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Old 6th October 2009, 3:24 PM   #1
sormuijai Thread Starter
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Default German Shepherd vs Labrador/Golden Retriever

Just looking for some opinions on which breed of dog to go with. We've had 2 German Shepherds in our family, and both have been wonderful around kids, the elderly and is also a great guard dog.

I've always loved Labradors and Golden Retrievers and would love to have one as a pet. My dad also wants to look at having a different breed after 2 German Shepherds. The main thing we want is:

- OK around kids. We would never leave the young kinds unsupervised no matter how good our other dogs were. But the older kids were always free to play with the dog with minimal supervision.
- Able to watch the house. By watch I mean bark at intruders or when strangers come into the house. We don't want the dog to attack anyone, but be able to bark loudly to scare people if needed. I.e. not yap like a chihuahua.

We have a medium to large size yard with fairly high fences. 6 feet?

I know the labs and GR will probably be fine with the kids factor, so I want to know if they make decent watch dogs. Our dog used to bark the minute the door bell went off or if a stranger walks into the house. Would a lab or GR usually be ok with this? (Or are they more likely to lick the stranger to death?).

How would a lab or GR compare to a German Shepherd in terms of shedding and the need for exercise?

Any other breeds people would recommend? a Golden Retriever is probably the longest fur we want to deal with. I definitely do not want a Rottweiler or Doberman.
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Old 6th October 2009, 3:32 PM   #2
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I like my dane and would think that it would fit the bill for you
it is a large dog though but I can say that our dane will growl and bark at unknown people untill I come and than she sits and if I give here the ok she is friendly with them no problems, she also loves to play with children only thing to watch is that she is big so supervision is a must.

on anouther note do you intend to get the dog from rescue, puppy mill or breeder.
you might as well make it clear now before the big debate screws your thread
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Old 6th October 2009, 3:38 PM   #3
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I'm staying the hell away from that debate! I know it all comes down to the breeder and the parents and how you train them etc. But I'm more interested in the breed in general If the breed is completely wrong for what I want then I know where to focus my research
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Old 6th October 2009, 3:49 PM   #4
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Have owned a golden retriever cross labrador and I must say it was the best of both worlds. Hair was a little shorter which was heaps better to brush than the neighbours retriever.

The labradors never really grow up btw, I think a cross was a nice compromise for us as it means a fun loving dog, slightly shorter hair, a little more calm than a labrador which is quite nice as well, whilst being a little more aware of it's surroundings. Mind you, it loved lying against your legs or sitting almost on top of you .

It was amazingly intelligent, best dog we've trained thus far. I'm not a huge dog trainer, but between myself and dad we got the dog to sit, shake hands, roll over, lay down, play dead, and stand on it's back legs. They're also very gentle taking food from your hands, but again, you train them that way of course.

Ours was an excellent guard dog, if someone came to the door it didn't know it would bark. If it was me getting home it'd bark once or twice till it saw me. Ours was a very protective dog when at home, never bit at anyone and is still of a decent enough size it'd be a worry for any would be intruders. Only time it got a bit narky was when some jerk was having a go at us in a park one day accusing us of leaving a poo behind (which was clearly from a toy poodle or something, it was tiny, i'm sure you know about dog poo and it's sizing with relation to the dog size though ). He really got up in my face about it and was really having a dig at me, little strip of hair on the back went up and dog was well and truly growling at him then. Never happened whilst playing footy with mates or something though, or wrestling with it.

Anyway that's my experience with a labrador x retriever, it was very positive, a very loyal dog too. Oh and as for escaping, so long as you train it well as a puppy you'll have no issues. We got ours very used to outside the house and it never wanted to leave the backyard unless we were going for walks.

If I wasn't in rental property right now i'd buy another in a heart beat!

edit: To relate back to your GS though, it probably won't be as scary, or as aggressive to strangers. I know the GS next door used to be fine with me, but would appear to be ready to basically tear the mail mans head off as he walked up to the door. Our dog would bark, but there dog honestly looked as though he was gonna kill someone . But I guess that's a bit of the stereotype as well, as they're quite often the "police dogs" (and/or Inspector Rex )
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Last edited by Lukey; 6th October 2009 at 3:51 PM.
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Old 6th October 2009, 3:59 PM   #5
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I was looking at Lab x GR for the same reason. The shorter hair but also fun and easy around the kids. I am worried about the joints of the labs and GRs though. And with a cross, its not easy to get a rating on the joints is it?
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Old 6th October 2009, 4:51 PM   #6
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Labs and GR are the crappest guard dogs ever haha. they will lick the intruder to death rather than have a go. they are the friendliest dogs around.

Labs are extremely high energy and never really grow up too, so unless you have the time to spend every day training and walking then don't even bother. They will also need a large amount of training while they are young to make them calm and easy to handle.

that said i'm not a big fan of shepherds and the many many physical (and mental) issues a lot of them have.

Neither would be a pick for me but if you're after a dog that guards then don't bother with the lab.
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Old 6th October 2009, 4:56 PM   #7
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Why does everyone insist on crossing dogs? What is it about the Golden Retriever you want that the Labrador doesn't have? If you don't want long hair, get the Lab, they're very similar dogs in terms of personality anyway.
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Old 6th October 2009, 5:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamaxx View Post
Why does everyone insist on crossing dogs? What is it about the Golden Retriever you want that the Labrador doesn't have? If you don't want long hair, get the Lab, they're very similar dogs in terms of personality anyway.
I dunno, always noticed a difference between our cross and neighbours GR. Their GR definately wasn't as fun, still a great dog, but more like the responsible one, whereas out cross was a little more crazy and fun.

Regardless, don't think this should turn into a "why do people cross breed" thread.

As Melz said, labradors would likely lick people to death, but our cross would bark very strongly. If an intruder was keen enough to try their luck in there i'd say they had a few other tricks up their sleeves to remove the threat of the dog anyway. I probably wouldn't recommend an all labrador though, great fun, but just never grow up (cousins have 2 of them, both the same, 7 years old and still big puppies )
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Old 6th October 2009, 6:03 PM   #9
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I love the more sleek and slim look of a GR vs the chunky Lab. I also find the face of a GR so much more dopey and adorable. But the main thing stopping me from committing to a GR is the long fur. Our German Shepherd shedded like crazy. We sometimes had balls of fur rolling through our yard. And he had short hair. Not sure how it'll be with long hair GR.
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Old 6th October 2009, 6:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukey View Post
I dunno, always noticed a difference between our cross and neighbours GR. Their GR definately wasn't as fun, still a great dog, but more like the responsible one, whereas out cross was a little more crazy and fun.

Regardless, don't think this should turn into a "why do people cross breed" thread.

As Melz said, labradors would likely lick people to death, but our cross would bark very strongly. If an intruder was keen enough to try their luck in there i'd say they had a few other tricks up their sleeves to remove the threat of the dog anyway. I probably wouldn't recommend an all labrador though, great fun, but just never grow up (cousins have 2 of them, both the same, 7 years old and still big puppies )
Well they're sort of like people, different people have different personalities......

I've met some nice Pit Bulls too...
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Old 6th October 2009, 6:56 PM   #11
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Im gunna answer the original questions u asked, without getting into any of the other things brought up.

Quote:
OK around kids. We would never leave the young kinds unsupervised no matter how good our other dogs were. But the older kids were always free to play with the dog with minimal supervision.
Good to see you have the right mind here. I dont care how well u know the animal, how well the genetics of the dog are etc - anyone who lets their kids play around a dog without supervision is going to have problems. Kids dont know how to treat the dog (even if you tell them how to act, they will do what they want) and their play time with the dog can give it bad behaviour. Also, kids if attacked, especially with a dog of that size dont stand a chance. Given you can supervise the kids time with the dog then either breed would be a great dog to have.
Quote:
- Able to watch the house. By watch I mean bark at intruders or when strangers come into the house. We don't want the dog to attack anyone, but be able to bark loudly to scare people if needed. I.e. not yap like a chihuahua.
Any large dog would be able to do this. Our labrador is an extrememly quiet dog. He doesnt bark at all to people who come up the drive or to passerbys, however if someone tried to break in or jump the gate he would protect us and our property. Both dogs you have listed there should be able to do the job if trained properly.

Look deeper into both dog breeds and see what its traits and personality are like, then see if you can support the dogs needs rather than what you require from the dog.
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Old 6th October 2009, 6:56 PM   #12
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The lab from marley and me was pretty sleek yet most I see at the beach seem to be the stockier type you mentioned, maybe its a breeder thing. Curly coated retrievers have a a sleeker look, no idea on their temperment though.
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Old 6th October 2009, 7:13 PM   #13
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I read there are show Lab dogs and working/field labs. I think the field labs have the sleeker look, but also require a lot more exercise than the show type (Which already require quite a bit of exercise as it is).

We haven't had much problems raising our German Shepherd. Does anyone know the difference in terms of exercise a Lab/GR needs compared to a German Shepherd? A lot of websites say that they need at least 30mins of exercise a day, but I find it easier to understand if someone can say its more/less/same as a German Shepherd.
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Old 6th October 2009, 7:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sormuijai View Post
A lot of websites say that they need at least 30mins of exercise a day, but I find it easier to understand if someone can say its more/less/same as a German Shepherd.
Problem is I have no idea how much a German Shepherd needs (and likely not too many people own both). BUT, I admit we didn't walk our dog every day, we'd play with it in the yard every day mind you.

But we'd normally go for walks every 2nd day or so, probs for closer to an hour though anyways. Or sometimes not for 3-4 days, but then she'd get to come to the beach with us saturday/sunday etc, sometimes it gets busy and you simply don't get the time to go walking all over the place. We could however still sit in the backyard and throw a ball round, tackle her, etc, etc, and she'd have a blast. Or alternatively get her all psyched up and just move your feet quickly and she'd run round in big circles for like 20 minutes and all you had to do was move your feet quickly every few minutes (best exercise ever ).

I doubt you'd be looking at heaps more work between any of the three really. At a guess i'd say they're all -fairly- on par.
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Old 6th October 2009, 10:31 PM   #15
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MmMMm Flat coat retriever.


Don't like Labradors so much although they're lovely dogs.


Golden:


Of all of them I reckon in coat size the Flat coat is probably the ideal one. They're gorgeous dogs too, I looked after one for a client for 6 mths.
But, to clarify, TBH any retriever will make a nice dog.

If it were up to me, I think I would get a Weimeraner.


Look at him go!

Last edited by dreamaxx; 6th October 2009 at 10:35 PM.
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