About German Sheprador
German Sheprador Basics
A German Shepherd and Lab mix, the German Sheprador is an excellent family dog that gets along with children and other pets. In spite of his enthusiasm for a tossed ball he will require regular daily walks and because he handles well on a leash you can involve the entire family in these work-outs. While he isn’t known for excessive or random barking, the German Sheprador will alert his owner to a stranger, and can be successfully trained to be your home’s watchdog.
Also known as Labrashepherd or just Sheprador, this designer dog brings together two loveable breeds into a single dog that's ideal for families with older children, active owners, and dog lovers looking for an intelligent and energetic companion for all their adventures.
German Shepradors are part of the growing popularity of designer or hybrid dogs that surfaced back in the 1980’s and reached its peak in 2000s, which is probably when the German Sheprador first appeared officially. Sadly, no one can tell with certainty when these dogs were first bred intentionally, as there is no written record of their origin.
While the breed is recent, his lineage is not and it’s pretty impressive; the Labrador retriever comes from 19th century Newfoundland, Canada where he was used by fishermen to haul nets, ropes and pull in fish. The German Shepherd dog (AKA Alsatian in Britain) was originally bred to guard sheep however was recognized in 1899 for his strength, intelligence and trainability. Since then he has been used extensively in search-and-rescue, police and military roles as well as working with the disabled.
As a designer dog, the German Sheprador is ineligible to join the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) roster of purebreds – this is a German Shepherd Lab mix and as such isn't considered a "real" breed by AKC. His parents however, have both achieved AKC status; the Labrador retriever was admitted to the club’s “sporting” group back in 1917 and is described as active, friendly and outgoing. The German Shepherd dog became a member of the “herding” group in 1908 and is considered, smart, courageous and confident.
The German Sheprador’s parents have both achieved AKC status; the Labrador retriever was admitted to the club’s “sporting” group back in 1917 and the German Shepherd dog became a member of the “herding” group in 1908.
Food / Diet
The German Sheprador is a large-sized dog that will consume up to 3.5 cups of dry food daily. Kibble size should be large (to avoid gobbling) and should be geared specifically to his age and activity level. Because German Shepherds are prone to digestive issues including bloat, diarrhea and colitis, food quality is crucial. Opt for ingredients that indicate “meat” as a first ingredient and because he may be prone to hip dysplasia and joint issues, foods that include glucosamine are a good option. Labradors are known to over-eat so don’t plan to free-feed your dog. Meals should be spaced over two feedings and avoid fillers such as carbohydrates and grains that will further induce him to overeat in order to feel full.
In any case, if you have any doubts about the right type of diet for a German Shepherd and Lab mix, consult with your veterinarian – as they know your pet's individual history, they'll know best how to advise you on picking proper food to suit their unique needs.
The German Sheprador comes from two highly intelligent breeds that are renowned for ease of training and work in the service world, so it doesn't really come as a surprise that this designer dog is easily trainable, too. Because of his eager-to-please personality, he is obedient, listens well to commands and you will find few repetitions are required to get the results you want. Early socialization is recommended as he can be a little skittish when young. As with all dog breeds, a positive, rewards-based approach to obedience and socialization training is best. Firm, consistent instructions accompanied by lots of praise and your choice of reward will result in a quick and successful training process.
The German Sheprador is considered a large sized breed and when fully grown, he will weight 60-85 pounds depending on whether you have a male or a female.
Temperament / Behavior
The German Sheprador is a friendly, loyal, intelligent dog whose even-tempered personality makes him a great fit with families. The Shepherd side of his DNA makes him cautious with strangers and for that reason a good watchdog, while the Lab side produces a friendly, cheerful personality. He is easygoing and patient with other pets and children and is highly loyal to his human pack without being aggressive.
He does get bored if left on his own too long and he likes to chew, so plenty of suitable toys (and replacements) should be handy. While he is an active dog, he isn’t what you would consider high-energy and the mix of gentle with playful personality traits creates a wonderful companion dog.
Common Health Problems
Designer dogs don’t necessarily experience the same health issues that may plague their pure-bred parents. In fact, many breeds are crossed in a bid to cancel out some of the more problematic genes and the hybrid outcome ends up being more physically sound than their parents. That said, prospective owners should always be aware of health concerns that may be passed down to their dog. Both German Shepherd dogs and Labrador retrievers can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia and Shepherds are notorious for digestive issues that can include bloat and diarrhoea. As a result, German Shepherd and Lab mix will be prone to same ailments, so it won't hurt to keep an eye out for any symptoms – and to take preventative measures. Keep their diet balanced and their feed them a few smaller meals a day to support their digestion, and include a glucosamine supplement to help with any joint issues.
The German Sheprador has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
Because the German Sheprador can be prone to hip dysplasia, he will require regular, consistent exercise to keep him at his ideal weight. This should include not only active playtime, but regular, structured walks of at least one hour, twice daily. Lack of exercise can result in depression and boredom that can turn into destructive behavior. Owners will ideally have a home with a good sized backyard where balls can be tossed and this beautiful boy can get out and stretch his legs year-round. He’s a great companion for those who love to run, jog or hike and of course his Labrador lineage means he loves to swim.
Also known as the Labrashepherd and Sheprador, the German Sheprador is a hybrid versus pure-bred so is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. He is however a member of the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR) and the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA).
German Sheprador’s physically resemble a Labrador retriever with a sleeker, leaner body and floppy ears while their coloring is more akin to the German Shepherd’s tan body and darker saddle. He is a moderate to heavy seasonal shedder with a short, dense, water-proof double-coat that will require daily brushing (including a shedding blade) during Spring and Fall. Professional grooming is not necessary and bathing can be done on an “as needed” basis however ears should be inspected and cleaned out weekly with his teeth receiving regular brushing. Owners can expect to vacuum regularly.
When choosing your German Sheprador puppy you’ll want to watch for signs of future personality traits; if too shy, he may need more time spent on socialization. If too boisterous, he may be a handful to lead. While neither option is necessarily good or bad, it will give you a better sense of what you can expect when it comes time to train. Remember this pup comes from a line of dogs with a propensity for joint and bone issues so be careful not to over-exercise him as bone and joint injuries may plague him the rest of his life. Feed him over several meal periods and ensure he has plenty of toys to keep him mentally stimulated and out of trouble.
Photo credit: Jarrycz/Bigstock; MaryPerry/Bigstock
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