Designer 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. The physical and character traits of these dogs may 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.
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 may 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.
White shepherds usually have a short hair that has a thick, waterproof undercoat. Occasionally, puppies are born with long or medium-length hair coats, but the short coat is the dominant version. 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.
Both breeds weigh between 50 to 80 lbs., 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 may 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 the physical attributes.
The Labrador is famous for its gentle, patient temperament and 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, and 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.