What Is a German Shepherd Labradoodle Mix?

What might a German Shepherd Labradoodle mix look like? ¹

What do you get if you cross a German Shepherd with a Labradoodle?

Although this sounds like the start of a bad joke, this mix of these two popular breeds does exist.

And if you are looking for a punchline for the joke, the answer is that you will get a dog that is fiercely loyal, is smart, likes to be active and won’t cover your house with (too much) hair.

But because we are talking about a mix between two breeds of dogs, it is difficult to know the exact balance of traits you will get. 

After all, any type of breeding is a bit like a lottery!

But to give you more of a clue let me start by meeting the parents…

Breed History

The German Shepherd Labradoodle mix is a breed that comes from pairing the German Shepherd with a Labradoodle. This is a truly unique breed combination, bringing a tendency to be hardworking, intelligent, and active all in one dog. 

This dog has been bred to work as a service dog, police dog, or even a herding dog. It has been proven to be an extremely loyal family dog that will never stop loving its owner. 

Meet the Parents of the German Shepherd Labradoodle Mix

The parents of the German Shepherd Labradoodle mix are the German Shepherd and the Labradoodle. As we said earlier, pairing these two breeds together results in a hard-working dog that is both intelligent and loyal, with excellent skills to allow it to be a service or police dog. 

German Shepherds

Let’s first take a closer look at the German Shepherd. German Shepherds were originally bred in Germany and were used for a wide range of intensive work, but their primary use was herding cattle for farmers. 

These dogs are extremely hardworking, making them a popular choice for police dogs. With a great sense of smell and undying loyalty, they are the perfect dogs to smell out drugs, find criminals, and protect their owners. They’re also still used today as herding dogs, helping farmers and ranchers herd their livestock much the same way they did in ancient Germany. 

They have also been used for service dogs. Their patient, thoughtful, and helpful demeanor has made them perfect for assisting disabled people, and their sharp senses make them apt to protect them from danger at the same time. Often used to assist those who are blind or motor impaired, a properly trained German Shepherd will improve the functionality of their owner by a large margin. 

As far as appearance goes, German Shepherds are medium to large dogs that stand as high as 26 inches at the shoulder. They have triangular ears and more narrow heads, with thick coats that come in fairly uniform coloring. Their coats are a mix of light brown or tan areas and dark brown areas, with their snouts typically being dark brown to black in color. 

Labrador Retrievers

Meet the other parent of the German Shepherd Labradoodle mix, the Labrador Retriever. Originating from Newfoundland, Canada, this breed of dog was bred for the single purpose of waterfowl hunting. They assisted their owners in hunting ducks, geese, swans, or other small or large waterfowl that may otherwise be difficult to hunt. 

Due to their intelligence and high level of motor skill, they have since become great service dogs. Much like a German Shepherd, their patience, persistence, and intelligence make them some of the best service dogs around. 

Beyond these qualities, they are also known to be high-spirited, friendly, and outgoing dogs that are perfect pets for the family. They are great with children and have high energy, making them great for playing with. In fact, Labs are so friendly that they’ve become somewhat famous for their friendliness. 

As far as appearance goes, these dogs are medium to large in size, standing 21 to 24 inches high at the shoulder and weighing between 55 to 80 pounds. Their coat is dense and comes in a few different colors, including yellow, black, and dark chocolate brown. With heads that are typically wide, their eyes shine with kindness, and their thick tapered tails are nearly always wagging. 

These are great dogs for owners who wish to stay physically fit, as they love to run, jump, and are also excellent swimmers due to their original breeding. 

Appearance

The German Shepherd Labradoodle mix usually weighs from 50 to 110 pounds when fully grown, their differences in size being attributed to the sizes of their parents. Standing at 20 to 28 inches at the shoulder, their height can also vary for the same reasons. 

Their coats are medium-long in length and will either inherit the wavy hair of their German Shepherd parent or the curlier hair of their Labradoodle parent. The coloring of their coats can be a mix of black, cream, gray, tan, or sable, giving them a beautiful and unique coloring. 

German Shepherd Labradoodles have heads that are somewhat wide, taking after the Lab parent, though their heads can also be narrower like their German Shepherd parent. Their paws are large and their legs more on the muscular side, as far as dog legs go. 

Personality

This mix has high energy and the courage of the German Shepherd that is their parent. If you appreciate high energy dogs, you’ll love this mix. They also have a very loving and loyal nature, making them great lifelong companions. 

Because of its lineage, a dog of this breed will be highly intelligent, a trait that will enable them to learn and be trained much faster than other breeds. They will be ready to learn a wide array of skill and commands that not all breeds are capable of learning. Because of this propensity for intelligence and learning, they make fantastic service dogs. 

It is also a great family dog, as we said earlier. They love to be around people as much as they can, and if they’re left unattended for too long, they may even develop separation anxiety or other negative mental health issues. So, these dogs may not be the best option for owners who may be gone long periods of time for work or travel on a regular basis. 

Feeding and Care

German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes will require at least a couple of walks per day to stay active and healthy physically but may even need more than that sometimes. They love to play and may require regular play sessions to stay at their healthiest. 

As we stated earlier, these dogs are extremely dependent on people, and if they’re left alone for too long and too often, they can start to develop anxiety, depression, or even aggressive tendencies. It’s imperative for their mental health to get lots of attention, so they’re great for families with lots of children to play with and keep them occupied throughout the day. 

An owner should be feeding this dog approximately 5 cups of dry dog food per day divided into two separate meals. This will allow them to get the proper calories and dietary nutrition they need to remain healthy and strong. Though this amount may vary depending on the size of your dog, since this breed has a wide range of sizes that it can end up being. 

Potential Health Problems

The average lifespan of this mix is around 12 to 14 years. There are some inherent risk factors to the health of this dog when breeding German Shepherds and Labs together that may depend on both environmental factors and genetic inheritance. 

Because both parent breeds are prone to a variety of different health issues, the mix breed may also be prone to the same things. These issues include hip and elbow dysplasia, which is a condition that often occurs in heavier dogs. May also be prone to hemophilia, which is a blood disorder that makes wounds take longer to close and heal, and flea and tick infestations (as many dogs are). 

Beyond those three common issues, they may also be prone to perianal fistula, an issue that mainly occurs in German Shepherds. The skin surrounding the anus may drain and come into contact with an internal cavity, resulting in small anal wounds that can lead to infection. Osteoarthritic is another potential health concern, which is typically a health concern resulting from the dog getting older and may affect their movement and bone health. 

Coat Color and Grooming

As we stated in the earlier appearance section, German Shepherd Labradoodle mixes have coats that come in a variety of colors, including black, cream, gray, tan, or sable. Their coats will most of the time follow the same color pattern as their German Shepherd parent, with patches of lighter colored fur mixed in patches of dark colored fur. 

As stiff-bristled comb or brush is good for their coat and should be used weekly to tease out any mats or knots and to keep their coats looking glossy and healthy. Doing this may also help remove excess hair buildup. 

German Shepherd Labradoodle Mix Alternatives

If you’re looking for an alternative to the German Shepherd Labradoodle mix, there are several other breeds that are similar in size, look, and personality. 

Really any other Shepherd breed will be a close second to this mix. If you don’t want to go with its parent German Shepherd breed, which is strikingly similar in disposition, appearance, and size, there are plenty of other Shepherd breeds that will make a fine alternative. 

The other option is a Lab, which will have the same friendly disposition and high intelligence and may be much easier to come by. There are plenty of Retriever breeds to choose from if you’d rather go this route. Either way, you’ll be getting a dog very similar to this particular mix. 

Photo credits

¹ German Shepherd by Lee Coursey on Flickr and Labradoodle by Karen on Flickr