If you’re thinking about getting a Sheprador, you may be wondering what the advantages and disadvantages of the breed.
As a cross breed, Shepradors can inherit traits from their German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever parent.
German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers are generally considered two of the most popular dog breeds in the world thanks to their energetic, loving and playful personalities.
Although Shepradors aren’t recognised by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club but they’ve been granted status by the Dog Registry of America and the International Designer Canine Registry.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the Sheprador pros and cons, including their high intelligence levels and exercise requirements.
We’ll hear from Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador), Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) and Cobiccino (@cobiccino).
If you’re looking for a family-friendly dog breed, Labrador Retrievers would be close to the top of the list. They’re perhaps the quintessential family pet! German Shepherds have a background rooted in a working environment but that’s not to say they can’t excel in a home setting. The Sheprador can make excellent family pets thanks to their affectionate, loving and playful personalities.
Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador) likes being around toddlers and young children.
Lumi is very family-friendly, kid-friendly (at least with kids aged five and older, she doesn’t have experience with newborns or toddlers) but definitely pet friendly with most other dogs. She’s very curious about cats, but hasn’t been around them too much for me to say she’s cat-friendly.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) is excitable but loves interacting with younger members of the family.
They’re very family friendly. Kyla loves when my cousins (4 and 6) visit. She loves having cuddles and they love telling her to sit, paw and roll over and Kyla is very patient with them. She can get a little over excited so we have to sometimes get her to calm down a little but she’s only 18 months so I think this is partly due to her still being in late puppy stages.
While there’s no guarantee that a hybrid dog will inherit certain desired traits from their parent breeds, there’s a good chance that a Sheprador puppy will develop into an intelligent dog. The German Shepherd dog is ranked at number two in Stanley Coren’s Intelligence Of Dogs, while the Labrador Retriever is considered the seventh-smartest dog in the world. Both German Shepherds and Labradors have a supreme record as service and working dogs because they’re highly intelligent and quick to learn new commands.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) was quick to learn basic commands even as a young puppy.
Kyla is incredibly intelligent and has caught on to her training very quickly. She learnt sit, down, stay wait within her first week (9 weeks old) and by 16 weeks she was doing tricks such as roll over, wave, spin, between the legs etc). Her intelligence can sometimes be slightly annoying as she knows how to open doors! The only problem we have had with Kyla’s training is her excitement at seeing other dogs which can sometimes end up with her forgetting her recall training when out and about!
Loyal and loving
Shepradors are usually affectionate, loving and loyal dogs that can develop a deep bond with their owners and fellow family members. They’ll be protective of the members of their home and enjoy the chance to get some cuddles and love from their owners.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) relishes the chance to get love and affection from her family.
Kyla is the friendliest dog and incredibly loving. She absolutely loves humans and dogs – and loves giving cuddles and kisses and loves attention! She is in a constantly playful mood.
German Shepherds have a reputation for being effective guard dogs. Shepradors are no different! As a medium-to-large dog, their size alone should be sufficient to deter unwanted visitors to the home. They’re usually alert to any strange noises or unsolicited visitors and will raise the alarm with a booming bark if something appears to be wrong.
Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador) is an adept guard dog.
She goes to the typical guard mode in the evening/nights when she hears sounds she’s not used too or when we go out at night and there’s anything that’s not usually there, she won’t go attack but she’ll watch it (for example the deer in our neighborhood).
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) has a German Shepherd voice.
She also has traits of being a guard dog, when she hears noises or sounds or the front door. Kyla also has a big voice (whining noises and speaking) which we believe is more of a German Shepherd trait.
If you’ve decided to bring a Sheprador into your home, you’ll need to invest in a good deshedding brush and a reliable vacuum. The German Shepherd Labrador mix has a double coat that will shed throughout the year. The shedding can get out of hand at the change of the seasons when most Shepradors will typically blow out their under coat to result in hair everywhere!
Cobiccino (@cobiccino) sheds throughout the year irrespective of the seasons.
She sheds a lot no matter if it’s winter or summer.
For dog owners who love going for multiple walks a day, challenging hikes or outdoor sports, Shepradors will easily fit into their lifestyle. However, if you’re a laidback dog owner who wants an easy life, this particular mix may not be for you. They require around 60 minutes of exercise a day to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Alternatively, you can keep their active brains ticking over with some enrichment activities.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) gets two walks a day.
We try to take her on 2 long walks a day (40-45 minutes) and, if work allows, I tend to also give her a 15 minute lunch walk.
Proving every dog is different, Cobiccino (@cobiccino) doesn’t require quite as much exercise.
Ours is a girl, so I would say she needs relatively less exercise than we expected. Usually a good long walk / hike is plenty for her. Or a good play with other dogs in an off leash setting is good for her. For some reason, my dog doesn’t like to jog with me.
As we mentioned above, Shepradors can excel as guard or watch dogs but if you’re in an apartment with neighbors who have sensitive ears, you may have to work on any excessive barking. Shepradors have a tendency to bark especially when they hear an unfamiliar noise. This problem could be magnified if your Sheprador suffers from separation anxiety.
All three of the Sheprador owners we spoke to have experienced separation anxiety with their hybrid dog to some degree. Whether it’s a mild case of separation anxiety or severe case of separation anxiety, it’ll require patience and training to work on the issue. Having spoken to a separation anxiety trainer, the chronic canine condition can affect any dog irrespective of breed or mix.
Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador) does suffer from some separation anxiety.
Lumi does but she has gotten better about it. Like many dogs, this hybrid breed are loyal and protective of their families. We learned that leaving her out of the kennel and closing the bathroom doors and leaving the TV and some lights replicate the feeling that we’re at home. That way she would be relaxed and sleep instead of barking constantly at noises, especially living in an apartment. Now we do the same for our house and it still works the same. Lumi would tear her bed up and bark if she was left in the kennel.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) has successfully worked on her separation anxiety.
We have tried to leave Kyla from an early age (especially as she was a lock down puppy) in order to prepare her for when we need to go out. We can now leave her in the house for 3 hours (sometimes 4 in the evening). As long as she’s had plenty of exercise she is happy to be left and just sleeps. As I work from home, she tends to be by my side (under my desk) a lot. She’s very sociable so she likes to be around us even when we’re just watching TV but she is also happy to take herself upstairs on her own sometimes to her bed and just sleep.
While Shepradors are smart dogs, they can also be strong-willed and independent thinkers. Don’t be surprised if your Sheprador attempts to outthink you!
It takes a lot of patience and time to train a dog of any age and breed. It helps to figure out if the dog is treat-oriented or toy-oriented this helps to know what to use as a reward for the dog once they do what you want them to do.
I wouldn’t say Shepradors are hard to train but that depends on their personality and the time and effort the owner is willing to put in, not just to train but to research and understand what they are getting when they adopt/rescue a Sheprador.