The German Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds of dogs around the world. As the name implies, they originated in Germany. Their bloodline has been traced as far back as the 1800’s. Generations have continued to breed the German shepherd and you can get a full blood shepherd if you would like. But there are some advantages to getting a German shepherd mix too. Other breeds have desirable traits just like the Shepherd and mixing them can help bring out the best traits from both breeds. There are a lot of successful German Shepherd Mixes. If you know a lot about both the GS and another breed, you can determine the right German Shepherd mix for you.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a German Shepherd Mix
There are a lot of questions to ask yourself when you are thinking of getting a German Shepherd mix. What is it you are looking for in a dog? Maybe you want an outdoor dog, or an indoor cuddly dog. Perhaps you would like to have a guard dog. There are some basic questions you can start with to help you narrow down the pool and find exactly what you are looking for. Here are a few starter questions:
- What size of dog do I want and what size can I actually keep up with?
- Do I want a dog that doesn’t shed? Or, do I want a long-haired variety?
- What size dog can my apartment or house accommodate?
- Do I have plenty of time to spend with my dog?
- Will my dog be able to get along with my existing pet(s)?
- Do I want a snuggly dog or a playful dog with lots of energy?
- Will this dog play well with my kids and protect them?
- How long of a commitment can I make? 10, 15, 18 years?
Finding your own answers to these questions can help give you some idea of what you want as you begin looking for a German Shepherd mix. Mixes will have some personality traits in common along with similar physical characteristics. But they will all act somewhat differently.
Profile of a German Shepherd Dog
German Shepherds have been continuously bred because of their traits. A dog, like a person, will have its own unique personality, likes and dislikes. They respond to the way they are raised and cared for too. But in general, there are some profiling characteristics you can count on from the GS.
- Keen Sense of Smell: The GS has a long snout and one of the most well-developed senses of smell over all other breeds of dogs. This is why they are often trained as K9 police dogs. They are used for sniffing out drugs, bombs, and hazardous materials more than any other breed.
- Somewhat Suspicious: They don’t typically trust their surroundings, especially new ones. This hint of mistrust makes them a great breed for protection and watchdogs.
- Above Normal Versatility: The German Shepherd easily adapts to any situation they are thrust into. Put this up against their deep sense of loyalty and high level of intelligence and you understand why they are often placed in working situations.
- Non-Ending Energy: The GS can appear to never get tired. This trait alone is what drew farmers to use them for herding over the years.
Most German Shepherds are ingrained with these traits, and you can expect to see them even in a pup. It’s like they are in their DNA. Other breeds, however, have their own unique traits too. And these often blend flawlessly with the natural abilities of the Shepherd to create a totally new personality in a German Shepherd mix.
Favorite German Shepherd Mix Options
There are tons of options when it comes to finding a German Shepherd mixed breed. Some of the mixes are just over-the-top perfect. Here are a few you are likely to see on your search. Remember, choosing your German Shepherd mix is about getting the most desirable qualities of both breeds. Here are some of the favorite, time-tested mixes.
German Shepherd & Golden Retriever (Golden Shepherd)
The Golden Shepherd is a mix of two of the most popular breeds ever. The Shepherd is known for its loyalty and protective qualities, and the Retriever is known for its family qualities and gentleness. You’ll want to make sure this dog has plenty of room for romping, playing, and running around. You’ll also need to be sure to have adequate time to give to the dog to ensure they have the training and exercise they need. This mix is a little too large for an apartment, or if you live in a house without a yard.
Since both breeds have characteristically thick coats, you can count on them shedding. You’ll need to brush them often, at least once a week. Both the Golden Retriever and German Shepherd are highly intelligent and they both do well with kids. You’ll want to start training early on to prevent deviant behaviors. If you want a kid-friendly, family-friendly dog, the Golden Shepherd is an excellent choice. Just remember, this is going to be a big dog, so be prepared to feed them. You may need to purchase as much as 30 pounds of food a week, sometimes more.
Labrador & German Shepherd Mix (Sheprador)
According to the AKC, the Labrador is the most popular breed of dog, and the Shepherd comes in close at second. This makes this mixed breed a popular one. Most people who prefer this mix are looking for a good combination of a working dog and a companion. Both of these breeds are typically loyal, obedient, and gentle. And, they are both easily trained in specialized work areas or in basic commands.
It can be difficult to predict the appearance of a Sheprador when they are a pup. Some are black and tan and some have floppier ears. But typically, they are cute and have at least a little flop in their ears. They can be a larger breed and weigh in somewhere between 50 and 90 pounds as adult dogs. Their coats are super thick and will require daily brushing. This mix is a great choice for families with kids. Shepherds are protective of kids and will shield them from danger and the Lab is playful.
German Shepherd & Pitbull Mix
These two popular breeds are often the most misunderstood. However, both breeds can be affectionate and well-mannered when they are raised in a loving home and cared for. This German Shepherd mix is declining in popularity, unfortunately. But the Pit-Shepherd mix makes a kind-hearted companion and a good guard dog. They are loyal and love unconditionally.
With a shorter coat than other mixed Shepherds, they do not require as much grooming. They can still benefit from a daily brushing, though. They are not huge dogs and typically weigh between 30 and 90 pounds. But they are powerful canines. They can tend to be protective and guard their family, property, and handlers. For this reason, they need to be socialized well with humans and dogs. This will help train them in proper behaviors.
Border Collie & German Shepherd Mix (Shollie)
Both the GSD and the Collie are super intelligent and very active. They are also inquisitive and clever. Both were bred originally as herders so they can think and make decisions on the go. The Shollie does best if they have a specific job, they don’t seem to enjoy just sitting down. They don’t do well cooped up, instead, they’ll need plenty of enriching activities and toys. Without activity, they tend to get bored and anxious which can lead to inappropriate behaviors such as chewing up stuff.
On a good note, though, the breed is very easily trained. They can be trained for specialized tasks such as search and rescue. This keeps their brains happy and active. Their personalities are usually friendly with family members. They may be a bit reserved when they meet strangers. They like to “herd” their family and protect them. This makes them a great choice for playing with kids as they will protect them when playing in the yard. They are very keen and good at keeping kids away from the streets or from wandering off.
Rottweiler and Shepherd Mix
There are a lot of “cute” names for this mixed breed. Some call them Shepweilers and others call them “Shotties.” They can also be jokingly referred to as a Rotten Shepherd. No matter which nickname you prefer, the Shepweilers are going to be beautiful, big, and powerful dogs. You might end up with a massive canine. It won’t be fluffy either, it’ll be lean, agile, and huge.
This is becoming a more popular mixed breed as both parents are popular. The blend of traits can be a great combination. The coat length can vary depending on which parent was dominant. The Shepweiler can have medium-long hair or just long hair, but either way, it’ll be thick. But this breed doesn’t tend to shed as much as some of the other mixes do. They will need to be brushed regularly as they will shed some.
This mixed breed can look intimidating mostly because of their size and build. They are often used as guard dogs because of their natural tendencies to be protective, intelligent, and athletic. It’s relatively easy to train your dog to be a watchdog. Training the Shepweiler with other dogs while they are younger can be beneficial. Get ready to feed them a lot! And you’ll need plenty of space so they can be healthy and happy.
Shepherd and Bulldog Mix
The Bulldog Shepherd mix will be a medium to large dog. They’ll way between 60 and 90 pounds and have a strong build. The coloring can vary from tan with patches of white to brindle and black. Coats are usually shorter, so they are easily groomed. Simple daily brushing is usually all that’s needed. They won’t need a bath unless they get out in the dirt.
The Bulldog Shepherd’s temperament is often confident, brave, intelligent, and loyal. The breed is very trainable, and they can learn to be very well-mannered in the house. They will need to be trained to be gentle as they have a very protective side. The Bulldog Shepherd may have some breathing problems because of the short nose and skull. The GSD’s longer skull might counter this issue, but it can be a concern.
German Shepherd & Doberman Mix
A German Shepherd Doberman bears the unmistakable tan and black coloring. It has a powerful muscular build and just looks like a guard dog, a guardian of sorts. They do have strong instincts for guarding and protecting what they feel is theirs. So, they are likely to bark if someone knocks on the door or comes onto your property. This breed is very trainable and highly intelligent. Just to give them some extra exercise and a sense of purpose, they can be trained in a specialized area like tracking or search and rescue.
A full-grown German Shepherd Doberman stands about 25 inches tall and weighs somewhere between 90 and 100 pounds. They look compact and muscular and have a long muzzle and dark eyes. The upright ears add to their look of intelligence. Their coats are short-haired which makes them very manageable. It’s a good idea to brush them daily. It’s not likely you’ll ever need to take them to a professional groomer. You won’t even need to bathe the Shepherd Doberman unless they find their way to play in the mud.
These are a few of the German Shepherd mixes you can look at to see which breed might work best for your situation. Each has their own characteristics and tendencies. But all of them can make a great pet or companion as long as they are given a little bit of TLC.