Beautiful, intelligent, and uniquely rare, the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is the crossbreed everyone is talking about these days.
This is a mix that combines two of the world’s most popular purebreds, so it’s no surprise you would find yourself here eager to learn more.
Of course, if you’re considering investing in the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix, there’s much more to this canine than its stunning appearance. This is a high-energy hybrid that is best suited for more experienced and active dog owners ready to commit to their four-legged friends.
Are you the ideal owner for an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix? That’s what we’re here to find out!
Introducing The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is highly intelligent.
Type: Crossbreed, hybrid, mixed breed, designer dog
Parent Breeds: The Australian Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever
Height: 22 to 25 Inches
Weight: 40 to 80 Pounds
Lifespan: 12 to 15 Years
Health Issues: Deafness, Eye Disease, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Arthritis, Laryngeal Paralysis, Hypothyroidism, Epilepsy, Cancer, Nasal Dermatitis, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Dental Disease, and Bloat
Temperament: Athletic, Intelligent, Work-Oriented, Energetic
Best Suited For: Experienced Dog Owners, Active Families, People Who Understand Working Breeds
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Overview:
Sometimes known as the Aussie Lab, the Labrador Aussie, or the Australian Labrador Retriever, the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is the dynamic cross between the purebred Australian Shepherd and the purebred Labrador Retriever.
Both the Aussie and the Lab are incredibly popular dogs in the United States, with the American Kennel Club labeling the Labrador Retriever as the top most popular dog for several years running.
Aussies aren’t far behind and are even credited with being some of the most intelligent purebreds in the entire world.
So, what do you get when you mix an Australiana Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever?
You can rest assured it will be an active, intelligent, and work-oriented hybrid. This type of dog may sound like the perfect companion to active owners and families, but in the wrong home, the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix could be a downright disaster.
Is this the best addition to your home or family? And what should you know about the crossbreed controversy before you decide to commit to such a dog?
Keep reading to find out!
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix – What You Should Know About The Crossbreed Controversy
Crossbreeding is nothing new, though it has become controversial.
Crossbreeding is an age-old practice, with most breed lineages pointing back to crossbreeding as the reason we have many of the purebreds we love today.
However, newer generation crossbreed dogs can be riddled with controversy. One of the reasons is due to predictability. Purebred dogs have been bred and perfected for centuries to maintain a certain breed standard n an effort to ensure they are predictable when it comes to health, temperament, and physical appearance.
Crossbreed dogs, on the other hand, are less predictable in these aspects. This is especially true if you are dealing with newer generation crossbreeds like first, second, and even third-generation hybrid dogs.
This means they could be more like one parent breed over the other as far as temperament, appearance, and health. Or, they could very well be a perfect mix of the two.
Another piece of the crossbreed controversy worth mentioning has to do with health. There are those who feel crossbreed dogs benefit from what is known as hybrid vigor. Hybrid vigor is the idea that crossbreed dogs may be healthier than purebred dogs due to their widened gene pool.
This theory may have some merit, considering purebred dogs have been overbred for centuries, leading to them being more susceptible to certain genetic health issues.
Crossbreeding dogs like the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix does have the potential to widen their gene pool, making them less likely to suffer from certain genetic health issues from one parent breed over the other.
With that being said, it is important to note here that crossbreed dogs could still be susceptible to any of the same health issues of their purebred parents, and some may even argue that they now have a longer list of genetic health issues to deal with seeing as they have two different purebred parents.
This is why if you are looking for a crossbreed dog with a specific appearance and more predictable temperament, we suggest going through breeders who have a history of breeding these types of crossbreed dogs and breeders who understand the importance of responsible breeders.
It’s also important to consider the origins of your crossbreed dog’s parent breeds. So, on that note, let’s take a closer look at the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix dog’s parent breeds, beginning with the Australian Shepherd.
The Origin Of The Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are clever ranch dogs bred and perfected in California.
In spite of his name, the Australian Shepherd is an American-bred dog through and through. Though he does have ties to Australia, the Aussie, as he is sometimes called, was a breed perfected during the days of the Wild West.
California breeders specifically bred and perfected this breed to be considered a cowboy’s best friend. Australian Shepherds are incredibly diverse at their duties as four-legged ranch hands, helping as herding dogs and protectors of livestock.
Today, Australian Shepherds are considered some of the most intelligent dogs in the world. In fact, they are still commonly used as ranch and farm dogs.
Australian Shepherds also make wonderful service dogs, therapy dogs, and companion dogs. However, they are best suited for active dog owners and owners who have an understanding of working breeds.
Without the right care, training, exercise, and mental stimulation, Australian Shepherds and their crossbreed offspring can be prone to anxiety, stress, and destructive behaviors.
The Origin Of The Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retreiver hails from Canada and is a bred water retrieving dog.
The Labrador Retriever is a Canadian-bred dog and has long been considered one of the United States’ most popular companion dogs.
Labrador Retrievers are also some of the top-most sought-after therapy and service dogs, excelling in work as guide dogs, therapy dogs, alert dogs, and even work that involves police and military work.
Labs are famous for their intelligence and their natural ability to connect with people. They are social, friendly, playful, and gentle, making them ideal family dogs for those with children and other pets.
Originally, the Labrador Retriever dog was bred as water retrieving dogs, and while their Aussie counterparts were considered a cowboy’s best friend, the Lab has long been considered a fisherman’s best friend.
These dogs are excellent swimmers with their webbed paws and “otter tails” which help to propel them in the cold Canadian waters. Their gentle bite means they are capable of pulling in prey and fish for their masters without damaging the prey with their teeth.
Labrador Retrievers are energetic dogs that are best suited for active dog owners and owners committed to training, exercise, and mental stimulation.
With all that said, the Labrador Retriever makes an excellent companion for first-time dog owners and owners with small children or other pets, as we mentioned above.
So, what does this mean if you are looking to invest in an Australian Shepherd Lab mix? It could be left up to chance and genetics, as we discussed when we discussed the crossbreed controversy.
Along with understanding your crossbreed dog’s parent breeds and their subsequent origins, you can also get a better idea of what to expect from an Australian Shepherd Lab mix when you look into what their unique needs will be.
With all that noted, let’s take a closer look at what it will take to raise a happy and healthy Australian Shepherd Lab mix.
How Much Exercise Does The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Need?
The Australian Shepherd Lab mix is a high-energy dog that needs plenty of exercises.
Both the Labrador Retriever and the Australian Shepherd are active and intelligent dogs with a strong work ethic.
This means that potential owners of an Australian Shepherd Lab mix should be expecting a dog that is going to require plenty of daily exercises and mental stimulation.
Without proper exercise both physically and mentally, the Australian Shepherd Lab mix can be prone to some serious behavioral issues including anxiety, destruction, depression, and more.
Let’s Talk About How Much Exercise the Australian Shepherd Lab mix Needs
Like all dogs, the Australian Shepherd Lab mix is going to need daily exercise each and every day. He is considered an energetic and active dog, which means this may not be the ideal dog for those who live in apartments or who are unable to take their dog out for daily walks, jogs, runs, or hikes.
The ideal exercise for an Australian Shepherd Lab mix is going to include daily walks that are at least an hour or more each day. This is also a dog that will enjoy other forms of exercise that could include swimming or hiking, as we just discussed above.
Along with daily exercise, the Australian Shepherd Lab mix will also do well with a securely fenced yard where they can run and play freely to burn excess energy.
Labrador Retrievers in particular can be slow to mature, and they may behave in a puppy-like and energetic way until they are a few years old.
Luckily, plenty of exercise and free-play can help rescue overwhelming or undesirable behaviors in your Australian Shepherd Lab mix.
When you are walking or exercising your Australian Shepherd lab Mix, it’s important to ensure he has the right walking equipment.
Aussie Lab mix breeds can be energetic and tend to pull ahead, but it’s best to avoid equipment like prong collars or choke chains.
Instead, stick with no pull dog harnesses like the one listed below.
PetSafe Easy Walk Front Clip Harness
The PetSafe Easy Walk Front Clip Harness is a harness designed to help reduce pulling in dogs and to also fit the dog to feel more natural for him. Traditional harnesses that clip on the back can put pressure on your dog’s chest, which can
Of course, exercise goes far beyond just physical for a dog with such an intelligent mind and strong work ethic.
What You Should Know About Mental Stimulation
Working breeds like Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers require mental stimulation each and every day.
Without proper mental stimulation, the Australian Shepherd Lab mix can be prone to some serious behavioral issues that can become overwhelming and frustrating for unprepared owners.
Mental stimulation for an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix could include investing in puzzle toys, slow feeders, KONG toys, snuffle mats, and more.
We also recommend having a consistent training schedule. This would include spending time with your dog throughout the day and teaching him fun new tricks or cues to follow or learn.
These clever dogs are also working breeds, so they will enjoy and appreciate having a job to do. You can teach your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix how to help out with chores around the house like helping to collect the mail, take out the trash, or even sort the laundry and load the dishwasher!
If you’re looking for some great puzzle toy options to invest in for your clever Australian Shepherd Lab Mix, we have listed a favorite of ours below.
Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toy
Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toys are great because they are available in such a wide range of difficulty levels. The puzzle toy we would specifically recommend for the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is the level three puzzle toy listed above. This toy utilizes small cubbies that encourage your dog to use his sense of smell and memory to problem solve and collect the treats hidden within.
Once your dog has mastered this puzzle toy, you can invest in others that come in different shapes and difficulty levels.
When it comes to these types of toys for an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix, we suggest swapping them out now and then to keep them fun and interesting for your dog.
How To Properly Train And Socialize An Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
The Aussie Lab mix is intelligent and eager to please dog.
Keeping your dog physically and mentally exercised is incredibly important to your dog’s overall happiness and health, but so is proper training and socialization.
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is naturally a friendly dog that enjoys being around his daily and children. He can also do well with other pets in the home. However, since the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is a dog that comes from one purebred parent with herding instinct, he could have a tendency to try and herd smaller children or pets around the home.
This could be overwhelming and frustrating for families, but you can work with this behavior when your dog is young to help reduce it.
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix may also have some hunting instincts due to his Labrador Retreiver parent breed, so it’s best not to leave your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix unsupervised with smaller animals like rodents, birds, or reptiles.
When it comes to training your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix to help reduce unwanted behaviors and to encourage a healthy bond, it’s important to use positive reinforcement training.
This includes the use of treats, praise, and patience. Avoid using aversive training tactics like fear, force, or scolding, as this can deteriorate the bond built between you and your dog and may even lead to worsened behavioral issues down the road.
When you are training your dog, we recommend using quality training treats that are considered high-value.
High-value training treats include treats that are small, highly palatable, chewy, and smelly.
Zuke’s Mini Training Treats
We are big fans of the above Zuke’s Mini Training Treats. They are low-calorie treats that you can feel good about feeding your dog and they are made with quality ingredients like real animal meat protein and vitamins and minerals your dog needs in order to thrive.
They come in flavors like beef or salmon and are all-natural treats that will help hold your dog’s attention during training. Their small size makes them perfect for carrying around in training pouches and you can also use these treats when it comes to helping socialize your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix.
What Is Proper Socialization?
Socializing a dog is the process of introducing your dog to as many new experiences and situations as possible and as early as possible. This could include introducing your dog to different people, places, sounds, children, other animals, and different environments.
Properly socializing your dog at an early age, ideally in puppyhood, can help reduce anxiety and stress which could lead to fear-based aggression and other undesirable behavioral issues.
Remember, when you are socializing with your dog, avoid forcing your dog into a situation that you can tell is clearly frightening for him.
Instead, allow your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix to explore the world and his surroundings at his own pace and use gentle encouragement and training treats to help your dog have a positive association with new things, people, sounds, animals, and more.
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Grooming Needs
Grooming an Aussie Lab Mix requires routine brushing to help control shed fur.
When you’re investing in a crossbreed, you’re taking a leap when it comes to the type of coat and appearance your dog might have. The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is no exception to this rule, though there are a few physical traits we can predict when it comes to the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix.
The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is going to have a shedding coat that sheds year-round, shedding mostly during the shedding season in spring and fall. The Australian Shepherd in particular can have a longer coat that could be more prone to matting and tangles while the Labrador Retriever has a smooth coat that lays flat.
Your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix could get a mix of either a longer or shorter coat, but either way, this is a dog that will need to be brushed routinely at least two times a week to help remove excess shed fur, reduce tangles and matting, and remove debris that could cause skin irritations and doggy odor.
Furminator Deshedding Comb
The Furminator Deshedding Comb helps to reduce loose and shed hair by up to 95% and can help make routine grooming easier by offering a clean-as-you-go option on the brush.
It helps to also detangle your dog’s fur, which is ideal if your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix has a longer coat like his Aussie parent breed.
If your dog does inherit a longer coat, you’ll want to pay special attention to your dog’s hindquarters, underarms, and ears. These areas can be more prone to matting than other areas and these mats can become tight and painful for your dog.
Along with routine brushing, the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix will also need occasional bathing. Bathing should be done every four to six weeks and we suggest using a quality dog shampoo that is free of dyes, parabens, alcohols, or other ingredients that could strip your dog’s coat of the natural oils it produces that help to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy.
The Australian Shepherd Mix will also need to have his nails trimmed down routinely using a quality nail trimmer or nail grinder for dogs. If you prefer to have your dog’s nail trimmed professionally, he should see the groomer at least every two to three weeks for these procedures.
Like all dogs, the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix can be prone to dental disease, so it’s important to invest in a dog toothbrush and toothpaste and brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day.
If your dog is finicky about having his teeth brushed, you also have the option of using dental wipes or chews instead that will help to break down plaque and tartar buildup while also helping to freshen your dog’s breath.
Last, be sure to keep your dog’s ears clean and free of waxy buildup, moisture, and debris. The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix has longer, floppy ears that can be prone to ear infections if they are not properly cared for.
If you’re concerned about ear infections in your dog, you can speak with your veterinarian or groomer about quality ear cleaner that can help reduce the potential for these painful and stinky problems.
And speaking of ear infections and dental disease, let’s take a closer look at the potential health issues of an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix.
Does The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Have Any Health Issues?
Like all dogs, the Aussie Lab Mix can be predisposed to genetic health issues.
As we covered above, crossbreed dogs like the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix may have the benefit of hybrid vigor or the idea that they may be healthier than their purebred counterparts thanks to their widened gene pool.
While this theory does have some promise, we want to remind you that the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix could certainly still be prone to any of the same genetic health issues of his purebred parent breeds.
It could be difficult to determine which types of genetic health issues your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix could be most prone to as genetics are difficult to predict, but there are a few ways you can go about ensuring you are raising the healthiest Australian Shepherd Lab Mix possible.
The first way is to have a good idea of what your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix could be prone to in general. With a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix could be predisposed to the following health issues:
- Eye Disease
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Laryngeal Paralysis
- Nasal Dermatitis
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Dental Disease
- And Bloat
Your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix dog’s health may not be as predictable as his parent breeds, but you can get a good idea of what your dog could be prone to by having him health screened early on.
Canine DNA kits are a great way to get a glimpse into your dog’s potential health issues as he ages. These kits can also provide you with a wealth of knowledge about your dog’s ancestry, dietary needs, and more!
Another way to help ensure the health and happiness of your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix is to ensure you keep up with routine veterinarian visits.
Most experts agree that large breed dogs like the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix should visit their veterinarian at least once a year until they reach the age of seven. After age seven, Australian Shepherd Lab Mix dogs should see their veterinarian at least twice a year for checkups.
Diet also plays a large role in your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix dog’s health. As you likely saw, there are a few health issues in our above list that could be related to diet.
Bloat, for example, is a life-threatening health issue that can come on suddenly and may be exasperated by a poor diet.
When it comes to dog food for your Australian Shepherd Lab Mix, we recommend a quality dog food that is made with real meat animal protein, fatty acids, carbs, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and dog food that contains a good source of water.
You have the option of choosing between dry dog food, wet dog food, raw dog food, or even homemade dog food. When choosing the dog food for your dog, avoid dog foods that contain fillers, by-products, corn, soy, wheat, gluten, or other ingredients that could exasperate potential health issues in your pup.
We also suggest that you feed your dog food specified for his age, weight, and activity level.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
When it comes to quality dog food for large breed dogs like the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix, we like Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula for large breed dogs.
This dog food contains all the nutrients and ingredients your dog needs in order to thrive. It also comes in different recipes including lamb and brown rice, chickens and brown rice, and fish in brown rice.
If you’re looking to enhance your Australian Shepherd Lab mix dog’s coat and brain health, we recommend the fish and rice recipe, as it is loaded with DHA and other quality ingredients your dog will need to help keep him healthy and happy.
And of course, proper grooming, exercise, and mental stimulation will also play a major role in your dog’s overall health, happiness, and quality of life.
How To Decide If The Australian Shepherd Lab Mix Is Right For You!
The Labrador Retreiver Aussie mix is a happy, friendly, and family-oriented dog.
Is the Australian Shepherd Lab Mix the right dog for you? This beautiful mixed breed is certainly eye-catching and comes with a winning temperament when properly raised, trained, and socialized.
The ideal owners of an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix are going to be owners who are active, dedicated, and who have a good understanding of working dog breeds.
Remember, the Australian Shepherd Lab mix is a great mix for those with children and other pets. He is a shedding breed, however, and may not be ideal for those who struggle with allergies.
Still, with proper grooming, his coat should be manageable and you should be able to reduce heavy shedding.
So, are you considering an Australian Shepherd Lab Mix to call your own? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.