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.

Enjoy!