Whether you’ve heard intriguing things about the German Shepherd, or you consider yourself a fan of all things Labrador, the black lab German Shepherd mix will be the perfect household hound to have and to hold.
The beautiful German Sheprador has the Labrador Retriever and the German Shepherd as parents. The result is this brilliant barking blend, known for its guarding abilities, loyalty, and willingness to be trained. If a Sheprador has caught your attention and you’re hoping to find out everything you can about this excellent pooch, then look no further.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about this Labrador German Shepherd mix breed. So for anyone looking to embark on parenthood with one of these fur babies let’s dive right in.
- 1 The Black Labrador Retriever
- 2 The German Shepherd
- 3 The Black Lab German Shepherd Mix
- 4 The Nature of the Sheprador
- 5 Socialization
- 6 Do Shepradors Make Good Family Pets?
- 7 The Appearance of the Sheprador
- 8 Can my Sheprador Live in my Apartment?
- 9 Health Issues of the Sheprador
- 10 Exercise Regime for Shepradors
- 11 Dietary Requirements of the Sheprador
- 12 How Much are Sheprador Puppies?
- 13 Adopting a Sheprador
- 14 Final Thoughts on the Sheprador
The Black Labrador Retriever
Although they are now extinct, the St John’s Water Dog is the breed that eventually led to the creation of the Black Labrador Retriever. Members of the English aristocracy had St John’s Waterdogs and initiated a breeding program. This gave us the Labrador we have come to know and love in modern-day society.
Black Lab puppies can be identified as either English or American Black Lab types. Your black Lab pup could weigh as much as 80lbs, reaching heights of 24 inches. Although these figures may vary because of your furry friend’s lineage, your pup could be a tad smaller than this once they’re all grown up.
Getting to Know The Black Labrador Retriever
This friendly hound is recognized far and wide and is seriously well-liked. The black Labrador Retriever is an ideal companion because they are always eager to learn and a pleasure to train. These loyal fur babies come from a long line of useful working hounds.
Did you know that up until the 1900s, the lovable Labrador was pretty much only black, and was intentionally bred to go along on hunting and shooting expeditions?
The Temperament of the Black Labrador
These sweet-natured furballs are generally pretty active. They love to play and learn. They especially love meeting new people, and they have a strong sense of family loyalty. These good-tempered hounds can be proud members of your family for 12 years or even longer, with a healthy diet with the right exercise regime.
The American Labrador, or hunting Lab, is built with a daintier frame and tends to possess a bigger drive for retrieving. These doggos are successful at field trials and competitive activities such as hunting.
Some Labs, however, are bred specifically for the show ring. In the USA these are known as ‘English Labs’, and in the UK they are called ‘Show Labs’. This type tends to weigh more and be a lot chunkier in appearance than those bred for hunting and retrieving duties.
Black Labradors are an asset in hunting and sporting communities, and although the popular choice was black, that has shifted slightly in recent years. Where hunting dog owners still do prefer a black coat, those wanting a Lab as a pet or in a show, certainly have a preference for a lighter shade. Breeders today sell predominantly lighter coloured Labs, such as yellow, fox red, and chocolate.
The German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is often deemed the most effective all-purpose work dog. Standing tall at about 26 inches at shoulder height, this fuzzy friend is clad in a glossy coat and outlined with curvaceous, athletic proportions.
A star student, the German Shepherd is delightfully reliable, courageous to the core, and a loyal companion to have by your side.
Getting to Know the German Shepherd
The beloved German Shepherds are loyal to the point of putting their own lives on the line when it concerns protecting their loved ones. This courage goes hand in hand with their high intelligence and emotional sensibility. Their steady and dependable nature speaks to them being described as ‘dogkind’s finest all-purpose worker’.
Athletic as ever, you’ll notice the German Shepherd coming from a mile away with its identifiable, carefree trot. But when they mean business, these hounds can give a cheetah a run for their money. These Shepherds are agile, natural leaders and many dog lovers’ first choice, because of the noble character they possess.
The Temperament of the German Shepherd
Stout-hearted German Shepherds have been described as the canines that lead the ranks of royalty. Moreover, their character is what sets them shoulders above the rest of the hairy hounds.
German Shepherds are capable of learning commands for multiple tasks, they’re confidently courageous and deeply loyal. They have, however, been noted to display a distant, cool quality that does not always bode well for making new friends. However, they still continue to be devoted guardians and valuable team members.
The Black Lab German Shepherd Mix
What is better than having one brilliant hound? Yup, you guessed it. A hound that is a blend of two brilliant hounds. Known as the German Sheprador, or the Labrashepherd, meet the cute combination of the black Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd.
The History of the Sheprador
These two pedigree pups, German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever have been barking since the 19th century. Both bring enthusiasm and athletic abilities to the table. Labradors, for example, were originally bred as hunting hounds to retrieve fallen fowl from the water and aided as companions on the hunt.
Two of the most popular doggos in America are the Labrador and the German Shepherd, so they make for a popular choice among breeders interested in exploring hybrid breeds. These designer pooches are the result of crossing two pure-blooded canines.
As wonderful as Shepradors are, they are unfortunately not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). They are, however, recognized by the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR), and the Dog Registry of America, Inc.
The Nature of the Sheprador
When mixing two different dog breeds, each with their own unique nature, there is a possibility for random and unexpected results. This is because traits are passed on and inherited randomly.
We can, however, predict that a Sheprador puppy, much like any other hybrid, will inherit the best features from their parent dogs. Despite this, of the batch of hybrid Sheprador pups, some will display more of a German Shepherd personality, and others, more of a black Lab Retriever.
Labradors are a very big success in the service and work industry, and to have as domesticated pets in the family home. Their gentle, laid-back nature was an asset to their human companions after a long day of hunting.
Born and bred as herding dogs, German Shepherds make excellent security dogs and prefer to work at a distance from whoever is in charge. A handler or herder will get alerted by their German Shepherd whenever something suspicious poses a threat. Labradors are not similar in this regard.
But like the lovely Lab, German Shepherds are incredibly versatile creatures and excel in any task they take on. Both doggos are gifted in service or military posts, and even in the detection of narcotics. So it’s no surprise why your Sheprador will have both brains and beauty.
Socialization is an essential part of parenthood when it comes to owning a pup. This process allows your pooch to get used to other animals and people. It also helps them to get to know new places and activities.
It’s not a secret that Labradors are one of the friendliest dogs out there. Believe it or not, this is even more reason to prioritize socialization so as to ensure that when they do inevitably interact with other animals or people, they do so in the best way possible.
The German Shepherds in your Sheprador will mean they are loyal to the end when it comes to their favorite humans but, they can definitely be wary of strangers. Luckily through early socialization during puppyhood, they can learn good habits.
Socialization can even include having people over at your house so they can become used to new voices and faces. Getting them used to small children is also essential to avoid any unwanted accidents out of fear or nervousness.
And of course, if you have other pets, the earlier you introduce them to your Sheprador puppy, the better. Anything new should ideally be introduced earlier rather than later.
German Shepherd Labs are likely to inherit this friendliness from both of their parents. Proper socialization will ensure that all parties are comfortable and that your pooch has the confidence to get out there and interact in a healthy way.
Do Shepradors Make Good Family Pets?
If you’ve got plenty of indoor space for a big dog or you have a garden for playtime, then these dogs make for the perfect additions to the family.
Additionally, you should also be sure that you have lots of free time for games and activities that your dog can join in on, such as garden games or even jogging and hiking. These pups can get bored easily and destructive if they are not properly stimulated.
These dogs are really great with children, much like their parent breeds. If properly socialized as puppies, they are truly a joy to have around kids (supervised preferably). So if you have family members who can share the responsibility of entertaining these hounds then that would be ideal.
They are some of the least-aggressive dogs out there, thanks to the Lab in them. But, supervision is important because of their size and slight clumsiness. They can easily knock over a small child in the excitement of fun and games.
It’s equally important to make sure your children understand the importance of your dog’s boundaries so that they know when to give them space and remain respectful by avoiding things like yanking on their ears.
As you can tell, these doggos are definitely on the needier side and require plenty of love, attention, and care. This shouldn’t be a problem for most dog enthusiasts. And not to mention, you are guaranteed a lifelong companion and proud family member.
The Appearance of the Sheprador
When one combines these two brilliant pedigree pets, you are likely to end up with a 50-90 lb hound offering servant-hearted companionship and a diligent, working spirit. Your Labrashepherd will stand tall at about 25 inches and will display the high intelligence and athletic ability of their parent breeds.
However, predicting the coat pattern and color of the Sheprador puppy that will emerge from the breeding is not an easy feat. Predicting the inherited physical appearance of any dog is tricky enough as is.
So for the most part, the looks and personality of your Sheprador can be quite a gamble, as with any designer breed. This will simply make your precious pup all the more unique and special.
But, if you are specific about the traits of your Sheprador pup then a reputable breeder will be able to follow the genetic line of the parent breeds and make a rather accurate prediction.
These physical and personality traits are a lot easier to predict when the parent dogs – in this case, German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever – are quite similar in nature which they fortunately are.
German Sheprador Coat
Labradors have tight, short hair while German Shepherds have a medium-length, double coat. They can also have longer coats that are wavy. Either way both of these breeds are notorious for shedding or ‘blowing’ their coats twice a year in fall and springtime which means shedding will increase.
True to its parent breeds, the Sheprador has a double coat consisting of a super warm undercoat and a coarser, outer coat to protect them from the elements. These dogs historically worked outdoors so adequate protection from the heat or the cold was essential.
Due to the gene for long coats being recessive and very unusual among Labradors, your Black Lab German Shepherd Mix will most definitely have a neat, short coat like its Labrador parent. This means that even if their German Shepherd parent has a long coat it is highly unlikely to be passed on to their puppies.
Can my Sheprador Live in my Apartment?
If you are willing to keep up a diligent brushing routine for the sake of your hound and your house’s happiness, then these pooch’s can live indoors.
However, a lint roller will definitely be your best friend when it comes to maintaining furniture and clothing. And perhaps even invest in an undercoat rake to dehair your designer furbaby. Consider also how this handsome hairball may affect any existing asthmatic or allergic conditions.
The other main concern when it comes to apartment living is the exercise needs of these dogs. So, if you are available for a rigorous daily walk and plenty of playtime, then it can work.
As long as these hounds have the opportunity for daily energy expenditure to keep them happy and healthy, all will be well. Other than that, they will be in their element if they can curl up on the couch for movies and naps with their favorite humans.
Health Issues of the Sheprador
It’s not a secret that mixed breeds inherit the health issues from their parent breeds. Therefore it’s essential to know what health concerns Labrador and the German Shepherd face so as to be best prepared with your Sheprador.
Like most cross breeds, mixed breeds are usually healthier than their purebred parents. It’s also usually a gamble when it comes to the health issues as it depends which parent they take after more in that specific area.
For example, the German Shepherds’ backs slope down towards the tail. So if your Sheprador takes after their German Shepherd parent then you may encounter spinal problems that lead to arthritis and hip dysplasia as they get older.
The silver lining is that the good health of the Labrador balances out the potentially compromised health that German Shepherds sometimes have, and the result is a stellar, mostly-healthy Sheprador pup.
All of the following health issues can be present in your Sheprador:
Labrador Health Issues
Labrador Retrievers are prone to the following ailments:
- Hip Dysplasia: This condition occurs in the pup’s formative years when the ball and socket joints don’t grow at equal rates. As a result, they don’t fit together properly.
- Elbow Dysplasia: Elbow Dysplasia is characterized by lameness in the forelimb and results in limping.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This ailment affects the photoreceptor cells of the dog which causes them to deteriorate over time. It eventually leads to blindness.
In addition to these conditions, Labrador’s are also prone to allergies. However, there are no DNA tests to detect this predisposition so your best bet is to check with your breeder about a family history of allergies.
German Shepherd Health Issues
German Shepherds are prone to:
- Von Willebrand’s disease: This is a bleeding disorder that is inherited. It results due to a lack of von Willebrand factor protein (vWF).
- Hypothyroidism: Marked by an underactive thyroid condition, this endocrine disorder in dogs is rather common. It causes bodily functions to slow down and warning signs include lethargy and weight gain.
- Cataracts: German Shepherds are prone to eye problems like Cataracts. It occurs when the dog develops cloudiness in the eye which disturbs their vision.
- Hemophilia: This condition is a result of a gene mutation where Factor VIII is deficient. It causes abnormal blood clot formation.
More on the Health of the Sheprador
While this breed has some health concerns in its parent breeds, these can be detected early on with screenings. Other than that, conditions like obesity can be prevented by pet owners.
The best thing you can do with your Sheprador puppy is to find a reputable breeder and ask many questions. Find out about the parent breeds, what their health and medical histories are, and be sure to ask for health screening certificates.
Life Expectancy of the Sheprador
Now that we know what health issues to look out for, what is the lifespan of these hounds? Labrador Retrievers live between 10 and 14 years whereas German Shepherds typically live less long, between 9 and 12 years.
So it’s safe to bet that your Lab German Shepherd hound will live a long happy life to 11 or 12 years of age.
Exercise Regime for Shepradors
With our black Labs and German Shepherds being high-energy, athletic animals, combining the two of them results in a grown Sheprador in need of at least 2 hours of walking a day. These two types of dogs were bred with the initial purpose of being active and physical for several hours each day.
They are excellent work dogs and will likely chew your furniture or dig up your rose garden if left ignored or indoors for prolonged periods of time. In addition to going for walks or runs, playtime with your Sheprador can include tug o’ war, fetch, and working on developing their scent detection.
In addition to needing lots of playtime and physical stimulation, they also need a lot of mental stimulation. This can include dog puzzles and dog toys –- they are very mouthy critters, so multiple chew toys, or anything to clutch in their jaw for that matter, will suffice.
Not to mention, these hounds will be in their element with doggy sports like obedience training, agility work, and fieldwork. They are hard-working and love any opportunity to learn something new while pleasing their favorite humans.
Both parents of the Sheprador were bred to spend several hours a day being mentally and physically challenged. And take note that no amount of fetch games in a day will be too much for these playful canines.
Dietary Requirements of the Sheprador
In order to ensure you have a Sheprador with a happy and healthy life, you should be sure that you feed your pooch the right dog food. Not all dog food on the market is high quality so carefully selecting the right brand is important.
In general, a good rule of thumb is to opt for food with all-natural ingredients, and high fiber dog food that includes fruits and vegetables. Also, make sure they have a diet high in protein. You should also avoid food with filler ingredients, artificial flavoring, and preservatives.
The Labrador side of these hounds will certainly mean they come with a big appetite and love for snacking. Due to this, Shepradors are very prone to weight gain and overeating. So it’s important to practice strict portion control and structured meal times with your pooch. To avoid gulping down their dinner, it may be best to invest in a slow feeder.
It’s also advisable not to leave food out during the day, but to rather implement a routine and eating schedule to ensure your pup remains healthy and lean. If Shepradors are allowed to become overweight, they will suffer from joint problems, hip dysplasia, and later on, arthritis.
How Much are Sheprador Puppies?
This mixed breed is quite widely accessible and is luckily not as pricey as other more fashionable crossbreeds. However, you should always be wary of prices that are too low because it’s certainly expensive to breed any healthy puppies. The best route is to research reputable breeders and follow recommendations.
While it’s a good thing that these pups are quite readily available, it’s also something to be cautious about. More breeders mean a higher possibility that some don’t practice healthy breeding standards.
You can expect to pay around $800 for a Sheprador pup. Since Shepradors are not a recognized breed in the AKC, your puppies won’t have papers, but the parents should. There can be many issues and birth defects with backyard breeding so it’s important to do your research.
Adopting a Sheprador
If you are struggling to find a reputable breeder or you simply have your heart set on a Black Lab German Shepherd then rescuing is a great option.
Be sure to check out your local shelters and adoption agencies. These pups have so much love to give and deserve a second chance at a happy home.
They are also easily adaptable and should slot into their new environment and family without too much fuss. Remember that they flourish on positive reinforcement, and rely on learning and training in order to thrive.
Pros and Cons of Becoming a Sheprador Owner
Before embarking on parenthood, it’s always a good idea to know the upsides and downsides of your new fur baby. This way you will not only be better equipped to raise them but you will have a realistic idea of things going in.
Like with any relationship there will be highs and lows but, for the most part, the pros will likely outweigh the cons when it comes to these stellar pooch companions. Let’s take a closer look at both sides.
Cons of owning a Sheprador
- They can inherit serious health issues: this is emotionally and financially stressful, but health screenings can, fortunately, help predict and prevent inherited issues.
- They need lots of exercise: without sufficient exercise and a generally active lifestyle, these hounds will grow restless, bored, and unhappy.
- They are likely to shed heavily: without a frequent brushing and sweeping routine, your pooch will leave your home in a blanket of hair.
Pros of Owning a Sheprador
- Shepradors are outgoing with loyal personalities: your Sheprador is always eager to play, engage, learn, and meet new people which makes them great companions.
- They are great family pets: affectionate and loving, Shepradors want to belong in your family and feel needed on the team.
- The dogs are excellent security dogs: the Sheprador is innately a protector and a watchdog and will alert you of any threats to your safety.
Final Thoughts on the Sheprador
There you have it, folks – the brilliant, blended Sheprador that we all adore. This razor-sharp, athletically-inclined hound is a sure companion to have at your side. They are eager to please and easy to train which will make them a pleasure to have around in the home, or on the job.
There’s no doubt that these designer canines inherited the best of both worlds from their parent breeds. You cannot go wrong with parenting one of these fur babies unless, of course, you have a problem with too much loyalty and brilliance.
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