Not a purebred dog, the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is a working cross between an Australian Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever.
The busy body shepherd combined with the happy go lucky lab results in a high energy, high shedding athletic Aussiedor! Classed as a medium sized breed, you couldn’t have mixed two more polar opposite personalities combined.
Intrigued to learn more about this intelligent and active herder? Read our owner’s guide to understand where he came from, his temperament and how to train him.
|Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Info Table|
|Size||18 to 25″|
|Weight||Up to 50 lbs|
|Lifespan||9 to 12 years|
|Breed Type||Mixes and more|
|Purpose||Working / Companion|
|Suitable For||Active Lifestyles|
|Color Variations||Bi or tri color – blue, tan, red, merle|
|Temperament||Intelligent, active, athletic|
What is a Aussiedor? Breed Overview
Being a relatively new hybrid breed, it isn’t clear when the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix first appeared, but it is a superb addition to families with an active lifestyle.
Be mindful of the parent Australian Shepherd. If two merle dogs have been mated together then it’s common for a double merle gene which can result in deafness and blindness.
Both the Australian Shepherd and Labrador Retriever were historic workers; enjoying active roles in their families, however, their characters are totally different:
- We have the Labrador who is very friendly, sociable and happy-go-lucky.
- Then we have the Australian Shepherd who possesses an irresistible impulse to herd and is known for being wary and sometimes aggressive to strangers.
In truth, when we cross two breeds of dog, we never know for certain what personality or temperament we will end up with. For that reason, we must understand both parent breeds to know what we’re letting ourselves in for.
The Australian Shepherd
Despite the misleading name, the Australian Shepherd didn’t originate in Australia; it was Europe. In the Pyrenean Mountains, the herding dog of choice was a Pyrenean Shepherd. The 1800s brought the search for new pasture so workers sailed East to try their luck in Australia. Eventually, they again set sail for new pastures, but this time in California. Ranchers here were impressed with the dogs and assumed they were an Australian breed; hence name the name Australian Shepherd. Ever since, they have been the cowboy’s dog of choice; being successful herders and even making their way into service. The Australian Shepherd is affectionate, protective, active and loyal to those they know.
The Labrador Retriever
The traditional water dog of Newfoundland; they spent their days retrieving water fowl. English nobles fell in love with the breed and eventually took them to Europe. They were adored for their gentle nature, trainability and intelligence. The Labrador was first registered in the US in 1917 and has reigned as the most popular breed since 1991. The Labrador is even-tempered, gentle, intelligent and agile.
Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Puppy
As always, when considering a new addition to your family, it is essential to do your research and find a reputable breeder. For an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Puppy you can expect to pay anywhere between $600 – $900 USD.
Puppy Growth Chart
|Age||Min Weight (pounds)||Max Weight (pounds)|
Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Temperament
|Ease of Care|
The two parent breeds with this mix couldn’t be further different in temperament.
In a first generation Australian Shepherd Lab Mix, you may end up with more lab traits, or more Australian Shepherd, you really just don’t know. If you have second generation Aussiedor, it is slightly easier to predict their temperament as you would look directly to their hybrid parents.
If you have a Lab Mix with more lab traits, you would expect:
- A friendly, sociable and easy-going temperament
- Highly intelligent and trainable
- Suitable for active families who spend a lot of time outdoors
If on the other hand you have a Australian Shepherd and Labrador Mix with more Shepherd tendencies, they won’t have forgotten their herding tendencies. You can expect:
- A shy, protective and reclusive temperament
- Protective of their family which results in shyness towards strangers (sometimes resulting in aggression)
- With children, their fast movements can trick the shepherd into believing they need to be herded, they are known to nip at heels and chase.
For these reasons, Australian Shepherd Lab Mixes aren’t for first time dog owners. They are also more suited to adult only homes, or those with older children because of their nipping temperament.
Their high energy and athleticism mean they are perfectly suited to active homes; walking in the woods and hiking up mountains. They love having their own secured yard to romp and play. They need owners who understand the potential traits of both parents and recognize the need for early and continued training and socialization.
Long working hours won’t suit these high energy guys; they don’t tolerate being left alone for long periods of time. Seek dog walkers or day care if you do need to leave them alone. They are workers and used to being busy; the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix will get bored very easily.
Not renowned for barking, the protective Australian Shepherd may surface if something is amiss; but if the Labrador has anything to do with it, the stranger will surely be licked into submission!
Caring For an Australian Shepherd and Lab Mix
Most suited to adult only homes, or those with older children, this herding hybrid loves routine and with their high maintenance requirements are most certainly not for first time owners.
Food and Diet Requirements
|Daily Food Consumption|
|Cups of Kibble|
Being a very high energy breed, with a herding nature, this breed needs their food. They will use on average around 30 calories per pound of body weight per day. This may vary based on his daily exercise; a more active dog will use more calories.
Ensure the food you are feeding meets his daily nutritional requirements. He will need around 1.16 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. He will also need 0.59 grams of fat per pound of body weight.
You may also find he uses more energy in colder climates; dogs use extra energy to keep warm.
As a puppy, feed four meals per day to reduce the likelihood of bloat and at around 12 months of age, this can be reduced to two meals per day. Most adult dogs remain with 2 meals per day for the rest of their life.
Be mindful of weight gain if he has retained the Labradors love of food. Avoid over-feeding treats, or if you need these for training purposes, swap out some of his daily allowance to accommodate or use healthy snack ideas.
Not only is monitoring food intake crucial in weight management, so is exercise.
Exercising a Herding Dog
|Daily Exercise Requirements|
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix loves his exercise. He does have working parents after all. This guy will need upwards of 60 minutes walking or running per day.
Be mindful of over-exercise as a puppy; we know this is detrimental to skeletal development. The general rule of thumb for puppies is five minutes of walking per month of age. Due to the risk of hip and elbow dysplasia known in this breed, don’t allow him to jump in and out of cars or run up and down stairs.
The trainability of the Aussiedor means recall is usually successful so you could consider walking off leash when appropriate, just remember the Shepherds herding ancestry; he may set to chase.
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is highly trainable. Their intelligence means they respond well to positive reinforcement and reward-based training.
Dogs learn through operant conditioning which means they are either more or less likely to repeat a behavior based on its consequence.
If he has retained the Labrador traits, he will likely follow his nose and do anything for a treat. For this reason, puzzle games are a brilliant tool to keep his mind active. On the other hand, if he has retained his Australian Shepherd traits, he could be wary of strangers and quite shy.
Not only is the physical exercise necessary for these guys, so is the mental stimulation. This dog is incredibly intelligent.
How to Play Muffin Tin Madness
- Find a muffin tin
- Put treats of choice in the muffin tin holes
- Put tennis balls in each hole, they will sit just on the ring which means they are easy to move
- Using his nose, the Aussiedor will move or retrieve the tennis ball so he can get to the treat
Early training and socialization are a key element in avoiding problematic behaviors in later life. Not only are behavioral problems a potential concern, so are health problems.
Known Health Problems
Both the Labrador and Australian Shepherd (the purebred parents) are prone to developing hip and elbow dysplasia. These are therefore a concern in this hybrid. Hip and elbow dysplasia are a result of abnormal development in their joints resulting in pain, lameness and stiffness.
Another common health concern in the Australian Shepherd is epilepsy, again genetic. Although the mode of inheritance isn’t clear, it is worth being aware of when researching reputable breeders.
MDR1 – the multi-drug resistance gene is incredibly common in Australian Shepherds. Almost half of the shepherds have them. For this reason, it is advised that all Australian Shepherds are tested for the mutation. This gene can make the dog sensitive to certain medications.
Lifespan of an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
This herding hybrid has an average age of between 9 and 12 years.
Australian Shepherd Lab Appearance
Being a medium sized breed, the Aussiedor stands between 18-25” in height and can weigh up to 50 pounds.
They come in a range of colors, including all the solid Labrador colors such as golden, black, brown and silver. They can also come in bi or tri colors including merle.
Australian Shepherd Lab Mixes are renowned for their heavy shedding. When budgeting for this pooch, you need to factor in for a superb vacuum as you will spend a lot of time using it. Three to four brushings per week will help keep the hair off your floor though.
They don’t require regular baths, like the Havapoo or the Cavachon, but 2-3 baths per year will keep him smelling sweet. Obviously, if he’s an avid swimmer you may want to bath him more as no-one particularly appreciates the smell of wet dog.
Keep an eye on his teeth; cleaning them regularly. Along with his ears and eyes. Check his nails are short enough too. There should be enough nail to grip the ground, but, not too long that it affects his walking. Speak with your veterinarian or groomer if you are unsure about any of his grooming… this is a pretty large part of owning this breed.
Summary of Breed
So, high on grooming requirements and spending significant time vacuuming, this herding hybrid isn’t the easiest dog to care for. But, what you get in return is surely worth it.
High energy, this athletic dog is the perfect addition to a busy lifestyle. He is in his element hiking up mountains or running through the woods. Incredibly intelligent, and very trainable, especially if he follows his nose like the lab parent.
Not suited for first time owners, or those with young children, early socialization and training is essential to avoid any shyness or wariness he may have inherited from his Australian Shepherd parent.
Unfortunately, there is also the chance he may have inherited some of the health concerns from his Australian Shepherd parent too. For that reason, researching a reputable breed is essential.
If you are an experienced owner, love being active and have a pretty good handle on dog training and socialization, this breed could be the perfect companion! Feel free to share your Australian Shepherd Labrador Mix stories in the comments area below.