It can feel that just about every breed has been “Doodled”. We all know that adding a pinch of Poodle can make for a delightful hybrid. It does follow logical sense then that some breeders may venture into the word of crossing all the best bit of a Doodle with another purebred pooch.
Enter the Labradoodle German Shepherd cross. Maybe you have heard of it before, maybe you are scribbling down and underlining bits to figure out just how much of what other breeds are involved. Either way, read on to find out more about this relatively new extended member of the Doodle family tree.
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The History of the Parent Breeds
While the German Shepherd has been around for considerably longer than the Labradoodle both are extremely popular dog breeds with legions of fans and owners. Let’s get into a bit more about the history of each side of this pairing.
The Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and one of the three sizes of Poodle (Standard, Miniature, or Toy). As the German Shepherd is a large breed itself, it is most commonly a Labradoodle with Standard Poodle parentage that is selected for a cross between the two.
While this mix was noted to have occurred as early as the 1950’s it was around 1989 that the term Labradoodle became commonplace and the popularity really increased.
The publicity surrounding the Labradoodle increased in the early 1990s where many guide, assistance, and/or therapy dogs associations realized the Labradoodle would be an option for individuals who experienced dog allergies.
Often the addition of Poodle genetics greatly reduced the amount of shedding that would be associated with Labrador Retrievers.
The Labradoodles smarts and low shedding coat attracted the attention of normal domestic pet owners and there was a meteoric rise in the number of breeders over the course of the ’90s and 2000s.
Generally, Labradoodle owners favor the breed’s natural friendliness while their energetic and affectionate nature makes them popular for active singles, couples, or families with children.
German Shepherd History
Just as many a Labradoodle is a working assistance, guide, or therapy dog, the German Shepherd is not shy about taking on responsibilities beyond just that of a family pet.
These large and incredibly athletic dogs originally were employed, as their name would suggest, in herding sheep and protecting them from predators. As traditional shepherding practices began to die out, the German Shepherd transitioned into many more modern roles that we may recognize them from today.
Favored by both the military and police forces, German Shepherds often find themselves employed for their intelligence and keen scenting abilities. Roles can include search and rescue, drug detection, and explosive detection.
The German Shepherd at one time was often the most popular breed utilized for guide dogs due to their ability to work even when surrounded by distractions however as time went on, they were somewhat phased out of this work by Labrador and Golden Retrievers. These incredibly strong dogs are often used as watchdogs, deterrents, and in security settings.
German Shepherd owners will describe their dogs as intelligent, protective, and extremely energetic. Prefer to chill on the sofa? A German Shepherd is not the dog for you as these dogs need plenty of physical and mental exertion.
What Do We Call a Labradoodle German Shepherd Mix?
It is quite a mouthful referring to this hybrid by its parental titles but just how do we get around getting all the key parts into one snappier name.
Even with the most inventive of minds, it’s never going to be short. For the most part, people do tend to refer to the full title however some will use the name “German Labradoodle” or “GSD Labradoodle”.
They are still relatively rare in the Doodle world so prepare to spend a fair bit of your walks explaining the parentage to inquisitive minds who may stop you to find out more.
Benefits of a Labradoodle German Shepherd Mix
One of the primary benefits of crossing a Labradoodle with a German Shepherd is that the Poodle genetics in the Labradoodle can significantly reduce the shedding associated with the German Shepherd. You may be asking yourself, if adding Poodle genetics is so good why not skip the Labradoodle and just cross with the Poodle itself.
A German Shepherd, Poodle cross does exist. They are known as Shepadoodles and you can learn more in our full Shepadoodle Breed Guide.
However, some owners may find that the natural aloofness of the Poodle can be compounded by the reserved nature of the German Shepherd leading to a dog that may not show oodles of affection or be prone to nervousness.
By crossing with a Labradoodle, the offspring benefit from desirable elements of Poodle coat traits and a dose of the Labrador Retrievers outgoing and friendly nature which can make for a more well-rounded dog.
Cons of a Labradoodle German Shepherd Mix
As the mix of a German Labradoodle is 50% German Shepherd, 25% Labrador Retriever, and only 25% Poodle there is less guarantee on what coat type may be expressed. As with all hybrids, there can be variation in expected offspring but as the German Labradoodle includes three breeds this can be even more variable.
The German Labradoodle has not been bred extensively as yet and as such, there is not as much available information or consistency in things such as their temperament. They are remarkably smart dogs due to their parentage which can make them a handful to train as they will need to be challenged to keep them engaged. This can be demanding in both time and resources.
Why is the Labradoodle German Shepherd Cross Being Bred?
The German Labradoodle is being bred primarily for consideration of its usefulness in the realms of guide, assistance, and/or working dogs.
The Poodle, Labrador Retriever, and German Shepherd are all referred to as some of the smartest breeds and it is the desire of some breeders to explore what a combination of these may produce.
The other driving force of many crossbreed developments is public demand for more unusual or rare offerings.
How Big will a Labradoodle, German Shepherd Cross be?
The German Shepherd is a large dog in its own right. Measuring in at between 22 and 26 inches in height and 55 to 88 pounds in weight, he’s going to take up a lot of room.
The Standard Labradoodle is slightly smaller at between 22 and 24 inches and then 50-to-65-pound weight range.
A German Labradoodle can vary. However, they generally will be in the region of 20 to 26 inches and can range from 50 to a hefty 100-pounds in weight. Commonly, males will be approximately 10 to 15% bigger than females.
What will the Coat of a German Labradoodle be Like? What Colors are They?
Just how much Labradoodle coat and how much German Shepherd coat that a pup inherits is a roll of the genetic dice.
Some offspring may inherit more of the German Shepherd characteristics and can still have an element of a long double coat which will shed and potentially “blow” once a year between summer and winter.
For the most part, though a German Labradoodle will inherit a medium-length coat curly to soft wavy coat. The tighter the curl the less likely they are to shed.
In terms of coloring, the German Shepherd colors of black, cream, and tan often remain strong however they have also been known to present in sable, white and gray. They can be single, double, or even tricolored.
How to Care for a Labradoodle German Shepherd Mix Coat
It’s key to get your German Labradoodle comfortable and used to brushing and grooming early. It can be tempting if they inherit the low shedding curly coat to think they will take less care however this coat type can quickly matt due to shedding hair becoming caught in the curls and being unable to fall out naturally.
As they often inherit a medium-length coat, regular professional grooming is often needed to trim out around faces and paws which can be prone to collecting debris from the street. This can require grooming visits as frequently as 4 weekly.
Are German Labradoodles Healthy?
As a newer crossbreed, there is less readily available information about the health of the German Labradoodle. For the most part, they benefit from hybrid vigor (where crossing different breeds allow the opportunity to breed out issues present in the parent breeds) and enjoy a lengthy lifespan for a larger breed of 12 to 14 years.
There is some evidence that the German Labradoodle may be susceptible to some health conditions. A short list is detailed below. It is always worth remembering though that environmental factors and elements such as the quality of the breeder will also play a significant part in the health of the pup.
- Hip and elbow dysplasia /Osteoarthritis – This is often common in larger heavier dogs. The good news is screening the parents for the presence of this can reduce the chance of it occurring. There are treatment and surgical options if this does occur.
- Bloat – As the German Shepherd and the Poodle are particularly deep-chested this means they can pass on a vulnerability to Bloat (also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus), a potentially deadly condition where the stomach twists trapping food and air. You can read more on this condition and how to prevent it in our article what causes bloat in Poodles.
- Perianal Fistulas – Sometimes passed on from the German Shepherd side, this occurs when the skin breaks down around the anus however the abscess can progress down into the internal cavity. Good grooming habits and regular checking can avoid this from progressing.
What to Expect in the Temperament of a German Shepherd, Labradoodle Mix?
Predicting the temperament of a hybrid with two lineages can be tricky, adding in a third can just make for an even more challenging project. In addition to this, there are few firmly established German Labradoodle breeders meaning there can be lots of different parent lines.
The only certainty is that this pup will be smart. If nurtured this means they can learn quickly and adapt well to training. Conversely, if they are not appropriately stimulated this can result in a dog who can be destructive out of boredom.
Some traits attributed to the German Labradoodle include loyalty which is inherent in all three contributory breeds. However, in addition, they can demonstrate courageous behavior and dedication often more attributed to the German Shepherd. They are reported to bond intently with their owners and are extremely energetic. They will make for great running, hiking, and even swimming partners.
They can demonstrate a wariness or unease around strangers due to their close ties to their families or individual owner. Early socialization and positive reinforcement can help to ensure this doesn’t develop into any fear-based aggressive behaviors.
Exercise Needs and Feeding Requirements for the German Labradoodle
Big dogs have big appetites! A German Labradoodle will also require in the region of 1 to 2 hours of vigorous exercise each day in adulthood, so you best believe the food bill is going to be hefty.
As a rough guide, an 80-pound German Labradoodle will likely require in the region of 5 to 6 cups of good quality dry food per day split over two meals. If you choose to follow a raw food diet the cost will be significantly higher.
The Labrador Retriever genetics can also make this breed very food motivated, and they have been known to use their ample smarts to get into many a kitchen or food trashcan. They are tall and will make short work of reaching kitchen counters so you may wish to German Labradoodle- proof your home and snacks before they reach their full height.
This dose of intellect means they will need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy. If they do not venture into any canine working roles, many owners will explore activities such as agility, cani-cross long-distance running, or scent work training to help mentally tire their German Labradoodle out.
Like all dogs, their exercise needs will reduce with age. However, they often inherit German Shepherd level stamina meaning they can still cover some serious miles even into their golden years.