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German Shepherd Vs Labrador Retriever

LABRADOR RETRIEVER vs GERMAN SHEPHERD

CHARACTERISTICS

LABRADOR RETRIEVER

GERMAN SHEPHERD

Origin

Newfoundland, Canada

Germany

Size

Medium

Medium

Life-Span

10 to 12

10 to 13

Popularity (AKC)

#1

#2

Dog Breed Group

Sporting

Herding

Availability in India

Easily Available

Easily Available

Avg Price in India

₹12,000 to ₹17,000

₹14,000 to ₹24,000

Physical Attributes

Height: 21.5-24.5 inch

Weight: 24-36 Kg

Height: 22-26 inch

Weight: 22-40 Kg

Coat Colors

Yellow, Brown, Black

Black &Red, Black &Tan, Black &Silver

Apartment-Friendly

*****

***

Stranger Friendly

*****

**

Dog-Friendly

*****

**

Cat-Friendly

****

***

Child-Friendly

*****

*****

Exercise Needs

*****

****

Grooming Needs

*

***

Easy to Train

*****

*****

Good for Novice Owners

****

**

Barking Tendencies

***

**

Tolerance to Loneliness

**

**

Drooling Potential

***

*

Health Issues

****

****

Intelligence

*****

*****

Playfulness

*****

****

Shedding Potential

***

*****

Watchdog Ability

***

*****

Guard Dog Ability

*

*****

Heat Tolerance

***

***

Cold Tolerance

***

****

Guide Dog

Yes

Yes

Hypoallergenic

No

No

Litter Size

6 to 9

4 to 9

When writing an article titled Labrador Retriever Vs German Shepherd, one has to consider a lot of different aspects and characteristics of these breeds. These two (as you can see from the above table) are the most popular breeds that are currently present in this world (according to AKC). But apart from being exceptionally popular, both these breeds share quite a few similarities with one another which are as follows:

  1. Both these breeds are immensely friendly and kind with small kids.
  2. Both of them are highly intelligent and easy to train.
  3. Both have a similar lifespan.
  4. Both are very easily available in India.
  5. Both can be used as a guide dog or an assistance dog.

But regardless of similarities, these two breeds are fairly different from one another and there are several major differences between Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds. 

History:

There is a fairly interesting story as to how both these breeds came to fruition. Labradors were originally known as St. John's water dogs and they were named after the capital city of Newfoundland. These dogs used to help the local fishermen in their day to day tasks and their origin can be easily traced back to 1700s. German Shepherds, on the other hand, are not as old as Labrador Retrievers. They probably first came to life in the 1890s when a German cavalry officer named Captain Max Von Stephanitz brought a canine from a dog show which he was visiting in 1899. Max Von wanted to create a German breed that can become an exceptional herding dog. He named the canine that he brought Horand and after a while he starting mating it with other breeds, and because of this breeding, a new breed was formed which was given the name German Shepherds.

In case of Labrador Retrievers, it was the third Earl of Malmesbury who was the first to call these dogs as Labradors. These pooches were given the name Labrador so as to distinguish them from their Newfoundland brothers. And after serving the fishermen of Canada, these dogs moved to England where they prove to be immensely helpful to the English hunters. These dogs were excellent at retrieving the game that was shot by their hunter owners. GSDs had a fairly different past. After they began to mature as a breed, Max Von (their creator), decided to use them for military purposes. These dogs were extremely helpful during the first world war and they acted as guard dogs, search dogs, rescue dogs, messenger dogs, and red cross dogs. 

When it comes to recognition of these breeds by various kennel clubs, Labs were first recognized by English Kennel Club in the year 1903 and then later by AKC in 1917. GSDs, although were a fairly new breed at the time, were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908 who later in 1917 decided to change this breed's name to just Shepherd dog. English Kennel Club also renamed this breed as Alsatian Wolf Dog. But in 1931, AKC went back to using this breed's original name but that was not the case with British Kennel Club who referred to this breed as Alsatians until 1977. 

Appearance:

First of all, one of the most obvious differences between these two breeds on the basis of their appearance is the color that is present on their coats. While Labradors are mostly found in solid colors like Yellow, Black and Chocolate, GSD's are more commonly present in a combination of two different colors such as Black & Tan, Black & Red, and Black & Silver. 

Also one more difference that is based on the coat of both these breeds is that Labs generally have a short and smooth coat which is fairly easy to maintain, but German Shepherds, on the other hand, have a medium to long coat (as GSD's are also found in a long coated type) which is a bit more harder to maintain. 

Finally, both Labradors and German Shepherds have a medium-sized athletic body and they have fairly similar height and weight (Average height and weight of Labs and GSDs are 21.5-24.5 inches/24-36 kg and 22-26 inches/22-40 kg respectively), there are some major facial differences. Labs have a shorter muzzle as compared to GSD's, German Shepherds have erect and pointy ears while the Labradors have folded ears that hang close to their head. Labs also have a fairly broader forehead than the German Shepherds. 

Maintenance Needs:

There are quite a few similarities between the maintenance needs of both these breeds. Both Labs and GSDs require a great amount of regular exercise so as to remain healthy and contented. They both also like to play loads of games with their loved ones and that is why they both should be provided a fair amount of play sessions. These two canines also require a lot of attention of their close ones and they both don't like to live alone or by themselves for long periods of time.

Also, the feeding needs of these pooches are quite similar. They both require a nutritious and healthy diet that is rich in essential proteins and vitamins. A high-quality feeding material is very important for both of these dogs so as to maintain their health and fitness. Now coming back to the differences which are as follows:

Grooming Needs:

As Labs have a shorter and smoother coat, they require a lot less grooming than the German Shepherds who have a fairly long and dense coat. A labrador's coat is only needed to be brushed once every week while the German Shepherds are required to be brushed at least twice every week. Also, both these breeds shed in a fairly considerate manner, but GSD's are known to shed more regularly than the Labs and that is why their coat is again needed to be brushed during the shedding period. But apart from this, the bathing and cleaning needs are fairly similar of both these dogs.

Temperament:

Once again there are some similarities between these two breeds on the basis of their temperament and personality. Both German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers are extremely intelligent and smart, are fairly energetic and enthusiastic in nature and finally, they both are immensely loyal and faithful to their owners and family members. Also, these two breeds are great for children as well because they both remain highly kind and affectionate with them. But a lot of other temperamental traits are fairly different when comparing German Shepherds to Labradors.

Overall Friendliness:

Although both these pooches are very friendly towards kids, their overall friendliness differs a lot when analyzing their behavior towards other people and animals. Labs, on one hand, are tremendously sociable in nature and are highly friendly not only with their own family members but with strangers, other animals like dogs, cats et cetera as well. And that is why they are known to be complete family dogs. 

But German Shepherds are fairly different from the Labs in this regard. They are not very gregarious in nature and they are not very affectionate with other canines and cats. They are also highly protective of their owners and they don't trust strangers as well. But these pooches also make pretty efficient family dogs. 

Guarding Potential:

When it comes to comparing these dogs on the basis of guarding potential, then there should be no doubt in anyone' s mind who is a better guard dog? German Shepherds are known for their excellent guarding capabilities and are considered to be one of the best guard dogs that are present today. Labrador Retrievers, on the other hand, are pretty lousy guard dogs as they are highly kind and friendly with almost everyone. And while Labs can act as fairly decent watchdogs for their owners, they are again beaten in this department by the German Shepherds. 

Barking Potential:

Both Labs and GSDs are not known to be excessive barkers, but the Labrador Retrievers can bark a lot more than the GSDs. German Shepherds mostly vocalize when they are guarding their homes or when they want something from their owners, but apart from this, GSDs remain fairly quiet and calm most of the other times. 

Trainability:

While both Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds are pretty easy to train, the things that these canines can be used for later are fairly different. German Shepherds can be trained to become tremendous guard dogs, watchdogs, police dogs et cetera. Comparatively, Labradors cannot be trained to become effective guard dogs, but they do make up for that by being fairly efficient hunting dogs, therapy dogs, guide dogs et cetera. But both of them do also share a lot of similar jobs which are Narcotics detection, search and rescue and many more.

Health Problems:

Both Labs and GSDs are required to be taken to a veterinarian's clinic on a fairly frequent basis for general health and body check-ups so that these dogs remain healthy and disease free for as long as possible.

If we look at various health problems that both these canines can suffer from during their lifetime, then there are a lot of common diseases between these two dogs. These health problems can be Bloat, Cataract, Epilepsy, Hip and Elbow Dysplasia. But apart from these, there are various other health problems which can be exclusive to both these breeds. Labs generally suffer from Osteochondrosis Dissecans, Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia, and Ear Infections while German Shepherds are prone to Degenerative Myelopathy, Von Willebrand's Disease, and Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. 

Good For Indians:

Now after doing the detailed Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd comparison, if someone wants to know which dog is better? Is it Labrador or German Shepherd, then the answer is purely subjective. Both Labs and GSDs have their own fair share of pros and cons in regards to being a house pet. Both these canines have a decent heat tolerance, both are fairly adjustable in nature and both are easily available in India and are fairly priced. But it depends on the future owner what he mainly wants in his pet dog. If he's looking for an easygoing dog who is highly friendly with everyone and who has a loving and affectionate personality, then a Labrador Retriever might be a good option for him, but if he wants an efficient guard dog who can not only keep him safe but his house and property as well and who will remain immensely loyal and faithful to its owner, then a German Shepherd is probably a better choice. Hence it only depends on the needs and requirements of a particular owner.