Golden Shepherds vs. Purebreds: Which Is the Better Choice for You?

So-called “designer dog breeds” have become wildly popular—you need only look at the dozens of Doodle breeds to see just how much demand there is for purposefully bred mixed-breed dogs. Often “designer breeds” are advertised as better alternatives to purebred dogs, but that is rarely the case. Mixed-breed dogs are amazing, but buying a mutt from a breeder is different from adopting a mutt from the shelter.

If you’re planning to spend money to buy a puppy from a breeder no matter what, why get a Doodle when you could get a Poodle instead? The answer is probably that you’ve been told choosing a designer dog will have some advantages. Maybe the dog is supposed to be easier to groom, easier to train, or more family-friendly. 

Golden Shepherds

Golden Shepherds—sometimes called Golden German Shepherds—are another example of a designer mixed breed being pushed as an “upgraded” version of a popular purebred. Sometimes touted as an “easier to train German Shepherd,” the Golden Shepherd is a somewhat uncommon German Shepherd and Golden Retriever mix. 

Are Golden Shepherds truly a more manageable version of one of their parent breeds, or are their personalities as unpredictable as other mixes? You be the judge—keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the Golden Shepherds to make an informed decision!

Meet 6 Golden Shepherds from Instagram

If you’re struggling to picture a Golden Retriever and German Shepherd mix, feast your eyes on some real-life examples! Take note of how much variety of coat color in these dogs. When you mix different breeds it’s impossible to know exactly what they’ll look like or what behavioral traits they’ll inherit. Consider how different each of these dogs look then consider how much variety there probably is in their personalities. 

1. Kohen

Golden Shepherds

Source: @KohensLife

No, that’s not a black Lab or a Flat-Coated Retriever. Kohen is an all-black Golden Shepherd! This sweet boy just turned three and had a golf-themed birthday party, but Kohen doesn’t need a party to have fun, he’ll happily spend his days swimming in the pool. 

2. Hazel

Golden Shepherds

Source: @That_Golden_Shepherd

Beautiful Hazel is a Golden Retriever and white (or golden) German Shepherd mix, and she inherited her gorgeous blonde coat from both of her parent breeds. Hazel is two years old and has a real zest for life that fuels her drive for adventure. 

3. Upa

Golden Shepherds

Source: @Golden_Shepherd_Upa

Two-year-old Upa is a Golden Shepherd who loves to soak up all the attention! As you can see, Upa has inherited some of the classic German Shepherd markings including tan paws, legs, and ear tufts. 

4. Nyla

Golden Shepherds

Source: @NylaGoldenn

Lovely Nyla is a ten-year-old Golden Shepherd from Toronto, Canada! Nyla has the golden fur of a Golden Retriever but the classic darker muzzle of a German Shepherd. You can tell Nyla isn’t a purebred GSD or a Golden Retriever, but the uninitiated might think she was some kind of livestock guardian breed rather than a mix. 

5. Jaffa

Golden Shepherds

Source: @Golden_Shepherd_Jaffa

Jaffa just turned one, but in this photo, he’s still a puppy and just five months old. Jaffa has typical German Shepherd coloring, but his wider muzzle and floppy ears make it obvious that he’s part Golden Retriever! 

6. Atlas

Golden Shepherds

Source: @Atlas.The.GoldenShepherd

Atlas has all the glorious golden fur of a Golden Retriever, but his face markings give away his German Shepherd heritage! A goofy adventurous boy who is always happy to go for a ride or visit someone new, Atlas also loves to get into mischief on his own time when not being occupied by his human. 

German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix Basic Info

As you’ve seen with fur color, predicting what a Golden Shepherd will look like or their personality can be a little difficult. When you mix breeds, you can’t decide which genetic traits the puppies inherit. I’ve done my best to create a general overview of what a Golden Shepherd might be like, but remember that mixed-breed dogs can inherit unpredictable or unexpected traits. 

Golden Shepherd Temperament

Golden Shepherds typically inherit high energy levels and an intense need to be mentally stimulated from their German Shepherd parents. Working dogs through and through, GSDs and German Shepherd mixes are typically driven, focused, and have high prey drive. The addition of Golden Retriever genes may help to calm some of the high energy of the GSD, but Retrievers also have high prey drive and enjoy staying active. 

golden shepherd
Source: Petfinder

Curious but sometimes wary of new people and places, Golden Shepherds can be shy at first but social once they warm up. Not an ideal family dog, the high energy and immense prey drive of these dogs can translate to over-reactivity, and I wouldn’t recommend a Golden Shepherd for a family with young children. 

If you and your family members are active, have experience with working dogs, and are all adults or older kids, a Golden Shepherd could be right for you. Just remember that your dog will be a unique individual, and being a mixed-breed dog will make predicting their adult personality even more difficult. Be ready to embrace the dog you get, not the dog you imagined!

Golden Shepherd Size

Bred from two large breeds, full-grown German Shepherd Golden Retriever mixes typically stand between 21.5–26 inches and weigh around 50–90 pounds.

Golden Shepherd Health

There are no formal resources available documenting health issues in Golden Shepherds. However, we can assume that this mix could be at risk for any of the health problems commonly found in its two parent breeds:

  • Allergies
  • Dental issues (e.g. tooth decay)
  • Joint problems (e.g. hip dysplasia, arthritis) 
  • Back and spinal issues (e.g. degenerative myelopathy)
  • Bloat

Where To Buy Golden Shepherd Puppies

golden shepherd puppy

There are no reputable breeders of Golden Shepherds in the United States or abroad. Golden Shepherds are mixed-breed dogs, and there are no regulations or standards for breeders of mixed-breed dogs to follow. Breeders producing “designer dogs” are, by and large, backyard breeders and puppy mills. 

If you’ve fallen in love with the Golden Shepherd, I recommend searching for your new canine best friend at a local shelter, or through a breed-specific rescue. You might be able to find Golden Shepherds available for adoption through German Shepherd Dog rescues or Golden Retriever rescues nationwide. 

Golden Shepherd FAQ

Get more info on Golden Shepherds with answers to the most common questions about this mixed-breed dog!

Do Golden Shepherds shed a lot? 

Yes! Golden Shepherds have double coats and shed year-round. Golden Shepherds might also “blow” their long coats once or twice a year, usually with a change of seasons. 

Are Golden Shepherds easy to train? 

Sometimes. Some Golden Shepherds are highly motivated and easy to train while others can be more stubborn or less focused. It all depends on their unique personality. 

Do Golden Shepherds bark a lot? 

Sometimes—Golden Shepherds are most likely to bark as an alert when they see or hear something out of the ordinary, as is typical with both Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. 

How much do Golden Retriever German Shepherd mixes cost? 

There is no standardized price for Golden Shepherds, but backyard breeders typically charge between $700–$1,500 for their puppies. Remember that in the case of “designer dogs” like the Golden Shepherd, adopting is always the best option. 

What is the average life expectancy of a Golden Shepherd? 

9–13 years is the average lifespan of a Golden Retriever German Shepherd mix. 

Are German Shepherds really from Germany?

Yes! Max von Stephanitz is credited with having standardized the German Shepherd Dog in Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

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