german shepherd running in a field and labrador lying down in the forest

The Sheprador is loyal, even-tempered and intelligent.

© ANNA TITOVA/Parilov - Shutterstock

The German Shepherd cross Labrador

By Ashley Murphy Content Writer

Updated on the

The German Shepherd Labrador mix breed is a combination of two of the world's most popular and intelligent dogs.

Although not as popular as some of the “branded” designer dogs, such as the Cavapoo or the Pom a Pug, the German Shepherd cross Labrador is starting to get the attention it deserves. And rightly so; this very smart and very active crossbreed will make the perfect pet for the right owner.

The Lab mix German Shepherd dog is an amazing family pet who gets along with children and other pets. Although it is difficult to define the temperament of a crossbreed as you can never know what traits the mixed breed will inherit from both its parents, the Sheprador is an even-tempered dog.

Let's find out more about the Sheprador dog, its personality, physical characteristics, origins and more.

Origins of the German Shepherd cross Labrador

The German Shepherd cross Labrador is considered to be a designer dog. This term appeared in 1980 and describes matings between two different breeds. Designer breeders started to create this mixed breed around 1990 in North America. Breeders wanted to mix the German Shepherd and the Labrador to minimize health problems that could affect these two respective breeds and create an extraordinary family companion and watchdog. It's important to note that when mixing two breeds together, you can never assume which personality traits the puppy will get from both its parents. In order to better understand this special crossbreed, let's take a quick look at their parent breeds.

The German Shepherd

The German Shepherd © ANNA TITOVA - Shutterstock 

Known as the Alsatian in Britain and Ireland, these proud and powerful dogs were first used to herd sheep and other cattle in Germany. Today's German Shepherds are a dog of choice for police forces all around the world. They're also used by the military and search and rescue teams. Dog owners love them too. The German Shepherd is the second-most registered breed by the American Kennel Club, and seventh-most registered breed by The Kennel Club in the UK. Loyal, brave, and easy to train, they make wonderful companions for active families.

Learn more about German Shepherds

The Labrador

The Labrador © Parilov - Shutterstock

The Labrador was first bred in Canada, where hunters and fisherman used them to retrieve fish and other game. Today’s Labradors are more often used as guide and service dogs. Again, the Labrador is one of the most popular breeds in the UK and the USA. These even-tempered and intelligent dogs are known to love three things: food, water, and people. Give them room to run (and swim), and plenty of love, and these dogs will make fantastic family companions.

Learn more about Labradors

German Shepherd Labrador cross name

The German Shepherd cross Labrador has many names: The Sheprador, German Sheprador, Labrashepherd and Labrashep.

Physical characteristics of the Sheprador: Size and weight

The German Shepherd is generally described as a big dog, reaching up to 25 inches at the shoulder and weighing in at up to 88 lbs! Labradors tend to be smaller than German Shepherds, but are still considered large sized dogs, measuring up to 24 inches in height and weighing in at up to 80 lbs. So, although there are no certainties when it comes to a mixed breed dog, you can safely assume that you won't end up with anything smaller than the average Labrador. The measurements of a German Shepherd Labrador mix will be somewhere between 21-25 inches in height and 48-88 lbs in weight.

There’s no “standard” look for this crossbreed. Mixing Labradors with German Shepherds has produced many different types of dogs. Some will bear a strong resemblance to the Labrador, some will be very similar to the German Shepherd parent. Others will look nothing like either parent breed!

Personality and temperament of the German Shepherd Lab mix

Mixed breeds can inherit any of the parent breed traits in any possible combination. Labradors are friendly, playful dogs with a gentle nature. This makes them great family pets, especially for those with younger children. The German Shepherd is confident, brave, and extremely loyal.

Both breeds are very intelligent and eager to please, but this means they can get bored very quickly. A bored dog can soon become a problem dog. A German Shepherd/Lab mix will need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation through games and training to keep them busy!

Are Shepradors aggressive?

No, the Sheprador isn't an aggressive dog. On the contrary, he is a friendly, loyal and intelligent dog. His balanced personality makes this crossbreed a great family dog. The German Shepherd side of this mix breed is wary of strangers and as a result, is a great watchdog. While, on the other hand, the Labrador side is friendly and cheerful. So by mixing both breeds, you'll have an easy going and loyal dog but without being aggressive.

Anyhow, all dogs needs training and socialisation to prevent them from being aggressive. Make sure you use positive reinforcement when you train your German Shepherd Lab mix dog and also the training must be consistent and fun.

Exercise requirements of the German Shepherd - Labrador mix

With both parents being natural working dogs, it's safe to say that any crossbreed will need plenty of rigorous activity. At the very least they need one decent 90 minute walk a day, where off-lead time is possible. This is vital in maintaining their physical and mental health.

Potential health risks for the German Shepherd Retriever mix

Cross breeds tend to have fewer health issues than purebred dogs. However, crossbreeds can also inherit genetic conditions from their parents, so it's important to look at the health issues presented by each individual breed.

One of the major health problems for the Labrador is hip and elbow dysplasia - this is a genetic deformation of the joints which can lead to osteoarthritis. Another thing to consider is retinal atrophy, a gradual deterioration of the retina which can cause complete blindness. Labradors are also prone to obesity - so don't overfeed them.

German Shepherds can suffer from any of the following:

  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus – a twisting of the stomach caused by gas and overeating.
  • Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyopathy – this attacks the nerve fibres in the back legs. It can lead to lameness
  • Panosteitis – a bone disease which causes inflammation

All crossbreeds are at risk of these conditions. They're especially susceptible to "crossover" conditions, such as hip and elbow dysplasia.

Grooming a Sheprador

Though some German Shepherds have a long coat, it is more likely that your GSD/Lab mix will end up with a mid-length coat similar to that of the short-haired German Shepherd’s. These coats are easy to groom, and will only require a weekly brush-through to keep shiny and devoid of noughts.

Do Shepradors shed?

You’ll want a vacuum cleaner on hand, as both Labradors and German Shepherds are double coated dogs, and therefore very heavy shedders.

Training a German Shepherd Labrador cross

Training always requires commitment and consistency, but the Sheprador is a highly intelligent dog that responds quickly to the correct methods. In fact, this crossbreed is often eager to learn and enjoys impressing their owners. You could teach this crossbreed to do practically anything! However, it is very important to start basic training at a very early age - these dogs grow up to be big and can be mouthy into adulthood if they are allowed to do so as puppies.

German Shepherd cross Labrador puppy

When mixing two different breeds, it is always difficult to know what personality traits the puppy will inherit from its parents. Therefore, if you choose to get a Sheprador puppy, you will have to look out for signs of his future personality traits. If you realise your German Sheprador puppy is a little shy, he probably will need to be more socialised with other puppies, dogs and humans. On the other hand, if your puppy is mischievous, he might be a handful to handle. While both these personality traits are absolutely fine, it will give you an idea of what to expect when it is time to train your Sheprador puppy.

Be careful not to over-exercise your puppy because both parents have joint and bone problems. Make sure your German Sheprador puppy is well fed, has plenty of toys to be mentally stimulated and give your pup loads of love, attention and affection. The perfect combo for a happy puppy!

Is the German Shepherd cross Labrador a good family dog?

Because German Shepherds are used as police dogs, some people may have second thoughts about owning one. They might think the breed is naturally aggressive and would have concerns about making one a member of the family. It's only natural to think like this, but remember, the line between an aggressive dog and a poorly trained dog is very blurry. Owning a big, powerful dog comes with a lot of responsibility. But, train them right, and almost any dog will make a great addition to your family.

Is a Lab x German Shepherd mix a good dog?

Yes, the Sheprador is a good dog. It's even-tempered personality makes this crossbreed a great fit to a family. This mix breed's temperament corresponds to many dog owners. He is loyal, intelligent, playful, cheerful, easy to train and is a great guard dog. Not only are they so cute when they are puppies, they grow to become a confident and beautiful dog. As long as you care for your German Shepherd cross Labrador, you stimulate him mentally and physically and you give him affection, attention and love, you'll not only have a good dog by your side, you'll also have a best friend for life!

What do you think of these mixed-breeds?

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