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German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix – A Perfect Family Dog?

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Have you thought about getting a German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix? German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are two of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.

With the Golden Retriever German Shepherd mix, also known as a Golden Shepherd, you get the best of two great breeds.

In theory, a hybrid dog would get half of its genes from each parent and be a perfect blend of the breeds. In reality, a mixed breed dog may get more traits from one parent or the other. That makes it impossible to predict which traits a hybrid puppy will get.

Having said that, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are both loyal, friendly, and intelligent dog breeds.. A German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix should have those qualities, too.

Let’s learn more about this amazing mixed breed. It might become your new best friend.

German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix: Meet the Parents

Since the Golden Shepherd is a cross between two breeds, they can have any characteristics of either breed. To better understand the Golden Retriever German Shepherd mix, let’s talk about the parent breeds.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

The second-most-popular dog breed in America, the German Shepherd is loyal, intelligent, and friendly. Originally bred for herding, then military use, they are great all-around dogs who will do nearly anything you ask.

Physical Characteristics 

German Shepherds have a regal outline, with a pointy snout, erect ears, and a sloped back. They have thick fur that sheds quite a bit. They shed a little bit year-round but will “blow” their undercoat seasonally.

The German Shepherd comes in both short-haired and long-haired varieties. They can be found in many different colors, including:

  • Black
  • Black and silver
  • White
  • Black and cream
  • Sable
  • Red
  • Black and red
  • Liver
  • Blue
  • Gray
  • Black and tan

German Shepherds stand as tall as 26” at the shoulder and can weigh up to 90 pounds or more. They have a lifespan of 7-10 years.


Until the late 19th century, every region of Germany had its own variety of sheepdog. In 1899, German Cavalry Captain Max von Stephanitz set out to create the best sheepdog in all of Germany. When technology started replacing the need for sheepdogs, he focused his efforts on creating an excellent military and police dog.

Stephanitz used his connections to convince the military to use his dog breed in a variety of different capacities. In World War I, German Shepherds served as rescuers, guards, Red Cross dogs, messengers, sentries, and supply carriers.

After the war, an American corporal brought home a young German Shepherd puppy. He trained the dog well, and he became the famous Rin Tin Tin. Rin Tin Tin starred in 26 movies and helped make the GSD famous in America.

Since World War II, American breeders have focused more on looks, while European breeders have focused more on function. As a result, American German Shepherds often have more health problems and shorter lifespans.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

The third-most-popular dog breed in the United States is the Golden Retriever. This dog has a goofy, happy-go-lucky personality and a need to please their people. They’re a popular breed for families with kids since Goldens are so gentle.

Physical Characterstics

Golden Retrievers come in “golden” coat colors ranging in shade from white or cream to dark red. Their medium length hair sheds quite a bit and is straight or wavy. Their fur can become tangled, especially behind their ears.

The Golden Retriever stands up to 24” high at the shoulder and weighs up to 65 pounds. Goldens are slightly smaller and much stockier than German Shepherds. Their drop ears are prone to infection.


The first Lord Tweedmouth, Dudley Marjoribanks, developed the Golden Retriever from 1840 to 1890. He wanted to create a gundog that would tolerate the rugged terrain and rainy weather. To do this, he mixed his “Yellow Retriever” with Irish Setters, Bloodhounds, and the extinct Tweed Water Spaniel.

Lord Tweedmouth kept detailed records of his breeding program. That makes the genetic history of the Golden better known than that of many other breeds.

Golden Retrievers quickly became popular in the United States thanks to their lovable personalities. The breed’s popularity exploded after President Gerald Ford brought his Golden, Liberty, to the White House.

The breed is now commonly used as a guide dog, service dog, therapy dog, and more.

Golden Retriever German Shepherd Mix Appearance

Golden Retriever German Shepherd mixes are hybrids rather than a purebred dog. That means we can’t accurately predict what each dog will look like. They may have fur that’s the texture of a German Shepherd with the color of a Golden Retriever, or vice versa.

A Golden Shepherd could be tall and skinny like a German Shepherd or short and stocky like a Golden. No matter how the parent genes combine, the result is likely to be adorable!

German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix Temperament

This mixed breed could inherit personality traits from either parent. Luckily, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers have similar personalities.

Both breeds are very intelligent and eager to please their families. The biggest difference is that Golden Retrievers tend to love everybody, while German Shepherds are more reserved. German Shepherds also tend to have more guarding tendencies than Golden Retrievers.

german shepherd golden retriever mix

Feeding a Golden Shepherd

You should pay careful attention to the ingredients in your Golden Shepherd’s food. Cheap dog food can lead to health problems. Look for food with whole meat as the first ingredient. Avoid by-products and artificial colors and preservatives.

A healthier diet may help prevent your Golden Shepherd from getting cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death for Golden Retrievers. Feed your German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix the best dog food you can.

german shepherd and golden retriever dogs

Exercising a German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix

Both parent breeds need a lot of exercise. That means a Golden Retriever German Shepherd mix will need a lot of exercise, too. Long walks twice a day may be enough, but running around a dog park or jogging alongside will be better.

Dogs who don’t get enough exercise tend to develop behavioral issues. If your dog is barking or chewing on things when left alone, they may need more exercise.

A Golden Shepherd may not be right for you if you can’t provide them with plenty of exercise. They will be happiest joining you on all your active adventures.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that large breed dogs shouldn’t get much vigorous exercise as puppies. Too much running as a puppy can put a strain on a Golden Shepherd’s joints as it grows. This can lead to joint pain down the road.

Training a Golden Retriever German Shepherd Mix

A German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix should be very intelligent and easy to train. Both parent breeds are intelligent and eager to please. Positive reinforcement training should start as soon as you bring your Golden Shepherd home.

Try not to get too crazy with treats when training your dog, and account for them when feeding your dog. Obesity causes a lot of health problems in dogs, so you want to keep your Golden Shepherd a healthy weight.

It’s important to reward your dog for good behavior rather than punish them for bad behavior. This makes your dog willing to please rather than afraid of you.

golden retriever german shepherd

German Shepherd Golden Retriever Health

Both German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are prone to a variety of health problems. Therefore, a German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix may be prone to many health problems, too.

In some cases, hybrid vigor may reduce the odds of developing a condition that’s only common with one parent breed. However, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are prone to many of the same health issues.

Golden Retriever Health

Golden Retrievers are prone to a variety of health problems. Cancer kills more Golden Retrievers than nearly any other dog breed. More than half (60%) of all Goldens die from cancer. Additional health problems Golden Retrievers are prone to include:

  • Hip or elbow dysplasia – painful joint conditions
  • Cataracts – may cause vision loss
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) – leads to blindness
  • Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis – a heart condition that can cause sudden death
  • Arthritis – causes joint pain
  • Allergies – may be caused by food or environmental factors
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease – a blood clotting disorder
  • Bloat – a life-threatening condition where the stomach rotates and cuts off blood to the digestive tract
  • Epilepsy – a condition that causes seizures
  • Hypothyroidism – an underactive thyroid

German Shepherd Health

German Shepherds are extremely prone to hip dysplasia, a condition where the femur doesn’t fit properly in the hip joint. Hip dysplasia often leads to crippling pain in the back legs. Many dogs need to be euthanized when their back legs lose too much function.

Surgery can help treat hip dysplasia, but it can be quite expensive.

Other health conditions that German Shepherds are prone to include:

  • Elbow dysplasia – a malformation of the elbow joint
  • Bloat – a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with air and turns on its axis
  • Degenerative Myelopathy – a progressive disease that causes dogs to lose function of their back legs
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency – a pancreatic disease that affects a dog’s ability to digest their food
  • Allergies – can be caused by food or environmental triggers

german shepherd mixed with golden retriever

Golden Retriever Shepherd Mix Grooming

The type of grooming your mixed breed will need depends on what type of coat they get. Regardless, they will need regular ear trimming, toothbrushing, and baths.

Both dog breeds shed quite a bit. Golden Retrievers shed more year-round, while German Shepherds shed more seasonally. Either way, your Golden Shepherd will need plenty of brushing. Your home will likely be covered with hair no matter what coat type your Golden Shepherd inherits.

If your dog has longer hair like a Golden, their hair may be prone to tangling. You may choose to trim their hair to prevent that.

German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix Rescue Organizations

Your local shelter or rescue groups are a great place to find this mixed breed dog. In fact, few people are breeding these mixes intentionally. That means it may be easier to find a Golden Shepherd in a shelter rather than from a breeder.

While there aren’t any breed rescues specifically for Golden Shepherds, you may find one through other breed rescues. A few groups you might try include:

  • German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California
  • Golden Retriever Rescue of Illinois
  • German Shepherd Rescue, Inc
  • Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue

Buying a Golden Shepherd Puppy

Shepherd and Golden Retriever mixes are not very popular, so finding a puppy can be difficult. The truth is that you’re most likely to find a Golden Retriever German Shepherd mix puppy from a puppy mill.

What’s Wrong with Puppy Mills and Pet Stores?

Puppy mills are only interested in making a profit. They don’t care about the dogs themselves and force them to live in dreadful conditions. Often, cages are stacked several high with wire bottoms for waste to fall through.

Dogs at puppy mills often never see the sun or touch grass. Adults are only kept as long as they can breed, then they’re euthanized or sent to a shelter.

When you buy a puppy at a pet store or from a puppy mill, you are supporting animal cruelty. You may think you’re saving the puppy’s life, but you are condemning its parents and siblings to a miserable life.

Another problem with dogs that come from puppy mills is that they are often unhealthy. Since the breeders don’t do any health testing, the puppies are more likely to have genetic problems. The filthy conditions the puppies are kept in also means they often arrive at their new homesick.

german shepherd retriever mix

Pros and Cons of Getting a German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix

Here are some pros and cons of bringing a Golden Retriever and German Shepherd mix into your life:


  • Loyal
  • Intelligent
  • Friendly
  • Easy to train


  • May have guarding tendencies
  • Needs plenty of socialization
  • Sheds a lot
  • Unpredictable looks and personality

German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this hybrid dog breed.

Do They Make Good Family Pets?

Both German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are great family dogs. That means a Golden Retriever German Shepherd mix should also be a great family pet.

Do They Need a Lot of Exercise?

German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are both high energy breeds. As a result, German Shepherd Golden Retriever mixes will also have a lot of energy and need plenty of exercise. The Golden Shepherd is not an appropriate companion for a couch potato.

Are Golden Shepherds Good with Kids?

Since both parent breeds generally do well with children, Golden Shepherds should also be good with kids. The one caveat is that breeders may be more concerned with money than breeding dogs with good personalities.

How Big Does a German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix Get?

German Shepherds weigh up to 90 pounds, and Golden Retrievers weigh as little as 55 pounds. That means a Golden Retriever German Shepherd mix will likely weigh between 55 and 90 pounds.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, when you mix two of the most popular large dog breeds, you get an amazing family dog. While you can’t predict what they will look or act like, both parent breeds are friendly, loyal dogs. A German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix might be just the dog breed you’re looking to add to your family.

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