A blend of the two most popular dog breeds, a German Shepherd and a Golden Retriever, a Golden Shepherd is a family-oriented dog that has the intelligence and energy level of a German Shepherd and the social skills and love of a Golden Retriever.
A German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix is the best of both their breeds. Growing to be about 20-27” (50.8-68.58 cm) and 60-85 lbs (27.2-38.5 kg), this beautiful dog breed tends to live about 10-14 years depending on genetic and day to day health. Often seen with a tan or gold coat color and featuring ears, tails, and muzzles in a tan or black, this distinctive dog is a common favorite of modern families. Their double coats can be either coarse or smooth and they have long, multi-layered fur that often comes in multiple colors. This breed is all about intelligence and energy, making it a popular choice for active families.
What do Golden Shepherds look like?
One of the most interesting details about a Golden Retriever and German Shepherd mix is that there are all sorts of variations that you can expect in their coat colour as well as even combinations between the breed colours and patterns. Each puppy is distinct and a subtle blend of their family line, making them fascinating to those who enjoy colour and genetic blends!
Generally, your Golden Shepherd has long, smooth and dense fur that is a blend of their parents’ colours and marking. You’ll want to check their parents to make sure that you like their colourings for this reason. Typically, their coats will be either tan, cream or beige, black or even blue. While their coats can be a solid colour (popular with those that are beige), many often fluctuate between all of these hues in varying levels of their coats.
Since their fur tends to be medium-length at the shortest, and their double coats will shed a lot (especially in the spring and fall), you’ll find these dogs to be medium to heavy shedders.
Another fascinating fact about the appearance of these distinctive dogs is that their ears can either fold down or stand up! Since it depends on which parent’s genetics are strongest, it will vary from pup to pup. It can make for an adorably big-eared puppy too.
German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix personality and temperament
As already mentioned, Golden Shepherds are the best of both of these two dog breeds. You’ll find that this makes for an easy-going and loyal, loving dog overall. You can expect a fun blend goofy meets loyal and intellectual meets stubborn!
Your very best friend
All in all, most Golden Shepherds are especially energetic dogs. They love to be moving from dawn til dusk and will want to be your very best friend and keep you company in everything that you do. Yes, they’ll want to come to the bathroom with you, too!
Golden Shepherds are also especially loyal and protective. They make great watchdogs and will keep a close eye on your other pets, your kids and household members to make sure that no one is getting into trouble or under threat. They don’t tend to be very noisy dogs, all in all, though they will alert their favorite human if someone new and strange is coming up to the house or to the family!
Can be sulky babies
Because these dogs love you so very much, you’ll find that they are incredibly social. This means that they’ll follow you or a household member everywhere possible, and it also means they’ll need a lot of one-one time, too. Lots of cuddles, snuggles, pets and playtimes, even. They are needy and won’t be happy unless they are right as close as they can get to you.
On that note, Golden Shepherds are prone to separation anxiety when left alone for more than a few hours. This makes it challenging for those busy families with a lot of after-school and other life commitments that don’t include your doggo.
Love to be outdoors
Since they have so much German Shepherd in them, these sweet doggos tend to be popular for those who live especially active lives, particularly those who are outdoor fanatics! Golden Shepherds absolutely adore being outside, especially when it is winter and they can play in the snow. For those families that love to camp, hike and explore the world around them, a Golden Shepherd will be with you every step of the way — and loving it!
Easy to train
Another feature of these dogs that you’ll love is that they tend to be really easy to train. This can include the basic puppy training with “go pee”, “stay” and more, but also advanced training that you see with a lot of dog training contests. Golden Shepherds are very intelligent and, combined with their loving personalities, love to please their favorite humans through advanced commands and training.
What is the life expectancy of a German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix?
As you may already know, the larger the dog breed, the shorter their lifespan. This is simply because larger dogs have more health issues with their bones than smaller dogs. While this mixed dog breed is still relatively new when it comes to statistics, you can expect your dog to live between 10-14 years. You’ll learn more below about how to help him get the most years possible at your side.
As far as a cause of death is concerned — a tough topic, we know — Golden Shepherds tend to die mostly of cancer (especially females) or complications related to their breed-specific health risks (more on that later). As you will learn, the more your prioritize your pooch’s health from the first year and up, the longer they will be able to be your family dog. Speaking of families…
Is a German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix a good family dog?
This mixed dog breed makes a wonderful family dog, mostly because both parent breeds are thought to be especially great family dogs. These doggos are great with kids, other animals and are sure to blend in with the modern family in their indoor and outdoor activities.
Golden Shepherds are loyal, protective and sociable. Since they love humans, they’ll enjoy being playmates for children of all ages and even other animals (more detail on that later). However, your doggo will also keep a close eye on your children and make sure they are safe from threats of all kinds, which can be a relief for parents!
Thanks to their Golden Retriever roots, the doggos are great with strangers, adjusting their reaction to your needs. While they will alert you to new people coming up your driveway or those who are coming towards your household members, they’ll look to you for direction. If you show them that they aren’t threats then your pooch will be the picture-perfect dog that will be friendly and welcoming to the newcomers. If you are wary or uncomfortable, they’ll act the part of the guard dog and warn them away while you get to safety. A true helping hand for those who love the extra support.
If you enjoy camping or hiking and your kids love playing in the snow in the backyard, this doggo will fit right in! They’ll explore everywhere with you and will fit in with any situation. For this reason, they tend to be great dogs to travel with.
While they are especially wonderful family dogs, as noted, you’ll want to be careful with training and socialization. This is especially so when it comes to other dogs or household pets. The German Shepherd in their heritage can sometimes make them protective and territorial and often can come out in aggressive behaviors towards other pets (ie: threats to their favorite humans). However, as long as they are carefully socialized with other pets — both in the household as well as around the neighborhood, etc — they get along well with other animals.
How to properly take care of a German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix dog
One very important detail with adding a Golden Shepherd to your family is that this is often not the best doggo for those who have never owned a pooch before. While they come from fantastic genetics in both parent breeds, these dogs are high energy and take a lot of focus for training, socialization and exercise. Experienced dog owners will be able to transition smoothly to keeping up with a Golden Shepherd, but newbie pet parents can often find it overwhelming. From newbie to the professional pet parent, however, here are some tips to help you take proper care of your new furry addition.
Feeding and diet
Active and always on the go, you’ll need to prioritize a properly balanced diet with your doggo. This will keep him is healthy and active self but also make sure that he is getting his proper portions and minerals, vitamins and everything else that he needs. Just like any other pet, you’ll want to make sure you get a vet-approved brand and that you follow the portion recommendations for size and age. Since Golden Shepherds can be known food hogs, you’ll probably find it easier to feed them in two meals a day rather than letting them free-feed.
As we’ve already talked about, these doggos are especially active and energetic. A quick walk around the block daily isn’t going to cut it. You’ll find that this doggo is most happy when he is camping or hiking with you. He’ll love to take on the world and explore all sorts of new sights and sounds that are waiting for him without fear or anxiety.
An average Golden Shepherd, when full-grown and fed properly, should have at least 1 hour of active exercise. This could be an hour-long walk around your neighborhood or a good hike with lots of challenging terrains. You can combine that with playtime (especially with the kids) and racing around the backyard, too. Basically, the more exercise that your doggo gets, the happier he’ll be.
As well, a dog who exercises properly will be less likely to get bored and destroy belongings or toys. If you notice that he is in a destructive patch, it could possibly be because he needs more stimulation with you!
Common health problems
Unfortunately, with the good from his parents, also comes the potential for bad for your beloved doggo. Golden Shepherds, while still new, can have a few health problems associated with their mixed dog breed.
The most common one is hip dysplasia. While it can appear in the elbows, the most common is hip dysplasia. This is when the joint does not fit properly into its socket and causes irritation and varying levels of pain for the joint when moving. Most dogs will develop this as they age and it can get painful as they get older, especially since these weak joints are prone to arthritis and other common issues with elderly pooches.
A vet can help with dysplasia or the hip or elbow by having regular check-ups and making recommendations on proper exercise habits, diets and scans. This can help your pooch enjoy many years without complications and careful control of symptoms if it develops.
A second popular health issue with this breed is digestive problems. Some will have sensitive stomachs and others may have bloat. In either case, a proper diet is important. A pooch with a sensitive stomach may be a fussy eater, especially, so your vet will work with you to recommend proper food brands that’ll be comfortable for him to eat but still make sure he’s meeting his daily nutrition goals.
Cancer is another popular issue for Golden Shepherds. The particular kind of cancer will vary depending on your doggo, though most can expect bone-related cancer, aka osteosarcoma.
Since your doggo has so much fur, he’ll need proper grooming to help him stay healthy. You should aim to groom him once a week at least, though you may need to look at grooming him twice a week during the spring and fall seasons, as he is blowing his coat and will shed excessively!
Since Golden Retrievers can be prone to skin issues such as dermatitis, proper grooming will promote better blood circulation, which is good for strong fur and skin. The stronger the fur is, the more it can protect that sensitive skin. Also, proper grooming is great for making sure that you can detect a problem such as dry or inflamed skin, or balding spots as soon as they start. Since these can be indicators of a more serious problem, the sooner you catch them the better!
Regular bathing is also great for these doggos. Once a month is a great goal and it can help safely cleanse your dog’s fur without washing away all of the natural oils that the fur disperses to give it its strength. You’ll just want to make sure that you use a vet-approved shampoo for your doggo!
Because of their shedding and a general need for grooming and bathing, Golden Shepherds aren’t recommended for those with dog allergies. However, allergic reactions can be managed with proper grooming and bathing techniques — assuming you’re not the one doing the grooming!
How to train a German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix
Training is crucial to keeping this mix breed happy, healthy, active and engaged in all different stages of his life. Training can also mean many things for your pooch, so it’s best to know what you’re up for!
While you can teach an old dog new tricks — relevant to those who adopt an older Golden Shepherd — it’s much easier to start with a puppy and get him used to proper training from his puppyhood. Training helps your pooch understand that you are in charge and that he should always look to you for direction. Since doggos are pack animals, he will find comfort and safety in you being the alpha. This helps him feel much more secure in the training that you give him, too!
Generally, you can start with basic commands in training your puppy as soon as you bring him home from the breeder/shelter (8-10 weeks of age).
Prioritize normal commands
It’s tempting to want to jump to those fancy tricks that you know Golden Shepherds can do, but you have to take a Karate Kid-esque approach. Teach the basic commands first and make sure that you are careful not to expect too much, too fast.
Golden Shepherds are especially intelligent and fast learners, but a young puppy will still take some time and repetition when training. Be kind and loving, always, and reinforce good behavior rather than negative behavior.
As your puppy gets used to the basic commands and looks to you for more, you can start a more advanced training program if you want. This could include advanced tricks such as going to get the newspaper or slippers, etc. Your doggo wants nothing more than to please you, so he’ll be happy to learn whatever you wish to teach him!
Socialize and train as a watchdog
As we’ve said before, Golden shepherds can sometimes be a little cooler towards other animals in the house. You’ll want to really focus on socialization with other animals and pets, as well as in dog parks, on adventures any anywhere else where he can explore other animals and understand that they are nothing to fear or perceive as a threat
Due to their parental heritage, Golden Shepherds make great watchdogs and/or guard dogs. Through proper tricks and focused training, you can train him as either or of these roles and you’ll find him to be pretty responsive to it! Not only does he aim to please you, but he is also naturally protective, loyal and loving towards guarding your loved ones and property. This makes him a great candidate.
A watchdog is one who will watch for a problem and then alert you to it. At that point, he’ll wait for your command and will act defensively only if he has to (Ie: self-defence). A guard dog will alert you to the problem and will attack on command. If you aren’t around, he will also act to defend your property and loved ones on your behalf. Generally, a guard dog is more aggressive towards intruders than a watchdog. The best way to think of it is this: a watchdog is a security camera whereas a guard dog is a security guard.
A note on advanced dog training and watch/guard dog training
While basic puppy training (sit, stay, etc) is recommended for all puppies and a key part to helping them grow up with healthy boundaries and expectations, anything above that should be on a personality-based schedule.
Basically, only train in roles that you doggo enjoys doing! Maybe you want to train him to bring you your slippers every morning. Or, to open doorknobs. But, maybe he doesn’t like that! Maybe he’d prefer to run through tunnels and through a training course instead. While you don’t necessarily have to do the latter option, it’s important to force him to do the former option, either. Your doggo has needs and wants he should never be forced into doing anything he truly doesn’t enjoy doing. He’ll only associate you with the bad activity and this can create distrust as well as aggression towards you.
This is especially relevant when looking to train your Golden Shepherd as a guard dog. While most doggos in this mixed breed will be okay with being a more active guard dog, some won’t. This comes back to their heritage. German Shepherds make excellent guard dogs as they tend to be slightly more aggressive. However, Golden Retrievers are loving towards most strangers. So, your doggo may have more Golden Retriever in him and, as a result, may feel uncomfortable actively attacking someone who is invading, even on your command. In this case, he could be a better watchdog than a guard dog. Make sure you respect your doggo’s wishes in this situation as well.
A Golden Shepherd is an incredible dog with brilliant markings and a great love for families and active life. If all of those things sound like you, this could be the best doggo to add as a furry family member!