German Sheprador

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult German Sheprador
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When you mix the German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever, two of the most popular dog breeds in the world, you create an attractive, high-energy and fun-loving mix known as the German Sheprador. Though many will retain the black and tan double-coat of the German Shepherd, coat colours can vary and may even be cream or pure black.

The German Sheprador needs plenty of space to run around and should live in a home where it can be provided with lots of human companionship and a variety of daily activities and tasks to complete. Boredom can become a real issue and is to be avoided at all costs.

About & History

In a world where designer dogs are becoming the new norm, it was inevitable that two of the most popular dog breeds would be bred together. The German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever are two of the best-loved dog breeds internationally and when bred together, result in the German Sheprador.

The German Shepherd was developed in Germany for the purpose of shepherding on farms in the 1800s. However, this breed was soon recognised for its versatility and has been used in a wide range of jobs over the last few century, including in search and rescue missions and as a police dog. The German Shepherd is recognised in the Herding Group of the AKC and is kept as a pet the world over. The Labrador Retriever enjoyed a more ‘maritime’ start to life, having been developed to work alongside Canadian fishermen in the 19th century. The Labrador is recognised within the Sporting Group and has gained a reputation amongst families as ‘the perfect family pet’, often being listed as the number one most popular breed of dog in America.

The German Sheprador is also known as the Labrashepherd and, while records are lacking, this breed has likely existed for many decades, having being bred independently by owners all over the world. By itself, this hybrid dog is not recognised by any major kennel club – though this may well change in the near future.


The handsome German Sheprador is often said to resemble a leaner Labrador with a wider variety of coat colours. Of course, the first generation of pups produced will tend to have a variable appearance, with some more closely resembling Labradors and others being more like their German Shepherd parent. Through continued breeding of German Sheprador lines, a breed with a more uniform appearance begins to appear.

Though breed members tend to be black and tan, they can be jet black, cream or even brown all over. The double-coat tends to be straight, short and thick and moulting can be heavy at certain times of the year.

Ears may flop over (like the Labrador) or stand erect (like the German Shepherd). Their eyes are dark brown and soulful while their large nose is always black. The muzzle of the German Sheprador is usually quite well-developed and long. Their body is robust, with straight limbs. Their tail is usually long and of medium thickness.

Adult dogs typically weigh between 75 to 95 pounds and measure from 20 to 27 inches at the withers. Males are usually taller and wider than females with a bigger muscle mass.

Character & Temperament

An individual German Sheprador may be more Labrador-esque in its personality or might lean more towards the temperament of its German Shepherd parent. Most first-generation dogs will fall somewhere in the middle. The majority of German Shepradors will be approachable, friendly and social (much like their Labrador ancestors), though it would not be unusual for them to be standoffish and wary (as is the way of their German Shepherd relatives). Loyalty is a common trait and most breed members show a strong dedication to their family, eager to protect them at all times.

A breed with a love of children, most German Shepradors enjoy spending time with the younger members of the family and ‘goofing around’. Their easygoing nature tends to make them a good playmate, though their large size means that they should always be supervised when with youngsters. To ensure they accept the household children, they should be exposed to them from a young age and must have any boundaries emphasised from the beginning of the relationship.

With a curious and intelligent nature, the German Sheprador requires plenty of mental stimulation to prevent boredom from setting in. An under-stimulated breed member is likely to become destructive within the home and to develop nuisance tendencies, such as digging or destroying furniture.


With a breed such as the German Shepherd in the mix, it is inevitable that the German Sheprador will be very trainable. This dog likes to be given a task to do and is always keen to please its master. Obedience is ingrained within its nature and, when in the right hands, this is a breed that can be taught to do just about anything well. With a natural tendency towards being alert, this breed lends itself nicely to the role of both watch dog and guard dog.

To avoid the development of a suspicious personality, or a dog that is fearful of new people, consistent and intensive socialisation should begin from an early age. Exposing the German Sheprador to a wide range of people and situations from an early age will go a long way towards achieving a confident and well-rounded adult dog.


Unfortunately, both the German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever are known to come with a long list of potential health issues. Thankfully, crossing them together can go a long way towards eliminating these life-limiting conditions.

With that in mind, any health issue from either side can be passed down to the offspring and breeders should monitor the health issues of the population produced, ensuring they make a consorted effort to breed from only the healthiest German Shepradors produced. The listed health conditions should be monitored for within the population:

Hip Dysplasia & Elbow Dysplasia

These orthopaedic conditions result in reduced mobility and are often associated with the development of arthritis and painful joints. Conscientious screening and breeding programmes can dramatically reduce the chances of offspring inheriting these life-limiting conditions.


Itchy skin and allergies can be the bane of some owners lives and are often a life-long complaint that require extensive medical work-up and expensive medication. Atopy tends to develop in the first few years of life and may get worse at certain times of the year.

Ear Infections

Ear infections often go hand-in-hand with atopy, though can also occur independently. It tends to be floppy ears that are most at risk and owners need to clean ears regularly to prevent infection from setting in.


An acute expansion of the stomach that occurs for unknown reasons and can put excessive pressure on local organs is known as ‘bloat’. If the stomach flips over, this is called ‘GDV’ and this is a life-threatening emergency. Deep-chested dogs are the ones that usually suffer from this condition, and some vets will perform a surgical procedure known as a ‘gastropexy’ to prevent this from happening.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A big dog with a lot of strength and muscle, German Shepradors need plenty of exercise to keep them in peak physical condition. The Labrador and its progeny are known to struggle with their weight, and it is essential to avoid obesity in the German Sheprador as this could predispose it to joint issues and will inevitably reduce its quality of life. Consistent exercise is vital and should be provided on a daily basis.

As well as providing the German Sheprador with a substantial house and garden to run around in, they should be brought on hikes, swims and jogs. On top of this, any game or activity will be relished and the more this breed is able to engage its brain when exercising, the more content they will be.


The double coat of the German Sheprador should be brushed through every few days to remove old fur and prevent ‘clumping’. On top of this, the natural oils need to be distributed along the entire shaft of the fur. Professional grooming is rarely needed, though owners will need to groom more often during the shedding seasons.

Depending on the shape of the ear and the individual’s propensity towards developing ear infections, the ears of the German Sheprador can be quite high maintenance and typically require weekly cleaning and checking.

Bathing will not be needed very often, though can be undertaken when the ‘doggy’ smell becomes over-bearing, or after a particularly muddy day in the park. Dogs prone to skin allergies and yeast infections may require more frequent baths with medicated shampoos.

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