German Shepherd Lab Mix Facts (Why to Love This Designer Dog Breed)

The German Shepherd Lab mix is a strong, confident, intelligent, and highly trainable dog who is ready to go the extra mile with you.

These dogs may be a range of different colors. Their coats may be short or medium length. Their ears may be pricked or flopped. They may love fetch or agility. They may be extremely friendly or more reserved.

Whatever traits your particular Sheprador (also known as the German Shepherd Lab mix or Lab Shepherd mix) expresses, one thing is certain: This is a dog lover’s dog and not for the uninvolved owner.

What is a Sheprador?

A Sheprador is a cross between a purebred Labrador Retriever and a purebred German Shepherd.

In order to understand what a Sheprador is, we first need to understand the breeds that went into creating it.

Comparison Table: Labrador, German Shepherd, and Sheprador

Labrador Retriever Characteristics

The lab is America’s favorite dog for good reason. These happy, friendly, solid dogs have been fetching waterfowl and adorning household rugs for many years. 

The Labrador’s kind-eyed expression and continuously wagging “otter tail” are distinctive characteristics.

Labrador Retriever lying down in the meadow

These friendly dogs bond with the whole family and never seem to meet a stranger. If your lab German Shepherd mix loves everyone that they meet, you can bet that they inherited more of a lab’s personality.

– History

The Labrador Retriever was the traditional dog of Newfoundland. They were bred to hunt ducks and other waterfowl from the beginning and have continued to serve this purpose in modern-day. As important as the physical aspects like a water-resistant coat, muscular “otter tail”, and webbed feet is the personality of a Labrador.

The lab is defined as a gentle dog who continuously appeals to the people around him and is non-aggressive to humans or animals.

The lab is said to have a “soft mouth”. This doesn’t mean anything physical about the dog’s mouth. Rather, it refers to the gentle and non-aggressive temperament of labs, such that they can bring injured waterfowl back to the hunter without further injury. Owners of labs find that their dogs bring them baby animals that they find, completely unharmed.

This temperament can result in a Lab German Shepherd mix who is wonderful with household pets, although the tendency of the German Shepherd to herd can complicate the relationship your dog has with cats, livestock, and household pets.

– Appearance

Male labs generally grow to around 65-80 pounds and stand between 22.5-24.5 inches at the shoulder, while females typically are 55-70 pounds and between 21.5-23.5 inches. Labs come in three colors: black, yellow and chocolate. They have thick, coarse double coats which are slightly oily so as to be water-resistant.

Labradors have a highly distinctive tail which is thick and tapered, much like an otter’s tail. This tail is designed to help them move smoothly through the water. Labs also have more pronounced webbing on their feet, again to aid them with movement through the water.  They have a broad wide face with wide-set eyes that tend to have a kindly expression and medium-sized flopped ears which tend to form triangles when the dog is at attention.

Your Labrador German Shepherd mix may have any of these characteristics, paired with any characteristics from the shepherd side.

– Personality

Most Labradors never meet a stranger. These dogs are well-beloved by their family, friends, and anyone who encounters them. Labradors are amazing with kids, even kids they don’t know.  They are happy, outgoing, friendly, and generally fun-loving. Typically, Labradors do very well with other pets in the family, including other dogs, cats, and livestock. Labs are pitiful watchdogs, more likely to lick an intruder than bite.

Your Lab German Shepherd mix may or may not inherit this friendly personality. Shepherds are much more reserved and can be very protective of their family and property.

Labradors are devoted family dogs who are happy to be with any member of the family, but unlikely to do well when left alone. They may suffer separation anxiety if kept in a crate or separated from their family for too long. Labradors should never be kept as outside dogs or in a kennel. These are dogs who need to be with their family. Your Lab German Shepherd mix is likely to long to be with you all the time as well. Both labs and shepherds are devoted to their families and pine when separated from them, which can result in destructive separation anxiety.

– Exercise and training needs

Don’t mistake a Labrador’s easygoing nature for laziness. Labradors love their kibble and enjoy a good nap on the rug like any dog, but without sufficient exercise, they can become maniacs in the home. Labs were bred to run and swim for hours at a time.

Labradors who do not hunt but live their lives as house pets require at least an hour to two hours a day of exercise. Labradors love two things in life more than any other, except of course maybe their families: swimming and fetching. Swimming of any sort, including fetching into the water, dock diving, etc are all excellent forms of exercise.

If you don’t have a body of water nearby, your lab will be more than happy to play fetch in the yard, but without the added exercise of moving through the water, get ready for a long game. Using a ball thrower or an automated ball launcher may be a good solution. You’ll know that your lab hasn’t gotten enough exercise when they continuously pester you by dropping a ball on your lap all evening.

Labs often seem to merge into a family home without much deliberate training. This may be because labs are so food motivated that they will happily learn almost anything just for their daily kibble. With sufficient exercise, most labs are lazy and easy-going in the home.

Shepherd lab mixes are often ball-obsessed as well, and their energy level is certainly as high if not higher than the average lab, so get ready for some serious games of fetch. Ball-obsessed Shepradors who don’t care for the water can be hard to wear out. Shepradors may also be less likely to relax at home, even with sufficient exercise.

Other lab shepherd mixes couldn’t care less about fetch, leaning towards their herding background instead, with preferences for agility or herding the family pets. Shepherd lab mixes who have high play drive from the lab and high work drive from the shepherd and the lab can be very motivated working dogs.

– Health

America’s favorite dog isn’t the least healthy breed, but unfortunately they do have their share of issues. Hip and elbow dysplasia are both terribly common in Labradors. Responsible breeders only breed Labradors that have been cleared by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).  Still, an astounding number of Labradors suffer from dysplasia of the hips or elbows.

Bloat is a digestive disorder that is common among many large breed dogs, including labs. It occurs when dogs eat and then exercise too quickly, causing the stomach to twist and fill with gas, which is very painful and could even be fatal for your dog. Ear and skin issues tend to plague Labradors. Flopped ears, in general, tend to encourage ear infections to develop, and with the additional oil in a Labrador’s coat, these infections become even more common. The oily coat can also result in dandruff and other skin issues, and many Labs seem to have issues with allergies.

If your lab German shepherd mix takes after a lab with floppy ears and a water-resistant coat, be on the watch for ear infections and be careful not to overbathe, which can strip the coat of oils and encourage dandruff.

Regardless of whether your dog is more of a lab German shepherd mix or more of a German shepherd lab mix, joint problems may be a concern. Both of these breeds suffer from dysplasia, so be on the lookout for hip and elbow problems in your Sheprador.

German Shepherd Characteristics

The German Shepherd was developed to be an all-around excellent worker. These dogs can serve as livestock herders, police dogs, service dogs, personal protection dogs, and all-around great family dogs. German Shepherds are defined by their loyalty and courage. They are noble dogs who are highly intelligent and physically agile.

– History

The German Shepherd of today is descended from herding dogs who varied by district throughout Germany. In the late eighteen hundreds, a German Cavalry Officer named Captain Max von Stephanitz determined to develop the ideal version of the German Shepherd Dog. He crossed various strains until he arrived at a breed similar to what we know of today. Very soon the wonderful characteristics of the German Shepherd won it a place in many more jobs than herding, throughout the world.

– Appearance

The German Shepherd is a large, imposing dog.  Males way between 65-90 pounds, with some large individuals going well over a hundred pounds. They are tall dogs, standing between 24-26 inches. Females weigh between 50 and 70 pounds, and stand between 22-24 inches.

Coat length and density vary somewhat, but in general, shepherds have a medium-length coat.  They have a double coat with a harsh, close-lying outer coat and a soft undercoat. German Shepherds have a look of nobility. Their expression is more reserved than friendly. Male and female German Shepherds tend to look like male or female, with strong secondary gender characteristics such as a broader head and shoulders for males. The back gently slopes and the dog is longer than it is tall.

German Shepherds may be black and tan, with a wide variety of differences between how much black or tan is expressed and whether the tan is more blond or more red. They may also be black, sable, which means that there are multiple colors in each strand of hair, or bi-color, which is nearly black with small points of brown.

White, cream, and blue German Shepherds may occur but are undesirable according to AKC standards. White and cream shepherds are relatively unusual, so if your German Shepherd Lab mix is lighter in color, this characteristic is more likely from the lab side than the shepherd side.

– Personality

The German Shepherd is a nobleman of the dog world both in looks and in personality. Shepherds tend to be reserved with strangers but devoted to their families. The breed is marked by an aloofness in expression, combined with a wolfish appearance, that usually causes strangers to think twice before rushing in to pet them. This is completely opposite from the friendly teddy bear persona of a lab. The kindly expression and sweet face of labs encourage love from everyone. Your lab shepherd mix may show any mix of appearance with personality. Be on guard against people petting without asking if you have a Sheprador who is cautious of people but looks like a lab.

German Shepherds are known to be brave guardians of their families. They may show aggression to strangers entering their territory and are likely to take some time to open up around new family members or friends. These devoted dogs do not do well alone, and many suffer from separation anxiety. They often become destructive when left alone in a house or yard. This will likely be true of your German Shepherd Lab Mix as well.

Many German Shepherds get along very well with everyone in their family but may see one family member as their primary person. German Shepherds typically do very well with children, but because of their herding heritage, some individuals may try to herd small children. This may result in a dog who keeps children out of the pool or the street, or it may reach a level of pestering children by constantly trying to control their movements. Shepradors are generally wonderful with children and great family dogs, but some individuals who take after their shepherd parent may be controlling your children or other pets.

– Exercise and Training needs

The German Shepherd is a highly active dog who is more than happy to keep going all day long. While most shepherds can settle down into being happy family pets with sufficient exercise, many need a lot of mental and physical activity. Because of the intelligence of the German Shepherd, standard exercise like walks, jogs, and games of fetch may not be sufficient to wear out their physical and mental energy.

German Shepherds are happiest with a job to do. They excel in all forms of tracking, personal protection and attack work, livestock herding, agility, and organized dog sports like flyball. Most German Shepherds benefit greatly from ongoing mental stimulation and training even when they are not actively exercising. Household brain games, food toys, and trick and obedience training are all very beneficial for a German Shepherd’s eager mind. These dogs are easily motivated. Most will work just for the thrill of it, but a game of tug at the end of a correct behavior can keep almost any shepherd working for you all day.

Expect your German Shepherd Labrador mix to need lots of exercises, but be ready for varying levels of training and mental stimulation. Your dog may want to do nothing but sleep at the end of an hour-long jog, or they may just be gearing up. If your dog never seems to run out of energy, increase mental stimulation in the form of games and training as well as providing lots of physical exercises.

– Health

Unfortunately, one of the world’s best working dogs is not among the world’s healthiest. Because of the German Shepherd’s slanted build and long back, they often suffer from joint disorders including but not limited to hip and elbow dysplasia. Degenerative Myelopathy is a genetic disorder which doesn’t come out until midway or late into a dog’s life and leads to complete paralysis. Bloat is a common issue for German Shepherd dogs, thanks to their extremely deep chest, so careful feeding and exercise regimens should be attended to. Your Sheprador is unlikely to inherit Degenerative Myelopathy, but be on guard against joint problems and bloat, especially if your dog has the long slanted back of a shepherd.

The Sheprador

Now that you have a thorough understanding of the German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever breeds, let’s look into the dog that results when they are crossed: the Sheprador. The vast majority of Shepradors result from a cross between a purebred German Shepherd and a purebred Labrador Retriever. This is not an established breed, so it is very unlikely to find German Shepherd Lab mix puppies from two Sheprador parents, and even less likely to find a third-generation Sheprador.

First-generation breedings can result in traits from either parent coming out strongly. This means that you may have a Sheprador who looks like a German Shepherd, looks like a Labrador Retriever, or is a genetic mix of traits from both parents. Most Shepradors have traits from both their parents, but this doesn’t mean that most Shepradors are alike.

By examining what Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds have in common and where they differ, you can have an understanding of the puppies that may result from a cross between them.

Sheprador Likely Traits

These are some of the traits you are most likely to find in your Labrador Retriever German Shepherd Mix, since they are shared by both Labradors and German Shepherds.

– Large size

Labradors and German Shepherds are big dogs, so you can expect your Sheprador to be sizable as well. As a rule, puppies take after the size of their same-sex parent. If there is much diversity between the sizes of the parents most puppies end up being in between. Labs vary between 55 – 80 pounds, depending on gender, while shepherds vary between 50 and 90 pounds. Therefore you can expect your Lab German Shepherd mix to be somewhere between 50 and 90 lb, depending on the puppy’s gender, which of their parents was a shepherd and which was a lab and how large each of their parents was.

– Double coat

The coat of a Sheprador can vary dramatically depending on what traits they inherit, but all Shepradors have double coats that shed a fair amount. This double coat will help shield your dog from inclement weather, making Shepradors comfortable in a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. A shepherd lab mix should not be shaved or clipped short, as they require both their inner and outer coat in order to moderate their temperature. In general, Shepradors are comfortable both in hot and cold weather. Depending on how much of the lab coat they received, they may be more or less water-resistant.

– Lots of exercises

Your Sheprador may prefer fetch or agility. They may love the water or choose to stick to an agility track. Regardless, one thing you can be sure of is that your German Shepherd Labrador mix is going to need a lot of exercises. Labs and German Shepherds require at least an hour or up to two hours of exercise a day. Without sufficient exercise, your German Shepherd Lab mix is likely to become hyper and possibly destructive. Dogs displaying more of a shepherd personality may also become more aggressive or highly aroused without sufficient exercise.

– People-oriented and trainable

Both the German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever are highly trainable breeds who hate to be left alone. Even though both of these dogs are used for different jobs, they are both excellent at learning commands and being attentive to their handlers. Both German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers are used by the police and military. Shepherds are attack dogs and scent detectors  and Labradors are scent detectors, generally in highly public places.

The fact that both of these breeds are among the elite dogs used by the military and police for the most important jobs point to the Lab German Shepherd mix’s high capacity for trainability and reliable work ethic. This is a dog who will do anything for their person and can’t stand to be away from them. 

– Prone to joint issues and bloat

It is commonly believed, not without cause, that mixed breed dogs are more healthy because they are less likely to inherit negative genetic traits that result in health issues. Every generation of mixed breed dogs goes further from the goals of human breeders and towards a more natural build. Recessive genetic traits that come out in purebred dogs generally are weeded out in mixed breed dogs. Therefore, many of the health issues present in either a German Shepherd or a Labrador are unlikely to occur in the mixed breed puppies.

Unfortunately, this may not be true of joint issues and bloat. Since both Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia and bloat, there is a real possibility that the Sheprador puppies will also suffer from these issues. Joint issues are especially likely if your German shepherd Labrador mix is very large or longer than they are tall. Bloat is most likely in deep-chested individuals.

Trait Varieties

Here are some traits that occur in Labradors and German Shepherds but usually not in both breeds. Any of these traits may occur in your Sheprador, so it is wise to keep an eye out so that you can get to know your unique dog as well as you can.

–  Personality

The Labrador Retriever is everybody’s best friend, while the German Shepherd is a reserved guardian of home and family. This means that a given Sheprador may want to give kisses do anyone coming into your house, including a burglar, or it may mean that your shepherd lab mix is very reserved or even aggressive towards people they don’t know. Your German Shepherd Lab mix may also be a balance between the traits. Your dog may be friendly and outgoing in public but more reserved with new people at home. They may take well to some new people but not others.

–  Exercise and training preferences

Both the German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever love exercise, but most of the time they prefer different types of exercise. This means that your Sheprador may like any of the things that German Shepherds or Labradors like, or they may enjoy doing all different types of exercise. These characteristics may line-up with physical traits, or they may not. For instance, even if your lab German shepherd mix looks almost like a German Shepherd and doesn’t have a muscular tail or webbed feet, they may love the water.

On the other hand, your German shepherd lab mix that looks just like a lab may have a brave and protective personality which makes them well adept at bite work or the kind of focus that sets them up for success in herding.

Try not to make any assumptions about what kind of exercise or activity your lab shepherd mix will enjoy. Expose your dog to a wide variety of exercise and training and see what they respond best to. Remember to vary exposure to different types of exercise as your dog gets older, as their personality may change with age.

Labradors are notorious for loving their kibble and being highly food motivated, while German Shepherds may be more likely to work for play or affection or simply for the love of the job. Unless the job is fetch, most Labradors will be looking for a food reward. Some labs love fetch so much that fetch can be a reward for other behaviors. While your Lab German Shepherd mix is likely to be easily motivated by you, what motivates them may vary between food, toys, and affection, with some dogs responding well to a variety of these things.

–  Appearance

Most Shepradors are generally within the same size range but they vary dramatically in appearance. Your shepherd lab mix may be any color from white to black, with any range of black and tan markings or sable mixed color. Many Shepradors carry distinctive black and tan markings with a black saddle that distinguishes the German Shepherd and many others are solid in color.

Coat length may vary from short and stiff like a Labrador to longer and rougher like a German Shepherd. Your Sheprador’s face may be wider like a lab or more narrow and long with a wolf-like appearance like a shepherd. The eyes may be sharp and discerning or soft and kind. Ears may be upright, flopped, or anywhere in between.

Keep in mind that German Shepherds start out life with floppy ears which stand up as they grow. All Sheprador puppies are born with floppy ears, but some will develop straight or partially straight ears as they get older. Your dog’s build will likely be a compromise between the stocky and solid form of the Labrador and the longer lankier look of a German Shepherd, although you could end up with a dog who is very stocky or very lean.

–  Sheprador Color Possibilities

There is much variation in color both in German Shepherds and Labradors. This means that there is even more variation in German Shepherd Lab mixes. Since the genetic mixing of Labradors and Shepherds is not studied in the way the genetic variation within a breed is, there is very little ability to anticipate how a particular puppy will look. That said, understanding a little about the genetics of German Shepherds and Labrador colors can help you understand your Sheprador’s appearance.

The chart below shows the dominance in color for both shepherds and labs. Stated as simply as possible, the colors at the front are more dominant than the colors at the back. Two sable German Shepherds are highly likely to produce sable puppies and two black labs are likely to produce black puppies. Sable is a stronger trait in German Shepherds than black is in labs so two sable German Shepherds will almost certainly have sable puppies while black labs are more likely to have a yellow or chocolate lab in the litter. It is impossible to know exactly how these genetics would mix in a Sheprador, but understanding genetic predisposition can give you some guesses.

Shepherd Sable Black and Tan Bicolor Black
Lab Black Yellow Brown  

For instance, a Black Lab German Shepherd mix is unlikely to show yellow or brown dominance in its coat, since black is dominant in the lab. The color of the German Shepherd will do much to determine how much black comes out from the lab. We may suppose that since sable is a dominant color in German Shepherds, a Black Lab German Shepherd mix when the German Shepherd is sable will result in a dark-colored dog with some sable present.

On the other hand, if a sable German Shepherd who carries the gene for black and tan breeds with a black lab, the resulting Sheprador is most likely to be black and tan, dark black and tan, or dark sable.

To make matters even more confusing, a Black German Shepherd Black Lab mix may carry more dominant traits for any of the other colors in the shepherd, since black is recessive in shepherds. A black German Shepherd mixed with any other color of German Shepherd will usually result in non-black puppies. Black is dominant in Labradors, however, so it is uncertain how a black lab German shepherd mix would go when the shepherd is black. The puppies could be almost any variety of colors from yellow to black with all the variety of patterns and colors in between.

The chart below demonstrates the above.

Shepherd Sable Sable Carrying gene for Black and Tan Black
Lab Black Black Black
Sheprador Dark Sable Dark Sable, Dark Black and Tan, or  Black and Tan Yellow, Brown, Black, Sable, Bi-Color, Black and Tan or any mix of the above

Caring For Your Sheprador

Here’s what you need to do to raise a happy, healthy Sheprador.

–  Exercise

Your Sheprador is going to need a lot of exercise, so it is a good idea to find out as early as possible what activities they like best and find ways to work plenty of exercise into your daily routine. Keep in mind that all puppies, even high-energy dogs like German Shepherd Lab mixes, require much less exercise than an adult. Too much exercise for your growing puppy can damage developing joints. This is especially dangerous for Sheprador puppies since they are already prone to elbow and hip dysplasia.

A good rule of thumb is five minutes of exercise per month of age, once or twice a day until the puppy is fully grown. Exercise should be provided in as many environments and in as many ways as you can. Pay attention to what kinds of activities your puppy seems to enjoy the most and which ones they don’t seem to be as fond of. Encourage and direct the activities that your dog enjoys to form a framework for future training.

By the time your Shepradoror is fully grown, which may be anytime from a year to 18 months, you will understand what kinds of activities they enjoy. Once your dog is fully grown, they will need an hour or more of exercise a day. A good framework of training and obedience will set your dog up for success in whatever kind of activity they prefer.

–  Training

With an intelligent, highly trainable, and extremely energetic dog like the lab shepherd mix, it is best to combine exercise and obedience whenever possible. A strong framework of obedience will give your dog the self-control that is necessary for them to excel in all sorts of advanced training.

Depending on the traits that your Lab German Shepherd mix displays, they may excel in obedience, scent work, bite work, fetching retrieval, organized dog sports like flyball, dock diving, and much more. You are very likely to find that your Lab German Shepherd mix is able to excel in almost anything you teach them to do, as long as you keep your dog’s unique personality in mind in your training.

Since motivation varies between German Shepherds and Labradors, with Labradors preferring food and German Shepherds preferring play, your Sheprador may be motivated by food, play, affection, or a variety of these things.

–  Diet

Labradors gain weight easily and are prone to overeating. While German shepherd lab mixes may or may not display this characteristic, because of the propensity for joint problems it is essential to keep your Sheprador at an ideal weight and not allow them to gain. For this reason, you may find it is best to manage your Sheprador on a weight control diet.

Many German Shepherd Lab mixes will vary in the diet that is best for them throughout life. Your young adult dog may do well on a high protein diet that matches an active lifestyle. As your dog ages and slows down, the Labrador propensity to obesity may take over, at which point a weight control diet is preferred. Remember to never allow your dog to exercise vigorously after eating, as this may result in bloat. Because Shepradors are prone to joint problems, a glucosamine supplement is a good idea to help your dog’s joints stay in the best shape they can.

–  Grooming

Your lab shepherd mix will have different grooming requirements depending on the coat that they have inherited. Dogs with longer coats may need more frequent brushing to avoid matting and to get out debris. Dogs with oilier coats may need to be washed  less often so as to avoid stripping their coats of the oil and drying them out, leading to dry skin problems like dandruff.

Regardless of what type of coat your Sheprador has, it is bound to shed. Dogs with more German Shepherd characteristics are more likely to shed seasonally, while dogs with more Labrador characteristics may shed continuously year-round. Brushing frequently will help your dog’s coat look its best and release dry hair so that your home does not become covered in fluff balls. Brushing is especially important for oily coated dogs to distribute the oil and get debris off the skin.

–  Socialization

It is extremely important to thoroughly socialize your lab shepherd mix and be attentive to differences in the way they react to new people and situations. Keep in mind that sometimes breed characteristics don’t come out until a dog is sexually mature. This means that some characteristics like protectiveness or aggressiveness may not come out in your dog until it is quite old. A responsible German Shepherd Lab mix owner will constantly be attentive to changes in personality that may show the more reserved and potentially aggressive shepherd side is coming out.

Buy or Rescue?

If you have decided that the characteristics of a Sheprador may describe your perfect dog and are willing to do what it takes to take care of them properly, you may be ready to take the plunge and get yourself a Sheprador. Think carefully before you take your next step. The choice of whether to buy or adopt a German Shepherd Lab mix is not the same as the choice between buying or adopting a purebred dog. Here’s what you need to know.

–  Buying German Shepherd Lab Mix Puppies

Because the German Shepherd Lab mix is not a breed, but a mix, it is extremely unlikely for you to find German Shepherd Lab puppies for sale from an AKC registered breeder. Even accidental litters from AKC registered parents are more likely to be given to a rescue than sold. This makes it much more difficult to find a dog who has clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Your are unlikely to find German Shepherd Lab puppies who are certified unlikely to develop debilitating hip or elbow dysplasia early in life whether you adopt or buy.

Even if you find a breeder who seems dedicated to raising quality puppies, you are unlikely to have any guarantee as to the health or physical or mental characteristics of the puppy. Buying a Sheprador puppy, unfortunately, is likely supporting an irresponsible breeder who doesn’t care what dogs they put together as long as they can produce puppies that they can sell.

There is no reason to think that a Labrador German Shepherd mix puppy that you purchase will be any healthier than one that you rescue. In fact, adopting a Sheprador puppy is just as likely if not more likely to result in a healthy pet than buying.

–  Adopting German Shepherd Lab Mix Puppies

Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dogs in America, and German Shepherds aren’t far behind them. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are accidental litters between these breeds. Often, these puppies end up at shelters or with rescue groups. You can check Labrador or German Shepherd breed rescues to see if they have mixes. You can also search sites like Petfinder or Craigslist. Be very careful if going directly to an owner to make sure that it is not a backyard breeder who is trying to breed and sell dogs irresponsibly.

Usually, puppies are adopted out quite quickly, but if for some reason you have time before you need to commit, ask if you can perform a DNA test on a puppy to find out if it is in fact a Labrador German Shepherd mix puppy.

–  Adopting a German Shepherd Lab Mix Dog

Shepradors are energetic, highly intelligent dogs who need to be with their family. Many people who decide to purchase or adopt one of these dogs as puppies are not prepared for the dog that they end up with. They may expect that their German Shepherd Lab mix will show more traits of a Labrador or of a German Shepherd, or they may have expected the dog to show more balanced characteristics. Perhaps they simply did not think before getting a large, high energy dog or did not know what they were getting.

Regardless, many Shepradors end up at shelters. These dogs do very poorly in shelters for the same reasons that they do poorly in a home that doesn’t have the time or energy to commit to them: they receive inadequate exercise and mental stimulation and are kept away from the people that they love. Since so many Shepradors show the characteristic German Shepherd trait of being reserved with strangers, they often do not show well at shelters.

By adopting a German Shepherd Labrador mix from the shelter, you may be saving an absolutely wonderful dog from euthanasia or a life pining away behind bars. Unlike German Shepherd Lab puppies, an adult German Shepherd Labrador mix has some predictability in traits and health. If a mature dog is showing no signs of joint disease you have a much better chance of having a healthy dog for life.

There are lots of these dogs in shelters and not much demand for them, so you can take time to foster a dog and get to know it before you make the decision to adopt. You can also perform a DNA test to make sure the dog you are considering really is a Sheprador. There are very affordable DNA kits available especially for shelter dogs that come at a discount. If you are considering adopting a dog from a shelter but want to be sure that it is a Sheprador, offer to donate the cost to have the dog’s DNA tested so that you will be confident about what you are adopting.

Final Thoughts

Shepradors aren’t for everyone, but for the right owner a German Shepherd Lab mix can be the perfect dog. Seriously consider adopting an adult instead of opting for a Labrador German Shepherd mix puppy. The Sheprador can show so much variety in traits and health that it is best for most people to know what they are getting in an adult animal instead of taking the risk on a puppy.

If you do decide to adopt a Labrador German Shepherd Mix puppy, please choose to adopt a rescue puppy instead of one bred by an irresponsible breeder. It may take a bit longer, but you’ll know that you’re contributing to the solution instead of the problem.

However you choose to obtain your German Shepherd lab mix, remember that this is a dog lover’s dog who will require a lot of time and energy to keep happy, but has so much loyalty, dedication, and intelligence to give. This is a highly trainable dog, so if your dog is acting crazy, you can bet you’re to blame. Don’t consider a Sheprador unless you’re willing to give as much to your dog as your dog will surely give to you.

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