German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever – 1 Which is Better?

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German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever – 1 Which is Better? The German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever are two dogs that are difficult to mix up. They are both well-known dog breeds with disparate personalities and more dissimilar appearances. But, which makes a better pet? This isn’t going to be an easy decision.


I won’t spend a lot of time on the histories, because, well, they are completely unrelated and I’ve done complete videos on both dogs. I’ll link to those videos in the description, along with other videos you should find interesting. But, their histories are not unrelated to how these dogs perform as family pets, so I’ll share a brief history of each breed. The Labrador Retriever was originally bred in Newfoundland in the 16th century to help fishermen. They jumped into icy water to bring back fish that had fallen off the fishing hooks. They would also pull in fish-filled nets. The breed was perfect for these jobs because their coat repelled water and their webbed paws made them excellent swimmers.

Of course, like most hunting dogs, they worked closely with the fishermen and became companions as well as workers. The modern German Shepherd Dog descends from the work of ex-cavalryman and former veterinary student, Max von Stephanitz, who believed that dogs in the more industrialized Germany should be bred as working dogs. He recognized the characteristics of Germany’s herding dogs, but couldn’t locate a dog that met all of his requirements for a modern working breed. Thus, he founded the Society for German Shepherd Dogs, with a dog he discovered at a dog show.

As we can see, both breeds were bred to work closely with human companions, but to perform different tasks. Both breeds have indeed found roles in the more modernized world, the Labrador Retriever as a service dog, helping the blind and others with disabilities and the German Shepherd Dog taking up a role in police and military work, after mostly being replaced in Service Dog work by Golden and Labrador Retrievers.

Appearance and Size

There is little chance you will ever confuse these dogs with one another. They’re both distinctly different dogs. The Labrador Retriever is a strong, well-balanced dog that stands between 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 55 to 80 pounds. Its dense, rigid coat comes in a variety of colors, including yellow, black, and decadent chocolate. The head is broad, the eyes are kind, and the thick, tapering “otter tail” seems to express the breed’s intrinsic desire to please.

The German Shepherd is a more wolf-appearing dog. It has a double coat, which is comprised of a thick undercoat and a dense, slightly wavy, or straight outer coat. Its hair, usually tan and black, or red and black in color, is medium in length and is shed all year round. Other rarer color variations include all-Black, all-White, liver and blue. The German Shepherd’s body is long – generally between 22 and 26 inches — in proportion to its height. This gives the dog strength, agility, elasticity, and long, elegant strides. The German Shepherd weighs between 49-88 pounds.

Which dog do you like the best. Comment your answer below with the hashtag #Bharipets  Personality Who’s got the better personality? That depends on what you are looking for in a dog companion.


Both are intelligent dogs who’ve used their cunning to get to the top of the working dog world. However, they use their intelligence in different ways. The German Shepherd is very protective and devoted to its family and home, maintaining a suspicious and aloof demeanor around strangers. It can be dominating and assertive towards dogs, though it is normally friendly with other pets in the home. The German Shepherd is an immensely versatile dog, displaying a keen intellect while dutifully performing its tasks.

However, the German Shepherd Intelligence comes with no small amount of stubbornness as we’ll find out later when we discuss trainability. They are quick to bark and are top-of-the-class guard dogs. They also are a bit of a Velcro dog. You’re not going to have much alone time with a German Shepherd in your home. The Labrador Retriever is even-tempered, intelligent and affectionate. Labs are playful, yet gentle with children, and they tend to get along well with other pets and even strangers. Which may give the Lab a bit of an advantage if you are a social person. These dogs are eager to please, which explains why they respond so well to obedience training and are such popular service dogs. They also like to work, whether it involve shunting or fetching slippers.


Both dogs are intelligent and highly trainable, but once again, they are completely different dogs. As I mentioned earlier, the Labrador Retriever’s eager to please and is a very fast learner. Even an inexperienced owner is capable of training a Lab. Just remember to reward them with lots of praise, treats and kisses when they learn a new command. The Lab excels at obedience, tracking, guide, and assistance, and search and rescue.

The German Shepherd is considered more intelligent than the Lab, at least according to Dr. Stanley Coren in his book “The Intelligence of Dogs.” But, despite being able to learn a myriad of complex commands, is not as “user-friendly” as the Lab when it comes to training. Proper and effective training for a German Shepherd includes firmness, fairness and respect, with consistency and adequate rewards. The German Shepherd can be stubborn and also will find loopholes in any lax rules. You may also find that toys tend to be a better reward for the German Shepherd than treats. Overall both breeds excel at any task they are given, although the Lab is a bit easier for the novice dog trainer.

Energy and Exercise

Both breeds like to be active. After all, neither was bred to be a couch potato. Far from it. Labrador Retrievers are hunting dogs at heart, so they love a good game of fetch or a vigorous swim. In fact, you might wonder if your Lab is part duck If exercise is provided daily, Labs can adapt to any type of home, even if it is a city apartment. Overall, their exercise needs are pretty moderate for an active dog. When it comes to energy and intensity, the German Shepherd cranks everything to 10. A German Shepherd who’s under-exercised and ignored by their family is likely to express pent-up energy in ways you’re not going to like. Its energy, intensity, eagerness to play, and somewhat strong prey drive make the German Shepherd less adaptable to city living than the Lab. The GSD needs exercise and lots of it daily. But, if those needs can be met, a German Shepherd can live in an apartment albeit an apartment covered in dog hair.

Health and Lifespan

Both breeds live about 9-13 years, about average for larger dog breeds. Due to indiscriminate breeding, special care must be taken with both breeds to choose a good breeder as both breeds can and do suffer from a variety of genetic illnesses. Find out more in the videos in the description. So, which of these amazing breeds best suits your lifestyle? Do you prefer one or the other? Let us know in the comments. Hey, thanks for hanging with me.

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