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German Shepherd Labradoodle Mix: Discovering the Adorable Duo

Categorized as German Shepherd Types and Mixes
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The German Shepherd Labradoodle mix is a relatively new hybrid dog breed that combines the intelligence and loyalty of the German Shepherd with the friendly, energetic nature of the Labradoodle. This crossbreed has quite a bit to offer potential owners seeking an active, hardworking, and affectionate canine companion.

Here is a helpful table summarizing some of the key points about the German Shepherd Labradoodle mix:

TraitDescription
Size20-28 inches tall; 50-110 lbs
CoatMedium to long; can be straight or wavy
ColorsBlack, brown, tan, cream, grey, golden, brindle
Lifespan12-14 years
TemperamentLoyal, intelligent, energetic, friendly, protective
Exercise Needs60+ minutes daily
TrainingResponsive to positive reinforcement
GroomingModerate – needs weekly brushing
Health IssuesHip/elbow dysplasia, bloat, allergies
Price$500 – $1000+
Jobs/RolesService dog, therapy dog, search and rescue, police/military work

Origins of the Breed

As a mixed breed dog, the German Shepherd Labradoodle has a short history, only coming into existence within the past couple of decades. With hybrid vigour on their side, these crossbreeds tend to be quite healthy. However, it’s still important to look into the background of both parent breeds to get a better picture of the German Shepherd Labradoodle’s potential characteristics.

The German Shepherd originated as a herding dog in Germany in the late 1800s. They were bred for intelligence, athleticism, and loyalty. German Shepherds are known for their versatility, serving roles as police dogs, guide dogs, search and rescue dogs, and loving family companions.

Labradoodles have an even more recent origin, coming from Australia in the late 20th century. They were initially bred as hypoallergenic guide dogs by crossing Labrador Retrievers and Poodles. Since then, their friendly temperament and low-shed coat have made them a popular family dog.

By combining these two remarkable breeds, German Shepherd Labradoodle breeders likely aimed to produce an intelligent, energetic dog with the Labradoodle’s sociable nature and low-shedding coat.

Appearance and Size

In terms of appearance, German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes can vary significantly in size, coat texture, and colours since they are not bred to a specific standard. Generally, these dogs are medium to large in size, ranging in height from 20 to 28 inches and in weight from 50 to 110 pounds once fully grown.

Their coat is medium to long in length and tends to be thick and dense like the German Shepherd parent. Coat colours include black, brown, tan, grey, cream, golden, and brindle. The coat may be straight or slightly wavy. German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes commonly have the iconic German Shepherd face with a boxy muzzle and pointy ears that stand erect.

Temperament and Personality

When it comes to personality, the German Shepherd Labradoodle mix is the best of both breeding stock. From the German Shepherd, they inherit loyalty, intelligence, focused attentiveness, and protective instincts. From the Labradoodle comes the traits of friendliness, playfulness, sociability, and low aggression.

Properly socialized and trained, these hybrids make for pleasant and loving family companions that bond very closely with their human pack. They crave attention and affection from their owners. German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes are alert watchdogs that will let their family know when someone is approaching.

These dogs are not aggressive by nature but their protectiveness and size means they can serve as deterrents to intruders. With early socialization, they should get along well with children and other pets. Some may tend to chase small animals due to their high prey drive from the German Shepherd lineage.

Exercise and Activity Needs

Expect the German Shepherd Labradoodle mix to be an energetic, athletic dog that requires plenty of daily activity. Long walks, jogs, hikes, swimming, or high-intensity games of fetch are great ways to meet their exercise needs.

Without sufficient activity, these dogs may become bored and frustrated, leading to destructive chewing or unwanted barking. Owners of this breed need to be committed to providing at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise per day along with mental stimulation through interactive play and training.

This breed thrives when given “jobs” to fulfill, such as canine sports, service work, or other engaging tasks that challenge their intelligence. Their energy and work ethic also make them well-suited for roles as police, military, or search and rescue dogs.

Trainability

With two highly intelligent parent breeds, the German Shepherd Labradoodle mix is generally very trainable, responding well to positive reinforcement techniques. Their eagerness to please makes them fast learners.

Potential owners should be prepared to start training and socialization early and continue providing consistent leadership. Without proper socialization, these dogs may become overprotective or anxious around strangers.

Dominance-based punishments should never be used, as they can backfire on this sensitive breed. Instead, reward desired behaviors with praise, treats, and play. Avoid scolding mistakes and redirect unwanted behaviors into better alternatives.

Patience and consistency are key when house training these hybrids. Crate training can be helpful for teaching bladder control. Due to their intellect, German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes thrive when given regular mental stimulation through trick training, scent work, agility exercises and food puzzle toys.

Grooming Requirements

The grooming needs of German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes are higher than some breeds but manageable with regular upkeep. Their medium-to-long coats require at least weekly brushing to control shedding and keep their fur from matting. Many owners find a metal rake comb is the best tool for removing loose hair from the thick undercoat.

Bathing approximately every 6-8 weeks is adequate, using a mild dog shampoo. Take care not to over bathe, as this can dry out the skin and coat. Some seasonal shedding can be expected a couple times per year when they “blow” their coats, requiring more frequent brushing during those heavy shed periods.

Their moderately fast-growing nails should be trimmed every 2-3 weeks. Regular teeth brushing, ear cleaning and eye maintenance are also advised. Look out for signs of skin allergies, fleas, ticks or ear infections. Overall, when properly cared for, the coat of the German Shepherd Labradoodle mix is relatively low maintenance compared to some breeds.

Nutrition and Diet

To fuel their high activity levels, German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes need a nutritious diet formulated for medium/large energetic breeds. They have an increased risk of bloat, so it’s important to avoid exercise for at least an hour before and after meals.

These dogs typically eat between 2-4 cups of quality dry kibble split over two meals per day. Look for a food with meat or fish as the first ingredient, avoiding excess filler ingredients. Grain-inclusive or grain-free recipes can both work well.

Some owners prefer to feed a fresh, raw food diet. If going this route, it’s vital to consult a veterinarian to ensure the meal plan is fully balanced. Monitor your dog’s weight, adjusting portions to maintain an ideal lean body condition without overfeeding.

Health Concerns

German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes are at risk for health issues affecting their parent breeds, including hip and elbow dysplasia, allergies, hemophilia, eye problems, and bloat. Reputable breeders should screen for these conditions to reduce chances of their puppies developing them.

With their sensitive stomachs, heat intolerance, and deep chests, it’s important for owners to learn the warning signs of bloat and take precautions. Avoid strenuous exercise around mealtimes and invest in a slow feed bowl. Also be vigilant about moderate exercise when it’s hot out.

Dental care is another major concern, as these dogs are prone to periodontal disease. Daily tooth brushing and annual cleanings at the vet can prevent painful dental issues down the road. Be sure to schedule annual vet checkups and keep up with preventatives like flea, tick and heartworm medication year-round.

Finding a German Shepherd Labradoodle Mix Puppy

Searching for a German Shepherd Labradoodle mix puppy may take some time and patience, as they are not common in most shelters and rescues. Reaching out to local breeders is typically the best option.

Expect to spend anywhere from $500 to over $1000 USD on a German Shepherd Labradoodle puppy. Be wary of “bargain” breeders charging significantly lower prices, as quality breeding costs more.

Vet references, health testing, temperament assessments, and seeing the breeding facility in person are musts when evaluating breeders. Connect with owners of previous litters when possible and ensure the puppy is at least 8 weeks old before going home.

Activities to Engage Your German Shepherd Labradoodle Mix

Mental and physical exercise are crucial for this active hybrid breed. Plan on dedicating at least an hour per day to brisk walks, runs, hiking, or playing vigorous games of fetch. Clever puzzle toys and “find it” games also provide needed mental stimulation.

Socialization is also key, through puppy classes, visits to the dog park, and meeting new people. Agility, nose work classes, and dog sports like flyball or dock diving are fun ways to challenge their energy and intelligence.

In the house, provide chew toys stuffed with treats and food for limited chewing satisfaction. Food puzzle toys like the Kong can be filled with their kibble to occupy them. Durable balls, ropes, and fetch toys are other good options.

Puppy Proofing Your Home

Before bringing a German Shepherd Labradoodle puppy home, take time to survey your space for potential hazards and put away any tempting items you don’t want chewed.

Keep shoes, books, remote controls, children’s toys and other beloved possessions safely stowed in closets or on high shelves during the chewing phase. Trash cans should also be kept behind closed doors, ideally in dog-proof containers.

Take up rugs and runners that could cause slips and falls on slippery floors. Tuck electrical cords out of reach and block off any spaces behind furniture or appliances where curious pups could get stuck or entangled.

Install baby gates to keep your pup restricted from some areas like the kitchen or a backyard pool area. Cover up holes in the yard fence and ensure latches are secure so your escape-artist pup can’t go wandering.

Best Practices for Training Your German Shepherd Labradoodle Mix

With two highly intelligent parent breeds, proper training is essential for the German Shepherd Labradoodle mix. Positive reinforcement and rewards-based methods work best. Avoid old-fashioned punishments like scolding or striking your dog.

Socialization should begin as early as 2 1/2 weeks old, with gentle handling and exposure to noises, people and environments. Formal training can start around 8 weeks old, enrolling in a puppy kindergarten class for basic manners and socialization.

Use high-value treats to motivate your puppy during short, engaging training sessions. Practice basic cues like sit, stay, come, down, leave it, drop it and loose leash walking. Be consistent with rewarding and reinforcing wanted behaviors.

Provide plenty of interactive toys and activities to prevent boredom between training and exercise sessions. A tired puppy is less likely to get into mischief. Patience is key – this mix can take up to 2 years to fully mature.

Are German Shepherd Labradoodle Mixes Family Friendly?

When properly socialized from a young age, German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes can make wonderful family companions. They tend to be gentle, patient and affectionate with children, though all interactions should still be supervised for safety.

This breed is loyal and bonds very closely with all members of their family “pack”. They enjoy including kids in playtime activities like fetching balls or toys. Their intelligence also makes them fast learners of fun tricks to entertain the entire family.

Despite their generally friendly nature, it’s important to teach children proper dog handling etiquette – like being gentle, not pulling tails or ears, asking permission before petting, and not disturbing a sleeping dog.

Well-raised German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes are trustworthy babysitters that will alert parents when anything is amiss with little ones. They thrive when viewed as a member of the family.

Suitable Home Environments for This Breed

To set them up for success, German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes need homes prepared to provide proper physical and mental stimulation. Their ideal environment includes:

  • Active Owners: These energetic dogs require committed owners able to provide at least 60-90 minutes of vigorous daily exercise. They do best with adopters who enjoy hiking, running, swimming, and engaging in dog sports or canine jobs. Less active homes will likely struggle with this breed.
  • A Secure Yard: Safe enclosed spaces to play, run and do their business is ideal. Fenced yards should have gates/latches that are escape-proof for these athletic dogs.
  • Proper Socialization: Early, positive experiences around different people, animals, places and situations is crucial. Owners should be prepared to actively socialize these dogs.
  • Consistent Training: This intelligent hybrid needs owners willing to take training classes and provide mental stimulation through activities like scent work. They crave having a job to do.
  • Quality Time Together: This affectionate, loyal breed bonds intensely with their people. They do best with families that make time each day for interactive play, walks, and cuddling.

Potential Roles and Jobs for German Shepherd Labradoodle Mixes

The German Shepherd Labradoodle mix has many of the traits needed to excel at important jobs like:

Service Dogs: With proper training and socialization, their intelligence, hypoallergenic coat, loyalty and desire to please make them well-suited to assist individuals with disabilities. Their athleticism allows them to perform physical tasks.

Therapy Dogs: Their gentle, friendly nature enables them to provide affection and comfort to those in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and stressful environments. With preparation, they can make wonderful therapy dogs.

Search and Rescue Dogs: This mix’s athleticism, trainability, intelligence and desire to work would be assets for search and rescue work, tracking missing persons through difficult terrain. Their protective instincts help make them excellent watchdogs.

Police and Military Dogs: Both parent breeds have served admirably as police and military working dogs. This mix can inherit the best traits of each – intelligence, trainability, strength, energy, work ethic, and protectiveness – making them candidates for these roles.

Agility Dogs: With the right training and outlet for their energy, German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes can excel at dog sports like agility that showcase their athleticism, quick reflexes and competitive spirit.

Farm Dogs: Their energetic nature, protective instincts and trainability suits them for farm work such as herding, rodent control, and guarding livestock. They can be hardworking helpers around both small and large farms.

In Summary

The German Shepherd Labradoodle mix draws from the best qualities of two popular breeds, creating dogs that are intelligent, energetic, loyal, and devoted companions. When properly exercised, trained, and socialized, these hybrids can make pleasant family dogs and potentially excel at important service roles.

While their activity needs and protective instincts do require management, German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes offer the right owners a work-driven yet affectionate canine friend. Their playfulness and eagerness to please owners makes training a delight. Matching their lifestyle to yours allows this mix to thrive as either a faithful pet or tireless working dog.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.