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Golden retriever x German Shepherd: everything you need to know

Golden retriever cross with German Shepherd dog advice
© Shutterstock

Considering the Golden Retriever is the 3rd most popular dog breed in the world and the German Shepherd takes the 2nd spot, it won’t come as a shock that the Golden Retriever x German Shepherd mix breed is a popular one.

By Alice Lang

It’s true - according to the AKC, these pups are two of the most popular dog breeds in the world. With two highly intelligent, energetic and loyal dogs on the cards, it's no surprise that the Golden Shepherd makes an adorable and devoted pet.

When it comes to crossbreed dogs, there’s no way to predict exactly what the puppy will end up like. It depends on what traits they inherit from each of their parents. However, combining two breeds you love means you’ve got a good chance of ending up with the perfect little pup.

The Golden Retriever

“The typical Golden Retriever is sweet and friendly, ready to accompany you on the most mundane task or the most exciting adventure. A Golden can be the dog of your dreams, but only if you choose him carefully and are willing to exercise and train him,” says Gerilyn J Bielakiewicz in The Everything Golden Retriever Book. Often used as guide dogs, golden retrievers are smart, devoted and intelligent dogs who want to be by their owner’s side at any opportunity.

The German Shepherd

These large working dogs originate from Germany and are known for their exceptional intelligence and obedience once trained. They’re commonly used in the police, search-and-rescue and military forces because of these traits. German Shepherds have long, sturdy bodies which were made for strength and endurance. They’re loyal, fearless and fairly protective over their owners.

Golden Retriever x German Shepherd mix

Physical attributes


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Depending on the percentage of traits taken from each parent, crossbreeds can vary both in physical appearance and temperament. However, coming from two medium-large sized dogs, you can be pretty sure that the Golden Retriever x German Shepherd cross will end up as a fairly big dog. You can expect a Golden Shepherd to measure around 50-67cm at the shoulder and weigh in at around 27-40kg.

Generally, females tend to be slightly smaller than males - but in general, you’d have a pretty hefty pup on your hands. It seems more common for a Golden Retriever x German Shepherd mix to take on the sturdy body (though the back will be much shorter) of the German Shepherd with the sweet, innocent face and almond eyes of the Golden Retriever.

Coat colours range from black to white, with common colours being cream, tan, yellow and golden.


With loyal, playful intelligent parents on both sides, there’s no doubt that you’re in for - you guessed it - a loyal, playful and intelligent Golden Shepherd. While a Golden Retriever isn’t the best guard dog, this mix combines the German Shepherd’s protectiveness with the Golden Retriever’s easy-going temperament. This makes them the perfect match for those looking for a loving pooch who’d also make a good watchdog. But despite the German Shepherd’s ancestry, this mix will be warm and affectionate towards most people they come across if trained and socialised - unless they are provoked.

Generally, a Golden Shepherd dog is eager to please and is friendly. Golden Retriever x German Shepherd dogs can be a little on the needy side. If you’re looking for a pup who loves being around you, will follow you wherever you go and will never shy away from cuddles, you’ve found your perfect pooch. This mix thrives on being around their family and needs a lot of interaction. On the other hand, if you need a dog who is okay with being alone some of the time, they’re not a good option for you.

Socialisation and training

So we know how smart the Golden Retriever x German Shepherd mix is - but that doesn’t mean they don’t require hard work in terms of socialisation and training. No matter what breed you choose, without training, you could have a difficult pup on your hands. German Shepherd’s can at times be overprotective of their owners, so this needs to be addressed in a Golden Shepherd puppy.

Before you commit, it’s a good idea to meet the German Shepherd parent and see if they’re happy around strangers. Socialising your puppy with adults, children and other animals from a young age is the best way to combat any guarding issues.

Due to their high intelligence, a Golden Shepherd is able to learn tricks and be trained easily. If you’re proactive in rewarding them for their good behaviour, they tend to understand very quickly what’s right and wrong. They like to please their owners - which makes the training process pretty simple.



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If you choose to adopt a Golden Shepherd, you’ll need lots of time on your hands to exercise and play with them. They’re very energetic dogs in general, and will easily become bored and frustrated without their daily jaunt.

Golden Shepherd's adore playing fetch, frisbee, walks, jogging, running, hiking and swimming - basically, anything which requires physical activity, they’ll be more than happy to join in with. For this reason, the Golden Retriever x Golden Shepherd mix is best placed in a household with an outside play area. They won’t be so happy in an apartment or house without a garden. Aim for 60-90 minutes of exercise per day.


Though physical attributes will vary from puppy to puppy, Golden Shepherd’s have a fairly long coat in most cases. If you don’t like shedding, this pup probably isn’t for you - there will be hair all over your house! You’ll need to incorporate a daily brush in your dog’s routine, as well as checking their nails on a regular basis as they’re prone to getting long quickly. An ear wax check and clean out are also beneficial as both breeds tend to suffer from a build up of wax.


golden retriever x german shepherd
Golden Shepherd's have a higher risk of certain diseases - but don't let it put you off this fantastic breed ©Shutterstock

Make sure you inspect the veterinary records of any Golden Retriever x German Shepherd puppy you buy. It can also help to dig deeper into the parent’s health, as some issues may be genetic. You can expect your Golden Shepherd to live to around 10-14 years old, which is a good life expectancy considering their size. According to Feed Fond, the most common health concerns of this mix breed are:

  • Allergies
  • Ear Mites
  • Joint dysplasia
  • Bloating
  • Epilepsy
  • Eye problems
  • Cancer
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Degenerative Myelopathy

It’s still unlikely that your pooch will suffer from all or any of the above diseases, but it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the symptoms. That way, you’ll be able to detect them at the earliest opportunity and get your pup some help.

Overall, the Golden Retriever x German Shepherd cross can make the ideal family or companion dog. A well-trained and socialised Golden Shepherd is sweet, obedient and extremely affectionate - what’s not to love?


Here is a list of different dog mixed breeds:

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