Everything You Should Know About The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
If you had to choose between an Australian Shepherd and Labrador Retriever, which would you pick? It’s a tough choice, we know. Whoever created the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix must’ve thought the same thing — because hey, they bred this dog!
Even though the Australian Shepherd and Labrador Retriever are both famous, we don’t know much about their crossbred offspring.
- What does the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix look like?
- Does it take after its Australian Shepherd parent or its Labrador Retriever parent?
- Is it true that being a crossbreed, the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is healthier than either of its parents?
- What kind of owner would be the best fit for this pooch?
All that and more will be answered below.
All About The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
What Is An Australian Shepherd Lab Mix?
The name says it all: The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is a cross between an Australian Shepherd and Labrador Retriever.
Other names for this dog are Aussiedor, Australian Sheprador, Labrador Australian Shepherd Mix, Lab Aussie Mix, Aussie Sheprador and Sheprador.
Since most of those names are a mouthful, you’ll often hear people refer to this pooch as an “Aussiedor” and “Sheprador.”
Four organizations officially recognize the Aussiedor: the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC) and the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR).
All of them refer to the Lab Aussie Mix as a “Sheprador,” except for the IDCR, which refers to the dog as the “Australian Sheprador.”
The Lab Aussie Mix as a Crossbreed/Designer Breed
When it comes to dogs like the Sheprador, it’s important to be clear about the distinction between a crossbreed/designer breed and a mutt.
A “mutt” is a dog who has one or more mixed breed parents. For example, if the Sheprador mated with a Labrador, the result wouldn’t be a “75 percent Labrador, 25 percent Australian Shepherd.” That would be a mutt.
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In contrast, crossbreeds or designer breeds have parents who belong to different breeds and are both purebred. So, the Lab Aussie Mix is a crossbreed, since he’s the offspring of a purebred Labrador and a purebred Australian Shepherd.
By these definitions, you cannot create a Sheprador by crossing two Shepradors together. The parents have to be one pure Labrador and one pure Australian Shepherd.
What Does An Aussiedor Look Like?
The interesting thing about designer dogs is that they have no uniform appearance. A Sheprador, for instance, can take after his Labrador or Aussie Shepherd parent.
That said, looking at the common characteristics of the Labrador and Aussie can give you a good idea on how to determine if a puppy is an Aussiedor.
For starters, both the Labrador and Aussie have double coats. The outer coat protects the dog from the elements, while the undercoat keeps the dog warm. Since both breeds have this type of coat, it’s likely their offspring will have the double coat too.
Ears also look uniform across Aussiedors. Both Aussies and Labradors have floppy, triangle-shaped ears, so you can expect the same ear shape in their offspring.
The Australian Shepherd size can reach up to 58 cm (23 in) at the shoulder, while the Lab stands up to 62 cm (24.5 in). That being the case, expect your Shepherd Lab Mix to be more or less the same height.
Aussiedor colors vary widely. He can take after his Labrador parent, who is black, chocolate or yellow. Or he can inherit the coloration of his Aussie parent, who is red, black, red merle or blue merle.
Speaking of merle, you might want to stay away from Lab Shepherd Mixes sold by breeders who breed double merle Aussies. Dogs that have two copies of the merle gene tend to suffer from deafness and eye diseases.
If your Aussiedor has a parent with the double merle gene, chances are he’ll inherit his parent’s genetic disorders too.
Lab Australian Shepherd Mix Temperament
Personality-wise, the Aussie and Labrador have a few things in common. Since the Aussie is a herding dog, and the Labrador is a retriever, both of them need constant physical activity.
In other words, if you’re the sedentary laidback type, you might want to think twice before having a Lab Shepherd Mix on board.
However, there are differences between Labrador and Aussie temperaments. Where Labs are outgoing and eager to please, Aussies are reserved and territorial.
The latter makes sense since a herding dog shouldn’t be okay with a wolf being anywhere near his flock.
That means the Aussiedor can be an extrovert (like a Lab) or an introvert (like an Aussie). The former is okay, but the latter may pose some challenges.
For example, if your Sheprador thinks that your visitor — an aunt whom you haven’t seen in a long time — is a threat, he might display aggressive behavior towards her.
Luckily, it’s possible to nip any aggressive tendencies in the bud. If you socialize your Aussiedor early on (i.e. get him used to being around as many strangers as possible), he shouldn’t have a lot of reservations around people he doesn’t know.
Then again, if you want your Aussiedor to double as a guard dog, you can socialize him only with people that you’re comfortable with. As for the others, your Aussiedor is sure to warn you about any suspicious individuals.
How To Train An Aussie Lab Mix
Like his parents, the Aussie Lab Mix is a quick study. His intelligence shines brightest when he’s trained under a positive, reward-based system.
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For example, Aussiedor pups have a tendency to bite and nip, owing to their Aussie parent’s herding instincts. It’s actually kind of cute — until you feel that pain in your heels from his surprisingly sharp teeth.
Instead of yelling at your dog, “No, stop (biting)!”– you can redirect his attention somewhere else. Grab a chew toy, wave it in front of his face, and let him grab it. If he chews on the toy for a while, and he doesn’t return to biting you again, pat him on the head and say “Good boy!”
Eventually, you’ll have to “graduate” your Aussie beyond the basic commands. He’s a smart dog, and like all smart dogs, he’s going to seek out more intellectually-stimulating activities.
One easy (and fun!) way to train him is via the Muffin Tin game. As the name implies, you’ll need a muffin tin, a few treats, and a number of tennis balls that match the number of holes in the muffin tin.
Basically, the game goes like this:
- Put treats in select holes on the muffin tin.
- Cover all the holes with tennis balls.
- Put the muffin tin with the treats and balls in front of your pooch, and watch him fish out the treats as fast as possible.
- Time him.
If he gets all the treats on the first try, say “Good boy!” or give him an extra treat. If it took him a while to get all the treats, that’s okay: let him have a go at it again later.
Better yet, design a more complicated game with similar mechanics to train his brain further.
As noted earlier, socialization is important for an Aussiedor, whether he takes after his Labrador or Aussie parent. The more people he’s exposed to on a regular basis, and the younger he is when being socialized, the less likely he’ll be aggressive and cause any awkward situations between you and complete strangers.
Last, but certainly not the least, give him an outlet for his boundless reserves of energy. He’ll do well in an environment where he has room to stretch his legs and run around. If you have a large yard or farm for him to play in, he’ll be the happiest dog alive.
How To Groom An Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
Because he inherited a double coat from both his parents, the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is prone to heavy shedding.
Regular brushing helps keep shedding at bay, as well as remove mats and tangles that irritate your dog’s skin.
Aside from brushing his hair, you’ll also want to brush his teeth. Using a toothbrush and toothpaste specially formulated for dogs, remove any plaque and tartar buildup on his teeth. Do this at least once every other day.
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Keep his toenails short too. You can tell that his nails need clipping when they start making noises every time they hit the floor. Take a clipper for dogs, hold his paws gently but firmly, and start clipping.
Unless your Lab Mix gets really dirty, you’ll want to bathe him only when needed. If you are bathing him, make sure to inspect his body carefully for any redness, lesions and anything else that looks off. Once you spot these, take your dog to the vet, and have the latter take a good look at him.
What Are The Health Problems of An Aussie Lab Mix?
Assuming your dog is healthy, expect the Lab Australian Shepherd lifespan to be between 10 and 13 years.
Otherwise, you’ll need to watch out for the following disorders that tend to manifest in one or both of your Aussie Lab Mix’s parents:
- Hip dysplasia: Large dogs like the Lab and Aussie tend to have this since the added weight puts extra pressure on their hip joints.
- Eye diseases: The Aussie, in particular, is prone to disorders such as cataracts, distichiasis, ocular coloboma, iris coloboma, progressive retinal atrophy, persistent pupillary membrane, and detached retina.
- Cruciate ligament rupture: Labs are vulnerable to wear and tear in their leg joints and muscles.
To make sure that the Sheprador you’re buying has none of the above (or, at least, has a minimal chance of having any of the above), ask the breeder whether they’ve done a health check on the puppies.
If possible, ask for proof of medical treatment, and double check the paperwork. This way, you can be sure you’re getting the healthiest puppy available.
How Much Is An Aussiedor?
In general, Australian Shepherd Lab Mix puppies cost around $1,000 dollars. Considering the pedigree and average price for his parents, that’s not a bad deal.
Additionally, you’ll want to set aside a similar amount per year for your Aussiedor’s care. The budget may include — but is not limited to — toys, food supplies, medical treatment, regular checkups, training, grooming, etc.
Where To Buy Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Puppies
When it comes to crossbreeds, finding the right breeder should be your top priority. Not only will reputable breeders give you a cute puppy to care for, but you can also be sure that the puppy has undergone a complete health check.
Some of the best places to look for Aussiedor puppies are forums specially dedicated to the dog. You can ask members about the best breeders in your area, and get firsthand knowledge on how to care for the Aussiedor.
If you’re queasy about lurking on forums or groups, you can always pay a personal visit to the breeders in your area.
Take note of how the dogs are being raised (i.e. is the environment sanitary or not?). Ask as many questions about the Aussiedor as you can. If the breeder seems stumped or evasive with their answers, take that as a sign to look elsewhere.
Is this the breed for you?
The Sheprador or Aussiedor combines the qualities of both his parents, for better or worse.
On the one hand, he can be a rambunctious, overly protective pooch whose health problems may be a little too hard on your bank account.
On the other hand, he’s a strong, loyal, outgoing and beautiful dog who’ll make you smile no matter what. If you think his pros outweigh his cons, then, by all means, take this amazing dog home with you.
Have something to say about the Sheprador, Aussiedor, or whatever you choose to call him? Sound off in the comments below!