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The German Shepherd - Labrador crossbreed

Two black german shepherd and labrador crossbreed advice
© Unsplash

The German shepherd cross labrador mix breed is a combination of two of the world's most popular and intelligent dogs.

By Ashley Murphy

Origins of the crossbreed

In order to better understand this special crossbreed, let's take a quick look at their individual histories:

No prizes will be awarded for guessing where the German shepherd comes from. But, just in case, the answer is Germany! Known as the Alsatian in Britain and Ireland, these proud and powerful dogs were first used to herd sheep and other cattle. 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.

The Labrador was first bred in Canada, where hunters and fisherman used them to retrieve fish and other game. Todays Labradors are more used as guide and service dogs. Again, the Labrador is one of the most popular breeds in the UK and the USA.

Physical characteristics of the crossbreed

The German shepherd is generally described as a big dog, while many consider the Labrador to be medium sized. So, although there are no certainties when it comes to crossbreeding, you can safely assume that you won't end up with anything smaller than the average Labrador. The measurements of a Germann shepherd/labrador mix will be somewhere between 55-65cm in height and 22-40kg 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. Other crossbreeds will look nothing like either parent breed!

Personality and character

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. So keep them busy!

Exercise requirements

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 walk a day. This is vital in maintaining their physical and mental health.

Potential health risks

Again, it's important to start by looking at 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.

Are they easy to train?

Training always requires commitment and consistent, but the Labrador/German shepherd mix is a highly intelligent dog that responds quickly to the correct methods. In fact, these crossbreeds are often eager to learn and enjoy impressing their owners.

Is a Labrador/German shepherd cross 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 bringing one into a family home. Its 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.

Although not as popular as some of the “branded” crossbreeds, such as the Cavapoo or the Pom a Pug, the Labrador/german shepherd mix 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.