Designer dog breeding has led to new dog "breeds." The cross between a white shepherd and a Labrador retriever is referred to as a "sheprador" in some circles and a "labrashepherd" in others. A shepherd lab mix has a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years and are considered senior dogs at ages six or seven.
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The physical and character traits of these types of shepherd dogs might resemble one parent more than the other, and second and third generation dogs will develop traits that are more easily recognizable. With each breeding of a Lab and a white shepherd, however, you are likely to have a different combination of traits.
Types of shepherd colors
The American white shepherd dog is a large breed that has a pure white coat, and a dark muzzle and eyes. The dog is not an albino as is commonly believed, but the white coat is the result of a simple recessive gene in its makeup. Both parents must carry the gene for the white coat for puppies to be white.
If the shepherd mates with a dog that does not carry the white gene, the puppies might not be white or even light-colored. Unless both parents possess a recessive white gene, they will be unable to produce white puppies.
Labrador retrievers come in black, yellow, and chocolate coat colors, and according to the American Kennel Club's breed standard, anything less than a solid color is a fault. Also, long haired shepherd breeds are not different breeds, but a variation of the German shepherd standard.
Long haired shepherd breeds
White shepherds usually have a short hair that has a thick, waterproof undercoat. Occasionally, white shepherd mix puppies are born with long or medium-length hair coats, but the short coat is the dominant version. Occasionally, shepherds are born with longer hair, which is beautiful in a pet but not desirable in a show dog. When mixed with a Lab, shorter coats usually prevail.
The Labrador retriever is a powerfully built, medium-sized breed with a thick, double coat. As a working breed, it has a short, dense, weather-resistance coat that insulates it during work activities. Labs shed but fortunately require less grooming than other longer-haired breeds. Occasionally bathing and brushing is usually all that's needed.
Both shepherd and Labrador breeds weigh between 50 to 80 pounds, so puppies from mixed parents will be relatively uniform in size. Heavily-built puppies may resemble the Lab parent, while puppies that resemble the white shepherd might have longer limbs.
The shepherd has a more pointed muzzle than the Lab, and the ears are erect as opposed to the Lab ears that flop over. A cross between the two breeds can result in any combination of these physical attributes. However, plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation will likely be required — no matter what the cross looks like, they'll be larger than average and need space during playtime.
The Labrador is famous for its gentle, patient temperament, exceptional training ability, lack of aggression, and eagerness to please. The German shepherd breed is well known for its superior intelligence, decision-making abilities, and protectiveness — aggression training is common with this breed.
A cross between these two breeds has the makings of an intelligent, trainable dog with an excellent nature and the ability to be aggressive when required; however, mixing dog breeds is not an exact science and it is impossible to predict with certainty the outcome of the mating.
However, both a shepherd and a Labrador are intelligent highly-trainable dogs, so it's likely a hybrid of the two will end up with desirable common traits of each breed.