Australian Shepherd Lab Mix—Good Idea?

aussie-lab-mixSeems there are a LOT of Aussie mixes out there that people have questions about. After helping a friend evaluate an Australian Shepherd Rottweiler mix, I’ve been getting a ton of mail asking what I thought of an Australian Shepherd Lab  mix.

This one is a lot easier to answer! If you have the time and space to exercise a high energy dog–this may just be the perfect combo. There are just a couple of things to be mindful of.

This combo is going to produce a mid-sized dog, with the weight ranging somewhere between 35 to 55 pounds. Depending on the dominant breed, you may have a long haired or short haired dog that sheds.

You also get the super-duper intelligence of an Aussie combined with the traits of the more naturally social Lab. So you get a dog that’s a snap to train, loyal, athletic, and good with other people. (Aussies, by themselves, are typically reserved with strangers.) But don’t think this is a breed combo that can be left to its own devices and turn out swimmingly.

While there is no question that this is likely to be a high energy combo, the Labrador genes should help your dog mellow quite a bit as s/he ages. It took Kiera, my Australian Shepherd, several years to truly mellow, whereas with a Lab/Shepherd mix, you’re probably looking at three to five years. You might find one that comes with a mellow temperament out of the gate, but don’t count on that.

Mouthiness may be an issue with this breed combo because you’re combining both the tendency to nip (herding) with the tendency to grab (retrieving). So make sure you start training “Leave it” or “Drop it” early on.  Especially if you have children under 10 years old in your household.  Also have plenty of toys handy for this dog to put in its mouth instead.

Since both of these breeds will “chase” (prey drive and retrieving drive), this dog needs great training and a fenced area to be kept safe. Especially, be careful of leaving young children without supervision.

A Lab/Australian Shepherd mix is perfect for an active family, with lots of time to train and exercise. Getting this dog into agility or other canine sport can be rewarding and lots of fun for both human and dog. And, if you’re a runner, you just got yourself a great jogging buddy.


9 thoughts on “Australian Shepherd Lab Mix—Good Idea?”

  1. Haha – that last line. I live on the end of a quiet dirt road and although I don’t run, I bike daily (at top speed with a nice bike, mind you) and my 9mo Aussie/Lab (and a small % of pit bull) mix EATS THE ROAD up, often sprinting ahead of me. She’s an absolute unit.

  2. I recently adopted an Aussie mix..seriously have no idea what she is really..But she is pretty mellow and relaxed to be with..the rescue wasnt too sure if she was a Lab mix or Rottie mix..her siblings were different ranging in size and color..2 looked like dobermans and 2 looked like lab mixes
    .and she is the only one who looks aussie for sure..I dont know how much DNA costs..but we just love her anyways.

  3. Shannon Casey Welch

    Hi. This is great info – thank you! Maybe you can help us figure out a good mix breed… My daughter really wants an Aussie, but having had a border collie in the past, I know we are not the family with enough time or energy to give a pure-bred working dog enough to do. We have a King Charles Cavalier right now and I consider him the perfect dog (!), but it looks like the Aussie-Cavalier mix is rare and very expensive. Is there another Aussie mix that you think would be good with moderate activity? Another option we’ve thought about is a lab mix…

    Any ideas or thoughts you might have would be so appreciated!
    Thanks so much,

    1. I really appreciate that you are being objective about your lifestyle situation and know that a full-on Aussie most likely would be too much.

      You don’t mention your yard set up or how old your cavalier or your daughter is, or how much anyone is home. So it’s hard to make a good recommendation. Any Aussie combo will still need a safe, good-sized yard to run around in to be happy–at the very least. Not to mention lots of training and socializing.

      Honestly, with any Aussie combination, you’re really taking a roll of the dice on energy level. If you are going through a reputable breeder, then they can be a good resource for information. If you explain that you are looking for a moderate energy level, they can help guide you.

      And, I’d have to agree–I also think Cavaliers are the perfect dog! : )

  4. Is the dog pictured a Aussie/Rottweiler mix or an Aussie lab mix? Our recently adopted dog is identical to your dog in the picture and we’re not sure what breeds he is, but he really looks absolutely identical. It’s incredible!

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