This sociable and friendly family dog is a hybrid resulting from a mix of the German Shepherd with the Labrador Retriever, and is popularly referred to as the “ Sheprador” or the “Labrador Shepherd.” These dogs date back to the late 20th century, in the era when a lot of designer dogs were being bred, but the reason for mixing these purebreds to create this cross breed is still unknown. In order to fully understand the German Shepherd Lab Mix, it’s important to take a look at their parent breeds to discover why they are the way they are.
The German Shepherd dog dates back to the year 1899, and was originally used as a working dog to herd sheep. Their intelligence made them the ideal candidate, as they enjoy tasks that are mentally daunting.The Labrador Retrievers were also introduced to England in the 1800s, but their reason for being bred are also relatively unknown, but their easability in training and intelligence may suggest that they two were bred for a specific work type.
A mix of these two results in the hybrid we now know and love as a member of the family, and the Sheprador is quickly becoming as popular as it parents. While these pups may seem like the ideal dog for you, it’s important to examine the features that make it what it is, along with must know facts such as their maintenance and grooming. Here are some features to help you decide if the German Shepherd Labrador is ideal for your lifestyle.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Appearance & Size
These dogs are generally big dogs, which makes them perfect for the family. They range in size from 22 – 26 inches in height and can weigh up to 35 pounds for a female Sheprador, and up to 45 pounds for a male Sheprador. They normally adopt their colors from the German Shepherd, and many of their other physical features such as the hair texture of the coat and their lean body from their Labrador Retriever counterparts, but the absolute opposite can happen if the dominance of the parent breed switches from one to another.
They are normally tan with a bit of a black saddle but they can also be fully tan, with only their eyes being black. They are very expressive, and they tend to respond when being spoken to with their reactions. This makes for an interesting pet, that will cause you lots of laughter when it comes time for social interaction.
Temperament & Personality
Their vigilance and alertness make them ideal watch and guard dogs, as they’re loyal and very protective of their owners, but they are also very playful and affectionate. German Shepherd Lab Mix dogs are known for their ability to fit right in with any family, and this trait is what makes it such a popular cross-breed. Their Labrador adopted qualities include their loyalty and their love of human affection, while their German Shepherd adopted traits include their playfulness and love of physical activity.
These dogs tend to fit right in with many families because they quickly learn new tips and tricks and are always in the mood to play. They are very energetic but also gentle and good-natured, which is why they’re such a good fit for smaller children as well. It’s important to note however that these dogs are the chewing type, and without a chew toy, things could get very ugly very quickly. They’ve been cited by many owners as a destroyer of shoes and household items, if a chew toy isn’t given.
Grooming & Maintenance
Shedding is not an issue for most Shepradors a sthey only shed twice a year, but they do require regular brushing to keep their coats healthy and shiny year round. A common issue among Shepradors however is the white liquid that is often secreted from their eyes. To get rid of this issue, simply take a gentle damp cloth or facial wipe, and wipe in the direction away from the eye to prevent infections.
While cutting their nails at home may seem like an easy feat, it is normally suggested that these dogs are taken to the dog groomer’s, just so that their nails do not become irritated after the clipping process. If you realise that their nails are becoming too long and you are unable to take them to a groomer’s or veterinarian for a while, allowing them to exercise on tougher and more concrete surfaces will help.
Activity & Training
Because of its parents, the Sheprador is very clever which makes him easy to train and follow instructions. This trait, along with his people pleasing abilities, is what makes Shepradors perfect service dogs. These dogs need physical activity especially to prevent them from becoming more prone to the many health issues that they are linked to. If not being played with, most Shepradors need to be walked twice daily, but they also need to be mentally challenged by human interaction.
When young, it is imperative that these dogs are properly socialized as they can become a bit nervous and easily frightened. They are normally very obedient and with the right incentive based approach, can be potty trained without needing a dog trainer.
Sheprador Health Concerns & Lifespan
There are many health issues and diseases that can be inherited from the German Shepherd and the Labrador, and these may significantly alter the life of you and your dog. These health concerns are one of the major determinants persons use to decide whether they can handle having a German Shepherd Lab Mix. These health issues include:
- Luxating Patella
- Chronic Eczema
- Eye Infections and diseases
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
These are not the only health issues Shepradors are prone to, but these are the most common and life altering ones. In order to understand your dog’s ability to withstand these issues, be sure to find out the important genetic facts from their breeder before getting it.
While they may be prone to numerous health issues, they actually live a relatively average life of 10 – 12 years, the same as most other dogs.
If the features above make you sure that a Sheprador is right for you, don’t be afraid to head out and go get yourself one, but always remember to get the genetical facts from your breeder.