Have you been considering getting a black German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix? Perhaps you’ve adopted one already and want to learn more.
Both the Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd are impressive dogs. When mixed, the resulting crossbreed is an all-new and unique pooch.
So what is this mix like? Well, in this comprehensive article, we will go over everything you could ever want to know about the Black German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mixed-breed. We’ll talk about their temperament, tendencies, appearance, and much more!
Black German Shepherds (German Shepherds with all-black coats) and Labrador Retrievers are both very popular dog breeds. When mixed, the resulting Black German Shepherd Lab mix is an energetic and loyal companion. Motivated and eager to please, they’ll have a short or medium length coat in any number of color combinations and may weigh between 55 and 88 lbs.
Everything You Need to Know About the Black German Shepherd Lab Mix
In this comprehensive guide, we will talk all about the Black German Shepherd Lab mix. We will discuss things like their appearance and behavior, as well as what you can expect with a mixed breed like this.
First, let’s go over a few of the main qualities seen in this mix. This will give you a general overview of the crossbreed.
If you have already adopted a dog that you suspect is a Black German Shepherd Lab mix, knowing what characteristics distinguish them will help you identify which breed you’ve got.
The Key Characteristics of the Black German Shepherd Lab Mix
Is my dog a Black German Shepherd Labrador mix? If you’ve been asking yourself this question, there are a few things you can do to find out.
You’ll want to look at the dog’s appearance, take note of its behaviors, and keep an eye out for certain qualifying characteristics.
Size and Height: Black German Shepherd Lab Mixes are Large Dogs
Black German Shepherd Lab hybrids are large dogs as adults. They can weigh anywhere from 55 to 88 lbs when fully grown.
They may measure anywhere from 21 to 26 inches tall. If your dog is a male, it will likely be slightly larger than female dogs of the same mix.
Both dogs usually have long thick tails and black gums and noses. Labradors have thick water-resistant coats that can be somewhat oily.
German Shepherds often also have double coats, so expected this dog to shed a bit. The paws and torso will be large and the dog will also sport a deep chest.
Energy and Spunk: This Mix Will Likely Have a Lot of Energy
This is a highly motivated and driven dog. Labs are eager to please, and German Shepherds love to perform commands.
Your mix may or may not be motivated by treats like food. While most Labradors do love snacks, German Shepherds tend to be praise or play-oriented.
German Shepherds have guarding and herding tendencies, and usually like to stick close to their owners. Labradors are extremely loyal but tend to be more independent and prone to go out exploring when you’re not around.
This is because they have a very keen sense of smell and were bred to find things and bring them back. Your dog may be prone to either tendency.
Specific Features: You Can Spot This Mix By Its Muzzle and Head Shape, Ears, and Coat Colors
A German Shepherd has a bold head, erect ears, and long tapered muzzle. They have been described as wolf-like.
Labrador Retrievers also have a large head with a pronounced muzzle, though their noses are wider and their muzzles are short and blunt. All Labradors have ears that lay flat.
In a Labrador German Shepherd mix, the ears may be erect, floppy, or semi-erect. Usually, they will stick up a bit and flop over at the top.
You can also look for distinct coat color combinations like a tan or brown belly with a dark black back. This mix may also be completely black.
It’s Important to Understand How Mixed Dogs Differ From Purebred Dogs
Before you can get to know this mix, you will need to understand a little bit about crossbreed dogs in general.
There are some big differences between crossbreed canines and purebred dogs. When you know what to expect with a mix, you will be better prepared as a dog owner.
1. Crossbreed Dogs Don’t Adhere to a Specific Breed Standard
Crossbreed dogs are usually a mix of two purebred dogs. The term mixed-breed often refers to a dog of unknown breed makeup.
So, if you aren’t sure who your dog’s parents are, he could very well be a mixed breed, or, a mutt. There’s nothing wrong with this at all!
However, if you know that one of your dog’s parents was a black German Shepherd, and the other was a Labrador Retriever, you have a crossbreed on your hands.
Even if you aren’t sure who the parents are, you could still have a crossbreed dog. Not to worry, any of these scenarios is okay. We’re going to cover it all in this guide.
2. Crossbreeds Tendencies are Harder to Predict
Crossbreeds differ from purebred dogs in a few ways. Purebred dogs usually have predictable features, tendencies, and breed characteristics.
This is sometimes known as the “Breed Standard.” However, with crossed breeds and mixes, things are a bit more “up in the air.”
Still, if you know who the parents of your crossbreed dog are, you will be able to more easily predict what they will look like, how they will act, and what health issues they may be prone to.
If you don’t know who your dog’s parents are, you can figure out their breed makeup, and use that as a baseline to predict things like adult weight, behavioral characteristics, etc.
3. There is No Breed Standard, So You’ll Have to Focus on What Applies to Your Unique Dog and Stay Flexible
Since there is no set breed standard for Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd hybrids, we are going to cover some information about both breeds. We will let you know what to expect from the mix in general.
Knowing what you can expect from both a German Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever is helpful.
This is because no matter what combination of these two breeds your dog is made up of, you’ll be equipped with what you need to know to provide them with good training and care.
Some of this information may apply to your dog perfectly, and other parts may not be as applicable. The goal here is to give you an overview of what to expect with the mix so that interacting with and taking care of your dog will be easier.
All About the Black German Shepherd
German Shepherds are highly intelligent canines that have been bred since around 1890 to do specific jobs. They are a herding and working breed, meaning they love to have a job to do.
Here’s a great article from the AKC website that will tell you everything you could want to know about the German Shepherd, its appearance, and where it originates.
How do Black German Shepherds Differ from German Shepherds?
The Black German Shepherd is a color variant of the standard German Shepherd. These Shepherds are identical to other German Shepherds in every way except in their coat color. Black German Shepherds have jet black coats with little or no other coloration.
What are German Shepherds Like in Terms of Energy and Drive?
Since German Shepherds are herding and working breeds, be prepared to deal with their energy, stamina, and drive.
Without clear boundaries and a job to do, these dogs can get a little bit destructive or aggressive. It’s very important to start training your German Shepherd early on and give them a job to do.
German Shepherds must be trained properly. These are large and intelligent dogs who need to know what is expected of them.
What is Black German Shepherd Fur Like?
Black German Shepherds can have short, medium, or long coats. They may or may not have a dense undercoat.
German Shepherds with an undercoat are prone to shedding, especially in the Spring and Fall, so have a quality dog brush handy and use it often.
Are Black German Shepherds Good Family Dogs?
German Shepherds can be amazing family dogs, provided that they have been well-socialized and trained properly.
Obedience training and daily exercise are recommended for this particular breed. They need guidance and the opportunity to work off extra energy.
Everything You Need to Know About Labrador Retrievers
Labrador Retrievers, otherwise known as Labs, are a capable and hardy dog breed. They were originally bred from Newfoundlands to retrieve waterfowl.
This means that they like to work, swim, learn tricks, and are usually eager to play games like fetch or frisbee.
The AKC provides a very helpful overview of Labrador Retrievers, so it may be worth reading to help you understand more about the breed.
Are There Different Kinds of Labrador Retrievers?
While Labs do come in many colors and from various bloodlines, in general, Labrador retrievers look similar and behave in basically the same way.
There are English Labs and American Labs, but both come from Newfoundlands originally and are sporting dogs.
What is a Labrador Retriever’s Personality Like?
Labrador Retrievers tend to be very friendly, energetic, and sociable. These dogs are usually highly motivated by food, so keep lids on your trash cans and make sure to clean up your leftovers after dinner. Labs can be pretty energetic and playful as well, so daily walks are a good idea.
For tips on training a Labrador Retriever, you may want to watch this YouTube video.
It talks about training labs specifically and dog training in general and can give you a look at the dog’s personality from an owner’s perspective.
What a Lab’s Fur Coat Like?
Since Labradors were originally bred to swim a lot and trek through rugged underbrush to retrieve ducks and other birds, they have a dense and thick coat that lies flat. They usually don’t have an undercoat, but their fur can get pretty oily.
These dogs will need to be bathed about once a month to help reduce that distinct doggy smell.
Are Labs Good Family Dogs?
Labrador Retrievers can make fantastic family dogs. They love children, are playful, silly, and pretty darn cute. However, if you don’t set clear boundaries with Labs, they can get into trouble quickly.
They have very sensitive noses that may lead them astray at times. They might dig holes, escape your yard, or become destructive if not properly trained and monitored.
What to Expect from a Black German Shepherd Labrador Mix
Now that you know what to expect what to look for in both the Labrador and Shepherd breeds, we can talk about how these two dogs combine to make one heck of a unique hybrid. The Black German Shepherd Labrador mix can have any of the above qualities, all of them, or just a few. They’re like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get!
How Easy are Black German Shepherd Labrador Mixes to Train?
These dogs can be pretty easy to train. Labradors love to do tricks for treats and German Shepherds will do anything to hear that they are “good dogs.” So, try out both approaches with your training.
If your dog is treat-oriented, you’ll know right away. The dog will show interest in whatever treat you offer, even if it’s something bland like a mild biscuit.
However, dogs who aren’t food motivated, like many German Shepherds, will be disinterested in treats unless they are very potent (Think beef jerky, pieces of turkey, and so on).
If your dog is motivated by play or praise instead of food, you can train them by rewarding them with pets, play, or by having a catch. With this mix, it’s recommended that you take them through a professional obedience course early on.
This will help to equip you with the training tools you may need later on down the road as an owner.
How to Care for the Coat of a Black German Shepherd Lab Mix?
Since the coats of these dogs may vary in length, consistency, and water resistance, grooming will not be one-size-fits-all.
You’re going to want to have a good brush on hand and be aware that the coat of a puppy may change drastically in adulthood.
Bathing should be performed about once a month or as needed based on how messy your dog gets.
For example, if your pup tends to exhibit that Labrador digging tendency, you may want to bathe them more often. Dirt and mud can cause mats in fur that may pull on a dog’s skin, leading to discomfort.
Remember not to over bathe your dog. This can lead to their coat drying out, becoming overly oily, or shedding even more. If your dog is particularly smelly or messy, try a leave-in scented treatment or dry brush conditioning powder.
Here is a really helpful look at grooming mixed breeds from the professional groomers website, groomers-online.com.
It talks about how professional groomers work with dogs and offers you a look from the pro’s point of view.
Do Black German Shepherd Lab Hybrids Do Well in Family Settings?
These dogs can be great in families. German Shepherds are known to be protective of children and their homes. Labs are loyal, playful, and loving. Watch out for aggression, snapping, and chewing, as this can be an issue in homes with young children.
The best thing that you can do to make sure your dog will do well in a family setting is to train both the dog and the kids on how to behave. As author Amy Bender states, practice makes perfect, so work on obedience from both sides.