Before getting a puppy, you should be sure that the breed you're doing to buy or rescue is a good fit for your lifestyle and home.
Let's get busy...
While German Shepherd Dog is a member of the Herding Group, Labrador Retriever belongs to the group of Sporting Dogs.
Despite these breeds aren't members of the same breed groups, they have some similarities and not only differences so keep reading to learn more.
German Shepherd Dog vs Labrador Retriever Size Comparison
German Shepherd Dogs are larger, with a typical height of 22 to 26 inches and weight of 75 to 95 pounds, while the typical height of Labrador Retriever is 21 to 24 inches and they usually weigh 55 to 80 pounds.
We know that these numbers might be too abstract, so we made a tool to help you visualize these numbers.
The following chart compares the average breeds height with the average height of an American man and woman.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, the average height of a man is 69 inches, and the height of a woman is 63.5 inches.
Dog size comparison to a human. From left, average heights of German Shepherd Dog, Labrador Retriever, American female, and American male.
German Shepherd Dog vs Labrador Retriever lifespan
No doubt, the quality of care provided to the dog is one of the main factors when it comes to canines life longevity, however, there are also other factors, especially the dog's breed.
With a life expectancy of 10 to 14 years, German Shepherd Dogs usually live longer than Labrador Retrievers.
Labrador Retrievers' lifespan is 10 to 12 years.
Read on to the following sections to better understand in detail how German Shepherd Dog and Labrador Retriever compare and hopefully end up with enough arguments to decide which one is better for you.
|Breed Name||German Shepherd Dog||Labrador Retriever|
|Breed Group||Herding Dogs||Sporting Dogs|
|Height||22 to 26 inches||21 to 24 inches|
|Weight||75 to 95 pounds||55 to 80 pounds|
|Life Span||10 to 14 years||10 to 12 years|
German Shepherd Dog vs Labrador Retriever adaptability
When we say "dog adaptability", most people think about apartment living adaptability, so let's start with that.
All dogs are great — but not all dogs are great for or geared toward apartment living. A dog may be considered the worst dog breed for apartments for a few reasons including size, energy level, noise, smell, shedding...
German Shepherd Dogs have a better reputation as good apartment living dogs than Labrador Retrievers.
While most dogs can be left home alone for 6 to 8 hours, some will do better. Check the table below to see how German Shepherd Dogs and Labrador Retrievers tolerate being left alone.
To learn more, read our list of dogs that can be left alone.
Hot weather tolerance
Depending on where you live, you should choose a dog that tolerates hot or cold weather well.
Speaking of German Shepherd Dog and Labrador Retriever, these breeds tolerate hot weather well, but you still need to be cautious when it's hot.
During warm weather, be sure to provide shade and water and head out in the morning or late evening when it's cooler. Also, avoid pavements - if the ground is too hot to touch for your hand for a few seconds, it's too hot for paws.
Check our heatstroke article on prevention and symptoms to learn more.
What about cold weather?
Cold temperatures are not a problem for most dogs until they fall below 45° F, at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable. When temperatures fall below 32° F, owners of small breed dogs, dogs with thin coats, and/or very young, old, or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet’s well-being.
Once temperatures drop under 20° F, all owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite.
Luckily, both breeds tolarate cold weather well, so while you stick to the rules mentioned above, they should be fine and probably enjoy the cold weather.
Our "How Cold Is Too Cold For Dogs?" article has more information on this topic.
|Adaptability||German Shepherd Dog||Labrador Retriever|
|Adapts Well To Apartment Living|
|Good For Novice Owners|
|Tolerates Being Alone|
|Tolerates Cold Weather|
|Tolerates Hot Weather|
German Shepherd Dog vs Labrador Retriever temperament
It's always hard to make a general statement about the whole breed's temperament. Each dog has a different temperament, and there are a lot of factors that affect its behavior.
Looking for a perfect family dog?
If you're looking for a companion dog, you won't go wrong with German Shepherd Dog and Labrador Retriever. Their outgoing and friendly personality makes them a great choice for families. Both are highly affectionate with family, they will immediately become a family member.
When it comes to behavior around children, there's no much difference between these breeds.
Both German Shepherd Dog and Labrador Retriever love children - they are usually gentle and patient with kids, but as we mentioned, temperaments can vary based on the individual dog.
We've created a list of the 15 best dogs for kids and family, so read it next if this is important for you.
Dog guarding behavior is welcome for some owners, while others prefer a dog that's friendly towards strangers.
German Shepherd Dogs and Labrador Retrievers are super friendly toward strangers, so don't expect them to be too protective unless they are properly trained.
|All-Around Friendliness||German Shepherd Dog||Labrador Retriever|
|Affectionate With Family|
|Friendly Toward Strangers|
Health And Grooming Needs
The best way to optimize your pup’s health is to research reputable breeders, and then when you meet them ask to see the parents and their health certificates as described above and to see the conditions in which all the dogs are living.
Check the table below to see the general health rating for these two canines, and read full breed profile articles to read in-depth information on their health.
Also, some breeds are prone to obesity, which could cause other health conditions. Be sure to check that information as well, if the breed is prone to obesity, keep a close eye on labels and feed your dog according to the food labels.
For example, hip dysplasia is hereditary and is especially common in larger dogs. Factors such as excessive growth rate, types of exercise, and improper weight and nutrition can magnify this genetic predisposition.
What about shedding?
One of the bad parts of having a dog is definitely shedding. So be sure to take this into your consideration when choosing the right breed for you. Click here to learn how to minimize the shedding.
OK, let's make this clear - German Shepherd Dog and Labrador Retriever are heavy shedders! Preventing shedding is impossible, but regular brushing is necessary. These breeds are almost always on the list of dogs that shed the worst.
Recommended article: 30 Small Hypoallergenic Dogs That Don’t Shed.
Hate drooling? Well, then you should probably skip Labrador Retriever and choose German Shepherd Dog instead.
|Health And Grooming Needs||German Shepherd Dog||Labrador Retriever|
|Amount Of Shedding|
|Easy To Groom|
|Potential For Weight Gain|
German Shepherd Dog vs Labrador Retriever trainability
Each dog needs some kind of obedience training, but some of them are easier to train, while others are more stubborn.
These breeds are relatively easy to train and they aren't very stubborn, but you have to be patient. persistence, and consistency play a huge role in successfully training your dog.
|Trainability||German Shepherd Dog||Labrador Retriever|
|Easy To Train|
|Potential For Mouthiness|
|Tendency To Bark Or Howl|
Do German Shepherd Dog and Labrador Retriever need a lot of physical activity?
To keep your dog healthy, calm, and happy, you have to provide it with enough physical activities. Not only your dog will be healthier and happier when it's active, but you'll also reduce or completely eliminate destructive behavior.
Some people don't think about this when selecting a breed, so we have dedicated a whole chapter to physical needs.
Both German Shepherd Dog and Labrador Retriever have a high exercise needs. It means they will need at least 30 to 60 minutes of hard aerobic exercise most days of the week, preferably daily. And no, a leashed walk isn't a hard aerobic exercise - think of aerobic exercise as anything that makes your dog pant.
|Physical Needs||German Shepherd Dog||Labrador Retriever|
|Potential For Playfulness|
German Shepherd Dog or Labrador Retriever: The bottom line
In this article, we tried to give you an idea of what you can expect from German Shepherd Dogs and Labrador Retrievers.
To further explore their personality, overall health, temperament, and much more, read their full breed profile.
Or, use the tool below to read the next comparison.