7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a German Shepherd & Lab Mix (A.K.A. Sheprador)

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German Shepherd Lab Mix also known as German Sheprador or LabrashepherdGerman Shepherd Lab Mix is a cross of a German Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever, also known as German Sheprador or Labrashepherd. It’s a medium to large dog at about 22 to 26 inches tall, weighing between 55 to 80 pounds. The lifespan of this mixed breed is around 10 to 14 years.

This hybrid has two strong and intelligent parent breeds, the German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever, which means you’ll get the best traits from two of the most popular dogs in the world. You’ll also get never-ending energy and, unfortunately, a high chance of some severe medical conditions.

So check out my Seven Things You Need To Know About Shepradors to make sure you’re ready to take care of this unique dog.

Characteristics

Life Span

As pointed out in the intro paragraph Shepradors generally live between 10 and 12 years, and sometimes they can reach the age of 14.

Intelligence and trainability

With parents coming from two of the most intelligent dog breeds, they’re smart dogs and very responsive to training.

Temperament

They’re loyal, friendly, and always happy to spend time with their human families. However, they tend to be cautious with strangers, thanks to their German Shepherd ancestors.

Caring

  • Grooming: their shorthaired coat needs regular brushing: every day in the shedding season (spring and autumn) and three-to-five times a week in the rest of the year. You’ll also have to visit a vet or a professional groomer periodically to clip their rather strong nails;
  • Exercise: they require daily walks, intense playing and running, and mental stimulation;
  • Feeding: these dogs love food and tend to have weight problems, so you should never overfeed them. Beef, chicken, and salmon can cause them skin allergies;

Children and other pets

They’re the perfect breed for kids, as these dogs are playful and affectionate, just like their Labrador ancestors. Generally, they’re friendly with other pets too, but they need time to get used to another dog.

Activity level

With two highly energetic parent breeds, these dogs need an active life, so be ready to spend several hours a day keeping your pet busy.

Size

They’re large dogs as mentioned above, weighing between 55 and 80 lbs. for males and 35-45 lbs. (16-20 kg) for females. A Labrador Shepherd is generally 20 to 26 inches tall (50-65 cm).

Sheprador Pictures

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7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Sheprador:

1. You’ll say goodbye to your cozy couch, at least for a few hours every day

All dogs should exercise to stay healthy and fit, but this hybrid, in particular, is full of energy and needs a family with an active lifestyle.

You’ll have to walk her for at least one hour, twice a day, then play with your dog to stimulate her both physically and mentally. The good news is she’s a good companion if you’re into running or hiking, and she can be trained for dog sports.

a dog with a leashLack of exercise can cause depression, destructive behavior, and medical issues, so if you’re a sedentary person or you’re already too busy, then you should consider other breeds with lower energy levels.

Besides being active, you should have a large house, with a yard to provide her with enough space to move around.

However, I wouldn’t just quit on the idea of such a great dog just because of a small house, as there’s always an alternative when we’re ready to adapt our lifestyle to a dog’s needs. The Labrador Shepherd likes cold climates rather than hot weather, so be sure to have the ability to keep her comfortable all year.

Further Reading

2. Keep your Shepherd Lab Mix busy, or she’ll mess up your house

dog mess meme These dogs love to work. They have it in their blood, and can successfully do police work, including searching, tracking, rescue, or guard work. So if you don’t keep your pet busy, she’ll find herself something to do.

One of her favorite activities outside is digging holes, so you’d better pet-proof your yard to avoid escape attempts.

If you care about your flowers and plants, you should also consider building an enclosure to keep your dog away from them.

When you bring her inside, provide her with toys and games to keep her busy. She will enjoy any activity that stimulates her mind, such as dog puzzles or training sessions.

The advantage of having such a smart dog that also likes to please her owner is that you don’t need to hire a professional trainer. Most Shepradors are easy to train, so you’ll be able to teach your dog some cool tricks and also help her control her watchdog habits, such as barking when you have strangers around the family home.

3. The vacuum cleaner will be your new best friend

German Shepherd Lab Mix is a double-coated breed, which means they have an undercoat next to the skin with longer hair over the top. Dogs from this crossbreed shed a lot, especially when the seasons change.

If you want to keep her hair shiny and healthy, you should take time to brush her for at least 10-15 minutes, three-to-five times a week. During spring and fall she’ll need to be brushed daily, and sometimes the use of a shedding blade can be required.

A consistent brushing schedule will help you reduce the amount of hair around the house. However, you should start looking for a vacuum cleaner for pet hair as you’ll be cleaning your home almost daily.

Besides brushing, you should include in your schedule:

  • cleaning her ears (once a week),
  • brushing her teeth (at least three times a week),
  • and cleaning her eyes (when needed).

While this sounds like a lot, on the other hand, she only needs to take a bath about once a month.

Trimming her nails requires professional help in most cases, because they’re strong and transparent, with blood vessels and nerves. Exercising her on a concrete surface could help you keep her nails in good shape and reduce the number of visits to the vet.

4. You’ll have to hide your shoes because these dogs love to chew

Both of the Sheprador’s parent breeds have a passion for chewing, so you’ll need a serious dog toy supply to keep your furniture and your shoes safe. Always buy non-toxic toys, and substitute them with new ones as soon as they start deteriorating to avoid accidents.

Your dog will need some strong toys, adapted to her age. Generally, you should avoid:

  • soft plush toys, especially if they have one layer of material only;
  • stuffed toys, because the stuffing will end up in your dog’s stomach;
  • toys smaller than 3 inches (8 cm), if you have an adult dog, as there’s a high risk of choking.

5. You rarely get to know exactly what you’re buying

A hybrid can be an excellent choice, but it’s still far from a purebred. This crossbreed is recognized by the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR) and by the Dog Registry of America, Inc. However the American Kennel Club doesn’t consider it an official breed.

I know it’s not all about pedigree and prestige, but crossbreeding can include some disadvantages:

  • you can’t know for sure how large the puppy you buy is going to grow. You can have a rough idea by looking at her parents if you have the chance, but there’s still a high possibility the dog will get larger than you expect;
  • no one can guarantee a particular temperament for this dog, mostly because the German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever are different breeds. Most hybrids tend to have a balanced personality, but as your puppy could be the result of more crosses, she may not inherit the exact characteristics you want in a dog;
  • your future dog is prone to a series of health issues, caused by her bloodline. Obesity, hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases and diabetes are a lot more common with these dogs, but she could also develop epilepsy, skin allergies, bloat or cardiovascular diseases, these being common among Labradors and German Shepherds.

Few of these issues are visible in puppies, so you’ll get to know more about your dog only after you’ve brought her home. Each of these disadvantages alone is enough of a reason to give up your dog, but this isn’t fair for her or your family, so make sure you consider all these risks when taking a decision.

6. Keeping a Sheprador is expensive, but you won’t file for bankruptcy

Generally, hybrid puppies tend to have higher prices than purebreds (between $150 and $600), but there’s always the possibility of adoption, which reduces your initial costs considerably. However, this is just a small part of what you’re going to spend over the years.

dog playing with toy

From my point of view, most estimations work well for average dogs.

In this case, though, you’re planning to have a large dog with serious health issues in her genealogy, so you’ll have to provide her with the best food for large breeds, which can considerably increase your estimated costs.

And don’t forget about her chewing habit -you’ll need to buy costly chew-resistant toys to keep her busy; otherwise, you’ll have to invest periodically in new shoes and furniture.

Taking care of a sick pet is not only heartbreaking but also expensive, so don’t underestimate the importance of medical insurance for this dog. Pet insurance will add between $200 and $700 to your annual costs, depending on the cover you choose.

7. You should buy your dog from a responsible breeder

In most cases, a Labrador Shepherd has high potential and is a great candidate for the title of the perfect family dog.

However, as mentioned before, hybrid dogs could have unpredictable coat colors, personalities, and health issues, so buying your puppy from a reliable source is as close as you can get to a clear image about your future dog.

Find a responsible breeder and make sure you get in-depth information about your dog’s family, including:

  • if there’s an OFA certification from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, for both the dog’s parents;
  • if the dog’s grandparents had any hereditary medical problems;
  • if the dog you’re buying has been screened for hereditary health conditions.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

📏 How big will a German Shepherd Lab mix get?

Generally, this hybrid can be 26 inches (66 cm) tall and can weigh up to 88 pounds (40 kg). Taking into account the height and weight of its German Shepherd and Labrador mix parents, this crossbreed is a medium to a large-sized dog. So measurements can still vary more or less from that range. If you think it’s size is quite challenging to deal with but you love this breed, you probably wouldn’t mind this quirk and this responsibility at all.

💵 How much is a German Shepherd Lab mix?

Good news for you! The Sheprador is more on the affordable side and can cost anywhere from $150 to $600. But there’s a catch about owning this designer pooch.

🐶 Are German Shepherd Lab mix good dogs?

Since they’re one of the best family-friendly dogs, I’m going to say yes! It will shower you with love and loyalty, and make you proud with its intelligence and playfulness. But c’mon, all pets have their own quirks. Do you think you can deal with this?

💓 How long do German Shepherd Lab mixes live?

Shepradors has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, but some of them can reach this age. We all want our pets to live longer and spend more years with us, so read this section to avoid and better prepare against genetic illnesses.

Conclusion

As you could see above, when buying a Sheprador you get the best of two great breeds. I think that this mix of German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever makes for the perfect family dog – kind, loyal, patient with children, and protective.

However, they have endless energy and require a lot of time and attention, which makes them suitable for active families only.

So are you ready to handle such a dog? Most Sheprador owners don’t regret their choice, but every one of us has different expectations when buying a dog.

What do you hope to get from a Labrador Shepherd or, if you already have one, what are the things you’d like to have known before buying her?

Leave us a comment below and tell us about your personal experience with this unique crossbreed.

Read Also

Golden Shepherd: Golden Retriever and German Shepherd mix

5 replies on “7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a German Shepherd & Lab Mix (A.K.A. Sheprador)”

  • Katie says:

    I love the list. It’s very helpful. But I adopted my little Hank recently and he seems both very playful and very cuddly. He likes to snuggle a lot but is very active too. Just wondering if I should expect him to go crazy one of these days?

    • Stephanie says:

      I wouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. My Shepard mix was actually really docile. Just be careful when introducing him to new dogs or new people. If he feels he needs to protect himself or you, he will. That’s not going crazy, that’s just the protective side of his breed. What a wonderful dog! Enjoy!

  • Matt says:

    I had my Sebastian (a 120 pound black Sheprador) for almost 16 years. While his last year was a bit tough (due to hip dysplasia and cataracts) he was always in good health and he was the most remarkable friend and companion anyone could ask for.

    He was the most important member of our family and a true gentle giant. Luckily, even though he was my first dog, he was very well socialized and he just loved being with people and was incredible with children, and I never had to fence in the yard or have him on a leash (except where required or if traveling and stopping at busy rest stop areas etc.) as he never ever left site of the house or family. He has been gone for 18 years now and I miss him a lot as he was a great friend, always up for the challenge, incredibly affectionate and low maintenance.

    I am lucky that I have a professional photo portrait (mounted on canvas and beautifully framed) that my parents gave to me at Christmas when Sebastian was 3 years old – one of my most cherished belongings. He did grow to be much bigger than I had anticipated, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The unconditional love and incredible companionship he gave anyone who met him was priceless.

    I am now nearing retirement, and hope to get another Sheprador – I have held off on getting a replacement as I have been very mobile with my job and work long hours…and I feel dogs need someone that can be there with them, and for them, and as dedicated to them as they are to us. I can only hope that any Sheprador I get will be half as wonderful as Sebastian was, but I have a feeling that, again, my expectations will be wonderfully exceeded!

  • Jay says:

    Looking to adopt.
    I lI’ve in an apt that allow medium size dog.
    The rescue stated his medium.
    Opun reading above note will they really be as large as a shep just in case ?

  • Kris says:

    We adopted a sheprador a few weeks ago. He is the sweetest lap dog and loves to go where ever we go. He does like to chew and loves his toys. He is a very quick learner and after a few weeks he is a big part of the family. I feel he will be a loving and very protective companion to my family. Could not of asked for a better puppy. Glad we adopted him.

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