The German Shepherd Lab mix, also referred to as a Sheprador or Labrashepherd, combines two of dogdom’s most popular pure breeds into one powerful hybrid package. Crossed between the classic German Shepherd and a bouncy, family-friendly Labrador Retriever, this crossbreed inherited some of the best qualities of both parent breeds.
Energetic, affectionate, highly trainable, and devoted to their family, the German Shepherd Lab mix makes an excellent canine companion for an active household. They have caught the attention of designers dog enthusiasts along with everyday pet owners seeking a loyal four-legged friend.
In this detailed guide, learn all about the history, temperament, care, health issues, how to find reputable breeders, and more key facts about the unique German Shepherd Labrador Retriever mix.
Here is a helpful table summarizing key information about the German Shepherd Lab mix:
|German Shepherd Lab Mix
|55-95 lbs, 20-27 inches tall
|Medium length, dense double coat. Moderate shedding.
|Black, brown, yellow, cream, tan, silver, white, red, multi-colored
|Energetic, loyal, intelligent, eager to please, devoted, playful, protective
|Best Home Setting
|Active household, securely fenced yard, experience with large breeds
|60+ minutes daily, high energy
|Responsive, positive reinforcement works best
|Moderate – brush 1-2 times per week
|Moderate, will alert bark to threats
|Hip/elbow dysplasia, bloat, allergies, obesity
Brief History of the German Shepherd Lab Mix
While this hybrid likely occurred randomly over the years, purposeful crossing of Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds is believed to have begun in the 1990’s in North America. Breeders hoped to blend positive traits from each breed into one amazing family dog and companion.
They wanted to maintain the German Shepherd’s intelligence and loyalty while toning down their guarding instincts. And from the Lab, they sought their friendly, playful attitude paired with an energetic yet easygoing temperament.
The German Shepherd Lab mix breed gained popularity among families wanting a loyal, fun-loving dog who could also serve as an alert watchdog. Their popularity as family pets and designer dogs rose over the 2000s and 2010s.
These mixed dogs are now common across North America and beyond. They have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Size, Height and Weight
The German Shepherd crossed with a Labrador Retriever results in a large, robust dog ranging in size from medium to extra-large.
Most adult German Shepherd Lab mixes weigh between 55 to 95 pounds. Their height ranges from 20 inches to 27 inches tall at the shoulder.
Females tend to stay at the lower end of the size scale, while males are usually at the top of the typical size range.
Puppies grow rapidly in their first year, gaining 2-3 pounds per week. Monitor their growth, caloric intake, and weight closely during puppyhood to ensure they do not become overweight.
Physical Characteristics of the German Shepherd Lab Mix
The German Shepherd Lab mix is a strong, sturdy, and athletic dog with a proportionate build. Their physical traits combine those of both parent breeds.
They tend to have the Lab’s broad skull, expressive eyes, and loving smile paired with the pointed, upright ears of a German Shepherd. Most sport a long muzzle and muscular legs ideal for running and hiking.
Their tail is thick at the base and tapers down. It may be long like the Shepherd or shorter like a Lab’s. When relaxed, they carry their tail low or mid level. When alert or excited, their tail rises.
These hybrids have a weather-resistant double coat suited for all climates. Their medium length, dense fur sheds moderately year-round. Common coat colors include:
Multi-colored coats featuring two or three colors are also seen frequently.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Temperament and Behavior
The German Shepherd crossed with a Labrador Retriever results in an affectionate, energetic, and highly trainable hybrid dog that bonds deeply with their family while remaining wary of strangers.
They are known for being loyal, friendly, and devoted companions. This crossbreed has high intelligence matched with a strong eagerness to please their owner.
German Shepherd Lab mixes are playful and love spending time with their favorite people. They enjoy and excel at canine activities like obedience training, agility courses, jogging, hiking, swimming, fetch, and more.
Without proper exercise and training, these energetic dogs may become bored and frustrated, leading to destructive or hyperactive behaviors. Early socialization and puppy training classes are highly recommended.
While typically friendly with familiar people, this cross can also make an effective watchdog. They will loudly alert bark when they sense an intruder or something amiss. With proper training, their guarding tendencies are minimized.
Ideal Home Settings for the German Shepherd Lab Mix
While adaptable to many living situations, the German Shepherd crossed with a Lab does best in an active home with a securely fenced yard. Quick access to outdoor play and exercise is ideal to burn off their high energy.
Their size and exercise needs make them better suited to houses than apartments. However, apartment or condo living can work well if the owner commits to providing daily vigorous walks, runs, play sessions, and mental stimulation.
German Shepherd Lab mixes should not spend long periods alone or confined. Leaving them alone for 8+ hours regularly is likely to result in problem behaviors like barking, chewing, digging, hyperactivity, and anxiety.
Homes with older children, other dogs, and pets tend to provide an ideal environment, especially if the mix is properly socialized as a puppy.
Exercise Requirements of the German Shepherd Lab Mix
Expect to provide this high energy hybrid with 60 to 90 minutes of exercise and activity daily. Without an outlet for their energy, they are likely to become frustrated or neurotic.
On top of vigorous daily activity, they also need substantial off-leash playtime in a secure area. Visits to a dog park, playing fetch in the yard, joining you on a jog or hike, and swimming are great ways to exercise their body and mind.
Mental stimulation through interactive food puzzles, obedience training, agility, and learning new tricks and commands is also essential. Take them on adventures to new parks, trails, and environments whenever possible to prevent boredom.
In addition to physical and mental exercise, German Shepherd Lab mixes need quality one-on-one time interacting with their favorite people. Make sure to factor in plenty of playtime, cuddling, and bonding moments in your schedule.
Training Tips for the German Shepherd Lab Mix
Thanks to inheriting intelligence and eagerness to please from both parent breeds, the German Shepherd crossed with a Labrador Retriever is highly trainable.
Positive reinforcement training methods work extremely well with this hybrid. Food rewards, praise, pets, and play drive their motivation to learn.
Obedience training is a must starting in puppyhood. Work on basic commands like sit, stay, come, down, heel, and leave it. Socialization training is also critical to prevent overprotectiveness and aggression issues.
Their energetic nature lends well to canine activities like agility training. They excel in both mental and physical challenges.
Set firm boundaries and be a consistent pack leader. Without enough leadership, this hybrid may try to dominate.
Crate training is highly effective for potty training German Shepherd Lab puppies. It also prevents destructive chewing behaviors when unsupervised during their teething phase.
Grooming Needs of the German Shepherd Lab Mix
The German Shepherd crossed with a Labrador Retriever has moderate grooming requirements. Plan to brush their medium length double coat at least weekly to control shedding and keep their skin and fur healthy.
During seasonal shedding cycles in spring and fall, daily brushing may be needed when they “blow” their coat. Their fur sheds heavily at these times. Investing in a de-shedding tool helps remove loose undercoat.
Bathing is only needed every 6 to 8 weeks unless they get particularly dirty from playing outside. Over-bathing strips the fur and skin of essential oils.
Check and wipe down their floppy ears each week for dirt, excess wax, moisture, and signs of infection. Clean carefully with a vet approved cleanser when needed.
Other routine grooming tasks for this mix include:
- Brushing their teeth daily
- Trimming their nails every 2-3 weeks
- Occasional professional grooming for a bath and haircut
Shedding and seasonal “blowing” of their coat makes this crossbreed a poor choice for those with dog allergies. Their double fur catches and spreads allergens easily.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Health Issues and Care
When responsibly bred for health, the German Shepherd Lab mix generally lives a long, healthy life. Still, there are some inherited disorders they may be prone to that are common in one or both parent breeds:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Digestive Disorders
- Joint Problems
- Eye Conditions
- Ear Infections
Reputable breeders will test their breeding stock for these and other heritable disorders to minimize their prevalence. Adopted dogs should undergo complete vetting to check for any existing health conditions.
With proper preventative care, diet, exercise, and routine veterinary visits, this energetic mixed breed often enjoys a lifespan of 10-14 years.
Dietary Needs of the German Shepherd Lab Mix
The German Shepherd crossed with a Labrador Retriever is prone to rapid weight gain if overfed. Feed them a high quality dry dog food formulated for large, energetic breeds.
Follow portion guidelines based on their age, weight, and activity level. Limit treats and avoid free feeding to prevent obesity. Provide plenty of clean, fresh drinking water.
As puppies, feed them a large breed puppy formula 3-4 small meals throughout the day until around 12 months old. Then switch to 2 meals daily. Separate food and water bowls are recommended.
Discuss your individual dog’s nutritional needs with your veterinarian and be aware that requirements change from puppyhood into adulthood and senior years.
How Much Does a German Shepherd Lab Mix Cost?
The average purchase price for a German Shepherd Lab mix puppy ranges from $500 to $1,000. However, well bred pups from champion pedigree parents often run over $1,500.
Adopting a German Shepherd Lab mix from a shelter or rescue generally costs between $100 and $500. The adoption fee helps cover their medical care and spay/neuter surgery while in the organization’s care.
When budgeting for a German Shepherd crossed with a Labrador Retriever, plan for approximately $1500 to $2000 in the first year for supplies, medical care, training, vaccinations, and miscellaneous costs. Annual costs after the first year average around $500 to $1000.
Finding a Healthy German Shepherd Lab Mix Puppy
With designer hybrid dogs like this mix growing in popularity, there has been an uptick in irresponsible breeding, puppy mills, and misrepresentation of these dogs to make fast money.
Avoid pet stores and online advertisements offering German Shepherd Lab mix puppies. Instead find ethical breeders doing health testing on the parents before breeding.
Good breeders prove their dogs are free of genetic disorders and have sound temperaments appropriate for continuing the bloodline. Reputable breeders stand behind their pups with health guarantees.
Ask to meet parent dogs on-site and for proof of health testing. Breeders should welcome questions and let you see their breeding facility in-person.
Should You Adopt a German Shepherd Lab Mix?
Another excellent option is adopting your German Shepherd Lab mix through a rescue organization or shelter. Mixed breed puppies and young adults enter shelters and rescues more often that people realize.
The adoption process involves more screening compared to simply buying a puppy online or from a pet store. Expect to complete a lengthy application, participate in interviews, allow home inspections, and sign a contract.
The advantage of adopting a Sheprador from a rescue is giving a needy dog a second chance. Adoption fees typically range from $100 to $500. And shelters and nonprofit rescues thoroughly vet the health and temperament of their dogs prior to adoption.
With patience and effort, you can locate an eligible German Shepherd Lab mix awaiting a new forever home.
Frequently Asked Questions About the German Shepherd Lab Mix
Prospective owners have lots of questions about what to expect from these energetic, family-friendly hybrids. Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Are German Shepherd Lab mixes good family dogs?
Yes, when properly trained and socialized, this crossbreed gets along very well with children and fits right into busy, active families. They bond deeply with all members of their household.
Do German Shepherd crossed with Labs shed a lot?
Yes, the German Shepherd Lab mix sheds year-round and heavily during seasonal “blowing” of their coat in spring and fall when they lose thick clumps of their double fur. Their shedding makes them a poor pet for those with allergies.
How long do German Shepherd crossed with Labradors live?
The typical lifespan for a German Shepherd Lab mix is 10 to 14 years when responsibly bred, properly cared for, exercised, and fed an appropriate diet throughout all life stages.
Are German Shepherd Lab mixes easy to train?
Yes, this hybrid is very intelligent and aims to please their owner making them highly trainable dogs. They respond extremely well to positive reinforcement techniques and reward-based training.
Do Labrador crossed with German Shepherd dogs bark a lot?
They are not excessively barky dogs but when they sense an intruder or something amiss, they will loudly alert bark to warn their family. Barking can become an issue if the mix becomes bored, frustrated, or anxious from lack of exercise and mental stimulation.
Are German Shepherd Lab mixes good apartment dogs?
They can do well in apartments or condos provided they get adequate daily exercise, mental stimulation, and quality time with their owner. Quick access to a yard is ideal, but their needs can also be met sufficiently through daily leashed walks, runs, playtime, and training.
The Loyal, Devoted German Shepherd Lab Mix
The German Shepherd crossed with an energetic Labrador Retriever results in an affectionate, high-energy hybrid dog that bonds deeply with their family while remaining wary of strangers. They make loyal watchdogs that loudly alert to anything amiss yet remain friendly if properly socialized.
With their activity needs met through vigorous daily exercise and playtime, this cuddly, good-natured crossbreed thrives as a family companion. They aim to please their owners and are highly trainable.
Active individuals and families willing to provide adequate activity, regular training, and quality time will discover a devoted four-legged friend in the German Shepherd Lab mix.