Possibly the best thing about being a vet assistant is working with all kinds of animals. In my two years of working as an assistant for a local vet, I have met so many amazing animals as well as their dedicated pet parents. I have come to love all kinds of animals especially dogs.
I look forward to taking care of different dog breeds but what I love most is to meet mixed dog breeds. One interesting mixed breed is the Australian Shepherd Lab mix, a unique breed that is known for its impressive wit and loyalty.
A mixed breed like the Lab Australian Shepherd comes with special requirements compared to its purebred parent breed. This is a guide that will help pet parents understand what an Australian Shepherd mixed with Lab is and how to care for it on a daily basis. This guide will also provide a background on the behavior and temperament of this mixed breed. We’re sure that your puppy will be a happy, healthy and lovable dog with the right care and attention.
Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
The Australian Shepherd Lab is a designer mixed breed dog. It is the product of breeding two powerful dog breeds namely a purebred Australian Shepherd and a purebred Labrador Retriever. These breeds are smart, energetic, loyal and fun-loving. These breeds love their masters and will love to be around people as well.
It would be difficult to tell what your puppy’s characteristics and behavior would be. It’s best to wait for your puppy to grow and mature to find out its true nature. It will also help if you consider the characteristics, as well as the temperament of its parent, breeds to get an idea of what your dog would be when he grows up.
The Australian Shepherd breed is a dog that has been trained to herd, guard and protect sheep. Contrary to its name, the Australian Shepherd is not from Australia. It was initially bred in the United States in the early 19th century to take care of livestock. Aussies are very talented dogs and are mostly the star of rodeos, talent shows, horse shows, and television shows.
Labrador Retrievers were initially used to retrieve fish by fishermen in Newfoundland, Canada. The breed was soon brought to the UK where it was used to retrieve fowl and for its fantastic ability as a waterdog. Labs were used by royalty and aristocrats to extract their prey and were soon used as hunting dogs. Nowadays, Labs are used in a variety of roles including service dogs and rescue dogs because of their amazing talent and natural temperament.
Therefore it rests assured that your Lab Australian Shepherd pup is active, talented, easy to train and loyal. As long as you provide the best care, nutrition, and attention, your cute little dog will grow up into a healthy, obedient and loveable pet.
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Get an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
- This Mixed Breed Needs Constant Stimulation
An essential part of this dog’s everyday life is mental and physical stimulation. This dog lives and breathes energy and will want to play, run, explore and have fun. If you are the type who can’t keep up with this mixed breed’s energy, then this is not the ideal dog for you.
- This Mixed Breed Requires A Large Area To Play And Learn
This dog needs a large yard or access to a playground or park because it lacks an ample space to run, play and move around. If you live in a small apartment, condominium or a small home then this is not the ideal breed for you.
- This Mixed Breed Dog Sheds A Lot
The Australian Shepherd Lab will shed a lot. You can make another dog with all the fur you’ll collect when you sweep or vacuum your furniture and floor. If you have pet allergies or you can’t stand a lot of hair, then this mixed breed is not for you.
3 Reasons Why You Should Get a Labrador Mixed with Australian Shepherd
1. This Mixed Breed Dog Is Highly-Intelligent
Both the Lab and the Australian Shepherd dogs are, and therefore you can count on this dog to learn new tricks fast. It can even perform more complicated tricks when given the right training. You must train your pet daily, or if you wish, you can have a professional train your dog.
2. This Mixed Breed Dog Will Be Your Loyal Companion
The Labrador and the Aussie Shepherd breed are very loyal to their masters. They can detect what their owners can feel and will protect them with their life. You can also count on a Lab Australian Shepherd to guard property as well as other pets in your home.
3. This Mixed Breed Dog Is Your Training Buddy
The Australian Shepherd mixed with a Lab breed has endless energy and will keep you company when you train. It will help you get fit by running, jogging, swimming and playing. You won’t find a training buddy as active as this mixed breed dog.
Appearance, Personality, and Traits of a Lab Australian Shepherd Mix
|Weight||40 to 65 pounds|
|Height||21.5 to 24.5 inches|
|Coat Type||Double coat|
|Coat Color||Multi-color or solid color|
|Amount of Shedding||Moderate to high|
|Temperament||Friendly, happy and energetic|
|Life Expectancy||15 years|
|New Owners Friendly||Yes|
You will be able to tell what your Australian Shepherd Lab mix pup will be when he matures by looking at the appearance of its parent breeds. The Australian Shepherd breed and the Lab breeds are medium-sized dogs, and therefore you can expect your pup to be medium as well.
Your Lab Australian Shepherd mix is a dog that will be around 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall. Its weight may be from 40 to 65 pounds as an adult.
The size and weight of an Australian Shepherd mixed with a Lab dog will depend on the height and weight of its parent breeds.
Both the Australian Shepherd and Lab breeds come with double coats with a weather-resistant top layer plus a warm undercoat that will keep it warm despite weather changes. This durable coat will also protect your dog as it swims or when it rains.
When it comes to appearance, Labrador Retrievers have three shades such as yellow, chocolate and black. There are also silver or white are variations of the three basic colors. Meanwhile, Australian Shepherds are available in four colors like red, black, red merle and blue merle.
Labs have broad chests and have elbows that are closer to their ribs. Labs have eyes that are brown or hazel; however, some Labs have different colors.
Meanwhile, Aussies have broad chests, and the lowest point of the chest reach the elbow. Aussies come with eyes that are amber, blue or brown. Their tails are bobbed or cropped.
The combination of the two breeds will make the appearance of an Australian Shepherd Lab. If the dog has a more prominent Aussie gene, then it will look more like an Australian Shepherd and vice versa.
The following dog organizations and dog breed registries recognize the Lab Australian Shepherd mixed dog breed:
- Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA)
- American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC)
- Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC)
- International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR)
Australian Shepherd Mixed with Labrador Puppies for Sale
Usually, people who want to have an Australian Shepherd Lab puppy as a pet will try their luck with an online breeder. When you are looking for a breeder, trust only a company with good standing. The Pet Professional Guild will help you locate a reputable breeder in your local area.
Get to know your future dog better by talking to the breeder. Ask about the health and the temperament of both parent breeds. The breeder should be able to present the health clearances of the parent dogs. As much as possible, the breeder should show that the parent dogs were crossed to create an Australian Shepherd Lab mix.
The following online pet sites have ads for Australian Shepherd mixed with Lab pups or dogs.
- PuppyFind.com (International)
- NextDayPets.com (International)
- Adopt-a-Pet.com (United States)
- Petfinder.com (United States and Canada)
- Green Field Puppies (United States)
It may seem that it is easier to find an Australian Shepherd Lab mix from a breeder. However, it is still better to get your next dog from the pound or a local shelter. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends adopting dogs from the shelter instead of buying one or using the services of a breeder.
Grooming Your Australian Shepherd Crossed with Lab
An Australian Shepherd Lab mix needs weekly brushing to remove tangles and to keep its coat clean and healthy. Both the Australian Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever have moderately-long fur so expect a lot of shedding especially during shedding season or when it’s warm.
There are many brushes available for dogs with this kind of coat. A natural brush with natural bristles and a sturdy handle is the best tool to keep your dog’s fur clean and healthy.
You must have a good vacuum cleaner which will let you remove all pet hair from your sofa, carpets and car seats. Use a lint remover to remove fur from your clothes especially when your dog loves to be with you.
Bathing is essential for all kinds of dogs, but you must only do this when your dog is dirty. Unnecessary bathing can cause dryness and irritation and should not be done every day.
Australian Shepherd Lab mixed breeds should use only natural shampoo products to support coat health and shine. The following products are perfect for this dog.
- Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
Earthbath has a natural formula that will effectively clean dirty and stinky dogs. It does not contain dangerous ingredients like parabens, phosphates, perfumes, gluten, and SLS/SLES and other natural ingredients.
It comes with oatmeal and aloe to remove itching and re-moisturizes your dog’s coat and hair. It lathers well but does not contain soap. It has a fantastic vanilla and almond extracts to make your dog sweet-smelling all day long.
- Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo
The ingredients of Burt’s Bees are plant-derived and therefore will never irritate skin. It comes with oatmeal and homey that can soothe dry skin and bring back the moisture content of skin. This shampoo is safe and gentle so you can use this regularly.
- Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control Shampoo & Conditioner
Your pet will love the all-natural formula of this shampoo. It is made from 100% plant material and is free from gluten, sulfates, artificial color and scents and other ingredients that can cause irritation and allergies.
You must use a good nail clipping tool to maintain the length of your dog’s nails. Clean your dog’s ears regularly. You may also take your dog to a groomer once a month if you want his coat professionally maintained.
Australian Shepherd Labrador Health Problems
Your Lab Australian Shepherd mixed breed can inherit the health issues of its parent breeds. One such problem is the merle gene. Dogs which have two copies of the merle gene can be afflicted with eye diseases as well as deafness.
A Labrador does not come with merle; therefore a mix like your Lab Australian Shepherd will not inherit two merle genes.
Your Lab Australian Shepherd Lab mix may be affected by the following health issues.
- Cruciate ligament rupture
- Eye problems like cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and retinal dysplasia
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
To make sure that your pup is healthy, take it to the vet the moment it arrives home. It should be tested against the genes that cause hereditary cataracts.
Lab Australian Shepherd Mix Food Requirements
Your Lab Australian Shepherd should eat only natural and high-quality food. He must receive nutrition that is ideal for its build and weight. As much as possible, your dog should maintain a perfect and healthy weight. Additional weight can put extra pressure on your dog’s spine and can also cause some health issues.
Giving your dog treats is the number one cause of obesity and being overweight. If you want to train your dog and reward it for good behavior, use positive reinforcement instead.
The following dog food is the best for Australian Shepherd Lab mix breeds:
1. Blue Buffalo Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
The Blue Buffalo contains deboned chicken, its primary protein source. It is also made from brown rice, sweet potatoes, apples, spinach, carrots and more. It also comes with vitamins, minerals, and supplements that can help your dog burn fat more efficiently.
2. Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This dog food is for dogs with sensitive stomachs plus coat and skin conditions. It does not contain coarse grains but is made from wholesome ingredients and has a high-protein formula. It is the best food for highly-energetic dogs that are prone to digestive problems.
3. Canidae Grain-Free Pure Sky Dog Food
This mixed breed may come with digestive issues and allergies; therefore, this dog food may help your dog reduce these medical conditions. This is a high-protein mix that’s perfect for highly active dogs. This will help maintain muscle mass and healthy digestion.
Not all human food is good for dogs. Some human foods contain ingredients that can upset your dog’s stomach and can cause allergies. Avoid the following food as much as possible:
- Chicken bones or cooked chicken bones
- Chocolate, coffee, and tea
- Grapes or raisins
- Onions, chives, and garlic
- Salty foods and junk food
Australian Shepherd crossed with Lab Exercise Requirements
You must be ready for the energetic and fun-loving Australian Shepherd mixed with a Lab. This dog needs you for mental and physical stimulation. It requires a lot of time for exercise and play. If this is not met, your dog could become bored and could become destructive.
Activities, like running, jogging, Frisbee and fetch, are good activities to do every day. Take your dog to a playground or dog park where you can play with your dog in a safe environment.
This mixed breed loves to swim owing to its Labrador Retriever roots. You can take this to a lake or dog pool where it can master its diving, fetching and retriever talents.
Invest in the following durable toys for your dog.
West Paw Design Zogoflex Bumi Tug-o-War Dog Play Toy
Your dog will hold one end, and you pull the other end and see who wins. This rope toy is durable and will never break or tear. Your dog will love to play with this toy again and again.
Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy
This dog toy is durable and easy to use. You can play all kinds of games indoors or outdoors with this durable toy.
Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball Dog Toy
Durable and will last forever, this ball dog toy is made from rubber and is safe for your dogs. You can play catch, fetch or any game or play outdoors with this soft toy.
Australian Shepherd mixed with Labrador Training
The Lab crossed with an Australian Shepherd is a brilliant mixed breed dog. It is straightforward to train this dog, and with the following techniques, you can prepare this breed quickly, efficiently and safely.
1. Give Your Dog Positive Reinforcement
Food treats can cause obesity and other medical conditions which can cause the life and health of your dog. Instead of treats, offer encouraging words, pats, and hugs and play with your dog. You may also provide his favorite toy instead of treats.
2. Early Training Is The Key
Your Australian Shepherd Lab puppy should be trained as early as possible. As soon as it arrives home, teach it house proofing rules. Show where he will eat, sleep and where it will find its food and water. Your little one may not get it right away, but with constant training, he will do just well.
3. Train In A Safe And Quiet Environment
The Lab is known for being too sensitive to sound and visual stimulation. Therefore it would be best to train your dog new tricks by doing this indoors or in a familiar and safe environment. You may train it in your backyard or indoors and then gradually move outdoors once he is more comfortable and less distracted.
A Lab Australian Shepherd dog may get professional training to become service dogs, herding dogs or guard dogs. An expert may train your dog for obedience training, protection training, attack training and other special tricks he can perform daily.
Australian Shepherd Lab Mix and Families
Lab Australian Shepherds love being with their owners and their families. This dog loves to please and will do all they can to put a smile on their pet parent’s faces.
But aside from its endearing and loving nature, it can also be used as a guard dog. This dog is brave and will guard its flock no matter what happens.
This dog loves to play with kids and will herd them if they are not herding sheep or livestock. This dog will be patient and will like to be with other dogs and pets at home.
The Lab Australian Shepherd should socialize with other dogs and people early. This should be done the soonest to prevent developing anti-social behaviors and aggression against people or other pets or dogs.
Your Australian Shepherd Lab pup will become a disciplined, happy and healthy dog when caring for it and train it early. It should be exposed to other pets soon and receive ample hours of exercise and training daily.
- Turnova, Evelina Hrckova, et al. “A Novel Mutation in the TYRP1 Gene Associated with Brown Coat Colour in the Australian Shepherd Dog Breed.” Animal Genetics, vol. 48, no. 5, 12 May 2017, pp. 626–626., doi:10.1111/age.12563.
- Heisler, Lora, and Lourdes Valencia-Torres. “Faculty of 1000 Evaluation for A Deletion in the Canine POMC Gene Is Associated with Weight and Appetite in Obesity-Prone Labrador Retriever Dogs.” F1000 – Post-Publication Peer Review of the Biomedical Literature, 8 Feb. 2016, doi:10.3410/f.726342840.793520381.
- Walton, Joel, and Eve Adamson. Labrador Retrievers for Dummies. Wiley Publishing, 2007.
- Schwartz, Charlotte. Australian Shepherd. Kennel Club Books, 2009.