Get ready to be wowed by the hound with a heart of gold, unquestionable loyalty, unbeatable friendliness, and a look that will make even socialites swoon. But if you’re thinking that the Golden Shepherd is going to be the perfect dog for everyone, you should already know by now that this is not necessarily true. All dogs, whether they are as docile as the Maltese or as temperamental as the Chihuahua, require the perfect individual whom they can call their master. After all, you wouldn’t want it the other way. But is the Golden Retriever – German Shepherd Mix really worth the acclaim it is showered with? Let us find out.
History of the Golden Shepherd
Given that there’s no verifiable written record about the origins of the Golden Shepherd, except for the fact it’s a designer breed consisting of the German Shepherd and the Golden Retriever, we can only offer very limited information as to its possible history.
We will not go into the details of its parents because that will be for another section. However, what we can say is that the Golden Shepherd could have been created much earlier than what many people claim. For instance, the Golden Retriever was first crossbred with a Poodle in 1969 to create the Goldendoodle. Yet, internet resources say it was created in the 1990s. The German Shepherd was also crossbred with the Akita Inu in the 1940s to produce a larger, sturdier, and definitely more muscular American Akita. It was also done to save the dog from culling, an order given by the wartime Japanese government for all non-military canines.
So you see it is entirely possible that someone, somewhere – not necessarily just the United States – came up with the idea of crossing the world’s friendliest hound with the planet’s most versatile working dog and succeeded.
At the very least, we can safely say the Golden Shepherd could have been produced in the 1970s. Again, we could be wrong, but given the fact that there’s no one who can provide verifiable evidence as to when and where the crossbreed was created, it’s anybody’s guess. Maybe you know? If you do, we sure hope you won’t mind sharing with the rest of our dear readers.
Who are the Parents?
Mixing a trustworthy, reliable, friendly, confident, intelligent, and kind Golden Retriever with a loyal, alert, watchful, courageous, curious, biddable, confident, and intelligent German Shepherd seems like a worthy mix. And it is. But first, like all the other hybrid dogs we’ve featured in our site, we’ll refresh your memory with who these purebred parents are. Maybe, just maybe, we can find the answers to some of our questions like why someone would mix these two purebreds to create a four-legged sunshine.
It may not have a Guinness World Record under its name, except for setting the fastest time to weave through 60 poles in just 12.14 seconds, but the German Shepherd has always been regarded as a top dog. It may not topple the Border Collie in terms of intelligence, but it sure makes up for it with its biddable and trainable nature.
When it comes to a dog’s work ethic, very few breeds can come close to the dedication of a GSD. After all, it was principally created for such a purpose. But if one thinks that this is nothing more than a four-legged farmer’s dog, you’ve got another coming. It’s one of the most versatile canines ever.
Not only are they watchful and alert dogs, making them invaluable in farms and in occupations that require a watchdog; GSDs also have an even temperament that makes them remarkably docile and therapeutic for a lot of people who are in need of some form of assistance. They’re highly valuable as therapy dogs especially among kids with autism and even patients with post-traumatic stress disease and depression. Their powerful stance belies the gentleness of their spirit.
This formidable stature is what makes them excellent guard dogs. They may be a bit aloof with strangers, but this is already expected as its principal job is to protect the people it loves the most. This makes it highly prized by people who are somehow incapacitated, finding peace and security in the knowledge that the GSD is there to protect them.
For all its wonderful traits, the GSD is definitely not a dog that’s designed for everyone, however. It sheds heavily, with a lot of folks calling it the German Shedder. This makes it a very unlikely candidate as a companion for folks with asthma and other pet dander allergies. It also requires a lot of mental stimulation, not to mention vigorous games and exercise. Certified couch potatoes are forewarned.
The golden boy of the canine world, the Golden Retriever is a handsome four-legged, furry fellow that seems to always have a smile plastered on its face and made even more adorable with its almond-shaped, soulful eyes. This dog is best known for its eagerness to please, biddable, gentle, and kind nature. It has this insatiable appetite for affection and the Golden will try to get it whether it’s from its family or from total strangers. This is perhaps one of the reasons why the Golden Shepherd was created – to temper the Golden Retriever’s super friendliness with the more reserved yet still friendly attitude of the GSD.
Few breeds of dogs can be as enthusiastic as the Golden when it comes to showing its love for people that it will even walk up to strangers to meet, greet, and say hello to them. Unfortunately, this overflowing exuberance can be quite risky for small kids. The GR may not be as muscular as the GSD, but it still is a large dog that can throw its weight, rather unsuspectingly, around small kids. It doesn’t mean any harm, though. It simply is a very happy dog that it cannot help but be overjoyed whenever it sees people.
This exuberance and passion for life are what makes the Golden Retriever perfect for those with a wounded soul, undergoing therapy, or simply weathering the stormy sea of depression. Its puppyish good looks plus a forever-smiling face is often enough to lift a downed spirit and bring a smile, even a faint one, on the face. They’re venerable canine therapists. They can sniff contraband, search for missing persons, and even perform some of the tasks that GSDs do; with proper training, of course.
Teenage and young adult Goldens need the firm yet affectionate guidance of a pack leader as they can be truly rambunctious juveniles. That is why the Golden is also not for everyone. It needs to be socialized and trained the proper way as young as 8 weeks old so you can bring out a more well-balanced hound in the Golden Retriever.
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Okay, so we’ve taken a refresher on the two purebreds that make up the gene pool of the Golden Shepherd. It’s time to face the facts about this hybrid dog. Keep in mind that the figures and statements we make here are approximates of what the hybrid will look like. It should be apparent by now that it’s quite difficult to predict with absolute certainty how the genes of two different purebreds will interact.
- Fully grown Golden Shepherds, usually by the age of 3 years, will typically reach a height of 20 to 26 inches with females shorter by about 1 to 2 inches.
- Adult Golden Shepherds can also have highly variable weight, from as low as 60 lbs to as heavy as 80 lbs.
- This hybrid can reach a maximum of 14 years, although it is possible that some can reach 16.
- Both the GR and the GSD have slightly long muzzles so you can expect the muzzle of the Golden Shepherd to retain such characteristics.
- The expressive and always-alert eyes can be a bit chocolatey, often with a deeper shade of brown bordering on black.
- Its ears can be flopped down like a GR or standing straight up, pointing to the sky like a GSD.
- Its coat is much more difficult to predict, given the fact that the GSD can come in various colors while the Golden Retriever will always come in 3 different shades of gold.
Things You Should Know
Folks say the Golden Shepherd is the doggie world’s contribution to man’s perpetual happiness. Does this mean anyone can become the owner of this adorable dog?
Being the offspring of two intelligent purebreds should bring good news to potential owners of Golden Shepherds. The Golden Retriever is born to please people while the GSD is bred specifically to follow your orders. But this doesn’t mean you can go easy on the Golden Shepherd’s training. It still needs the right person to train it and show it how certain actions and tasks need to be done. You’ve got to know the strengths of this dog so you can motivate it to do the stuff you want it to perform.
But if you think you can skip this aspect in a Golden Shepherd’s life, we can tell you right now that you’re wrong. As intelligent, friendly, and adorable as this dog can be, it will still need to be trained on how you want things to proceed in your house. You cannot have it lording over your house, you know? Besides, the GSD inside this dog requires order and hierarchy. It looks up to you for guidance, direction, and leadership. And if you cannot give this to the Golden Shepherd, it will take over.
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Finding the right amount of dog food to give to the Golden Shepherd should always take into consideration its weight, age, life-stage, and activity level. For a 50-lb lapdog that doesn’t do much, 1000 to 1100 calories per day should be fine. If you have a moderately active Golden Shepherd, then 1200 to 1300 calories are sufficient. We implore you to learn how to compute for your dog’s daily calorie requirements rather than simply adhering to the recommendations of the dog food manufacturer.
This big boy needs all the best proteins it could get if you want it to retain its solid, muscular body. After all, nobody wants a skinny dog. A more important consideration, however, is this dog’s tendency to suffer from bloat. One way to avoid this is by feeding it more frequently, say 2 to 3 times per day, but with substantially smaller portions. This will help minimize the dog’s gulping of air that can lead to gastric distention.
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If you’re looking for a lapdog, look elsewhere. This big boy needs 1 to 2 hours of exercise each day. That’s why only active individuals and families have the right to become its pet parent and the human family, respectively. If you prefer doing nothing at home and expecting your dog to amuse and entertain itself, by all means, you can still get this dog. However, just be prepared for what it can do to your house. From digging to nuisance barking to shredding and tearing your upholstery apart, this dog will look for other ways to spend its high levels of energy.
Even if you don’t have a strict exercise regimen for this pooch, casual walks will be fine. And if you like playing ball games, you’ll find this hybrid to be especially adept at fetching whatever you throw at it. If you’ve got a backyard that isn’t really used that often, now’s the chance to turn it into a mini dog playground. And if you happen to have a swimming pool, that’s way better, too. Any activity that you can come up with, the Golden Shepherd will be more than happy to do it with you.
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Did we say the Golden Shepherd has retained the friendliness of its Golden Retriever parent? Well, not all of it, of course, because there is still the GSD’s genes to think about. But even the GSD is friendly and affectionate to kids. One of the reasons why the GR and the GSD were mated is to create a friendly hybrid, but with certain reserved behavior with strangers. You don’t want it to be overly friendly. You also don’t want it to be too reserved and aloof.
This is where puppy socialization can be very instrumental. This crossbreed thrives in human companionship that it tends to get lonely, bored, and depressed if left alone. It is playful and quite rambunctious as a teen. Be vigilant when allowing it to play with small kids. It will never harm them, but given its high energy level, exuberant personality, and large size, it surely can hurt a small child. Other animals in the home will live peacefully with this dog, provided you let them grow up together and interact peacefully with one another.
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Exercise your arms and hands as grooming the Golden Shepherd will mean daily brushing and combing of its coat. It is not a light shedder so you’ve got to be ready for that as well. Getting the deshedding brush and the vacuum cleaner all pumped up is also a good idea. You may also want to bathe the Golden Shepherd every 2 to 3 months, but never more frequently as it can remove the oils from its skin and coat.
The Golden Shepherd’s nails have to be inspected and trimmed every month; its ears cleaned and inspected every week; and its teeth and gums cleaned or brushed every day. It may seem like a tough chore, but this is the only way you can maintain the health of your Golden Shepherd.
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Gastric dilatation volvulus or bloat is a real concern for this dog, a trait that it gets from its parents. Joint problems such as elbow and hip dysplasia can also be seen. Additionally, allergies, eye problems, ear mite infection, cancer, and epilepsy are just some of the other common health concerns for the Golden Shepherd.
We can honestly recommend the Golden Shepherd to the following.
- Highly active individuals and families or those who enjoy daily walks, exercise, and plenty of outdoor playtime.
- Experienced owners, handlers, and trainers of dogs, specifically the GSD and the Golden Retriever.
- Individuals looking for a biking, jogging, hiking, and trekking companion or any other outdoor activity.
- Those who need a watchdog.
Unfortunately, you’ll be a lot better with another dog if you…
- Cannot promise to stay with the dog for at least 16 hours every day or at least have someone to stay with it while you’re away.
- Are especially averse to exercise, outdoor activities, and other physical activities.
- Think this dog will never require socialization and training.
- Are asthmatic or have other forms of allergy that can be exacerbated by pet dander.
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Energetic, lively, and playful, the Golden Shepherd is a breath of fresh air or the sunshine in the lives of its family. Its devotion and affection can never be measured and its zest for life unparalleled among designer dog breeds. It thrives on human interaction, becoming lonely and depressed if it doesn’t see them for a long time. It loves its people and would want to be a part of their everyday activities. And while it barks, this is only to announce the presence of something or someone at the door.
It is easy to bring a little sunshine into your family. With the right training, lots of affection, and proper socialization, the Golden Shepherd is truly a hybrid to cherish.
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