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German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix: Breed Information

Ever seen a German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix, AKA the Golden Shepherd? In this article, we take a deeper look at this mix, accompanied by lots of pictures!

Emma Braby

Last Updated: May 26, 2020 | 15 min read

German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix is commonly known as the Golden Shepherd, and this is what we will refer to him as throughout this article. He is an energetic, fun and friendly pup who is insatiably loyal and intelligent. He is relatively easy to look after, as long as he is placed with an active family who can guarantee him company and exercise.

While he may inherit his German Shepherd’s protectiveness, as long as he is socialized from an early age this trait can be managed.  The goal of this cross breed was to mesh the overall friendliness and kindness of the Golden Retriever, with the loyalty and obedience of the GSD.

While there’s no guarantee how any mixed breed will turn out as they age compared to purebreds, the Golden Shepherd makes a great family pet.  Let’s continue on so you can learn more about the history of the parent breeds, as well as what to expect when adopting this mix.

Recommended For Families
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Training Difficulty
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Exercise Needs
  • Puppy Costs

Parent Breeds

The term designer dog is relatively new, but the process of breeding two different purebred dogs has been around for centuries. However, it has become increasingly popular over the last few decades. Not only does it give dog owners a wider choice of finding the perfect family dog, but it also increases their gene pool which is scientifically proven to create healthier and hardier animals.

It’s also become extremely popular these days to “customize” your breed, with the hope of inheriting all the good traits of the two parent breeds.  There are some traits that are genetically passed down from the parent purebreds that you cannot train.  This makes breeds like the Golden Shepherd both a great option and a higher risk gamble when it comes to temperament.

In order to better understand this mix, it is important to understand a bit more about his parents. We also have an article comparing the German Shepherd and the Golden Retriever, so why not add to your knowledge and read this article too.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever in Grass
The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dogs in the US.

The Golden Retriever was developed in the Scottish Highlands during the 19th Century. His creator, Lord Tweedmouth I, was fascinated with breeding animals, and the Golden Retriever was his most famous creation.

The America Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the Golden Retriever in 1932, and ever since then his popularity has soared, and whilst he is still used as a hunter, he is now more commonly found in family homes used as companionship dogs. In the highly unlikely event that you don’t know or haven’t met a Golden Retriever before, then be sure to check out one of the main Golden Retriever Instagram fan accounts, which provides a daily dose of Golden Retriever goodness every day to its 1.8 million followers.

The Golden is a fantastic breed for families with kids and he’s extremely popular in the United States.  He is described as friendly, intelligent and devoted, and this is where the Golden Shepherd inherits his soft and sweet nature. Goldens are extremely popular with the designer dog crowd, noted by the Goberian, and the Golden Retriever Corgi mix.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd Puppy Dog
The German Shepherd is the second most popular dog in the US.

The German Shepherd was originally developed as a herding dog in Germany during the 19th Century by a German Cavalry Officer. They came to America long before the World Wars, but it wasn’t until after when he became popular. However, in America the emphasis was put on their appearance rather than conforming to breed standards, and as such many breeders have bred other strains of the German Shepherd, including the King Shepherd and the Shiloh Shepherd. This was an attempt to recreate a dog more like the original German Shepherd and one that is slightly healthier.

The German Shepherd is still the most recognizable canine in the protection service arena, but he also makes an equally amazing family pet. Again, in the unlikely event that you have never met a German Shepherd before, then be sure to check out the ‘German Shepherd World’ Instagram account where you can see just how gorgeous and adorable they really are.

The GSD is described as confident, courageous and smart. This is where the German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix inherits his brave and noble traits.

Golden Shepherd

Golden Shepherd in Field
The Golden Shepherd is a common mix between two great breeds.

It is not known when the first Golden Shepherd was created, but he was believed to originate from America. He is not recognized as a breed by any kennel club but he is recognized as a breed with the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR), and owners and breeders have been able to register him since 2009.

With his parents currently holding the silver and bronze medal in the AKC popularity contest, you know that he is going to be a special mixed pup, so let’s take a closer look at him and help you on your way to deciding whether this guy is your canine soulmate.

In this article we are going to outline the typical German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix. As a mixed dog there is a chance that there will be slight differences with some pups.

Temperament

Golden Shepherd laying in leaves
The Golden Shepherd is an even-tempered mix that gets along with people and other dogs.

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix is a friendly and sociable pup who loves to be in the very heart of the family fun. He gets along with all family members, and is not focused on just his master unlike his GSD parent. He is also friendly with strangers and outsiders, and he is rarely aloof. With that being said, he will often let his master know that there is someone at the gate with a bark or two, but this is more a welcome bark than a warning. If your family is in immediate danger, he would not hesitate to protect his family.

The Golden Shepherd is energetic and boisterous, and this can lead to destructive tendencies if he is left alone for too long or feels bored and restless. However, as long as you cater to his exercise needs then he is fun and always up for a game of fetch in the backyard. He also inherits his detective streak from his German Shepherd parent. This inquisitive dog will likely find his way out of enclosed fencing if there is even the slightest of gaps. 

As he is a social butterfly like his Golden Retriever parent, and the most loyal of animals like his German Shepherd parent, this guy is addicted to human company. He is intensely attached to his family, and as such it is likely that he will suffer from extreme separation anxiety. For this reason, he really should not be left alone for more than a few hours, and if this is going to be a regular occurrence then the Golden Shepherd is not the dog for you.

Size & Appearance

Golden Shepherd in grass
The Golden Shepherd will weigh between 50 and 80 pounds.

The Golden Shepherd is a large dog who measures between 21 and 26 inches in height, from paw to shoulder. He will weigh between 50 and 80 pounds. This mix is thick-bodied with a deep chest, and sturdy frame. He is slightly longer than he is tall, but he should not have a sloped back like the German Shepherd.

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix will be more wild looking than his Golden Retriever parent. His ears will be large triangular shaped. They will either stand erect or flop down alongside his jawline. He tends to have a long and thick tail, and large paws. He will have large dark-colored eyes, and a long muzzle that extends to his broad skull.

Coat & Colors

Golden Shepherd with tongue hanging out
This mix will usually look like a mix of both parents, but can also take after either parent.

Their double coat will be medium to long in length and will be very thick and dense. If his German Shepherd parent is a long-haired German Shepherd, then it is likely that his fur will also be much longer too. Because of his thick double coat, he is a moderate shedder, and for this reason he is not considered to be a hypoallergenic dog.

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix’s coat will be either black and tan, golden, dark golden, solid black, solid white, or solid brown; ultimately, he will take any color of either parent, and there does not seem to be a typical color. He may also inherit the facial markings from his German Shepherd parent.

Exercise & Living Conditions

Golden Retriever German Shepherd mix exercising
The Golden Retriever German Shepherd mix is active, and will need 60 minutes of daily exercise.

The Golden Shepherd is a high energy dog who will need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. If you want to tire him out this exercise needs to be intense and not just an hour walk. Being an intelligent dog, he will need a variety of exercise sessions or activities. This will help keep him physically stimulated. In the likely chance of him inheriting his Golden Retrievers love for water, he will also enjoy a dunk or two in the local lake, playing fetch and joining his master for a long jog in the forest.

Because he is so intelligent, he will need a variety of brain games to keep him mentally stimulated throughout the day. Training sessions are always great to keep him occupied. This helps him learn new tricks and putting them into a routine will help with obedience. Ball throwing machines or treat-filled puzzle toys are also another great way to keep his mind busy.

Because he is a large and sturdy, we recommend he having a home with access to a large yard. While he does enjoy an afternoon snooze, he enjoys spending a lot of his time in the fresh air. He is not suited to small homes or apartment living unless there’s an exercise outlet. As long as he is socialized as a young pup, he should do well in a multi-pet household. Just make sure to give him his fair share of attention. He is also great with children. Because of his sturdy stature, he is better placed with older children whom he cannot knock over.

Training

Golden Shepherd in training
The Golden Shepherd is an easily trainable dog.

The Golden Retriever GSD mix is so intelligent, and very eager to please his master. This combination makes for a perfectly trainable dog. He is more likely to enjoy praise from his master or winning a toy than edible treats. Be sure to stock up on tennis balls to reward him. Reward-based training is the most efficient way to train a dog. Especially one who is so eager for praise, so stick to this method.

While he is said to be less protective than his German Shepherd parent, there is still a chance that he will inherit this trait. It’s important to socialize him from an early age. Expose him to unfamiliar people, of different sexes and sizes very early. Teach him that if a guest is welcomed onto the estate by his master then they are always a friend is imperative. It is important to welcome other people’s dogs onto the estate too so that he doesn’t become too overprotective.

Despite being extremely clever, he still needs a firm and consistent master. This mix needs someone that will not let his training slide. This mix is headstrong, and won’t learn commands unless you teach him and keep up with training. If he is going to be a family dog, then be sure to teach the whole family the expected commands. This will ensure his training is consistent and does not become confusing.

Health

Healthy German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix
The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix usually has very few health issues.

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix is a relatively healthy dog. Thanks to hybrid vigor he has a slightly longer life expectancy than both of his parents. On average his lifespan is 10 to 13 years. Because he is a relatively new designer breed there are no recommended health tests. It’s best to look at his parents’ health in order to gain an understanding as to what he may be prone to.

Your pup may be predisposed to Elbow and Hip Dysplasia.  This is the abnormal formation of the affected joints, which over time can cause crippling arthritis. The Golden Shepherd is also predisposed to suffer from a variety of eye conditions such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy or Pigmentary Uveitis. This can eventually lead to total blindness. He will also be vulnerable to cardiac issues, such as Sub-Aortic Stenosis. Often this is diagnosed when the pup has a heart murmur. It’s particularly important to keep up to date with Veterinarian checks, as this is an issue that cannot be seen on its own. He is also at risk from Degenerative Myelopathy, which is a disease that affects the brain and the spinal cord. This results in immobility of the lower body.

The Golden Shepherd is susceptible to Gastric Torsion, also known as bloat, which is where the stomach twists after food consumption, either immediately before or after intense exercise. Whilst this may not sound particularly serious, it is a life-threatening condition that is often fatal. If you suspect that he is suffering from bloat, then take him to the Veterinarian immediately.

Nutrition

Golden Shepherd around meal time
Golden Shepherds are medium to large breed dogs, and nutritional needs can vary by size.

The Golden Shepherd will consume, on average, around 3 cups of food a day. This is dependent on how active they are. If your pup is slightly more sedentary, he will need less, and if he is always on the go then he may need more. Superior quality kibble that is aimed at high energy dogs is advised.

This is a medium to large mixed breed who may be susceptible to Gastric Torsion. Because of this, he should be fed the recommended food consumption across at least 2 separate sittings. You also shouldn’t feed immediately before or after intense exercise.

Grooming

Longer haired GSD Golden Retriever mix
Be prepared to groom your pup routinely if you adopt this mix.

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever is somewhat demanding when it comes to grooming. This mix requires brushing 2 to 3 times a week. You’ll want to keep this routine in order to keep their medium to long coat healthy and shiny. He is a moderate shedder, particularly during shedding seasons. During this time he will require daily brushing to keep his coat manageable and your sofa fuzz-free. If you aren’t a fan of dog hair on your clothes or in the house, then you may want to consider another breed.

The Golden Shepherd, with his high energy levels and curiosity, is likely to get muddy and dirty on walks. He should be bathed once every 6 to 8 weeks. This frequency will ensure you keep him clean but try not to wash excessively, as you risk damaging his natural skin oils. All other grooming habits are about the same when it comes to frequency and costs.

As Family Pets

German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix on family trip
The Golden Shepherd makes an excellent family companion.
  • The Golden Shepherd is a friendly and sociable dog, who will get on with everybody.
  • The GSD Retriever mix may still inherit the protective streak making socialization important.
  • He is an energetic dog who must be placed with an active family.
  • You’ll need to guarantee at least 1 hour of exercise a day.
  • They are intelligent dogs who must be provided with training  & activities.
  • Puzzle games are great in order to keep his mind occupied.
  • He needs to be placed in a larger home with access to an enclosed backyard.
  • He is a moderate shedder with a medium-length coat.
  • He’s not the best pick for people with dog allergies.
  • He is better suited to families with older children due to his size.
  • The Golden Shepherd is happy to share his home with other family pets.
  • He is a very affectionate and loving dog who will need to be with a family.
  • He’s not the best breed to be left alone for longer periods of time.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

Golden Retriever German Shepherd puppy
Puppies will cost about $800 and up for this mix from a breeder.

The internet is going to be your best friend during this search. Many Golden Shepherd breeders come up on the first few pages of any search engine. While it is easy to find a breeder, it is important to find a reputable breeder. Look for a breeder who is going to ensure the health of the pup above all else. Read reviews and meet them in person with their pups. 

The average cost of a Golden Shepherd puppy is anywhere around $800 and up. If a breeder is selling a pup significantly lower or higher than this price, be cautious. This could be a sign that there is something wrong. Most reputable breeders will register their Golden Shepherd with the IDCR. Ask to see the parent’s papers to verify your pup comes from healthy lines.

Rescue & Shelters

Golden Shepherd Rescue dog
You may get lucky and find one of these pups at a local rescue.

Your local dedicated German Shepherd or Golden Retriever rescue center is the most likely place to find a Golden Shepherd. If there isn’t one available, some rescue centers have a waitlist. This means they will notify you when they take one in, giving you the opportunity to adopt your perfect pup.

Final Thoughts

The Golden Shepherd is a wonderful dog who has the right doggy balance. Not only is he super friendly, sociable and fun, but he is intelligent and devoted to his family. If a Golden Retriever or German Shepherd will fit with your lifestyle, then there is no reason why the Golden Shepherd won’t!

Having access to a backyard is recommended with the Golden Shepherd. If not, as long as your pup is regularly exercised, you can expect a well-behaved dog. You should be prepared for any traits that he may inherit from either parent as well. If you can handle the exercise and very few health issues, then this mix will fit perfectly into your family.

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