They both have quite different personalities but are equally appealing in their unique ways. But don’t worry; we’re here to help! We have broken down the differences and similarities between these two lovely breeds.
The German Shepherd vs. Retriever Labrador debate involves the two most famous pet dogs in the US, year after year. For 26 years, the Labrador Retriever has kept the number one spot all hemmed up. The German Shepherd is in the number two position.
German Shepherd Vs. Labrador Size
The German Shepherd is categorized as a “large breed dog,” and the Labrador Retriever is classified as a “medium breed dog.” However, the statistics show that the two breeds don’t significantly differ in weight and height.
German Shepherd size:
- Weight: 50 to 70 pounds (adult female); 65 to 90 pounds (adult male)
- Height: 22 to 26 inches (adult males average 2 inches taller than adult females).
Labrador Retriever size:
- Weight: 55 to 70 pounds (adult female); 65 to 80 pounds (adult male).
- Height: 21.5 to 24.5 inches (adult males average 1 inch taller than adult females).
You probably won’t find much helpful information from a pure height and weight comparison to help you decide between a GSD vs. Labrador. However, it is good to know both dog breeds’ potential full adult weight and height before you commit to either!
German Shepherd vs. Labrador Appearance
Both the German Shepherd and Labrador are good-looking dogs! However, their overall appearances and demeanors are usually considered quite different.
German Shepherd Appearance
The German Shepherd is a master of serene confidence. From his alert, upraised ears to his perfectly positioned paws, a GSD still looks well put together even after a scramble through the brush or a dip in the lake!
One specific trait that sets German Shepherd dogs apart is their standing posture. They appear incapable of slouching! This dog’s body is long, lean, and rangy despite the bushy tail and the thick two-layer coat.
If you’ve seen an athlete who knows he is agile, fast, and strong, this may remind you of a German Shepherd. This dog knows his potencies and isn’t afraid to use them. The composed behavior is part of what makes the German Shepherd such a superb working dog.
German Shepherds can have many different coat colors, from gray to deep and light tan, decadent browns with black accents. However, the tan and black coat color is the best-known combination for this breed.
Labrador Retriever Appearance
When you first see a Labrador Retriever, you likely come away with an image of this dog’s eager, friendly eyes and face. However, the face of a Labrador usually seems to be smiling simply for the joy of being alive!
The Labrador is a robust and solid dog capable of being the perfect show dog. However, this breed’s natural enthusiasm and eagerness for life typically result in a less polished daily appearance! In the US for the 26th year, the Lab is the most beloved pet dog in a row for a reason. These are puppies that can make the most pathetic day feel sunny and full of fun.
Labradors are often labeled as black, yellow, or chocolate (brown). Interestingly, if you are trying to decide between a black Labrador and a German Shepherd, there is a newer GSD line with an all-black coat. They are stunning dogs!
Labrador Vs. German Shepherd – Grooming and Shedding
Shedding, blowing coats, and molting are just a few commonly used by Labrador and German Shepherd lovers alike to express their daily battles with their pets’ hair.
The truth is both breeds tend to shed more rather than less. In other words, if you are looking for a “hypo-allergenic” breed that won’t trigger your pet’s allergies, neither of these is a perfect pick!
Let’s look at some more subtle differences between the grooming and shedding needs of the German Shepherd vs. Labrador.
German Shepherd Grooming and Shedding
German Shepherd dog is so well known for their thick and luxurious coats. While this makes for a particular show dog and is undoubtedly warm and cozy, it isn’t always fun for the owner! Moreover, German Shepherds don’t just shed seasonally but tend to shed more during their biologically-mandated semi-annual coat change.
Labrador Retriever Grooming and Shedding
Labradors shed morning, noon, and night in the summer and winter. They tend to shed more during seasonal coat changes, but there is no time of year when they will be “finished” shedding.
Shedding is a year-round affair. A big part of this is that the Lab has a two-layer coat. The top layer is waterproof and thick. The bottom layer is short and thick, providing insulation for these water-loving dogs. Both layers need to shed regularly to stay effective in their jobs. Moreover, remember that your Lab is going to shed, and there isn’t anything you can do about it.
German Shepherd vs. Labrador Temperament
In the Labrador vs. German Shepherd intelligence discussion, both dogs score equally as high. However, their intelligence usually displays differently based on their unique temperaments.
German Shepherd Temperament
If you are looking for a faithful guard dog for your family, the German Shepherd is the one for you. They have differentiated themselves in almost every service job, from military to Secret Service to police work to private service animals. German Shepherd dogs are inherently inclined to bond deeply with the individual they regard as their trainer or carer. They will be extremely motivated to follow and guard that person.
However, a GSD’s patrolling behavior can get her at risk with strangers, non-family members, and unknown animals.
Labrador Retriever Temperament
If there is one feature you won’t often have to worry about in your Labrador Retriever dog is standoffishness. These dogs tend to love anyone. However, it is essential to know that Labradors generally stay puppy-like in their behavior for around three years. Therefore, training will be essential to keep this dog physically and mentally fulfilled and enable the pounds to stay off!
Read Also: How to Care for a German shepherd?
German Shepherd vs. Labrador Health
Both Labrador and German Shepherds are dual-purpose dogs: they are bred for show and bred to work. Both breeds are purebreds with roots that extend back to the earliest days of canine clubs.
German Shepherd Health
German Shepherds tend towards problems with hip and elbow dysplasia, heart conditions, degenerative myelopathy, bloat, and certain eye diseases. One more recent health concern that has also appeared is the purebred German Shepherd line back issues.
Labrador Retriever Health
Labs are especially predisposed to dysplasia of the hip and elbow and particular eye and heart problems. In addition, researchers have recently found the gene responsible for one known Labrador health problem, (EIC) exercise-induced collapse. It afflicts young adult Labs in particular.
We hope you have found this side-by-side comparison of both dog breeds useful. We would love to hear your story about choosing your new puppy when you choose!