A cross between a Labrador retriever and an Australian shepherd, the Aussie Lab mix possesses more of the most sought-after canine traits than any other dog breed in existence. With the Lab’s friendly and loyal temperament and the shepherd’s intelligence and unparalleled work ethic, the Australian shepherd mix is a dog that seems to have it all, even good looks. If you want to adopt a dog but are not sure what breed is right for you, consider this mix.
The Personality of an Aussiedor
The Aussie shepherd mix possesses many of the admired traits of its two ancestors and is therefore highly intelligent, friendly, hardworking and playful. Some of the more desirable attributes of an Aussie Lab mix include the following:
- Loyal: Retrievers and shepherds both make the top 10 list for most-loyal dogs, so it is no surprise that the Aussiedor tops the list as well. Once you develop a bond with this dog, do not expect it to leave your side to do much more than eat, sleep or go to the bathroom.
- Hardworking: The Australian shepherd is known for its work ethic and days of herding cattle. The crossbreed picked up a bit of its work ethic but not so much that you would be adopting a workhorse instead of a playful companion. The Lab’s playful demeanor shows in the mix, providing that perfect balance of disciplined yet carefree attitude for which many dog owners look.
- Affectionate: Both the Australian shepherd and the Labrador retriever received five stars in the “affectionate with family” category. If you want a pup that will fit in with both your two-legged loved ones and your furry family members, the Aussie Lab mix won’t disappoint.
- Friendly: When rated for friendliness, both the Australian shepherd and the Labrador retriever ranked between four and five stars, so it should come as no surprise that the Australian shepherd mix is extremely friendly as well. This crossbreed is both dog- and kid-friendly, but whereas the Labrador retriever is stranger-friendly, the Australian shepherd is right in the middle—not too friendly and not too aggressive. The hybrid falls right around a four-star rating with strangers, which is ideal for people who live in busy areas or who have a lot of visitors.
- Intelligent: Both original breeds received five stars in the “easy to train” and “intelligence” categories, meaning that the Aussie Lab mix ranks high in trainability as well. An easily trained dog is ideal for families with small children or people who live in populated areas or who don’t have a lot of time to invest in training.
Like all hybrid dogs, there is the potential for some problematic traits to surface. For instance, the Aussie is a cattle herder, which means that it is independent and prone to wandering. It may also try to nip at your or your children’s heels to “herd” you, which might be funny at first but problematic on a constant basis. Both original dog breeds tend to bark or howl at even the slightest of sounds, which can be frustrating for both you and the neighbors. Fortunately, because you can easily train the mix, you can ensure that any undesirable traits are nipped in the bud before they become habits.
Caring for Your Aussiedor
In addition to ensuring that your Aussie Lab mix gets the training it needs to become a faithful companion, you also want to make sure that your new family member receives adequate exercise, sufficient healthcare and proper grooming. The Australian shepherd mix is an active dog, one that requires daily exercise and room to play. You can help tame your pup’s active nature by taking it on daily walks or runs that are about an hour in length. You can also satisfy your dog’s independent nature by allowing it to run free at a dog park or in your backyard.
Some Aussiedors inherit the longer coat of the Australian shepherd, while others get the short coat of the lab. If your pooch has long hair, it may require more grooming and maintenance than its short-haired counterparts. Regardless of coat length, expect your pup to shed during the summer and to require weekly brushings.
Like all dogs, the Aussie Lab mix is prone to health problems. Before you adopt a puppy, make sure that you have a trusted veterinarian lined up. A vet can perform routine well-checks and ensure that your dog is progressing as normal. More importantly, a vet can spot and treat any potential health issues before they become dangerous. Some health issues the Aussiedor is susceptible to include hypothyroidism and lymphoma, two conditions that, if not treated, can result in long-term or even fatal consequences.
The Aussie Lab mix is a great dog, one that can bring you and your family joy for years to come. However, if you want it to reach its full potential in terms of intelligence, loyalty and affection, and if you want it to live a long, happy and healthy life, you need to provide it with proper training and care. If you’re prepared to do that, the Aussiedor may be right for you.