German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix: Breed Information

Emma Braby

Last Updated: February 23, 2020 | 14 min read

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.

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 the Golden Shepherd, 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

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

The German Shepherd was originally developed as a herding dog in Germany during the 19th Century by a German Cavalry Officer. The German Shepherd dog 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 the German Shepherd’s 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, in 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, and this is where the German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix inherits his brave and noble traits.

Golden Shepherd

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 Golden Shepherd, however, as a mixed dog there is a chance that there will be slight differences with some pups.


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 German Shepherd 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. However, if he feels that there is something seriously wrong and that his family might be in danger, he would not hesitate to protect his family thanks to his protective nature.

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 father, and this inquisitive dog will likely find his way out of enclosed fencing if there is even the slightest of gaps. He is intelligent and cheeky, and whilst he is a very good boy, he is also a very mischievous one.

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

The Golden Shepherd is a large dog who measures between 21 and 26 inches in height, from paw to shoulder, and he will weigh between 50 and 70 pounds. He is thick bodied with a deep chest, and a sturdy dog. He is slightly longer than he is tall, but he should not have a sloped back like the German Shepherd.

Overall, the German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix will be more wild looking than his Golden Retriever parent. His ears will be large triangular shaped and 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

The Golden Shepherds 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 Requirements & Living Conditions

The Golden Shepherd is a high energy dog who will need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, and 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 to 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.

Again, 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 and teaching him new tricks and putting them into a routine will make him very happy. 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 dog he will need to be placed with a family who has a large home, with access to a large yard. Whilst he does enjoy an afternoon snooze, he would like to spend a lot of his time in the fresh air. He is not suited to small homes or apartment living. As long as he is socialized as a young pup, he should do well in a multi-pet household, just be sure to give him his fair share of attention. He is also great with children, but owing to his sturdy stature he is better placed with older children whom he cannot knock over.


The Golden Retriever GSD mix is so intelligent, and very eager to please his master, and that combination makes for a perfectly trainable dog. He is more likely to enjoy praise from his master or winning a toy than edible treats, so 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 be sure to stick to this method.

Whilst he is said to be less protective than his German Shepherd parent, there is still a chance that he will inherit this trait, and as such it is so important to socialize him from an early age. Exposing him to unfamiliar people, of different sexes and sizes, and teaching 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 who is not going to let his training slide, for he will not learn commands unless you teach him and keep up the training. If he is going to be a family dog, then be sure to teach the whole family the expected commands so that his training is consistent and does not become confusing.


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

He will be predisposed to Elbow and Hip Dysplasia, which is the abnormal formation of the affected joints, which overtime can cause crippling arthritis. He is also predisposed to suffer from a variety of eye conditions such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy or Pigmentary Uveitis, which 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, so it is 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, which 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.


The Golden Shepherd will consume, on average, around 3 cups of food a day. This is dependent on how active he is, and if he 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 with this guy.

Because he is a large breed who may be susceptible to Gastric Torsion, he should be fed the recommended food consumption across at least 2 separate sittings and should not be given to him immediately before or after intense exercise.


While the German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix is not the most demanding of canines when it comes to his grooming, he will still require brushing 2 to 3 times a week in order to keep his medium to long coat healthy and shiny. He is a moderate shedder, particularly during shedding seasons, and during this time he will require daily brushing to keep his coat manageable and your sofa as fuzz free as possible. Unfortunately if you aren’t a fan of dog hair on your clothes or in the house, then you should 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 in order to keep him clean, but try not to wash him any more than this as you risk damaging his natural skin oils. All other grooming habits are the same as any other dog, just be sure to check him over once a week to monitor any changes or indications of any infections.

Puppy Costs

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, then this is a sign that there is something wrong, so walk away. Most reputable breeders will register their Golden Shepherd with the IDCR, so be sure to ask to see his papers too.

As Family Pets

  • 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.

Finding A Breeder

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

Rescue & Shelters

Visiting your local dedicated German Shepherd rescue center and Golden Retriever rescue center is the most likely place to find a Golden Shepherd. If there is not one there at the time of your visit then some rescue centers will have a system in place whereby they can notify you if your dream pup comes in, so be sure to speak to the staff there.

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 either the Golden Retriever or the German Shepherd would fit into your lifestyle, then there is no reason why the Golden Shepherd would not!

As long as you can guarantee that he will have access to a backyard and will be regularly exercised, and that you are prepared for any traits that he may inherit from either parent, then he will fit perfectly into your family and be the golden pet that you have always dreamed of.

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