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What Is A Golden Shepherd: The Golden Retriever-German Shepherd Mix

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Golden retrievers and German shepherds are two of the most popular dog breeds in the world.

Both are medium-to-large dogs that are highly intelligent, easy to please, and great with families, it was only a matter of time before someone created the golden shepherd by mixing these two breeds.

But what can you expect if you decide to adopt one of these amazing dogs into your family?

Read on as I take you through exactly what you can expect from a golden retriever-German shepherd mix, including their size, appearance, temperament, and the care they need to thrive.

Is the golden shepherd the right dog for you? Learn more below!

Golden Shepherd

Essential Statistics

  • Breed: Mix of golden retriever and German shepherd
  • Height: 21 – 26 inches
  • Weight: 50 – 90 pounds
  • Coat Type: Medium-long high shedding coat
  • Colors: Black, cream, white, gold, yellow, brown, chocolate, liver
  • Lifespan: 7 – 12 year lifespan
  • Temperament: Highly intelligent, easy to train, playful, friendly, does well with families
  • Exercise: High energy and exercise needs

History Of The Breed

Golden retrievers were first bred in the United Kingdom to retrieve shot waterfowl.

Their soft mouths allow them to retrieve ducks and other games without damaging them. What’s more, they love the water and are excellent swimmers.

As a highly intelligent breed that is eager to please and with a naturally good nature and understanding of how to act around children, goldens have been popular working dogs since the 1970s, and you will often see them working in search and rescue and disability assistance.

German shepherds, also known as Alsatians, were first bred in Germany just before the start of the 20th century as herding dogs.

When natural sheep predators began to die out in Germany at the start of the 20th century, German shepherds were taught to do other kinds of work.

While German shepherds are not an aggressive breed, they developed a bad reputation in the 20th century when the German Nazi army started using them as working dogs.

The breed was also adopted by gangsters and bootleggers in the United States.

Fortunately, today, their reputation is largely recuperated, and they are often seen working with police and in roles such as search and rescue.

Golden shepherds were first bred around 2009.

The intention with this mixed breed was to create a dog with the courage, quickness, and alertness of the German shepherd but also with the good nature of the golden retriever, which is also intelligent, highly trainable, and easy to please.

The results are excellent working dogs and family pets.

Golden Shepherd Size And Appearance

Since golden retrievers and German shepherds are both of similar size and build, the golden shepherd’s size and weight are fairly predictable.

Golden retrievers are usually 21 to 25 inches tall and will usually be the mother in a first-generation golden shepherd coupling.

They weigh 55 to 75 pounds. German shepherds are slightly larger, measuring 22 to 26 inches tall and weighing 50 to 90 pounds.

As you would expect, their golden shepherd offspring measure 21 to 26 inches tall and weigh 50 to 90 pounds on average.

Both parent dog breeds have medium-to-long coats that are known to be high-shedding, so you can expect the same from a golden shepherd.

Being a mixed breed, they can come in an extensive range of colors, including black, cream, white, gold, yellow, brown, chocolate, and liver, and they will often be bicolor.

The color of their coat tends to be highly unpredictable in the first generation.

Because they are high-shedding, they do need regular grooming, which means brushing at least once a week to keep shedding under control.

Still, there is no escaping all that dog hair, and you will definitely need to invest in a good vacuum cleaner.

The way their facial features will develop is less predictable since they are still a new breed and breeders are still learning to control for desirable features.

They will certainly have a fairly long muzzle, but it could be more pointed like a German shepherd’s or more rounded like a golden retriever’s.

They can also either have the pointed ears of a German shepherd or the drooping ears of a golden retriever. Either way, they are sure to be a gorgeous pup!

Golden Shepherd Temperament And Intelligence

Golden retrievers are known for being playful and friendly dogs that love everyone they meet and therefore make terrible guard dogs. 

Despite their reputations for being “tough” dogs, German shepherds have a very similar temperament.

They are playful and loyal to the family with whom they have developed a bond.

While they can be wary of strangers or anything that seems out of place, they are more likely to alert you with a bark than attack.

You can expect a golden shepherd to be playful and friendly, but a little bit warier of strangers than your standard golden retriever.

Both parent breeds are highly intelligent and eager to please. German shepherds, in particular, are also independent thinkers and problem solvers.

This means golden shepherds are easy to train, as they learn new commands quickly and enjoy the rewards that come with completing them, but they are also good at knowing what is required of them in new circumstances.

Golden shepherds, like both of their parent breeds, are incredibly loyal and will want to be around their people all the time, whether that is out and about, or curled up on the couch at home.

They won’t like being banished to another room while the rest of the family is together.

This also means they don’t do well when they are left alone for extended periods of time while everyone is at school or work.

This can lead to frustration and destructive behavior.

They are naturally protective of children, and despite being large breed dogs, they are very aware of their own size and strength and know how to play gently with children.

However, it could be a struggle to have this breed with very young children, as they have lots of playful energy, and this can be overwhelming for smaller folks.

Golden Shepherd Energy And Exercise

Golden shepherds, like both their parent breeds, are high-energy dogs. This is part of the reason why they can work for hours at a time–they just don’t get tired.

These dogs need healthy ways to use their energy so they don’t become frustrated.

Additionally, golden shepherds need at least an hour of fairly intense exercise each day.

This means running around the dog park and sniffing everything, playing catch, and going for a swim rather than just a casual walk.

They should be getting less exercise as puppies, despite their apparent energy, as too much exercise can undermine their proper development.

While they are growing, they should have about five minutes of exercise per day per month of age.

So at four months, they need 20 minutes of exercise each day, and at six months, they need half an hour. 

As adult dogs, they will love joining you on longer adventures, such as hikes and boat trips, and will have no problem keeping up.

Bear in mind that, while they are natural swimmers, if you go out on a boat, they should be wearing a flotation vest.

While your golden shepherd is unlikely to be happy if they aren’t allowed in the house with you, they still need access to an outdoor area to call their own.

As well as formal exercise, they need to be able to move around and play throughout the day, and a decent-sized backyard is the best thing for this.

Golden Shepherd Health Concerns

Of course, when you adopt a dog into your family, you will want to closely monitor and care for their health.

This means ensuring they are vaccinated for all the most transmissible canine diseases, such as Parvo, protection against fleas and ticks, and proper dental care, which ideally means daily brushing.

But certain dog breeds are also more susceptible to certain health conditions than others.

With mixed breeds, they could be less susceptible to some of the most common ailments of their parent breeds, or they could be more susceptible to certain conditions.

The best thing to do is inform yourself about the common health issues for both parent breeds and monitor your puppy for all of them.

This means for golden shepherds, you will want to be on the lookout for:

  • Elbow and hip dysplasia, common in both parent breeds
  • Eye conditions, common in both parent breeds
  • Bloating (gastric dilation volvulus), common in both parent breeds
  • Epilepsy, common in German shepherds
  • Allergies, common in golden retrievers
  • Hypothyroidism, common in golden retrievers
  • Degenerative myelopathy hemangiosarcoma, common in German shepherds
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, common in German shepherds

Of course, just because some dog breeds are more susceptible to these conditions does not mean they will get any of them, and your golden shepherd could pass their entire 7-to-12-year lifespan without being affected by any of these.

But if you know the symptoms, you can catch any problems early and ensure a better quality of life for your dog.

One other health concern with both the parent breeds of golden shepherds is obesity. They love their food, and we love to reward them with delicious treats.

Watch your dog’s diet and ensure you are controlling their calories and feeding them foods rich in animal-based proteins and healthy animal fats.

Remember, every treat you give them also contains calories!

Also, never feed them off your own plate. They already tend to think they are human, and this can just lead to begging at the table and food theft!

Plus, a lot of the foods humans eat are toxic to dogs. This not only includes chocolate and fake sugar but also common kitchen staples such as onion and garlic.

Invest in good quality food for your dog and avoid giving them table scraps.

Should I Get A Golden Shepherd?

No doubt having read my guide you are interested in bringing a fantastic golden shepherd into your family.

These are the questions you should ask yourself to determine whether you are a good fit for this unique breed.

  • Do you have an active lifestyle? Your dog is going to need lots of exercise and is happiest when they can accompany their humans in energetic activities.
  • Are you out of the house a lot? Golden shepherds love company and need to be around their people most of the time. They need a home where there is usually someone about or where they can accompany someone to work.
  • Do you have much space? Golden shepherds thrive when they have space to use their energy, and they are fairly big, so they can make a small apartment feel claustrophobic.
  • Do you have pet hair allergies/issues? These dogs shed a lot, and there isn’t much you can do about it. Are you willing to accept dog hair as a part of life?
  • Are you a first-time owner? Golden shepherds are easy to train and control, so they are actually great choices for first-time owners.
  • Do you have kids or other pets? Golden shepherds are great around kids and other pets if they are properly socialized. But these big dogs with lots of energy could be challenging if you have very small children.

Let these questions guide you as to whether a golden shepherd is the right dog for you.

In short, if you are low on space, time, or energy, a different breed might be a better match.

How Much Does A Golden Shepherd Cost?

While golden shepherds are a relatively new breed, they are also very popular and not particularly difficult to breed, so you should be able to find puppies from a reputable breeder for $500 to $800.

If you find a breeder selling for less than this, be wary, as you may be dealing with a puppy mill.

You may also find golden shepherds in your local shelter because despite being amazing and pliable dogs, their energy attention and exercise needs often prove too much for some owners.

As well as the cost of a puppy, expect to spend around $1,500 in the first year on things such as equipment and veterinary bills.

You might spend around $1,000 per year after that for food and essential care.

Will You Adopt A Golden Shepherd?

What do you think of the golden shepherd?

Does it mix the best aspects of the German shepherd and golden retriever?

Is this the kind of dog you would like to adopt?

To recap, here are the breed’s main characteristics at a glance:

  • Breed: Mix of golden retriever and German shepherd
  • Height: 21 – 26 inches
  • Weight: 50 – 90 pounds
  • Coat Type: Medium-long high shedding coat
  • Colors: Black, cream, white, gold, yellow, brown, chocolate, liver
  • Lifespan: 7 – 12 year lifespan
  • Temperament: Highly intelligent, easy to train, playful, friendly, does well with families
  • Exercise: High energy and exercise needs

Remember, before buying or adopting a new dog, ensure your home and lifestyle are the right match for the breed you’re interested in bringing home.

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What Is A Golden Shepherd? - German Shepherd and Golden Retriever Mix

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