Are you trying to decide between a Labrador and a German Shepherd? This article can be the perfect guide for you in choosing the best companion for you. So, before going for any particular breed as your pet, it is important to have a thorough knowledge about them to decide whether that breed suits you and your lifestyle. Keeping a pet is a huge responsibility; they are just like your family members who need all of your love, care, and attention. So, it is advisable to take this decision very carefully.
Now, let’s have a brief introduction to both breeds. Labrador and German Shepherd are the two most popular breeds in America, according to American Kennel Club ( AKC). Both are quite similar in that they are energetic, intelligent, have a working background, and need a lot of exercise and entertainment. However, apart from these similarities, some major differences set them apart.
First, let us have a look at both breeds thoroughly.
Labradors are also known as Labrador Retrievers. They belong to the Retrievers family. Labrador is a British breed. It was developed in the United Kingdom from the fishing dog from the colony of Newfoundland. They are well known for their playful, devoted, open, and enthusiastic temperament. Additionally, they are pretty robust and muscular and have powerful jaws and large noses. Their eyes are usually brown and hazelnut colored. Labrador coat is short and thick; you can also find this breed in yellow, brown, and black. They love swimming, playing, long walks, and rigorous training sessions. They love to socialize with children and other dogs. Labradors are known as great family dogs.
German Shepherd is a German breed of working dog. This breed was developed by Max von Stephanitz using various traditional German herding dogs from 1899. The size of this breed varies from medium to large. German Shepherd is a large, agile, muscular dog of noble character and high intelligence. They are loyal, confident, courageous and steady. They are also known for their great speed. Their ears are large and stand erect. Their back is level and well-proportioned, and the tail is bushy and curves downward. They have a thick and rough coat, and you can find this breed in black, tan, black, and tan or gray colors. They get along well with kids and other dogs if raised well. They have sharp guarding skills. German Sheperd is well known as a great hunting dog.
Let’s examine why these two are popular and what makes them distinct.
Difference Between Labrador and German Shepherd
1. Labrador vs German Shepherd: Origin
The origin of a dog plays a very important role in defining its personality. Each breed is developed for a specific reason. Therefore, a dog’s origin has a great impact on its breeding.
Labrador was initially bred in the mid-1800s in the Canadian province of Newfoundland by fishermen and hunters who used to take them to the rivers to hunt birds, fish and other animals.
They are famous as water gun dogs. They are excellent hunters and used to dive into lakes and rivers to fetch their prey. Labradors are well known for their infatuation with water. They are reliable water hunters.
German Shepherds originated in Germany in the 19th century by breeding sheep herding dogs from each district. During First World War, this breed was named Alsatian by Britishers because of the tension with Germany. Later in 1931, the AKC renamed this breed as German Shepherd.
Because of its sharp skills, guarding instinct, rage, speed, courage and intelligence, this breed is well-known as a guard dog, military dog, police dog, and guide dog.
2. Labrador and German Shepherd: Weight
The dog’s weight is also one of the key points that differs one breed from another and makes a whole new difference.
Labrador male weighs between 60lbs to 85lbs, while female weighs between 55lbs to 75lbs. Similarly, six-month-old labrador puppies weigh between 40lbs to 55lbs, while female puppies weigh between 35lbs to 45lbs.
Labrador tends to gain weight frequently if not taken care of properly, leading to obesity. Therefore, it’s very important to maintain a healthy weight by giving them a nutritious and balanced diet.
German Shepherd male weighs between 75-90 pounds, while a female weighs 55-70 pounds. Similarly, six-month-old German Shepherd puppies weigh about 53 pounds, while a female weighs about 46 pounds on average.
German Shepherds are prone to gastric dilation due to their large size, deep chest, and high energy level. They also carry a high risk of joint damage if exercised excessively. Therefore, it is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise for healthy growth.
3. Labrador vs German Shepherd: Appearance
A German Shepherd and a Labrador look completely different from each other. German Shepherds tend to have bigger and stronger appearances than Labradors.
Labradors are a medium-large breed. They have broad heads with pronounced eyebrows. Their eyes are kind and expressive. Appropriate eye colors are brown and hazel. Their ears hang close to the head. They have strong jaws and a robust and muscular build. They have a short, dense, and water-resistant coat.
German Shepherds are slightly taller and measure up to 26 inches from paw to shoulders. They have a dense and medium-length water-resistant coat. Their muscles are defined, and German Shepherd is longer than he is tall, which gives them a more powerful look. Additionally, they have a large ear that stands erect. They have a well-proportioned body and a bushy tails too.
4. Labrador vs German Shepherd: Color
There is a lot of color differentiation between a labrador and a German Shepherd. This color differentiation plays a vital role in the appearance of a dog.
Labrador American Kennel Club has recognized the three lab colors: black, yellow, and chocolate. So you will see most of the labradors in these three primary colors.
Black labradors have a dark and pure black coat with a shiny texture. They are mainly used for hunting, but you can also keep them as family pets.
The yellow lab has a light brown and tanned colored coat that appears yellowish. The yellow lab is the friendliest labrador.
Chocolate Labrador is beautiful and adorable with a deep, brown, and chocolate-colored coat. They are regarded as the most energetic labradors.
German Shepherd comes in 11 recognized color varieties, but the most common and known colors are black, black, tan, and black and silver.
Black German Shepherds have a pure black coat. But not all “Black German shepherds“ have a black coat from head to toe. Instead, they have a bit of brown color on their toe and some hints of white on their chest.
Black and Tan German Shepherds have tan fur ranging from deeper hues to almost silver along the edges, and this black color appears as a saddle-like pattern. This color is said to be the most common color in German Shepherds.
Black and silver German Shepherds have a silver base on the bottom of their bodies and black on the top half. Sometimes this black color ranges from dark gray to deep black.
5. Labrador vs German Shepherd: Relationship with Humans
Humans and dogs share a cordial relationship. Therefore, whenever we want to keep a pet, people prefer one with a great bond with humans and other dogs. Labrador and German Shepherds differ on these grounds as well.
Labradors share a friendly, pleasant, and warm relationship with humans. They are family-oriented dogs, too. But as compared to golden retrievers, they are far more independent dogs. Even if they are not getting much attention from their owners, they can still be happy by playing games, running outside, making new friends, and gelling up well with other dogs and humans.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent, loyal, and energetic. They are naturally reserved but friendly towards their family, children, and other animals. One of the highlighting points about German Shepherds is that they suffer from separation anxiety if left alone. A key German Shepherd trait is their loud bark, but this tendency can be controlled with proper socialization.
6. Labrador vs German Shepherd: Temperament
Before deciding which breed you want to get, one of the most important things you need to consider is which breed suits your lifestyle. For example, both Labrador and a German Shepherd has different level of temperament.
Labradors are easygoing pets. They need extra love and attention from their owners. They reward pets with high energy levels. Labradors are great companions with a warm and friendly temperament. They are energetic and cope well with the hustle and bustle of modern life.
German Shepherds are well known as guard dogs for their intelligence, energy and high speed. Additionally, they are loyal to their humans. Regarding temperament, German Shepherds are naturally aggressive, not because they want to harm others but because of their protective instincts towards their owners. Because of their reserved nature, it is essential for their owners that they should attend to this breed carefully and adequately; otherwise, German Shepherds suffer from separation anxiety, making them more aggressive and scary.
7. Labrador vs German Shepherd: Training
Both Labrador and German Shepherds are intelligent, active, and family-oriented. But each breed needs training to act in a certain way. Therefore, the proportion of activity differs from species to breed.
Labrador are smart and highly energetic. However, they need mental, physical and emotional stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Therefore, they need at least two hours of exercise daily. Additionally, labradors are quick learners and highly social.
German Shepherd’s attentiveness and trainability have made them one of the most versatile breeds in the world. From an early age, German Shepherd puppies must be trained when they are eight weeks old; if not, they tend to make their own rules. Because of their loyalty, they become defensive towards strangers and must be introduced to new people during their early and growing age. Although German Shepherds love pleasing their humans, focusing on sound rather than bad behavior is important. An adult German Shepherd needs two hours of exercise daily and plenty of mental stimulation; otherwise, they are prone to burn off their excess energy through destructive and bad behavior.
8. Labrador vs German Shepherd: Grooming
Pet grooming is vital in keeping your pet’s skin and overall body healthy. The different breed needs extra grooming depending on their skin and hair.
Labradors have a smooth and short coat of fur, which is sleek and easy to care for. However, they need weekly grooming with a brush or comb to keep their shedding in control. Additionally, their body need to be examined regularly for parasites and skin lumps. Regular brushing is also essential for any gum disease.
German Shepherds have a thick coat that protects them from outside elements. So they do shed and need proper grooming too. German Shepherds have a double coat, a coarse and thick coat on the outer side and a smooth and thin coat on the inner side. They shed a lot during spring and autumn, so weekly brushing helps keep the shedding under control. Regular bathing is not recommended as it strips their coat from natural oil.
9. Labrador vs German Shepherd: Nutritional Requirement
Every breed has a different nutritional requirement. The right amount of nutrients must be imported into their body for healthy growth.
Labradors are prone to weight gain it’s essential to check their diet plan. An appropriate amount of calories, protein, minerals and vitamins should be imported into their body. An adult dog should be fed two portions of high-quality pet food daily.
German Shepherd’s nutrition plan needs enough energy for healthy weight management. German Shepherds are known for their energy, speed, and active lifestyle to maintain the same energy. Therefore, it is essential to ensure the correct balance of calcium and power during their growing period. Also, German Shepherds are prone to gastrointestinal problems, so sticking to a veterinary-recommended feeding schedule is essential.
Here is a short table to give you a clear-cut insight into the difference between a Labrador and a Golden Retriever-
|Origin||The Canadian province of Newfoundland||Germany|
|Male 75-90 pounds
Female 55-70 pounds
|Appearance||Short, dense, water-resistant coat||Dense, medium-length water-resistant coat|
|Color||Black, yellow, and chocolate||Black, black and tan, and black and silver|
|Relationship with Humans||Friendly, pleasant and self-dependent||Dependent, loyal, and friendly|
|Temperament||Easy-going, affectionate and loyal||Loyal, energetic, quite aggressive, and intelligent|
|Training||2 hours of regular training||2 hours of training daily|
|Grooming||Moderate grooming||Heavy grooming|
|Nutritional Requirement||Need a moderate diet||Need a diet rich in energy|
Labradors and German Shepherds are the most common & loved breeds. Both are intelligent, affectionate, friendly, active and energetic.
It’s not about which breed is better than the other. It’s about which breed suits your lifestyle and which kind of dog you connect to more. Both breeds have more similarities and some visible differences that make them distinct. I have tried to give most of the pointers for you to select a suitable one for your liking.
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