German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever

Compare the German Shepherd to the Labrador Retriever. Use the tool below to compare temperament, size, personality, maintenance requirements, and everything else between German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers.

Quick Summary

Below are a few quick comparisons between the two breeds.
  • Owner Experience - Both the German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever are good choices for new or inexperienced owners.
  • Children - Both breeds are child friendly, but the Labrador Retriever is the most friendly between the breeds.
  • Grooming - The Labrador Retriever is very easy to groom. The German Shepherd has high grooming requirements.
  • Barking - Both the German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever are very vocal and will bark/howl frequently.
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German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever
German Shepherd Dog Breed
Black Lab in the Grass
Breed NameGerman ShepherdLabrador Retriever
General Details
Breed TypePurebredPurebred
Is Hypo­allergenicNoNo
Lifespan10-14 yrs.10-12 yrs.
Height22-26 in.21-24 in.
Weight75-95 lb55-80 lb
IntelligenceHighHigh
History
Origin CountryGermanyCanada
Origin Year1899 AD1700 AD
Temperament
Overall FriendlinessGoodVery Good
Family FriendlyVery GoodVery Good
Kid FriendlyGoodVery Good
Pet FriendlyVery GoodVery Good
Stranger FriendlyBelow AverageVery Good
Personality
  • Affectionate
  • Loving
  • Does Not Like Being Alone
  • Willing To Please
  • Affectionate
  • Loving
  • Likes To Snuggle
  • Willing To Please
Living Environment
ApartmentYesYes
IndoorYesYes
Small YardYesYes
Medium YardYesYes
Large YardYesYes
Temperature Tolerance ¹40°F to 85°F30°F to 90°F
Barks/HowlsVery OftenVery Often
Exercise Needs
Energy LevelHighHigh
Exercise RequiredHighHigh
Top Running Speed30 mph20 mph
StrengthHighHigh
Grooming Needs
Coat Main­tenanceMedium-HighMedium
SheddingHighHigh
DanderHighMedium
Drool AmountMediumMedium

¹This is estimated min/max temperature range for a healthy adult dog. Dogs that live indoors, puppies, seniors, unwell dogs, and/or dogs with improperly groomed coats may overheat sooner and get cold more quickly.
Instincts & Behavior Comparison
Breed NameGerman ShepherdLabrador Retriever
Breed Mentality
Dominant/AlphaNoNo
Family/PackYesYes
IndependentNoNo
Breed Focus
Distracted EasilyNoNo
AverageNoNo
Focused & PatientYesYes
Breed Instincts
AggressionAverageBelow Average
Burrow/DiggingBelow AverageBelow Average
ChasingBelow AverageBelow Average
Follow CommandsHighAverage
FightingBelow AverageVery Low
GuardingHighVery Low
HerdingHighVery Low
HuntingHighHigh
ProtectionHighVery Low
Remove VerminBelow AverageBelow Average
SleddingBelow AverageBelow Average
WatchHighBelow Average
Health Comparison
Breed NameGerman ShepherdLabrador Retriever
Lifespan
Lifespan10-14 yrs.10-12 yrs.
Common Health Issues
Acute Moist DermatitisNoYes
AllergiesYesNo
BlindnessYesNo
BloatYesYes
CancerYesNo
CataractsYesYes
Cherry EyeYesNo
Chronic DiarrheaYesNo
Cold TailNoYes
Cruciate Ligament RuptureYesNo
Cushing's SyndromeYesNo
Degenerative MyelopathyYesNo
Demodectic MangeYesNo
DiabetesYesNo
Digestive ProblemsYesNo
Ear InfectionsNoYes
Elbow DysplasiaYesYes
EpilepsyYesYes
Exocrine Pancreatic InsufficiencyYesNo
Heart DiseaseYesNo
Hemophilia AYesNo
Hemophilia BYesNo
Hip DysplasiaYesYes
Hypertrophic OsteodystrophyYesNo
Lens LuxationYesNo
LupusYesNo
MegaesophagusYesNo
Myasthenia GravisYesNo
MyopathyNoYes
Nail Bed DiseaseYesNo
OsteochondrosisYesNo
Osteochondrosis DissecansNoYes
PannusYesNo
PanosteitisYesNo
ParalysisYesNo
Perianal FistulaYesNo
Progressive Retinal AtrophyYesYes
Retinal DysplasiaYesNo
SeborrheaYesNo
Tricuspid Valve DysplasiaNoYes
VitiligoYesNo
Von Willebrand's DiseaseYesNo
Wobbler's SyndromeYesNo
Appearance Comparison
Breed NameGerman ShepherdLabrador Retriever
Coat
FurYesYes
Coat Type
Double CoatYesYes
Coat Texture
StraightYesYes
Coat Length(s)
ShortYesYes
MediumYesNo
Coat Color(s)
Bi-colorYesNo
BlackYesYes
Black & TanYesNo
Black & CreamYesNo
Black & RedYesNo
Black & SilverYesNo
BlueYesNo
GrayYesNo
LiverYesNo
SableYesNo
WhiteYesNo
ChocolateNoYes
YellowNoYes