Should I Adopt a Sheprador?


Sheprador owners say they get the best of both worlds because this breed often has the loyal, protective traits of a German Shepherd and the playful, lovable spirit of a Labrador Retriever. Some even think Shepradors might be the best dog ever! But there are a few other things to consider. Let’s explore whether this mixed breed is the right dog for you!

Only adopt a Sheprador if you can commit to proper socialization and training. Due to their size and tendency to be protective, Shepradors can require extra dedication, especially in the beginning. However, a Sheprador can add years of joy and happiness to your family in exchange for your investment.

Sheprador with a pink collar laying on a couch

What Is a Sheprador?

A Sheprador is the highly-intelligent, lovable, protective offspring of a German Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever. Sheprador puppies are cute and cuddly. And you never know which parent they will end up looking like more. Some Shepradors are solid colored with floppy ears like a lab. Others have standing ears and markings similar to a German Shepherd. 

Appearance isn’t the only thing that makes this breed special. Most people fall in love with them for their unique personality traits. Let’s talk about where these traits originate.

The German Shepherd

Confident / Courageous / Smart

German Shepherds are a working breed often used by the police and military. Because they are intelligent, shepherds learn quickly and thrive in stimulating and challenging environments. They are also loyal and protective by nature. The AKC rates them as “lovey-dovey” when it comes to being affectionate with family and “good with children”, even young children.

When it comes to size, male German Shepherds average between 24-26″ at the shoulder and can weigh up to 90 lbs (plus). Females average around 70 (plus) pounds and measure from 22-24″. Therefore shepherds are classified as a large breed.

Shepherds have a thick double coat that can cause tumbleweed-sized hairballs around the house. They require regular grooming, but frequently brushing with a quality brush at home will work. The colors and patterns of their coats can range widely from solid black or white to combinations of black and tan, black and red, black and silver, and more.

German Shepherds are unwavering protectors known to follow their owners around the house and lay by closed doors waiting for their owners to return. They don’t take to strangers at first but can warm up after proper introductions.

Due to their protective nature, it’s important to socialize German Shepherds as young puppies. Introducing them to different people and environments will help them curb any aggressive tendencies toward strangers.

The Labrador Retriever

Friendly / Active / Outgoing

The lovable high-spirited Labrador Retriever is a clear favorite for families. Labs can be content cuddling around the house with their humans but are also superior athletes, ready to swim, fetch, or run any time.

This well-rounded breed gets high marks in every category. They’re great with kids and generally good with other pets. Their sweet face, kind eyes, and ever-wagging tail have made the lab famous for its outgoing and friendly personality.

Male Labrador Retrievers average between 22.5-24.5 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 80 pounds. Females can be up to 23.5 inches at the shoulder and up to 70 lbs. The lab generally lives to be between 10-12 years.

Although labs have short hair, they have double coats, which causes them to shed excessively. Regular grooming can help reduce the amount of shedding. Some owners shave their labs. However, this is not recommended, as the thick double coat also helps to regulate the dog’s temperature in warmer temperatures.

Labs can live happily in just about any environment including an apartment as long as they get plenty of exercise. Without proper exercise, labs can develop behavioral issues.

The Sheprador

Loving / Playful / Protective

Sheprador Temperament

Most Sheprador owners describe their pups as big lovable goofballs always ready to play! They tend to have some of the confidence and courage of their German Shepherd parent as well as the fun-loving attitude of their Labrador parent. Keep in mind that individual personalities can vary, and a Sheprador may inherit more traits from one parent over the other.

Generally speaking, Shepradors are great with children and other pets but can be aloof with strangers due to their protective nature. Early socialization and consistent training in the formative months can curtail any potential aggressive tendencies. Take your Sheprador for car rides. Take him to the pet store or dog park. Introduce him to lots of people and other animals early on.

Is a Sheprador Easy to Train?

Shepradors come from two breeds known for their intelligence and trainability as service dogs, making them very easy to train. Shepradors will thrive with mental stimulation and are up for just about any challenge. Shepradors will look forward to training and be eager to understand their owner’s commands and to please them. Even a few short sessions (ten minutes per day) can improve your pup’s behavior and keep him happy and progressing.

How Big Do Shepradors Get?

Shepradors are a large breed of dog. They can reach up to 26 inches tall and weigh up to 90 plus pounds. As with their parent breeds, males are generally larger than females.

How Much Exercise Do Shepradors Need?

Shepradors need around 30 minutes to 1 hour of intense daily exercise to maintain health and well-being. Throwing a ball, swimming, or taking a vigorous walk or jog are a few options your pup might enjoy. This breed loves to play, so your options are endless.

Shepradors can adapt to many different living conditions, including apartment living, as long as they are receiving the proper amount of exercise they need. However, a fenced-in yard would be ideal to allow your Sheprador to run free daily.

Do Shepradors Have Health Issues?

In general, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds are healthy breeds, so most Shepradors are also healthy. However, there are a few potential health conditions that could be passed on by either parent.

German Shepherds can suffer from:

  • elbow and hip dysplasia
  • bloat

Labrador Retrievers can suffer from:

  • elbow and hip dysplasia
  • bloat
  • heart disorders
  • muscle weakness
  • eye conditions
  • bloat

Don’t let the health conditions above scare you away from adopting a Sheprador. Responsible German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever breeders have DNA tested to identify these conditions before breeding. If possible, ask if the parents were DNA tested to rule out these conditions. However, if you adopt from a shelter or rescue, your pup may not come with much history.

How Much Grooming do Shepradors Need?

Whether your Sheprador has longer hair like a German Shepherd or shorter hair like a lab will depend on which traits they inherit. Either way, this pup is going to shed – A LOT. Both parents have a double coat, and German Shepherds go through two cycles per year when they shed even worse. This can easily be controlled by frequent brushing.

If you can deal with the shedding, Shepradors are easy to maintain. In addition to brushing, you will need to maintain dental health and trim nails regularly.

How Long do Shepradors Live?

Shepradors can live as long as their parent breeds. That means an average of about 10 years. However, a Sheprador in good health may live up to 14 years.

Do Shepradors Make a Good Family Dog?

Ask any Sheprador owner, and they’ll tell you Shepradors make a fantastic family dog. They are sweet and lovable and always ready to play. These dogs are great with kids and most other pets. But they will shift into guard dog mode as soon as strangers are present. Any family willing to put in some time to train this dog will be rewarded with a loyal family companion.

Should I adopt a Sheprador?

If a large breed dog with a fun-loving personality sounds like a good fit, a Sheprador could be the perfect dog for you. Keep in mind this dog will take a little extra training and a high tolerance for shedding.

Tails From Sheprador Owners

I asked Sheprador owners,

“What would you say to someone thinking about adopting a Sheprador?”

Here’s what they had to say:

“This is Bullet and one of his favorite toys. He’s a rescue and one of the sweetest and most well-tempered dogs I’ve ever encountered”

“This is Roxy, she’s 9 months and we rescued her at 4 months. She’s a very sweet girl, highly intelligent and playful but also stubborn ?. We’ve not had labs or GS before so still learning the traits. She’s water and ball obsessed and still a bit mouthy but stops as soon as we say “no teeth”. She loves other dogs and is learning how to say hello nicely but still gallops up to them at 100 miles per hour which they can be intimidated by. She loves to play chase but again can get a bit nippy. She’s also a pack dog. If we’re in the car and drop one of the kids off somewhere, she howls and cries! She actually ran off from my husband in the park because we left our 12yo daughter playing with her friends. She ran all the way back to get her then cried all the way home on her lead.”

“We then got Leela, she is now 2.5 and a 50/50 cross.

She is brilliant with our children but very protective.

She is much harder work than Bella was. She needs working daily, obsessively ball playing and so super smart.”

“This is Moose! His dad is GS and his mom black lab. He’s very loyal to his people but also has a great personality! He has his own little sassy side that I think came from the GS. Most people think he looks like a lab but tbh, if you’re really looking at him, he looks like a GS just with floppy ears. He has the face and body of a GS with the black lab color and ears. Fur-wise I’d say he’s in the middle. It’s too long for lab and too short for GS but he still sheds A TON. But he’s a very goofy and lovable dude that makes new friends everywhere he goes.

We got lucky and he has no aggression although he can be intimidating to other dogs with his size. We haven’t weighed him since (but I know he’s gotten taller) but at his one year mark he weighed in at 90lbs! I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s at 100 now.”

“This is our sheprador, Josie! She is 4 yrs old and the absolute best family dog. So smart and loving and sweet. She makes friends wherever she goes. She displays typical shepherd and lab traits equally. We adopted her from a rescue group at 10 wks old. ❤️

“This is my 3 yrs old Jack. He is a very good guardian and very smart. He doesn’t like to get his nails trimmed. He is also scared of thunders, fireworks (and shots).”

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