The golden shepherd is a mix between a German shepherd and a golden retriever. This mixed-breed dog is also known as the German retriever, golden German shepherd, and German shepherd golden retriever.
The German retriever is a large dog that grows up to 26 inches tall and weighs between 55 and 90 pounds. The mixed breed has a muscular stature and its coat is dense, and thick, and comes in various hues.
German shepherd golden retriever mixes are intelligent, obedient, work-driven, and get along well with young children. However, as golden shepherds are prone to separation anxiety when left alone, this breed needs an owner that doesn’t work long hours and can spend time with the dog throughout the day.
Golden shepherds have an average life expectancy of 7 to 12 years.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Golden Shepherd Quick Summary
- Golden Shepherd Appearance
- Golden Shepherd Origins
- German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix Personality and Temperament
- Taking Care of a Golden Shepherd
- Training a Golden Shepherd Mix
- German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix Price
- Should You Get a German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix?
- Other German Shepherd and Golden Retriever Mixes
Golden Shepherd Quick Summary
|Dense, medium-length double coat
|Black, sable, blue, white, brown, tan, gray, silver, cream, light golden, dark golden, golden
|Moderate to heavy
|Intelligent, loyal, affectionate, eager to please, work-driven
|Two hours of exercise, daily
|2–3.5 cups of dog food, daily
|Known health conditions
|Hip dysplasia, bloat, cataracts, epilepsy, certain cancers
Golden Shepherd Appearance
The golden shepherd is a large, mixed-breed dog known for its thick double coat, expressive eyes, and muscular build. The dog’s exact appearance depends on which parent breed it most resembles.
Size and Weight
German shepherd golden retrievers reach 26 inches tall and weigh under 90 pounds. Males stand 23 to 26 inches tall and weigh between 65 and 90 pounds, while females are slightly smaller, with a height range of 21.5 to 24 inches and weight of 50 to 70 pounds.
At eight weeks old, a golden shepherd mix stands 4 to 8 inches at the shoulder. The dog reaches its full adult size within two years, though its weight can change throughout its life depending on its diet, activity level, and health.
Golden shepherds have medium-length double coats. The undercoat has thick, plush hairs that protect the dog from extreme temperatures, while the outer coat consists of dense, coarse hairs that are sometimes wavy. Most German shepherd golden retriever mixes have feathering on their chests, legs, undersides, and tails.
Golden shepherds come in a wide array of hues, including sable, blue, white, brown, tan, black, gray, silver, cream, light golden, dark golden, and golden.
Golden Shepherd Origins
The golden shepherd is a relatively new designer breed and little is known about its history. However, it’s likely that breeders hoped to create a dog with the affectionate, gentle nature of the golden retriever and the strong work drive of the German shepherd.
Understanding this mix’s parent breeds can provide greater insight into the golden shepherd’s attributes and temperament. Both parent breeds are large, intelligent, and have high work drives.
The German shepherd originates from 19th-century Germany, where it was used for herding flock and guarding livestock. The dog was selectively-bred to be strong, intelligent, courageous, agile, and work-driven — all attributes that helped it become one of the most popular working breeds of its time. Horand von Grafrath was the first dog to be officially recognized, in 1899, as a German shepherd.
Golden shepherds that take after their German shepherd parent typically have black and tan coats, muscular builds, and make great guard dogs.
The golden retriever was originally bred in the 19th century to assist fishermen and hunters in retrieving waterfowl from cold water. The dog was developed to have a soft bite so that it wouldn’t damage the waterfowl while retrieving them.
The golden retriever was selectively bred from several breeds, including bloodhounds, spaniels, and setters, for its retrieving instincts and gentle nature. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1925.
A golden shepherd that takes after its golden retriever parent often has an outgoing, sociable nature and a golden coat with moderate feathering.
German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix Personality and Temperament
Golden shepherds inherit a combination of personality traits from their parent breeds. Based on the AKC’s temperament guide, German shepherds are fearless, confident, and alert, and golden retrievers are reliable, friendly, and trustworthy.
Most German shepherd golden retrievers make great family companions because they’re affectionate, loyal, and get along well with children. These dogs are also easy to train and learn complex tasks quickly.
Golden shepherds are typically outgoing, though some can be reserved, even aloof, around strangers, especially if the dog isn’t socialized from an early age.
The German shepherd golden retriever needs plenty of affection, attention, and mental stimulation throughout the day. If left alone for long periods, the dog is likely to become anxious and exhibit unwanted behaviors.
Although rarely aggressive, the golden shepherd is mouthy and likes to chew on things. Provide the dog with plenty of durable, chew toys and start to bite inhibition training while the dog is young.
Taking Care of a Golden Shepherd
Golden shepherds are generally easy to care for because they’re highly trainable and aren’t fussy over food. However, these dogs have endless energy and need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to thrive.
Regular vet checkups and a nutritious diet help German shepherd golden retriever mixes live long, healthy lives.
Golden shepherds should be fed 2 to 3.5 cups of dog food per day, split into two meals, with the exact portion size depending on age, health, activity level, metabolism, and build. Ensure the kibble is specially formulated for large-breed dogs and that it contains at least 18% protein.
Don’t free-feed golden shepherds because they have insatiable appetites and put on weight quickly. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of these dogs’ daily calorie intake.
Golden shepherds shed moderately throughout the year, with periods of heavy shedding during spring and fall. Brush the golden shepherd twice a week, or daily during heavy shedding, to keep its coat healthy. While grooming, check the skin and ears for signs of ticks, wounds, and infections.
Bathe golden shepherds once every few months, or more frequently if they get muddy. Clip these dogs’ overgrown nails.
As active, working dogs, golden shepherds need at least two hours of exercise per day, split into two to three separate walks. Ideal outdoor activities include agility, running, hiking, herding, and swimming. Avoid overexercising golden shepherd puppies to avoid straining their still-developing bodies.
Golden shepherds are large and energetic, so they do best in households with spacious backyards. However, if these dogs are exercised daily and given lots of attention, they can happily live in apartments.
German shepherd golden retriever mixes are intelligent, work-driven dogs that need at least an hour of mental stimulation per day. Suitable activities include learning new tricks, practicing scent work, and playing fetch and problem-solving games.
Common Health Concerns
German shepherd golden retrievers have an average life expectancy of 7 to 12 years. While relatively healthy, this mixed breed is prone to issues such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, bloat, cataracts, and certain types of cancers.
- Hip dysplasia: An inherited condition caused by improper development of the hip joint. Symptoms include mobility issues, lethargy, pain, and an abnormal gait. The condition is treatable and managed with lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery, depending on severity
- Epilepsy: A chronic disorder that affects the brain and causes seizures. Symptoms include jerking behavior, muscle twitching, drooling, excessive panting, and urination. Treatment involves lifelong medication, stress reduction, and the elimination of potential triggers
- Bloat: A life-threatening ailment that occurs when the stomach fills up with gas, liquid, or food, and causes the stomach to extend and twist. Symptoms include a swollen belly, excessive drooling, lethargy, retching, and pain. Bloat requires urgent veterinary care
- Cataracts: A disease-caused cloudy eye lens that leads to vision issues. Cataracts can be removed with surgery if necessary
- Osteosarcoma: A form of malignant bone cancer. Symptoms include a noticeable lump, appetite loss, mobility issues, pain, a rapid heartbeat, and increased thirst. Treatment involves chemotherapy and surgery
- Hemangiosarcoma: A malignant cancer that affects the liver and spleen. Symptoms include weight loss, weakness, seizures, loss of movement, a rapid heartbeat, and dementia. Treatment involves chemotherapy, intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, surgery, and palliative care
Training a Golden Shepherd Mix
Golden shepherds are easy to train because of their work-driven nature, intelligence, and eagerness to please. You can train these dogs from as early as eight weeks old.
Start with name training, housebreaking, and basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “lie down.” Keep training sessions brief because golden shepherd puppies have short attention spans.
Use positive-reinforcement training measures, which involve rewarding desired behavior with treats or praise, for the best results. Punishments can cause golden shepherds to become stressed, fearful, or aggressive.
Socialization should also begin during puppyhood. Expose the dog to new sights, places, and people in a positive manner. Don’t forget to introduce the golden shepherd puppy to other animals and different kinds of textures, noises, and smells.
German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix Price
Compared to purebred dogs, German shepherd golden retrievers are relatively affordable. Adopting an adult golden shepherd from a rescue shelter costs a lot less than buying a puppy from a reputable breeder.
How Much Is a Golden Retriever German Shepherd Mix?
A golden shepherd mix typically costs $250 to $1,000. The most expensive golden shepherds are puppies that have prized lineage and are purchased from reputable breeders. Reputable golden shepherd breeders must provide health certificates and clearances for the parent breeds and allow you to see the puppy interact with its mother. Avoid puppies that are sold before they’re eight weeks old or are extremely cheap.
A rescued golden retriever German shepherd mix can cost anywhere between $50 and $300. Many rescue shelters also cover the cost of neutering or spaying and initial puppy vaccinations.
How Much Does it Cost to Raise a German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix?
Expect to pay between $1,200 and $2,400 per year, or $100 to $200 every month on food, health checkups, grooming supplies, and toys to raise a golden shepherd. The first year of ownership costs more than subsequent years because of additional expenses such as bedding, a crate, vaccinations, and neutering or spaying.
Training classes, professional grooming, and pet sitters will increase the cost of care. Health issues can also result in higher monthly costs. Senior dogs tend to need mobility aids, more frequent vet checkups, and medication to support their joints.
Should You Get a German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix?
The golden shepherd makes an excellent family companion because it’s playful, affectionate, and intelligent. Though the golden shepherd is relatively easy to look after, you need to make sure you can meet this mix’s needs before buying or adopting it.
Golden Shepherds Are Suitable for:
Golden shepherds are suitable for families that don’t work long hours and have plenty of time to bond with a pet. The best owners for golden shepherds are active people that have access to a backyard and are prepared to walk, play, groom, and train a dog daily.
Golden shepherds can be kept in households with other animals as long as the golden shepherd is socialized from a young age and introduced to other pets gradually.
Golden Shepherds Are NOT Suitable for:
Golden shepherds aren’t suitable for people that are inactive, have mobility issues, or can’t walk a dog for at least two hours per day. You should also avoid these dogs if you work long shifts because golden shepherds are prone to separation anxiety.
Golden shepherds are messy and shed a lot, and are incompatible with people that suffer from allergies or don’t like a messy house. Families wanting a low-maintenance, laid back dog shouldn’t adopt a golden shepherd.
Other German Shepherd and Golden Retriever Mixes
If you’re interested in learning about other German Shepherd mixes or Golden Retriever mixes, check out the hybrid dog breeds below.
German Shepherd Mixes
- German Shepherd Husky Mix
- German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- German Shepherd Border Collie Mix
- German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix
- German Shepherd Wolf Mix
- Miniature German Shepherd
- Shiloh Shepherd
- German Shepherd Chow Mix
- German Shepherd Corgi Mix
- German Shepherd Beagle Mix