The Sheprador is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever.
These are two of the most popular dog breeds in the world but when crossed together the result is a hybrid dog called Shepradors.
Unlike popularised cross breeds such as Labradoodles and Goldendoodles, the Sheprador is still a relatively unknown mix.
However, when you consider the popularity of the parent breeds, some dog owners are likely unaware their pooch is a German Shepherd Labrador mix.
In this article, we’re going to take a close look at the Sheprador cross breed to learn more about their appearance, temperament, exercise requirements, grooming needs and where you can find a Sheprador.
Jump To Section
What Is A Sheprador?
A Sheprador is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever.
It’s unclear when the first Sheprador was bred intentionally but these mixed dogs are growing in popularity given they combine characteristics of two popular breeds.
While the German Shepherd and the Labrador are two well-known breeds recognised by the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club, neither organization have granted the Sheprador status.
Having said that, the Dog Registry of America and the International Designer Canine Registry does recognise the Sheprador.
At the time of writing, we were unable to find a dedicated Sheprador club that outlines a breed standard or code of ethics.
In all likelihood, you’re best bet if you’re looking for a Sheprador is your local dog rescue organization.
While typically called a Sheprador, this mix can also be known as a German Sheprador, Labrashepherd and a German Shepherd Labrador mix.
The Sheprador will be a mix of both parent breeds so they can embody physical traits related to the German Shepherd and the Labrador. They’ll usually reach a height of between 20 and 27 inches and can weight from 60 to 95 pounds in weight.
Labrador Retrievers can have a yellow, black and chocolate coat, while the German Shepherd traditionally has a black and tan coat but can come in a variety of less common colors such as black and white. Lumi’s owner (@lumi_the_sheprador) shared some greater detail about the appearance of these hybrid dogs.
My Lumi is all black with some white patches on her back paws, chest, chin, and neck. When she was a three month old puppy she had a white tip on her tail. Her coat is what I’d say is medium length (fine hair). It’s not too short and doesn’t dry very fast. She is double coated but not long to the point where you have to brush everyday to detangle.
The color of these gorgeous mixed-breed dogs varies, and you might end up with a solid coat color, like Labs, or striking mixed coloring, like German Shepherds. A lot of this depends on the color of the Labrador parent, whether they’re yellow, black, or chocolate. As a general rule, the darker the Lab parent, the darker the coat of the pup. But you also get white German Shepherd dogs, which can result in striking white Shepradors. Basically, it’s a bit of a lottery and you don’t know what you are going to get, as puppies grow up, they can lose those color patterns.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) is an example of a black Sheprador.
Kyla has an all black coat (mum was a full black Lab and dad was a black German Shepherd). She was the only full black puppy in the litter. Her coat is soft and longer than the average Lab and has a slightly more coarse feel but still soft.
Cobiccino (@cobiccino) has a face more similar to her Labrador parent.
One colour – Golden, her face actually looks like a Golden Retriever we think. Medium length hair. Double coat. [She has] upright back legs like a Lab.
When combining two breeds of dogs, there’s no guarantee that a canine will inherit certain desired traits. Therefore, we can’t say with certainty whether a Sheprador will be more akin to their Labrador or German Shepherd parent. Having said that, there’s a good chance a Sheprador will be an energetic dog, with a sense of loyalty to their family members, seeing as these traits are associated with both parents. Shepradors tend to be smart dogs because the German Shepherd and Labrador are ranked as two of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. Shepradors like to have a sense of purpose as both parents have vast experience as working dogs.
Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador) is an adept guard dog.
Intelligent, active, loyal but can be wary of strangers.
Coming from the loving Labrador Retriever and the loyal German Shepherd dog breeds, I would have to say Lumi’s temperament is very laid back. 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). I believe that the temperament of dogs can be changed as long as you’re patient and willing to train them. We taught Lumi the basics and I socialized her while she was young, she’s not food/toy aggressive or anything else.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) loves receiving attention.
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. 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. We think that her looks and playfulness are more Labrador but her guard dog instincts and need for attention is more of the German shepherd side.
Cobiccino (@cobiccino) is attached to her owners at all times!
She is calm, friendly, playful, loving, loves to stick with owners all the time.
Shepradors will require regular daily exercise, both physical and mental. German Shepherds and Labradors are active breeds that require at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. Labradors can excel as service dogs while German Shepherds thrive as working dogs so both breeds like to have a sense of purpose or fulfil tasks. As a result, Shepradors will need sufficient mental stimulation to satisfy this drive.
Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador) has a lot of energy!
Just letting them get outside and run around or daily walks will definitely help. Lumi loves to go outside and do her “zoomies” where she’ll run around in the lot next to our house, or she’ll go greet the neighbor’s dogs and run with them along their fence line. After a bit she calms down and takes a nap to recover the energy she just used. Most days she can sleep all day and all night. When she was younger, she needed to go outside more to potty.
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.
Cobiccino (@cobiccino) doesn’t require quite as much exercise as some of her fellow Shepradors.
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.
Shepradors aren’t a hypoallergenic cross breed so if you’re looking for a dog that doesn’t shed, the Labrashepherd isn’t the hybrid for you! They usually have a double coat – a coarse outer coat and dense inner coat. They tend to shed throughout the year and blow out their coat at the changing of the seasons.
Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador) is a big shedder.
My Lumi does shed a lot. I brush her every other day and I still have to go around the house and vacuum. Of course more so in the winter time with her winter coat. She’s also double coated.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) leaves a lot of hair around her home.
Kyla sheds a lot and this started around 7 months. We manage by hoovering a lot and she has her own blanket on certain areas to stop her hair getting on surfaces (such as bed/sofa).
Cobiccino (@cobiccino) sheds throughout the year irrespective of the seasons.
She sheds a lot no matter if it’s winter or summer.
If you’re planning to bring home a Sheprador, you’ll need a good brush to stay on top of their shedding. It’s a good idea to brush your Sheprador a couple of times a week – but they may require daily brushing during shedding season.
Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador) shared her grooming schedule.
I normally brush Lumi with a Furminator Brush and that gets a lot of the shedding fur off – I do that about every other day. But for actual grooming, I’d say they don’t really need haircuts or professional brush outs. With double-coated dogs, you don’t want to give them haircuts or shave them because it’ll mess up that double coat which is meant for protection of the skin underneath.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) goes to a groomer bi-annually.
I take her to a groomer twice a year for a full groom and de shedding treatment but we tend to hose her down after muddy walks fairly regularly.
Cobiccino (@cobiccino) gets brushed every other day.
Their fur is easy to manage as it is relatively short, we don’t need to bring her out for grooming, but brushing every other days or every week would be good.
Are Sheprador Hard To Train
The German Shepherd is ranked at number three with regards to dog intelligence. The Labrador Retriever is in seventh position – four below the German Shepherd. So as you can see, there’s a good chance that a Sheprador will be an intelligent dog that is quick to learn new commands and obediently follow their owner’s orders. Having said that, the mix can be independent thinkers.
Lumi’s owner (@lumi_the_sheprador) shared some of the commands that she’s successfully taught her Sheprador.
I adopted Lumi when she was 3-months-old and she wasn’t hard to train. She learned very quickly (within 2-3 weeks) to go outside to potty. She understood the basic commands: sit, stay, lay down, where her dog bowls are and where to go to the kennel.
She’s three years old now and knows: (Commands and hand signals for) sit, stay, lay down, speak, chase your tail, drop it, leave it, roll over, right paw, left paw, fight me (picks her paws up in the hair and moves them up and down as if “punching”), bells (goes to the front door and touches the bells hanging on the knob to let me know she needs to go outside to potty) and or she puts her head on my lap and stares at me (also letting me know she has to go outside to potty), come, the word outside even spelled out, or even just out.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) excels in all areas.
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!
Cobiccino (@cobiccino) was easy to train despite a lack of interest in food.
VERY EASY to train! Our dog is NOT treat-motivated, but still very easy to train, she learns sooooo fast. She is very smart.
Are Sheprador Family-Friendly Dogs?
If you’re weighing up whether to introduce a Sheprador to your family, you’ll want to know whether these dogs are suitable in a home with children. You should never leave a dog unattended with a child irrespective of breed or previous experiences.
Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador) is described as a “kid-friendly” dog.
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.
With her adopted sister Akela (Shepsky – German Shepherd x Husky mix) Lumi loves to play and do zoomies with Akela. The only thing Lumi does that makes her look “aggressive” when meeting some people/dogs she’ll put her hackles up. She learned that behavior from her best friend Ellie (Shepsky) when she was growing up. Nothing happens but her fur stands up and she calms down after a little bit.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) can get a little over excited but is good with children.
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.
Cobiccino (@cobiccino) is mild and gentle around children.
They’re kid-friendly and pet-friendly. They’re very mild and gentle. But ours is very reactive to dogs, she is friendly but she is just so eager to play at all times. We recently got a new puppy, she is doing very good with the new pup, though. They a none stop playing if we don’t stop them to rest. She is four years old, but still plays like a puppy sometimes.
Do Sheprador Suffer With Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety can affect any dog breed irrespective of pedigree or mix. This chronic canine condition usually occurs when the dog owner is about to leave or leaves their dog at home alone. Some symptoms include barking, howling and whining or destructive chewing or digging.
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 made some improvements on this issue.
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.
Cobiccino (@cobiccino) likes to be in her crate when left at home alone.
It’s not too bad actually. She usually settles down within 15-20 minutes after we leave home. And when we are not home, she would rather stay in the crate instead of being loose. She settles down faster when in crate. But it is probably because of how she was brought up in her previous household before we adopted her.
Are Sheprador Fussy Eaters?
I feed mine Science Diet Healthy Mobility. This was recommended to me by my co-workers at a Vet Clinic I used to work at since German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers are known to get Hip Dysplasia when they get older (it’s a common issue with these breeds as well as many others). In February 2020, Lumi had a HOA surgery done to her right hip. She could have been born without a hip joint or while she may have injured it when she was maturing and it ended up not forming correctly. So in order to prevent early arthritis or her joint popping out of place (and nowhere to put it back in place) we got the HOA surgery done. Creating a false joint as it heals.
I don’t know about other Shepradors but Kyla had a bit of a tummy issue when she was younger and some kibble gave her a bad tummy. She now has a grain free food for sensitive tummies and she’s has this for a year now with no problem. She will pretty much eat anything.
She is a VERY PICKY eater! We feed her dry food. When she doesn’t like the dry food we bought, she would refuse to eat at all. And even when we find one that she likes and would eat, after awhile, she gets bored of it and refuses to eat. We still struggle with picking the right kind of food for her. We sometimes cook for her instead, she loves it.
Advice For Someone Looking For A Sheprador Breeder Or Puppy
As we mentioned at the start of the article, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to find a Sheprador breeder. At the time of writing, we were unable to find a dedicated breeder or club.
You’re best bet could be your local rescue shelter or organization who could have a Labrador mix or a German Shepherd mix in need of a new home.
Alternatively, you may find a dedicated Labrador or German Shepherd rescue orgnaization.
Definitely do your research on the breed and make sure this is what you want. The breed is easy-going and overall a good “starter” for a first dog. Take the time to train them, they are very smart as they’re two smart breeds combined. Socialize them with people and other dogs, with cats, horses. Let them know the vacuum isn’t an enemy or loud sounds (fireworks, sirens, thunder…etc) aren’t going to hurt them.
Go for it! We really like her! Sheprador is so playful and loving like a Labrador, they are able to communicate very well and at the same time they are so smart like a German shepherd, so loyal, so easy to train.
While Sheprador breeders don’t tend to be common, some of our owners do have experience with a breeder.
Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador) was purchased from a breeder.
We bought Kyla for £900 (during lockdown so not sure if this cost would differ now) and we pay £25 a month for insurance. Her dog food is about £45 and last 7-8 weeks.
Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador) came from a rescue shelter.
We adopted Lumi at an animal shelter for about $120. She came with a microchip, spayed, and all vaccines, but it was on us to continue her puppy shots as she got older and any other health issues.
Lumi’s owners went on to share the average monthly and yearly costs of owning a Sheprador.
Her yearly shots cost about $70 and it can depend on your vet clinic. I use Bravecto for the flea and tick prevention and that’s $60 for 3 months.
The 30lb food bag I usually get (Science Diet Healthy Mobility) is about $64.99 from Chewy.com or the local pet stores.
Overall, like any pet, it will cost you and it depends on what you buy (variety of brands of food, toys, leashes, collars, harness, trainings, vet bills, poop bags, treats, beds, everything)) so really sit down and make a budget for yourself and make sure you can afford their food and vet bills before you adopt/rescue. These dogs aren’t toys you can go dump or return. They will love you and not forgot you. Make sure you are ready for them, for as long as they live.
Sheprador To Follow On Instagram
• Lumi (@lumi_the_sheprador)
• Kyla (@kyla_thelabrador)
• Cobiccino (@cobiccino).
We’ve reached the end of our Sheprador article.
Sheprador is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever to create an active, friendly, intelligent and loyal dog breed.
They’re quick to learn new commands but require a lot of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom or destructive behaviours.
Sheprador have a double coat that sheds throughout the year and more heavily during shedding season.