German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix: A Complete Guide


Did you know that the Golden Retriever, when bred with a German Shepherd, results in a Golden Shepherd? The German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix is a unique designer breed, ideal for experienced pet owners looking for watchdogs and family companions. But what makes this breed different?

German Shepherd and Golden Retriever

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix weighs 60 to 80 pounds (27.2 to 36.3 kilograms), has long and dense hair, and is loyal, intelligent, and adaptive. This beautiful mix is a heavy shedder, and typically has a cream, golden, tan, or yellow coat. 

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following info about German Shepherd Golden Retrievers:

  • Common health issues and how you can treat or prevent them
  • Training tips that work for puppies and adult dogs alike
  • All of the necessary information required before you get a Golden Shepherd Golden Retriever

What Is a German Shepherd Golden Retriever?

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever, also known as a Golden Shepherd, is a mixed breed dog. The breed comes from a cross between the German Shepherd and Golden Retriever.

Since these breeds have differing sizes, temperaments, and other basic features, they provide an interesting look into the effects of cross-breeding.

A German Shepherd Golden Retriever is often recognized by the following physical traits:

  • Broad faces with narrow snouts (a combination of the GSD’s long nose and the Golden Retriever’s large head)
  • All-around broad features from the tail to the shoulders
  • Large paws
  • Mid-to-long hair, depending on the parents (both breeds are known to have long hair, but some GSDs have mid-length hair)
  • Depending on the parent dogs, a German Shepherd Golden Retriever could have pointed or drooped ears. In some cases, they have short, pointed, or long, drooping ears.

Known as a designer breed for many pet owners, the Golden Shepherd is typically found at the high end of the pay range compared to other dogs. You can expect to pay anywhere between $450 and $1,200 for this stunning mix.

However, you might be lucky enough to find them for much cheaper, as you’ll learn near the end of the page. Without further ado, let’s dive into the history and interesting facts about this one-of-a-kind breed.

The Origin of the German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix began around 1840 when Dudley Marjoribanks sought to create an ideal guard dog that could handle rugged terrains and rainy weather in the Scottish Highlands.

Due to the protective nature of German Shepherds and the broad features of Golden Retrievers, he believed that it would make the perfect breed.

The baron kept records for close to 50 years, which led to the cross-breed’s birth. A Yellow Retriever and a Tweed Water Spaniel were the first parents of the Golden Retriever. It wasn’t until 1908 when the specimens of the breed got to the US.

While this mixed breed made an excellent guard dog for many years, they’re also very relaxed, loyal, and loving. Golden Retrievers are known to be quite cuddly, so it’s easy to understand why they’re not always the best guard dogs.

Nevertheless, the GSD in the mix allows owners to train their pups however they’d like.

Is a German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix the Right Breed for Me?

German Shepherd Golden Retriever mixes make quality family pets due to their friendly and loyal traits. This breed is curious and active. However, if you have small kids, you should wait for them to grow up a bit before introducing an energetic and big pup.

A large an energetic puppy can unintentionally cause harm to a young child through rough play, so it is wise to avoid this scenario. And always remember to never leave small children and any dog alone unsupervised.

Combining a German Shepherd with a Golden Retriever is like mixing two extreme behavior patterns – you don’t know what you’re going to get. However, proper training will allow you to take control of the situation.

There are a few basic things you should know before adopting this breed, so let’s take a closer look at these now. Read on to understand the basic requirements of you and your living environment before bringing one of these mixes home.

Do You Have Enough Space?

You should get this mixed breed only if you have ample space since they’re active and like to run around.

German Shepherd Golden Retriever mixes are about 57 cm (22.4 in) and weigh up to 40 kg (88.2 lbs), making them one of the largest dog breeds. They have loads of energy since both breeds in the mix are packed with muscle and excitement.

Unfortunately, these are not great apartment dogs. They’ll get restless and bark throughout the day, especially when nobody is home to keep them entertained.

Related: Can a German Shepherd Live in an Apartment?

If you have a big yard or lots of land and a family to play with them, you’re in luck. These dogs love constant family involvement. However, it is essential to introduce them to new people as much as possible from a young age to form long-lasting bonds.

Fun games and activities for your Golden Shepherd include frisbee toss, fetch, swimming, outdoor dog runs, and more.

Both of these breeds (and this mixed breed) require daily walking. At minimum, take them on a 15-minute walk before and after work to keep their heart pumping, and you’ll allow them to avoid many of the health issues mentioned later in the article.

Do You Have Experience or Access to a Professional Dog Trainer?

German Shepherd Golden Retrievers aren’t the easiest dog for a beginner. That doesn’t mean you can’t get one, but you should be aware that they require proper training.

Professional dog trainers are an excellent choice for people who need extra help. Golden Shepherds are energetic and can be a handful, so why not hire someone to come over and assist with the training process?

Having access to a dog expert can be invaluable, especially if they specialize in Golden Shepherds (or either of the two breeds that make up this mix). Proper training will go a long way in terms of these mixes reaching their full potential as loyal and obedient dogs.

However, if you feel that you are up to the task of training a Golden Shepherd on your own, be sure to implement the following guidelines:

  • Focus on reward-based training rather than scolding. Dogs don’t understand anger – it makes them feel fearful, guilty, and confused, and doesn’t establish long-term good behavior.
  • Reward your puppy with praise and treats. Both breeds in this mix form close bonds with their owners. If you show you’re happy with them on a consistent basis, they’re more likely to maintain good behavior.
  • Use puppy potty pads to train their bathroom habits. Place pads close to a doggy door or in the you’d like them to go potty. After a couple of days, move the pad closer to the final destination. Continue this process until they know where to go, then remove the pad. You’ll be surprised how effective this technique is!

German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix Basic Facts

The cross-breed from the Golden Retriever and German Shepherd can have different temperaments and physical appearance. These two traits will depend on the percentage of features from each parent. 

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix typically has a shoulder width of 55 to 67 cm (21.7 to 26.4 in) and weighs close to 40 kgs (88.2 lbs).

You’ll notice a shorter back on the mix, and the dog will have the almond eyes of the Retriever and the face of the Shepherd.

Bushy tails, powerful muscles, and medium-length muzzles are standard on the mixed breed. Golden Shepherds typically have a golden, cream, yellow, or tan coat. 

German Shepherds are known as watchdogs and tend to be protective, while Golden Retrievers are easy-going and friendly. The mix gives you a dog that is protective, affectionate, and warm if properly socialized and trained.

You’ll find the German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix friendly, but the breed can be on the needy side. These dogs will follow you around as they thrive on interaction with their owners.

German Shepherd Basic Facts

German Shepherds are often used as guard dogs, K-9 police units, and military dogs. However, they’re incredibly loyal in any setting. Whether you want a protector or a cuddler, you can train your GDS to be the perfect companion.

Related: Will My German Shepherd Protect Me Without Training?

Related: Why Are German Shepherds Good Police Dogs?

One of the main behaviors that you need to keep in mind is that German Shepherds tend to bond most closely with one person. They’ll be by your side at all times, so they won’t interact with the rest of the family as much as they will with you.

Related: 20 Most Loyal Dog Breeds That Attach To One Person

Despite their classification as a aggressive breed in some circles, German Shepherds are calm and mild-mannered in the right household. However, there’s no doubt that they’ll remain alert and let you know if anyone uninvited shows up at the door.

With a powerful bark and a strong presence, German Shepherds will no doubt keep away the ‘bad guys’ simply due to their reputation.

Here’s a list of some more basic GSD facts:

  • You can find black, white, black & tan, black & red, silver, and a few other colored German Shepherds.
  • Regardless of the color, they come in various coat lengths. Be sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into. Some GSDs have lots of grooming needs to stay healthy and comfortable.
  • German Shepherds live between 9 to 13 years, depending on their ancestry, size, pre-existing conditions, diet, exercise, and anxiety levels. Unfortunately, German Shepherds can become stressed very quickly. You can prevent such issues by playing with them, giving them enough attention, and feeding them a healthy diet.
  • German Shepherds are considered a large breed. You’ll have to feed them quite a bit of food, which means higher costs than most dogs. Their weight ranges from 60 to 100 pounds (27 to 45 kilograms). High-quality dog food or homemade raw dog food will greatly eclipse the price of a chihuahua’s diet (or any other small dog).
  • They’re very intelligent, which can be a good or bad trait. If they’re well trained, and they know how to channel their thoughts and emotions, GSDs be loyal and right at your side. If they’re not well trained and fearful, their intelligence may combine with their naturally defensive instincts and make them aggressive.

Golden Retriever Basic Facts

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the USA. They’re sweet, loving, affectionate, and loyal. These dogs make excellent family dogs since they do well in large groups.

They also won’t get too aggressive, which is a huge benefit for anyone who has small children. However, they can be a bit too playful at times, so it’s important that you always monitor them around small children.

This breed needs plenty of exercise to avoid anxiety or health problems, so make sure you take them on daily walks and play fetch with them.

Also, allow them to feel like a part of the family. They’ll want to be with you wherever you go, so you shouldn’t get a Golden Retriever if you want a dog that is highly independent.

Despite common misconceptions and visual similarities, Golden Retrievers aren’t the same as Labrador Retrievers. While they tend to have similar ears, snouts, and bodies, there are many traits that are quite different.

Here are several Golden Retriever traits that you should know before getting one:

  • They usually have long hair, which means you’ll have quite a bit of grooming on your hands. Use a brush to loosen the fur, then follow it with a comb to collect clumps and strands that might fall to the ground. Failure to groom your Golden Retriever can lead to fur-caked carpet and rugs.
  • Golden Retrievers are a hard-working breed. They love to have a purpose, even if it’s something as simple as getting the newspaper or playing with your children. If they don’t have something to do, they’ll get restless and depressed.
  • They tend to overeat. You can’t open feed a Golden Retriever because they might not stop eating! It’s not uncommon for this breed to become overweight or sick from overeating food. If they don’t get enough nutrients, they’ll resort to eating plants, toys, and other objects (this includes their feces).
  • Golden Retrievers are large, just like German Shepherds. They grow between 20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 centimeters) tall and 55 to 75 pounds (24 to 34 kilograms). While they’re not quite as bulky as a GSD, it’s easy to see how the mix can get quite massive. They’ll need plenty of food, water, and playtime to stay satisfied.

What To Expect With a German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix

Now that you have some facts about the German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, here are some things you can expect with the two breeds combined. 

Loyalty and Gentleness

German Shepherds are protective, while the Golden Retrievers are loyal. A combination of these two breeds gives you a reliable and protective dog. 

Despite being rather large, a German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix is intelligent, eager to please, and friendly. You’ll find this breed gentle around children and other pets in the house. 

Coat

The mix between the Golden Retriever and German Shepherd leads to a dog with a thick and long coat. Expect a lot of shedding, especially during fall and spring. You’ll also need to brush your dog’s fur daily to keep the skin healthy.

When grooming the Golden Shepherd or either of its parent breeds, it’s very important to have the right tools on hand. One simple and effective brush that we’ve used time and again is the FURminator De-Shedding Tool for large dogs with long hair.

This brush is simple and easy to use, and we love that it’s easy to clean as well. If you decide to get one of these mixes, then this brush or something similar is a must have!

It’s also essential to clean your pet’s nails, ears, and teeth at regular intervals. Washing your dog once a month is enough to keep the dog clean. 

Related: Grooming a German Shepherd: All You Need to Know

Health Concerns

It is an unfortunate fact that large breeds are prone to many more health concerns than small breeds. Joint problems, heart issues, and many other health-related concerns can arise.

It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into so you can adequately treat anything that shows up. Your Golden Shepherd may be predisposed to certain health risks like:

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Hip and elbow dysplasia is an inherited genetic disorder where parts of the hip and elbow no longer function properly. That leads to pain, inflammation, and osteoarthritis later in life.

Related: German Shepherd Joint Problems: All You Need to Know

The skeletal condition occurs in both small and bigger breeds like German Shepherd. Factors like improper weight, excessive growth, and some exercises can magnify this condition.

Related: Is My German Shepherd Overweight? Here’s How to Tell

Accidents can also increase the possibility of joint problems early in a large dog’s life. If they’re climbing out of swimming pools, running down steep hills, or playing in the mud too frequently, make sure you’re paying attention to their behavior.

Any sign of pain or discomfort should immediately raise a red flag that something might be wrong.

Hip dysplasia can occasionally be treated with metal implants. They could limit your dog’s range of motion, but it’s better than the previously mentioned health concerns.

Degenerative Myelopathy

DM is a progressive spinal cord disease that occurs in older dogs. The condition leads to a loss of coordination in the hind limbs and can lead to paraplegia.

Breeds with degenerative myelopathy only live for about six months to three years after diagnosis. However, a dog’s lifespan may be extended with a good treatment plan.

Allergies

Both the German Shepherd and Golden Retriever are prone to several allergies. This cross-breed is no different, and also predisposed to different allergies.

You may notice the dog scratching, swelling in some parts, or nibbling. These are all symptoms of an allergy reaction. However, it is also important to understand what is not an allergic reaction.

Sneezing isn’t always a sign of allergies. It can be playful or caused by them laying on their backs. Most dog breeds use sneezing as a way to show that they’re ready to have fun and that they’re not feeling aggressive.

Purina

Eye Conditions

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix is also susceptible to suffer from different eye conditions like Pigmentary Uveitis or Progressive Retinal Atrophy. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to blindness.

Both Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are also prone to blindness in their older years, which means Golden Shepherds can undoubtedly go blind.

Loss of color in their eyes, failing depth perception (shaking legs or worry when they’re getting off the couch, stairs, etc.), and an inability to catch a ball that they typically could are all possible signs of blindness. Never self-diagnose your dog – visit your veterinarian first.

Thyroid Disease

Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can occur in your German Shepherd Golden Retriever breed. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism include weakness, obesity, increased shedding, and low exercise endurance.

Hyperthyroidism will manifest itself in the form of increased thirst, weight loss, diarrhea, and heart problems. 

Von Willebrand’s Disease

VWD is an acquired blood clotting disorder. Unfortunately, you’ll only notice the symptoms like excessive bleeding, nose bleeding, and blood in the urine when the condition is severe. 

These are some of the conditions your mixed breed dog may be predisposed to, but this doesn’t mean your dog will suffer from all the diseases listed above. 

Consulting a vet regularly and reviewing genetic testing results can help you better handle your dog’s health. This cross-breed has a life expectancy of 10-15 years.

Trainability

The cross-breed between the German Shepherd and Golden Retriever needs proper training to learn how to behave around people and other dogs.

Although this mix may sound complicated, training a German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix is actually rather straightforward.

One great thing is that this dog learns things quickly, which means you can efficiently train different behaviors and tricks. Remember that this breed is friendly and likes to please their owner, so they are happy to work with you and for you.

Don’t forget to be consistent, use treats, and positive reinforcement help them learn quickly. Socialization training will help curb innate aggression that the German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix may have.

Related: How To Socialize Your German Shepherd

It is highly important to train a German Shepherd Golden Retriever is when they’re young. They’re much less likely to be aggressive when they’re adults if you introduce them to other dogs and people at an early age.

Related: German Shepherd Training Guide: All You Need to Know

Temperament

German Shepherd Golden Retrievers are usually very friendly. They’re great family pets if you have enough time to keep them entertained.

Introduce them to your children as soon as possible to show that they can play together. Your dog will likely find loyalty with all members, but one or two might be their favorite.

When trying to determine any mixed breed’s temperament, it’s crucial to remember that genes play a significant role. If they have more German Shepherd in them, they’ll tend to be bonded with one member. If they’re mostly Golden Retriever, they’ll play with and love everyone that comes near their home.

When it comes to protection, it’s all about the training procedures. Golden Shepherds tend to be decent guard dogs if they know how to protect their family, but too much cuddling and relaxed living will take the fight out of them. They’ll be what’s known as ‘all bark and no bite.’

Meeting other dogs is a case-by-case situation. Since German Shepherds can be timid or defensive, your dog might have trouble meeting other pups at the park.

If you get them while they’re a puppy, it’s essential to walk them in public settings as much as possible. Daily or weekly walks near strangers and other dogs is a fantastic solution.

Since both breeds in the mix are prone to anxiety, the Golden Shepherd can quickly become stressed. Whether they’re feeling malnourished, neglected, sluggish, or abused, they’ll retreat into their minds, causing anxiety.

This may show itself in the form of shaking, hiding, aggressiveness, lack of eating, and other negative traits.

Nutritional Requirements

The Golden German Shepherd mix is a large breed, which means it will need a lot of food. You’ll also need to ensure that the food has 5% fat content and at least 18% protein.

Make sure to buy food with ingredients that support bone and joint development. It’s also important to supplement your dog’s meals with minerals, vitamins, fruits, and vegetables for proper growth.

Related: 30 Vegetables German Shepherds (and Golden Shepherds) Can Eat: And 7 to Avoid

Avoid feeding the cross-breed with huge meals, as this could lead to bloating. An adult dog should have two meals a day, while a puppy needs four meals a day spread throughout the day.

Don’t hastily switch between dog foods as this could lead to a stomach upset and other illnesses. If you choose to switch foods, make sure that you do it gradually to give your dog ample time to adjust.

If your dog isn’t eating their food, it could be a sign of one of the aforementioned health concerns. Feeding them too many treats or ‘human food’ (table scraps) could make them picky, so make sure they’re few and far between.

Related: Human Foods Safe for German Shepherds (and Golden Shepherds): And What to Avoid

Exercise Requirements

The cross-breed needs lots of playtime and exercise. Golden Shepherds are energetic and can’t be confined in one space for long. Lots of activity will keep your dog healthy, fit, and happy.

Spend time going for long walks with your dog, swimming, hiking, playing fetch, running, and anything else that will keep them engaged.

The cross-breed will need an hour to two of exercise depending on its energy levels. A highly active dog will need more activity. Engaging in the exercises with your pet will also help you bond with him.  

Cost

The cost of a Golden Shepherd puppy ranges from $450- $1,200. That price may go up when dealing with high-end breeders.

Other factors like the availability of puppies, the breeder’s location, the parent breeds’ bloodline, and the kennel’s popularity will influence the puppies’ price.

German Shepherds, when crossed with Golden Retrievers, produce up to ten pups in a litter. 

Final Thoughts

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix is a loyal, affectionate, and friendly breed that gives you the best of both worlds.

If you’re looking for a perfect blend of energy, intelligence, and playfulness, this is a fantastic breed to consider.

Familiarizing yourself with possible health conditions the breed is likely to be predisposed to will help you handle any flare-ups.

Overall, the Golden Shepherd is an excellent companion and watchdog to have around. They’re certiainly unique, and many pet owners are beginning to realize that they’re the perfect combination of everything they could want in a dog.

Hunter Reed

I've owned and trained German Shepherds for over 20 years now. While I've lived in many different places and traveled extensively - the places change, my dogs don't. German Shepherds have been my constant companions. I love every aspect of training them and simply just having them around. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge about German Shepherds with the world, and I encourage all future dog owners to consider one as a companion as well. Read my story here.

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