What do you get if you cross an Australian Shepherd dog with a Labrador retriever? An Aussiedor! Sometimes it’s also referred to as an:
- Aussie Lab,
- Aussie Lab Mix,
- Aussie Sheprador,
- Australian Sheprador,
- Australian Shepherd Lab Mix,
- Australian Shepherd Labrador Mix,
- Australian Shepherd Mix,
- Labrador and Australian Shepherd Mix
- Or a Sheprador.
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix, affectionately known as an Aussiedor, is a strong and playful, medium-sized dog breed with a solid build. It’s loyal and protective and ideal as a working dog or as a family dog.
The Aussiedor is a mixed breed dog from cross-breeding a purebred Australian Shepherd with a purebred Labrador Retriever. This produces what’s known as a designer dog.
Designer dogs come in a variety of coat colors and types, depending on the genes and appearance of the parent breeds. This hybrid dog breed has a striking appearance with expressive almond-shaped eyes and is highly intelligent, active, and hardworking.
An Aussiedor puppy makes an adorable family pet and companion for any dog owner that wants a high energy pooch.
A Brief History Of The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is not a purebred dog breed.
It is a mix of two purebred dog breeds that are both individually registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC): The Australian Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever.
Fact: When two different dog breeds are intentionally mixed it what’s known as a designer dog; any hybrid dog will inherit its characteristics from both parent breeds but it’s impossible to predict exactly what the result will be until it is born and observed.
Meet the parents: The parents’ breed history:
Parent 1: A brief history of the Australian Shepherd parent – a purebred dog
The Australian Shepherd parent, the Aussie, is gaining popularity as a breed and currently ranks as the 15th most popular dog breed in the United States according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).
The Aussie was originally bred to be a skilled, powerful, and obedient herding dog, but believe it or not, it’s not from Australia!
Fact: The Australian Shepherd dog did not originate in Australia as the name suggests.
It actually originated as a herding dog in the 19th Century to work on ranches in the West of the United States of America. This loveable dog is known from its roles in Cowboy and Western-type movies as the herding dog on the ranch.
Over time, the Aussie has developed a reputation as a strong and intelligent working dog that is easily trainable.
It has, therefore, has been used successfully, for many decades, as a herding dog and shepherd dog, a service dog, a protection dog, and in a variety of search and rescue jobs.
The Aussie has a high energy level with a herding instinct and is happiest when it is being kept very active and where it knows what it has to do. This is not your average couch potato pooch but it can be a happy family dog as long as it is kept busy.
Parent 2: A brief history of the Labrador Retriever parent – a purebred dog
Now, who doesn’t love a Labrador Retriever?
Whether it’s pure black, chocolate brown or yellow, this is just an attractive and loveable dog breed for any level of dog owner or family member.
The Labrador Retriever dog is from Newfoundland, Canada. Possibly as early as the 1500s, they were used by fishermen to retrieve fish from nets and catch those that escaped back into the sea. They are all good swimmers and have a gentle mouth grip that will not damage the prey they are ordered to retrieve.
This area of Canada is now known as ‘Newfoundland and Labrador Province’ and this has provided this hunting and retrieving dog with its name – the Labrador Retriever (or Lab to its friends!).
This dog breed came to Great Britain around 1830.
The 5th Duke of Buccleuch, a British Aristocrat, heard about their retrieving skills and is believed to have been one of the first people to import the Labrador Retriever dog from Newfoundland, Canada. He did this because he wanted a smart working dog on his estate on the Scotland Borders. He wanted to use them as gun dogs for retrieving the wild ducks he shot on his estate.
Another British Aristocrat, the 2nd Earl of Malmesbury, was also a fan of Newfoundland retrieving dogs for hunting and quickly noticed their skill for retrieving waterfowl on land and in water. In 1880, the new 6th Duke of Buccleuch met the new 3rd Earl of Malmesbury on a shoot and realized their mutual respect for these skilled hunting and retrieving dogs.
The Earl then gifted two of his male Labrador retriever dogs to the Duke, who then used two of his female labs to begin breeding more and this is believed to have continued the pure Newfoundland lab bloodline we still see today in our Labrador Retrievers.
The Lab is ranked the No1 most popular purebred dog in the United States by the American Kennel Club (AKC). In fact, it is considered the world’s most popular purebred dog and it’s easy to see why. The lab is simply an adorable and gentle dog that makes the ideal family pet.
Its fun-loving and loyal nature, and easy-going temperament, makes it suitable for any age of dog owner or living environment. When it’s trained and socialized it can be trusted and protective around young children and other dogs.
Meet the offspring:
The hybrid offspring of these two purebred dogs is the Australian Shepherd Lab mix puppy – the Aussiedor puppy.
Fact: Designer dogs are increasing in popularity and so is the trend to give them a cute combo name that reflects a bit of both parent names. These new affectionate names are what is known as ‘Portmanteau’ names, such as ‘Aussiedor’ or ‘Sheprador’.
The Aussiedor puppy will inherit characteristics from both parents. As both parents are purebred loveable dogs it’s expected that their Aussiedor puppies will be too.
What are the main characteristics of an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix?
Like any other crossbreed, the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix can inherit the characteristics of either parent or both.
Crossbred dogs are no more likely to inherit health issues than purebred dogs; in fact, it is believed they may actually be stronger. Any puppy mix dog can inherit all, some or none of the health issues its parent breeds have.
Fact: Not all mixed breed dogs inherit exactly 50% of their characteristics from one parent and 50% from the other. It can be heavily weighted towards the characteristics of one parent more than the other.
The characteristics of an Aussiedor are a combination of nature and nurture: genetics of the parents, the environment and the quality, type and amount of training and socialization. This mixed breed dog’s personality and appearance will vary from dog to dog.
The Aussiedor – possible coat colors
Both parents have a double coat: a water-resistant topcoat and a warm undercoat. Therefore the Aussiedor will inherit the same double coat.
The Aussie can have a tricolor coat color, including black, blue merle, red or red merle, while the Lab’s coat color is typically a solid single color coat of either black, chocolate brown or a shade of yellow (From cream to golden like the typical Golden Retriever dog).
As with any mixed breed dog, the Aussiedor’s appearance will be more difficult to predict than a purebred dog, until it’s born and grows.
Fact: The merle gene is associated with health problems and if both parents have this dangerous gene it can cause various eye diseases and deafness in their offspring.
Fortunately for this Australian Shepherd mix, its Labrador Retriever parent does not carry this gene.
Loyalty and companionship
The Aussie Lab is a relatively new breed. Given its parent mix, it will be extremely loyal with a loving temperament when trained and socialized properly. It will make a very caring and protective companion, and crave company and inclusion. It needs to have company and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.
This breed is kind and gentle. Both parents have herding instincts so the Aussiedor is likely to inherit these instincts too. This means it will want to work and herd, so it needs to be trained and socialized early to prevent young children and other family pets from becoming part of its herd!
They have a reputation as a high energy breed that can be gentle but can inherit the cautious nature of the Aussie and be a little aloof with strangers.
It is not known as an aggressive dog but needs to be kept occupied or it can be mischievous.
When one of your parents is the world’s most popular and best-loved dog and the other parent has a striking appearance and equally good nature, how can this mixed breed dog not be highly popular and much loved?
The Aussiedor puppy needs to be trained and socialized as early as is will inherit a herding instinct and be highly active. This mixed breed is protective and could be occasionally aggressive with strangers.
They may attempt to take over and herd small children and smaller pets so they need to be controlled.
The trainability of this very intelligent breed should be quite easy as it is a working type dog. Positive reinforcement and small treats will work well but not harsh discipline, or any form of negative punishment or physical restraint as it may rebel.
Power and intelligence:
This mixed breed dog is very intelligent, strong, and active with a herding and working drive. It will enjoy and need working challenges incorporating mental and physical stimulation, but it will be curious and want to investigate the other side of the fence.
Early socialization and discipline are strongly recommended for any crossbred dog that has a herding and working dog heritage.
Any type of hybrid dog with two intelligent parents will be strong-willed and need to be active and occupied. They will not want a sedentary lifestyle and will enjoy as much exercise and action as the owner can provide.
When trained and socialized this mixed breed dog will be approachable and friendly around children and other animals.
Any herding or working dog will want to be useful and please its owner. It will be happy when busy and when it understands what’s expected of it in its surroundings and given tasks to complete.
The Australian Sheprador is agile, active, and can be strong-willed so it needs to be trained early as it can easily and will become destructive or mischievous. When trained it will be a playful and friendly companion and family pet.
Physical Characteristics of the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
This dog has an unusual appearance, with striking eyes, sometimes even different colors, and a beautiful coat. Both male and female tend to follow the same growth patterns in terms of size and weight. Unlike some breeds where males can grow to a larger size.
- Size: The Aussiedor is a medium sized dog.
- Height: 23-38” (58-96m)
- Weight: 50-80lb (23-36kg)
- Lifespan: 10-13 years
- Eyes: Brown, amber, blue, flecked or even each eye a different color
- Ears: Medium to large dangling ears, triangular-shaped with rounded tips
- Coat: A medium length, thick double coat that can be different lengths, long and straight like the Aussie or short like the Lab. It will be a big shedder
- Color: The coat color is influenced by both parents, and can be tricolor, multi-color or single color, from Black, Brown, Blue merle, red, red merle, White or Silver and Red or yellow. It depends on the parents’ color.
This breed is gentle, loving and caring, and will be obedient, loyal and protective of its family when trained. It needs to be kept busy as it has a hard work ethic, hunting instincts and can be mischievous if bored
How should you train an Aussiedor?
This dog needs lots of exercise and tasks to perform.
It has inherited the shepherd dog and retriever herding instincts so this puppy needs to be trained and socialized early, with strict boundaries set. This mixed breed dog is active and curious any may want to investigate what’s on the other side of the fence. Positive reinforcement and reward-based training works best.
Teach leash training early for the Aussie puppy’s safety and discipline in public and with road traffic.
Types of training required: obedience, discipline, agility and socialization.
So, if you are not going to use a professional dog trainer:
1) Develop your basic command words: Find keywords such as Stop, Sit, Wait etc. and be consistent each time you use them with positive reinforcement and small treats as a reward.
2) Crate – Buy a crate and practice going into it and sleeping in it. You will have to lock the cage in the early days so it knows it has to sleep there and be transported in it
3) Potty training – Can be hit and miss for any new puppy that gets easily excited and lacks control, however products are available, such as mats and odor sprays to attract puppy go to the same spot each time. Eventually, this mixed-breed puppy with your help, will learn where and where not to go.
4) Walking on a leash – Voice commands and road awareness is important for a very active puppy’s safety and behavior while walking in public.
Health problems and health issues
What health issues can an Australian Shepherd Labrador mix suffer from?
Hip Dysplasia (and elbow dysplasia) – this is growth abnormality is common in both parent breeds. Hip and elbow dysplasia is a malformation of the joint, where the ball at the top of the limb does not fit properly into the socket and the ligaments attaching it are weak. This allows excess movement of the fitting causing eventual stiffness and pain
Continuous use, can lead to limb de-generation in one or sometimes each limb causing pain and limited mobility and cause further issues such as arthritis, extreme pain, and even osteoarthritis.
Early warning signs are visual stiffness then walking, a reluctance to get up when prompted, and a difference in walking style; limp or caution. It can occur at any age. The health history of the parents might help predict if it’s likely.
There is no cure; pain management and anti-inflammatories may be prescribed by the Vet.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy – this is a genetic condition where the retina in the eye degenerates and it can lead to vision loss if not diagnosed and treated early.
Bloat – eating quickly or drinking a lot before exercising can cause this dangerous, excessive gas build-up, forcing the stomach to extend which then puts pressure on other organs. This can cause extreme pain and be fatal.
Other health issues include various inherited eye problems such as Cataracts, and eye anomalies and muscular dystrophy.
How do you care for an Aussiedor?
The Aussiedor puppy is very energetic and needs to be kept busy with at least one hour of exercise per day, building up 1-2 hours a day in adulthood, therefore not suited to any dog owner who cannot manage a very high energy dog.
They have a big appetite which needs to be controlled. Feed as a medium to large-sized dog depending on activity level. Split portions, average 3-4 cups of dry formulated food per day, to prevent Bloat and encouraged to eat slowly, possibly using a slow feeding bowl.
This mixed breed dog has a thick double coat that will shed a lot and twice a year will lose more its coat as the season changes. It requires regular brushing, at least 2-3 times a week is recommended.
This dog should only be bathed when required as their coat has a water resistant texture and its natural oils would be stripped through excessive washing. Certain dog formulated shampoos have a double effect of cleaning while protecting its coat against fleas and insect bites.
Cleaning teeth, nails, and ears
Teeth need to be cleaned regularly to prevent a build-up of plaque. Chewing breaks down plaque, so use doggie chew-toys, bare-bones and special soft toothbrushes, and toothpaste. Nails grow quickly and need to be trimmed regularly, say once a month, and checked for debris that could cause infection.
What’s life like for an Aussiedor?
This mixed breed dog is good-natured and highly energetic, likes purpose and activities to complete while keeping active.
It needs to be socialized and obedience trained so it can behave well around strangers, young children, and other small pets. Otherwise, it may want to herd them all up through instinct!
They need to keep active and will chew things if bored, or suffer separation anxiety if continuously left alone. So keep them in the middle of family activity.
Positives and Negatives of ownership
- Alert, energetic, protective and loyal
- Intelligent and affectionate
- A loving and gentle family dog
- Easily trained
- Child friendly
- Not aggressive
- Suffers separation anxiety and destructive if left alone
- Aloof with strangers
- Needs activity and company, doesn’t suit a sedentary owner
- Needs lots of exercise and stimulation
- A heavy shedder
Commonly Asked Questions:
Q: What is the proper name of this mixed Labrador Australian Shepherd dog?
A. It’s an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix, shortened to ‘Aussiedor’ or ‘Aussie Sheprador’.
Q. How much does an Australian Shepherd Lab puppy cost?
A. Buying from a reputable dealer costs around $400-$800
An alternative is to adopt from a rescue center – puppy or adult. The cost of adopting a rescue dog is much less than from a breeder, which could be around $150.
Warning: If considering adopting a rescue dog it is important to find out about the circumstances of why it’s in a rescue center – abuse, neglect, behavior, or any other available details of the temperament or health issues of the parents.
Food costs around $40-$50 per month for an adult, and given their possible health problems you must factor in Vets fees, accessories, and toys from a retailer like Amazon.