyone including other pets.
Stay with us till the end of this article to find out more about the Sheprador and we will help you decide if this amazing mix is the perfect dog for you!
What Is a German Shepherd Lab Mix?
The German Shepherd Lab mix is a cross between the two most popular dog breeds – Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd. Also known as Sheprador or Labrador Shepherd this mix is an amazing family dog with great watchdog abilities.
While descendant of purebred dogs, this mix is a designer breed and as such isn’t recognized by major kennel clubs. However, the International Designer Canine Registry and the Dog Registry of America recognize the German Shepherd Labrador mix.
Little is known about the exact origin of this German Shepherd cross, but it’s possible that this mix existed naturally for quite some time. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the breeders started deliberately crossing German Shepherds and Labs.
The breeders wanted to mix the best traits of both parenting breeds and create a more genetically sound family dog with watchdog abilities. As designer dogs became more popular, the breeders continued to breed Shepradors to satisfy the higher demand.
Hailing from Germany, the German Shepherd Dog is one of the most popular dog breeds and an all-purpose worker. Favored by military and police, the German Shepherd is a large, agile, and muscular dog known for its protective nature and intelligence.
Highly trainable and obedient, German Shepherds make excellent watchdogs and loyal companions to people of all ages and families with children.
Bred to be a working dog, the Labrador Retriever was employed to retrieve shot waterfowl. Famous for its kind, friendly, and outgoing nature, the Lab is the most popular dog breed.
Energetic, trusting, and smart, the Lab gets along with everyone and will truly become a full-fledged family member who is exceptionally fond and gentle towards children.
Both – Mixed Breed – German Shepherd x Labrador
When you mix the two, you get the Sheprador – a highly energetic and agile large dog that is a great family companion and watchdog.
Easy to train and intelligent, this mix is a true work dog at heart and will be the happiest when it has a job to do! Highly protective and loyal towards its family, the Sheprador needs some time to warm up to strangers, but once it does, you’ll get a friend for life.
Characteristics of German Shepherd Lab Mix
It’s impossible to tell how any individual mixed breed dog will look like, and the German Shepherd Lab mix isn’t an exception. When it comes to appearance you can expect your mix to have an athletic and agile body, long back, and muscular legs.
|Size||Medium to large sized dog|
|Weight||60 – 95 pounds|
|Height||20 – 27 inches|
|Coat Type||Short or medium-long double coat|
|Shedding||Heavy, seasonal shedding|
|Energy Level||Highly energetic|
Since the German Shepherd Labrador mix is a new designer breed there is no set standard when it comes to height. Most Shepradors are from 20 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder, but many can be shorter or taller.
When it comes to weight, you can expect your mix to tip the scales at 60 to 95 pounds. However, it’s not uncommon for many dogs to weigh slightly more or less.
The German Shepherd Lab mix can sport many different coat colors and patterns. While some have a solid color, they can often sport a mix of their Lab and German Shepherd parents coat colors.
Most commonly seen coat colors are:
Like their parent breeds, Shepradors have dense double coats that will shed profusely during the shedding season (source). The coat is usually short but can be medium-long if your mix is the offspring of a long-haired German Shepherd.
Besides losing a huge amount of hair during spring and fall, the Sheprador also sheds all year-round. Therefore, this mix isn’t the best choice if you suffer from allergies and you may want to look into hypoallergenic dog breeds.
If allergies aren’t an issue and you decide to bring this mix into your home, arm yourself with a powerful pet vacuum cleaner or risk getting buried in dog hair.
It’s impossible to predict the personality and temperament of any individual Sheprador. Being a crossbreed, your pooch can take more after one of its parent’s or be a perfect blend of both its parenting breeds.
With that being said, your only chance of knowing how your Shepherd Lab mix puppy will behave once it grows up is to meet both his parents. This way you’ll get to know their temperaments and have a better idea of how your mix is going to be.
Shepradors are highly intelligent dogs that are very protective and loyal to their families but can be aloof when meeting strangers. Due to their alert and courageous nature, these hybrids are excellent guard dogs and will keep you and your family protected at all costs.
As a child of two working breeds, this mix loves to work and will be the happiest when it has a job to do. If you fail to keep your mix busy and mentally stimulated, he will indulge in various forms of destructive behavior to prevent boredom (source).
A bored Sheprador will start digging holes in your backyard or start chewing furniture, carpets, and shoes. Keeping your mix mentally stimulated at all times is the key to prevent this type of destructive behavior.
Make sure to provide durable chew toys and puzzles that will keep your dog busy and provide mental stimulation he so desperately needs. Games such as fetch, tug-of-war, and agility will give your Sheprador a sense of purpose and keep him occupied.
An affectionate and friendly fellow at heart, this mix loves to have company and can develop separation anxiety if left alone. If you have long working hours or travel a lot, you may want to reconsider getting a Sheprador and look for a more independent dog breed.
When properly socialized and exposed to other dogs and cats from a young age, the German Shepherd Lab mix will be friendly towards other pets. This mix loves to have company, so start socializing and training your Shepherd Lab mix puppy as soon as you bring him home.
The Sheprador is an excellent choice for families with children, and your mix will enjoy spending time and playing with youngsters. However, like any other dog breed, the Sheprador has to be properly introduced to children to know how to behave around them.
You should also teach your kids how to pet and interact with dogs to avoid any ear or tail pulling. A properly socialized Sheprador will be your child’s best friend and fierce protector.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Care
As with any other dog, you should start caring about your Sheprador as soon as you bring him home. It is your duty as an owner to take your pooch to regular vet checkups, keep him vaccinated, and keep up with regular flea and deworming treatments.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
Mixed breed dogs are generally healthier than their purebred counterparts. However, the Shepherd Lab mix can inherit certain health issues that are seen in its parent breeds so you must keep up with regular vet checkups.
The most common health problems seen in this mix are:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Gastric dilatation volvulus
The German Shepherd Lab mix is considered a generally healthy breed and has an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years.
Grooming and Maintenance
As mentioned earlier, Shepradors have dense double coats that shed year-round and also go through a heavy shed during the shedding season. Luckily the coat is easy to take care of, and you will have to brush your dog three to four times a week.
During the shedding season, you’ll probably have to brush your dog every day to stay on top of all loose hair. You should also invest in a powerful pet hair vacuum cleaner.
Depending on how dirty your Sheprador gets you can bathe him once a month or every few months. Keep in mind that frequent bathing can damage your dog’s coat and skin, so do it only when necessary and always use a mild dog shampoo (source).
The rest is basic care and includes teeth brushing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning. Try to brush your dog’s teeth at least three times a week, trim his nails when they start clicking on the floor and check the ears for dirt and waxy buildup once a week.
Food or Diet
An ideal diet for your Sheprador is one formulated for large breeds with high energy. This mix can easily gain weight if overfed, so stick to a regular feeding schedule, avoid free feeding, and limit the number of treats.
To ensure that your pooch is getting all the essential nutrients from his diet, try to find the highest quality food you can afford. Avoid foods that contain meat by-products and cheap fillers such as corn, wheat, or soy since they don’t have any nutritional value.
And when in doubt, talk with your vet or a canine nutritionist who can design an individual feeding plan for your Sheprador.
Training and Exercise
The German Shepherd Lab mix is a highly energetic and agile breed that needs 90 to 120 minutes of exercise every day. Activities such as jogging, hiking, and swimming will keep your pooch properly exercised and in excellent shape.
Additionally, games such as fetch, tug-of-war, and agility can help you keep your dog active and mentally stimulated.
Highly intelligent and eager to please, this mix is easy to train and responds exceptionally to positive reinforcement training techniques. With that being said, avoid using dominance-based training methods, since they can damage the relationship between you and your dog (source).
Shepradors like to be rewarded for their efforts and will excel at obedience if you use treats and praise as rewards. With positive and consistent training, these dogs are a pleasure to work with and will be eager to learn just to please you.
While large in size, this mix prefers to live inside where he can be involved in all family activities. As long as you can meet your dog’s exercise needs, he can live in a huge house or an apartment.
You won’t necessarily need a backyard as long as you are willing to go out and be active with your dog. However, a big backyard is a must if you are more of a couch potato type.
Where to Get German Shepherd Lab Mix?
The German Shepherd Lab mix isn’t still as popular as other designer dogs, so you’ll need to do some research before bringing a dog home. When it comes to getting a dog you can either adopt or shop.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Breeders
If you decide to buy a Sheprador puppy, you’ll have to research and find a reputable breeder. This process may take some time, but ultimately all the research and waiting will pay off since you’ll end up dealing with a committed breeder that has the dog’s best interests at heart.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Price
A Shepherd Lab mix puppy will on average cost between $200 and $600. Keep in mind that breeding healthy puppies is expensive, so if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Adoption is a humane way to welcome a new dog into your home, and it will cost less than getting a Sheprador from a breeder. Keep in mind that you may have trouble finding a breed-specific rescue organization for Shepradors since they are a crossbreed.
However, you can check your local shelters or rescue organizations that deal with German Shepherds or Labradors exclusively, since they often take their mixes as well.
Smart, energetic, and obedient, the German Shepherd Lab mix combines the best traits of its parenting breeds. While still not as popular as other designer dogs, the Sheprador is an ideal choice if you are looking for a devoted family companion who can also be a watchdog.
A big shedder, this mix isn’t the right choice if you have allergies or lead a sedentary lifestyle. But if you are active and have time to interact with your dog every day, the Sheprador is the right dog for you!