German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers are two of the most popular, loved, and most sought-after dog breeds in the whole world. These dogs are playful, friendly, and highly intelligent by most standards. What’s more, both breeds are so intelligent to the point that they are used by police and military forces throughout the world. The German Shepherd had its beginnings as a domesticated dog in Germany in 1899 while the Labrador has been around since the 1830s.
Now, since both of them are popular breeds, it is believed that the German Shepherd Lab Mix has no particular origin and happened by pure accident due to how widespread the two parent breeds were becoming not only in Germany but throughout Europe.
The German Shepherd Lab Mix, also known as the Sheprador or Lab Shepherd Mix, is a mixed breed dog having a purebred German Shepherd parent and a purebred Labrador Retriever parent. This dog breed has the best of both the breeds and gives way to a lovable, super friendly pup. Though the German shepherd is oftentimes aggressive, signs of aggression in the Mix are very low if grown in a healthy environment.
Table of Contents
- Caring for a Sheprador
- German Shepherd Lab Mix Appearance
- How to deal with the Sheprador’s hair loss?
- The Sheprador as a Family Dog
- Life Expectancy
- Known Health Problems
- How much does a Sheprador cost?
- Quick Breed Summary Table
Caring for a Sheprador
The German Shepherd Lab Mix is a lovable and playful dog and is highly energetic all things considered. As an energetic dog, it needs a lot of space to roam and exercise regularly for proper growth and sustenance. One of its parents, the Labrador, is prone to gain weight easily in the absence of exercise and this is reflected in the mixed breed too. Hence, it is inadvisable to adopt this breed if you live a sedentary lifestyle.
You would do well to understand that you will have to provide at least an hour of strenuous activities for your dog every single day. That includes not only exercising but training and playtime as well. You can mix them all up if you want by taking the dog to the park, but that might have some negative effects on the dog’s overall training. Even so, it is much better than ignoring the dog’s physical and mental needs in regards to its high energy levels.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Feeding & Diet
The Sheprador requires about 30 calories of food per pound of body mass for proper growth and sustenance. Male Shepradors are heavier and have a bigger body compared to the females, and thus require more food on a daily basis. Overall, their weights lie in a range of 35 to 95 pounds and hence require up to 2,850 calories each day. You can of course supplement this with kibble from time to time, but be wary of feeding the dog too much.
While feeding your mixed-breed dog, you must make sure that they do not eat too much at a very fast pace. Labradors are prone to bloating in this regard, a trait that the Sheprador inherits. They are also prone to obesity and can pick up weight easily if not fed properly. It is advisable that you divide a meal into sections to prevent the Sheprador from over-eating. Multiple servings also ensure that your dog can properly digest the food it is being given.
How To Train A German Shepherd Lab Mix
Training any dog is not an easy task, especially not a hybrid of two very smart and intuitive dogs. Because both the Labrador and the German Shepherd are quite intelligent breeds, hey take to activities very easily and have an innate desire to please. This characteristic is passed on to the Sheprador and hence it becomes a tad bit easier to train this mixed breed dog as long as you take your time and reward your dog in order to reinforce any positive initiatives.
Know that you can use any positive reinforcement methods to train a Sheprador. This implies giving your dog a treat or a toy to play with whenever it is doing something right. However, dominance-based training doesn’t really seem to have a good effect on this particular breed. For instance, you can start with a simple activity such as fetching to introduce your dog to more advanced training techniques.
You should get a soft, cozy ball that your dog loves and throw it to watch your Sheprador running about tirelessly to get it. With proper training, your dog sees it as an opportunity to stretch its legs and indulge in playful activities.
Know that training should start from an early age with these dogs. This is because German Shepherds are very protective dogs. They are loyal to their family but they do not take to outsiders or strangers very well. A Sheprador also has some of the same features albeit in a reduced capacity. That said, if you introduce the pup to new people regularly, they will slowly get over their protective nature and grow up to be immensely playful and friendly.
German Shepherd Lab Mix Appearance
The appearance of a Sheprador can end up looking either as a Labrador or a German shepherd with some characteristics from the other half. It may also grow up to be as big as either of the two parents. The adult females of this mixed breed have an average weight of 35 to 45 pounds whereas the males, on the other hand, are bigger at 45 to 95 pounds. In regards to height, the dog grows up to a height of 20 to 26 inches on average.
Know that the Sheprador has the cutest eyes – big and brown! This makes them lovable and difficult to ignore not only as pups but as grown adults as well. The dogs also develop an excellent coat of fur that they inherit from both parents. It is generally a double coat with the shade varying through a range of colors such as tan, brown, beige, sandy, and even black.
How to deal with the Sheprador’s hair loss?
Just like the parent breeds, the Sheprador tends to lose a lot of hair. Hair loss is generally highest in the fall or spring months. These are the times when your dog is developing a coat to beat the upcoming winter or summer seasons respectively.
Regular grooming will ensure that every nook and corner of your home is not covered in dog hair. You should brush your dog’s fur coat at least twice every week to ensure good growth of hair and prevent excessive hair fall. It is also a good idea to start the grooming from a tender age. Along with taking care of its coat, you need to clip its nails and brush its teeth regularly. Bathing the dog at least once a month is also recommended but not more often than that.
The Luxurious Coat of a German Shepherd Lab Mix
Since the German Shepherd Lab Mix dogs are an offspring of purebred Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, the color of their coat shows a huge variation. The color and type of your dog’s coat, however, will depend more on the Labrador. If you are breeding a Labrador with a darker coat, the pup is more likely to have a darker coat and vice versa.
It should also be noted that the length of the fur also depends on the Lab half of the parents. In the case of Labradors, a long coat is a recessive trait. Thus, even if the German Shepherd parent has a long coat, the same being repeated in the pup has a very low chance. You can, however, be sure that your dog will have a double coat like a German Shepherd.
The Sheprador as a Family Dog
Seeing how the German Shepherd Lab Mix comes from parents who are extremely loyal, intelligent, and highly active, the dogs tend to make very trusty pets. Both the parents are used in various military and police forces throughout the world because of their loyalty and heightened abilities. Back in the day, German Shepherds were trained to be work dogs and Labradors to be gun dogs.
The German Shepherd is not as good with kids, though they have an innate willingness to protect whatever they believe to be theirs. On the other hand, Labradors were used in hunting parties for a long time to find the shot game and are an extremely loyal breed.
Bear in mind that a Sheprador shows the same basic qualities as its parents. Loyalty, an urge to learn new activities easily, and a highly active lifestyle are part of the package called a Sheprador. The traits of your pup develop and show as it grows up, and with proper training and developed socializing skills, you can easily welcome a Sheprador into your family life.
Who Should go for Such a Breed?
The most important requirement for a German Shepherd Lab Mix is that it needs lots of activity. If the required amount of activity is not provided to this breed it engages in boredom and develops such habits as chewing, digging, depression, and other such destructive behaviors. It is very important to keep this breed engaged to grow it into an amazing dog and a reliable companion.
Seeing how this breed likes to perform, it would be a great addition for anyone with a big family because it gets a wider audience to interact with. Also, if activities such as walking, running, hiking, and so on are parts of your daily life, this dog will easily accommodate itself with your family. In short, it makes for an exceptional family dog if only you can give it the space and plethora of activities it demands.
The Sheprador is not a pedigree breed but a cross-breed and thus not recognized by most kennel clubs. Such dogs have a healthy but quite a short lifespan, unfortunately. Whenever two species of dogs are crossed, chances are that the better and more dominant genetic characters move on to the offspring.
This process creates a healthy dog that has a good life and high immunity to a wide range of diseases. Having a superior genetic mix ensures that the dog can live a wholesome life between 10 to 14 years like most dog breeds this size.
Known Health Problems
If you are choosing to keep a German Shepherd Lab Mix as your pet, you need to be knowledgeable about the common diseases that affect this particular breed. This will be helpful in the long run as it enables you to identify the ailment that is bothering your dog. Since the Sheprador comes from German Shepherd and Labrador parents, the common ailments that affect this breed are similar to the ones that affect the parent breeds.
· Canine Dysplasia: German Shepherds are prone to problems in their joint growth. There is a tendency towards the hip and elbow joint malformation and can happen in the tender or adult ages. This ailment affects Shepradors too and causes a lot of pain and discomfort to your dog. If not treated properly at the correct time, your dog may even need surgery to have this disease treated.
· Obesity: A Labrador is a breed of dog that requires a lot of activity. This playful dog has a tendency to get obese if they are not properly exercised. This tendency is passed on to the Sheprador as well and it also suffers from obesity if not cared for properly. You can divide the meals and keep your dog in an active regime in order to avoid it getting obese over time. Always remember that obesity brings on a lot of problems for your dog and should be avoided as much as possible.
· Gastric Dilation Volvulus: A Labrador is a very fast eater and can eat through any meal. This is a great thing but it comes with a complication. Since a Lab is deep-chested, it cannot expel the gas developed in the stomach through a normal course. It often gets trapped in its stomach and builds up a pressure causing it immense pain. A similar situation can also affect your Sheprador. Make sure that the good boy does not eat up its meals too fast. And if any discomfort is affecting it, just run to the vet to give it a check-up.
How much does a Sheprador cost?
Seeing how a Sheprador is a mixed breed dog, it is not a very popular breed of dog yet and hence is not very expensive either. This dog is available at a range of $200 to $600 depending on when you get it from. The price of a pup mainly depends upon the health of its parents and whether you get it from a breeder or not. Also know that if the parents of a Sheprador are very healthy, then the pup will also be a healthy breed and hence demand an elevated price.
Quick Breed Summary Table
|Size||20 to 26 inches|
|Weight||40 to 90 lbs|
|Lifespan||10 to 14 years|
|Color||Varying colors depending upon the parents. Colour varies between tan, sandy, brown, and black.|
|Coat||Always have a double coat.|
|Shedding & Grooming||High level of hair fall. Needs regular grooming sessions.|
|Temperament||Very intelligent and highly active. Loyal to the family.|
|With Other Pets||Playful and friendly.|
|People Skills||Needs socializing from a young age to grow it into a lovable dog around people.|
|With Children||Very playful and protective of children with the right socializing skills developed.|
|Exercise Needs||Daily exercise for at least 1 hour is the least required for this breed.|
|Food||1050 to 2800 calories|
|Known Health Problems||Obesity; hip and elbow dysplasia; bloating.|
All Things Considered
The Sheprador is a very lovable and energetic dog breed that will fare well in homes that have an active lifestyle. If you are an outgoing person with an outgoing family that often engages in outdoor activities, this is a great pet to have as it loves to run and play around.
With proper training, a Sheprador is going to grow up to be a faithful member of your family and will be forever loyal to you and your family.