Since the 1990s, “designer” dogs, dogs that are the result of purposely breeding two purebred dogs in order to produce a pup with the best traits from each breed, are becoming more and more popular. There are those who breed hypoallergenic dogs. There are those who breed for certain personality traits. The phenomenon is increasingly popular, and many pet parents are opting for these hybrids to get the type of pup they are looking for.
The Sheprador is a mix between the Labrador Retriever and a German Shepherd. Both these purebred parents have some outstanding qualities. Both are working dogs and are highly intelligent. The resulting designer breed is a large dog that is smart, loyal, and highly energetic. Some breeders will refer to the German Shepherd Lab mix as a “Sheprador,” while others may refer to this hybrid breed as the Labrashepherd or German Sheprador. Wondering if a German Shepherd/Lab mix is the best dog breed for you? We’ll break down everything you want to know in just a few minutes.
General Overview of the Sheprador
The Sheprador is a large dog, and his coloring will depend upon that of his parents. The Sheprador is a great companion dog, and he will need a home with a large yard and preferably a wireless dog fence so that he can work off the boundless energy he will likely possess. Those owners whose home does not have an outdoor open space for the Sheprador to run and play will want to take the dog out for daily walks and engage him in play so that he doesn’t become bored.
The Sheprador is not a dog that novice dog owners should aspire to own right away; he needs an experienced owner who knows how to work with a dog that is highly intelligent and can be stubborn at times. A highly alert dog, the Labrashepherd is protective of his family yet still tends to get along well with children. They will accept strangers, although they will be a little aloof at first. Owners cannot leave them alone for long periods of time as Shepradors can become destructive when bored or if they experience separation anxiety.
German Sheprador Physical Characteristics
The Sheprador is considered a large dog, and his exact height and weight will be best determined by taking a look at his purebred parents. However, most Shepradors are typically between twenty to twenty-seven inches in height, and the average weight is between sixty and ninety-five pounds.
Like its parent breeds, the Sheprador is expected to live between ten and twelve years.
One can never truly predict exactly what a Sheprador will look like. Some look more like their Labrador Retriever parent, while others will have the pointy ears or may take some of the colorings of the German Shepherd side.
Coloring depends on the genetics of the purebred parents. If a German Shepherd is paired with a black Labrador Retriever, the dog may have a dark coat. If the Labrador parent is a light color, the Sheprador may also have a light coat with German Shepherd markings. The most prevalent colors of the Sheprador include red, cream, black, white, blue, and gray. Any and all of these coats may also sport the German Shepherd markings. Some Shepradors will have a solid coat, while others may be a mix of colors.
The Sheprador’s coat is often thick and dense and of a medium length, although there are some Shepradors who sport a shorter coat that is close to the skin like the Labrador Retriever parent. Regardless, the Sheprador will sport a double coat as both purebred parents have this trait.
You can bet the Sheprador is a dog that is brimming with personality! Of course, the German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever are both great watchdogs, so the Sheprador is bound to have this trait. The Sheprador is also a great family dog; they love to play with children of all ages. They are also highly protective of those they consider to be a part of the family unit. While they will watch strangers and are on high alert when anyone outside their normal family comes on your property, they don’t tend to bark a lot. If they observe that strangers are friends of the family, they will learn to accept that friend as well.
The Sheprador is a descendant of two hardworking dogs. The German Shepherd is known for his work with both the military and the police. The Labrador Retriever is known to be a hunting companion, a service dog, and even a farm dog. So, you can bet the Sheprador will look for “work” to do around your home— even if that means watching out for you. It’s important to remember that these dogs thrive when they actually have work to do. Of course, not every pet parent chooses a Sheprador as a work partner, so you’ll need to provide a good bit of exercise for this intelligent and hardworking pup.
One great personality trait of the Sheprador is the dog’s ability to be easily trained. You’ll want to use positive reinforcement for a job well done rather than punishing negative behavior, however. This dog will want to please his human, so give her lots of pets, treats, and praise for good behavior. Remember, leaving the Sheprador alone for long periods of time and failing to provide the right amount of exercise for this busy pup could lead to her picking up some negative behavior, so be prepared to keep her active and working.
Overall, the Sheprador is a healthy dog, but he can be predisposed to some of the same health issues as his purebred parents. The Sheprador may have a genetic tendency to develop hip or elbow dysplasia, and he may also have some digestive issues. One way to ensure your dog is healthy over the course of his life is to make sure he has regular check-ups at a trusted vet.
Also, you can ask the breeder for OFA certification that the puppy’s parents are free from genetic predispositions to certain health issues. This is genetic testing that many breeders have carried out in their breeding dogs; when a dog is OFA certified, that means the breeding dog passes a certain level of health.
Caring for your Sheprador
The Sheprador is a naturally busy dog, and you’ll want to keep him active in order to assure he’s happy. Another reason you’ll want to ensure your German Shepherd Lab mix gets plenty of exercise is the fact that many of this designer breed tends to gain weight easily, which can lead to a host of health problems. Aim for one hour of exercise or more each day. You can do this by taking the Sheprador on short, brisk walks of fifteen minutes each, four times a day. You can also purchase toys for your Sheprador that are bound to keep him busy.
Those pet parents who have busy lives may opt for one long walk per day with toys that will engage the intelligence of the Sheprador. A good toy is one that rewards the pup with a tasty treat. Food puzzle toys can be filled with treats or kibble. The dog’s objective is to twist, turn, shake, and otherwise move the toy so that the treat falls out. Dogs will spend a great deal of time playing with these toys. It stimulates their intelligence as well as keeps them busy. Chew toys are a good option for the German Shepherd Lab mix as well.
You can also mix up playtime by playing fetch or by throwing a Frisbee that Fido retrieves for you (NOTE: choose a Frisbee that is made for a dog; otherwise, the edge of the Frisbee could cut into your dog’s mouth). Some pet parents have been known to set up a doggie obstacle course for their energetic dogs.
Now, let’s discuss the unique coat care your Sheprador will require. The Sheprador will have a double coat, and, because of her German Shepherd genetics, you’ll most likely see her coat “blow” at least twice a year, in the spring and fall. We’ll discuss how to handle that momentarily.
You’ll want to brush your Sheprador’s fur at least once weekly. Bathing the Sheprador is only recommended for emergency situations (i.e., when Fido gets out and rolls in something he shouldn’t) and regularly only every two or three months. The double coat of the German Shepherd Lab mix is protected by the oils secreted by her skin. So, washing more than every two or three months will strip her coat of these oils and can make her hair brittle and thin. Your main objective when brushing the Sheprador is to keep her coat free of dirt and debris, and a bristle brush should do nicely.
Take special care to clean the ears of the Sheprador for dirt and debris as well. You can do this by using a damp washcloth to wipe the inside of her ears weekly. It’s also important to maintain the good dental health of the German Shepherd Lab mix. Brush her teeth daily to prevent gum disease later in life.
Now, let’s talk about the twice-yearly “blow” of the coat. Unfortunately, it is hard to predict exactly when this will happen, but it’s a good idea to cover your furniture when the seasons change (spring and fall) in order to save yourself some hassle were cleaning this massive amount of hair is concerned. There are special brushes you can purchase that will help to pull this hair during your weekly brushing, and you’ll want to keep these handy as they can keep much of shed hair off your clothing and furniture.
1. Is a German Shepherd Lab mix a good dog?
Very much so! The key to the Sheprador is to keep her busy so that she doesn’t develop any bad habits. They are great watchdogs, and you can trust them around children. In fact, they’re quite protective of little ones. Just remember to provide exercise and toys for the German Shepherd Lab mix – she MUST have a purpose, and she loves to work.
2. Are German Shepherd Lab mix aggressive?
As a general rule, no. Again, you’ll want to keep the dog busy with play and exercise. These dogs are generally very loving, and, although they are wary of strangers, they are not prone to aggressive behavior.
3. Are Shepradors aggressive?
No. The German Shepherd Lab mix pups are actually loyal and loving.
4. Do lab shepherd mixes shed?
Unfortunately, yes. However, if you take a few preventative measures, you will be able to deal with the “blowing” of the coat.