We have to start by saying that these are two wonderful breeds, both deservingly popular, and both can bring so much to your life. And it is no surprise that this is a question that gets asked often, as dog lovers try to decide between the German Shepherd Dog and the Labrador Retriever. First things first, if you are stuck between the two, you have to ask yourself why you want a dog? Either breed brings something different to a home. And secondly, you have to ask which of these two breeds best fits your life. Each breed has slightly different requirements.
So let’s get into a comparison of the Labrador Retriever and the German Shepherd to help you decide between the two.
German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever: Size and Weight
When deciding on a breed, it is important to judge size and weight for several reasons…From the space you have in your home, to the size of your garden, or to whether a stronger dog would be good with young kids.
German Shepherd dogs: Males – Height at the shoulders: 60-65 cm, Weight: 30-40 kg; Females – Height at the shoulders: 55-60 cm, Weight: 22-32 kg
Labrador Retriever dogs: Males – Height at the shoulders: 56-57 cms., Weight: 29-36 kg; Females – Height at the shoulders: 54-56 cms., Weight: 25-32 kg
So as you can tell there is not much to tell between the two, but the German Shepherd just edges out the Labrador on average, and is a slightly bigger and slightly stronger dog.
German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever: Puppyhood and Trainability
Both breeds tend to be spirited and playful puppies, with a fun-loving nature. Undeniably they are both super cute breeds when young. The difference in looks between the adorable puppy and the noble adult dog is particularly stark with the German Shepherd.
But be aware that of the two the Labrador can be the naughtier, and is more likely to get up to mischief when left alone. This is because the German Shepherd Dog is the smarter breed of the two; in fact, it is one of the cleverest of all dog breeds. They were created specifically to be working dogs. Because of this, they are easier to train, more focused, and ready to listen. They in fact like to learn from you, and don’t like to be bored, and have nothing to do.
The Labrador itself is not a hard breed to train, but you are more likely to find stubbornness in this breed and will need to combat a sometimes cheeky behaviour.
German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever: Temperament
Both are friendly dogs, and high energy, with both requiring good walks daily, and both are suited to long walks and hikes. If well socialized early, they are great breeds around other dogs, though sometimes the German Shepherd can be dominant.
One thing to be aware of is that Labs tend to be more accepting of strangers, in fact, they love everybody. A German Shepherd may be more wary of strangers, mainly around the home and garden, but to say a German Shepherd will be aggressive to all strangers is a gross exaggeration of their guarding nature.
German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever: Care Requirements
Without a doubt, German Shepherds can handle being alone for longer periods than the Labrador. Both breeds do love human contact, but a Lab is more likely to misbehave when alone and suffer from separation anxiety.
Both are ideally suited to a home with a garden, and a bigger house is better. They need space to play and explore, this is especially true for the German Shepherd who may become bored when just inside all the time.
Grooming – The German Shepherd has a heavier, double coat, and does ideally need very regular brushing to stop excessive shedding. For Labradors, the grooming requirements are lesser, and once a week would suffice. Bathing a Labrador should be no problem as this breed loves water!
Climate – both breeds handle high and low temperatures better than most, though care needs to be taken especially in very hot weather.
German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever: Health
A well-cared for dog, at a good weight, and well-exercised always has a lesser chance of developing issues. And the German Shepherd and the Labrador are generally healthy breeds when well looked after. But there are a few conditions to watch out for.
Both are bigger breeds, and therefore more prone to hip and elbow dysplasia than others. But if you choose your puppy from a good source, then you can find out the parent’s health history, and lessen the chances of your puppy getting these genetic conditions.
While cancer is far from a certainty with either breed, the German Shepherd tends to have a higher risk. Whereas there is a little more chance of heart issues with a Labrador.
Again, the best way to reduce the risk of your puppy suffering from poor health is to avoid bad breeders and look for the very best source for your puppy.
German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever: Specialist Info
We mentioned earlier how the German Shepherd is a very smart breed. Well, it has a very innate guarding instinct. So if you want a big dog, that will guard your property, but be warm and loyal with you, then they are a fine choice.
The Labrador is famed for family love. Their playful and warm nature makes them a great choice, and of the two breeds, being the slightly lighter, a Labrador may be better with younger children. Though the German Shepherd, well socialized is super with older children.
The simple answer is that there is no better breed between the German Shepherd and the Labrador, but there will be a better breed FOR YOU. With these differences between these two amazing breeds, you can discover which fits your life best and will be the center of your happy home.