The Australian Shepherd Lab mix, or Aussiedor, is a cross between a purebred Labrador Retriever and a pedigree Australian Shepherd. They are a medium to large sized dog with a fairly short coat that sheds seasonally and needs regular brushing. With a working background on both sides, this active mix tends to be intelligent and trainable, but with a slightly more whimsical and distractible personality. Agility, tracking, herding, search and rescue and retriever training are all great ways to focus their energy and make use of their incredible intelligence and drive.
- Australian Shepherd Lab mix history
- Aussiedor appearance
- Australian Shepherd Labrador Retriever mix temperament
- Training and exercising your Labrador Australian Shepherd mix
- Australian Shepherd Lab mix health and care
- Australian Shepherd Lab mix puppies
This mix is a smart, high-energy, high-shedding ball of fun. They require socialization due to guarding tendencies, and have some potential for inherited health issues, but they also have all the earmarks of a great pet. Today we will take a look at the pros and cons of the Australian Shepherd Lab mix. We’ll see what you can expect from their health, temperament and looks.
Origin Of The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
The exact origin of the Labrador Australian Shepherd mix, like most mixes, is impossible to pinpoint. We do know more about the origins of the parent breeds. If you have a first generation Aussiedor, then her origins really start with Labs and Aussies. Even if your mixed pup is second generation or beyond, the history of the parent breeds can heavily inform the makeup of the individual dog.
The Lab’s earliest ancestors were small-sized dogs that were trained to retrieve waterfowl. These retrievers were later mixed with Newfoundlands to produce the classic Lab that we recognize now. They are prized as hunting partners, service dogs and of course family pets.
Aussies descend from sheep-herding dogs that are believed to have originated in the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain and France. However, the Australian Shepherd that we know today was refined in the United States. Today, Australian Shepherds are still used for herding in some areas, but many of them are beloved farm dogs. They accompany their owners on trail rides or farmers who are working crops. They are also popular family pets. Especially for people with small children and good-sized yards that allow games of fetch and chase!
What To Expect From An Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
Learning about the parent breeds can help us to understand the possible temperament, behaviors, and appearance of a mixed breed like the Aussiedor. It’s important to have as much information as possible. But even with all that, it’s impossible to say for sure which traits an individual dog will inherit from which parent. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the variety provided by both parent breeds, realizing that your Australian Shepherd Labrador Retriever mix will fall somewhere in that range.
Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Appearance
Australian Shepherds are typically 18-23 inches tall. Labs are a little taller, ranging up to 24.5 inches at the shoulder. Aussies can range between 40 and 65 pounds, and Labs are usually slightly bigger, ranging from 55 to 85 pounds. A Labrador Australian Shepherd mix will likely be a medium-sized dog, falling somewhere in the range of the parent breeds. They have sturdy, athletic frames and happy wagging tails.
Aussiedor Coat Colors
Both parent breeds come in a small range of colors, so there’s no guarantee what color your mixed pup will be. The only certainty is that you won’t have a first generation Aussie Shepherd Lab mix that inherits the merle coloring from the Australian Shepherd parent. Labs don’t come in merle, so the mixed pup can’t inherit from the Labrador parent. What are some other options?
Black Lab Australian Shepherd Mix
You may think that a black Lab Australian Shepherd mix would almost certainly inherit the coloration of the Lab parent, but there’s no guarantee of that. A black Lab Australian Shepherd mix, for example, could have the dark fur of the Lab parent, the generally lighter solid coat of the Australian Shepherd, or a multicolored coat like many Aussies.
Australian Shepherd Chocolate Lab Mix
What about an Australian Shepherd chocolate Lab mix? Chocolate Labs are perhaps the most popular color variation in the very popular Labrador Retriever breed. So it isn’t surprising that some Aussiedor owners may look specifically for an Australian Shepherd chocolate Lab mix.
But just as with the black Lab Australian Shepherd mix, no one can promise that your Aussiedor will have a chocolate coat. On top of that, chocolate Labs have a recessive gene, making them a more rare coloration. So it may be difficult to find the exact combination that you’re looking for.
Australian Shepherd Yellow Lab Mix
A final variation on the classic Lab coloring possibilities is the Australian Shepherd yellow Lab mix. Yellow Labrador Retrievers are more common than chocolate Labs, but not as commonly seen as black Labs. So you may still find it tricky to track down an Australian Shepherd yellow Lab mix. Even if you do, there’s still a good chance that the Aussie Shepherd Lab mix that you find won’t exhibit the coloration you’re hoping for.
Australian Shepherd And Lab Mix Shedding
Labs are well-known for their tendency to shed. Australian Shepherds also have something of a reputation, so your Labrador Australian Shepherd mix will shed prolifically.
An Aussiedor may inherit its Labrador parent’s short double-coat or its Aussie parent’s thick and medium-length double-coat.
The Lab’s short double-coat requires weekly grooming and more during shedding season. However, an Aussie double-coat will require a good bit more maintenance. You might consider using a slicker brush to prevent the coat from tangling, to get rid of dead hair, and to remove whatever debris that your pup picks up during the work or play day.
Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Temperament
When it comes to temperament, the Australian Shepherd and Lab mix is most likely going to be a handful for novice dog owners. Labradors and Australian Shepherds are “busy body” breeds that thrive on work. If they aren’t working, then lots of play and training will be necessary to keep them from getting into trouble.
Both Labradors and Australian Shepherds are high-energy dogs that were bred to work. However, outside of that, their temperaments aren’t completely identical.
Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Personality
Due to their strong herding and thus guarding instincts, some Australian Shepherds can be protective of their families. This may make them shy or a little bit aggressive around strangers. Socializing an Aussie from a young age may reduce the chances of their guarding instinct from showing up later.
Conversely, Labrador Retrievers are usually NOT shy or reserved with strangers or other dogs (although a few individuals may be so). They are generally very smiley and happy dogs that love anyone who will give them attention.
Knowing whether an Aussiedor will act more like a Labrador (possibly a bit jumpy and prone to following her nose) or an Australian Shepherd (very jumpy and possibly prone to nipping at heels) is a coin toss. With all hybrid dogs, especially when you’re dealing with a first-generation mix, you cannot predict with accuracy which parent the hybrid puppies will look and act like or if they will display a mix of characteristics.
Socialization is important for all breeds, really. Training your dog to react well in new and different circumstances is part of raising a happy, well-behaved pet. With the potential for guarding behaviors and shyness that could come from the Aussie parent, it’s even more imperative that you make sure to socialize your Australian Shepherd Labrador Retriever mix from a young age.
Introduce your pup to different environments, people of all ages, and other animals. This will cut down on anxiety and let them know that they don’t have to worry if they come across an unfamiliar scent, face, or location.
Training And Exercise
Australian Shepherd Lab mix training is best carried out with positive methods. From day one, reward behaviors you want to see, like calmness, ignoring the wildlife and not jumping up. Keep that buy brain occupied.
This mix is not a lap dog or a couch potato. They need lots of interaction and play time in order to be happy and both physically and mentally healthy.
This mix will do well with a fenced-in yard for play time, but they will truly thrive on a farm or larger property that will give them a job to do. They are people-pleasers who will love being your best mate or farm hand! They’ll enjoy going for walks, runs, bike rides, and swims along with their owners. However, they require thorough training and/or a fenced-in yard, as their powerful sniffer is likely to lead them astray!
Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Health And Care
Just like purebred dogs, hybrid dogs may also develop certain conditions based on their genetics.
Labs are generally quite healthy for medium to large dogs, but they do have some potential for health problems, both inherited and acquired. Inherited issues include hip and elbow dysplasia and PRA.
Labs are also prone to other problems that may crop up along the way, such as obesity, ear issues, and skin allergies.
Australian Shepherd Health
Australian Shepherds can be prone to hypothyroidism, or autoimmune thyroiditis. Lymphoma is also unfortunately common in Australian Shepherd dogs.
According to a 2011 study published by the Journal of Veterinary Medicine, idiopathic (primary) epilepsy is commonly inherited in the Australian Shepherd breed. The condition usually presents within the first few months of the puppy’s life, and requires medication for life to control seizures.
The multi-drug resistance-1 (MDR1) genetic mutation prevents the dog’s body from removing certain drugs from the brain, and is common in sheepherding breeds. Dogs with the MDR1 mutation should not be given certain antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, anti-diarrheal drugs, dewormers, pain medications, or tranquilizers.
Your Aussiedor could potentially inherit any of the health problems to which the parent breeds are prone. It’s more likely that they may inherit issues that both parent breeds face. Both Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers are prone to hip or elbow dysplasia and cataracts. Make sure they both have good hip and elbow scores and a recent vet check.
The Lab parent should also be PRA clear.
Lab Shepherd Mix Life Expectancy
The average Lab lifespan is 10-12 years. Some sources suggest that the average Aussie lives between 12 and 15 years; however, one study found that the median age was closer to 9 years.
Fully grown rescue dogs have more reliable temperaments. But you don’t know about their previous experiences.
When introducing a new adult dog into your home and neighborhood, be cautious around children and other animals until you can be secure in their behavior.
Finding An Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Puppy
As a mixed breed, they may be a little hard to come by. Especially when you wish to purchase a puppy from a responsible breeder who uses genetic testing. This doesn’t mean that Australian Shepherd Lab puppies aren’t available, but it does mean that you may need to be patient until you can find one.
Lab Australian Shepherd Mix Breeders
Mixed breeds are growing in popularity, but this particular mix doesn’t yet have the “it factor” of some other mixes, such as the Goldendoodle.
If you find a breeder that specializes in this mix, chances are that you’ll pay a couple hundred dollars for one. The exact amount that you pay may also vary based on the parent stock, how much they are worth to the breeder, and the number of puppies available. Make sure to avoid unscrupulous breeders, anyone who doesn’t readily answer questions and furnish the results of health tests, and pet stores.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website