The Golden Shepherd
When you breed a German Shepherd with a Golden Retriever you get a Golden Shepherd. People have been breeding the Golden Sheperhs since the 1980s. The Golden Shepherd was registered as a designer breed in 2009.
Golden Retrievers are wonderful family dogs and great gun dogs. They are active and typically get along well with everyone, making friends easily.
German Shepherds are loyal, active, and highly intelligent. They are great for herding, police work, and military work. Instead of being family dogs they often attach more to one person and are aloof with strangers.
You will want to keep these traits in mind as we talk about the Golden Shepherd. Since the Golden Shepherd is a designer breed it is a combination of two distinctly different breeds. The Golden Shepherd could turn out more like a Golden Retriever or more like a German Shepherd or land somewhere between the two. Indeed a litter of Golden Shepherds could contain one puppy that is a social butterfly, one that is aloof, one that has gundog instincts, another that is amazing at herding, and still another that has guarding instincts.
Because this is a mix of two breeds that are relatively similar in height and weight it is relatively easy to gauge the size that a Golden Shepherd will be. Typically a Golden Shepherd male will weigh 65-90 pounds and be 24-26 inches tall. A female Golden Shepherd will be around 50-70 pounds and 22-24 inches tall.
When properly socialized, at an early age, Golden Shepherds can be great family dogs. As stated before, however, so do tend toward being more aloof with guarding behavior which may not be the best traits in a family dog. Again, early socialization is highly recommended. It is always a good idea to keep an eye on dogs and children anytime they are together.
Early socialization with other dogs and animals is key to any dog getting along with other dogs and pets. That said the Golden Shepherd can do wonderfully with other dogs and pets. The Golden Shepherd may tend toward chasing smaller dogs or animals, however. Socialization with other dogs, animals, and people is ongoing training.
The Golden Shepherd learns quickly with positive reinforcement style training. Focus on what you do want your dog to do and reward them for doing it. This is the best way to train any dog. Both the Golden Retriever and the German Shepherd are easy to train. The Golden Retriever is eager-to-please and the German Shepherd is highly intelligent. These two combined in the Golden Shepherd can make a dog that is a joy to train! It is a good idea to start training early and continue learning and bonding together for life.
Golden Retrievers were bred to be gun dogs, working out in the fields retrieving game for their hunters all day. German Shepherds were originally bred to herd livestock, herding and chasing all day. So, it is no wonder that a combination of these two breeds would need a lot of exercises! At an absolute minimum, we are talking 2 hours of physical exercise each day with plenty of additional mental exercise.
Doing agility, running together, tribball, hide-n-seek, stuffing his food in toys, canine freestyle. All of these are a great option to help your Golden Shepherd burn some energy. Even better if you can use the Golden shepherd for herding or gundog trials!
The coat of the Golden Shepherd is a thick double coat, just like the Golden Retriever and German Shepherd have. This means that the Golden Shepherd will shed quite a lot! It is a good idea to brush your Golden Shepherd daily to help keep the fur floating around your house to a minimum. Frequent vacuuming is also a good idea. You may need to embrace the thought that “it’s not dog hair, it’s Golden Shepherd glitter!”
Some Golden Shepherds will take after the Golden and have floppy ears. If you have a Golden Shepherd with floppy ears then it is a good idea to check the ears for excess wax and clean the ears as needed. You will especially want to clean your Golden Shepherd's ears after he goes swimming.
The Golden Shepherd will only need to be bathed when he gets dirty.
It is important to carefully choose what you feed your Golden Shepherd. What you choose to feed can affect everything from preventing health issues, increase longevity, and affecting how much your dog sheds! Dogs are carnivores and they should be fed as such. In order for your Golden Shepherd to thrive, he should eat a raw, species-appropriate diet. A raw diet will help to prevent health issues and increase your dog’s longevity.
When feeding a raw diet you will feed 2-3% of your dog’s ideal body weight daily. You may need to increase slightly if your Golden Shepherd is very active or a working dog.
If you must, you can feed your Golden Shepherd a conventional diet. But do your best to pick one that is very high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Avoid foods that contain lots of grains, potatoes, legumes, peas, and other things. You want to protein of the food to come from meat, not pea protein isolate or anything like that. Be sure to add fresh raw foods as often as you can. A raw egg every few days can go a long way.
When choosing treats look for treats that are made with one ingredient: meat! These will be the most pleasurable for your dog and the best for his overall health. Dehydrated or freeze-dried meat treats are best with minimal processing and the most nutrient preservation.
Most Golden Shepherds have been reported as living 10-14 years. However, there are a lot of factors that affect the longevity of a dog. If you were to find a Golden Shepherd from an excellent breed that bred excellently health animals together, fed your Golden Shepherd a raw species-appropriate diet, provided him with plenty of exercises, and love… Well, who knows much longer he could live!
Some people argue that designer breeds are healthier than purebred breeds. However, the fact of the matter is that a designer dog can get any of the genetic problems that either of its parents can get. So for the Golden Shepherd, they can get any of the health issues that the Golden Retriever or the German Shepherd are prone to. This does not make the Golden Shepherd any healthier necessarily than either of its parent breeds.
The main health concerns with a Golden Retriever are:
Bloat, ear infections, cataracts, low thyroid, joint dysplasia, skin conditions, cancer (especially in spay females, Von Willebrand Disease, chest conditions affecting the heart, lungs, and/or circulatory systems.
For German Shepherds the main health concerns are:
Bloat, EPI, cancer, allergies, joint dysplasia, thyroid issues, UTI, nose infections, cataracts, hemophilia, epilepsy, diabetes, degenerative disc disease, bladder stones, panosteitis, pancreatitis, and dental issues.
If we combine the two lists you will see that both parent breeds are prone to:
Cataracts, thyroid issues, bloat, blood disease, joint dysplasia, and cancer.
It is important to note that the Golden Shepherd is very social and wonderfully loyal. They are dedicated to their family and love being involved in all family activities. If you do not involve your Golden Shepherd and instead leave him at home alone for long periods of time he may become destructive or develop separation anxiety. Be sure that you have plenty of time to dedicate to a Golden Shepherd before bringing one home.
Preventing Ear Infections: Check your dog’s ears every day. If you notice an excess of wax clean the ear. It is important to note that some wax in the ear is normal and excessive cleaning can cause infection. It is also helpful to clean your dog’s ears after a bath or swimming. Use a mixture of half apple cider vinegar and half distilled water to clean the ear (to prevent infections, not to be used if your dog has an infection). Treats will help your dog like ear cleaning time better!
Bloat can be deadly, but it is also totally preventable. A raw diet is highly beneficial in preventing bloat. The raw bones in the raw diet help to strengthen the muscles in the digestive tract, which aids overall digestion and will help to prevent the gas build-up that leads to bloat. Also, never feed your dog from a raised bowl as this can lead to bloat. If your dog is a gulper of food, try feeding him with a slow feeder. Providing your dog with plenty of exercise is also helpful, just not right after he eats.
A lot of the prevention of diabetes comes down to diet. When carbohydrates are eaten they raise insulin levels, insulin works to lower blood sugar. Insulin lowers blood sugar by telling the cells to open up and store the excess carbohydrates as fat. The more often insulin spikes occur from eating a high-carb diet the more insulin resistant the cells will become. The more insulin resistant the cells become the more insulin the pancreas has to produce… eventually, the pancreas will stop producing insulin altogether and that is when your dog has diabetes. Thankfully there is a very simple solution and it’s called a raw, species-appropriate diet! This diet naturally limits the number of carbohydrates present in the diet which makes it so that the body needs to produce very little insulin so the cells do not become insulin resistant.
Diet is huge in the prevention of cancer as well. The preferred fuel source of cancer cells is carbohydrates! So, feed a low to no card diet and the cancer cells will not be able to multiple because there simply is not enough food for them. Having a supplement rotation of CBD oil, turmeric, phytoplankton, and medicinal mushrooms can also help. Of course, limiting your dog’s exposure to toxins and carcinogens is very important too.
Preventing Thyroid Issues:
The thyroid is a gland that is located on the front of your dog’s neck. The thyroid is easily damaged by a lot of pressure and pulling on the neck, think collar. So, one way to help prevent thyroid problems is to walk your dog with his leash attached to a harness and not his collar. And definitely avoid using a choke chain or prong collar! Feeding your dog foods rich in iodine can also be helpful, as iodine is very necessary for proper thyroid function. Of course, a raw species-appropriate diet will go a long way too. Adding in fermented foods can be very beneficial to thyroid health as well.
EPI and Pancreiaitius Pervention:
Both EPI and Pancreatitis are conditions of the pancreas. The pancreas is necessary for creating hormones and enzymes to break down the food that your dog eats. If left untreated EPI can cause your dog to starve to death, even though he is eating plenty of food. If left untreated pancreatitis can cause your dog’s pancreas to eat itself. Both conditions can be helped by adding a bit of raw pancreas to the dog’s diet. This will help to ease the burden of the dog’s pancreas and give it a little rest. The addition of pre and probiotics can also be very beneficial for these conditions as they also help in the breakdown of food. Feeding smaller, more frequent meals can also help to ease the load on the pancreas. Again a raw, specie-appropriate diet is best for these dogs, especially since raw food is about 10% more digestible for your dog. This means a raw diet will put less strain on the pancreas.
CBD oil can be great for reducing the severity of seizures. Taurine is an amino acid that is also helpful for dogs with epilepsy as it helps the nervous system. Taurine is easily obtained from a raw diet, especially one that contains raw heart. Again a raw diet that has little to no carbohydrates is an excellent way to prevent and treat epilepsy.
Preventing Joint Dysplasia:
Appropriate exercise is important in the prevention of joint issues. It is important to note that spaying or neutering your pet, especially at an early age, can cause joint damage as well. Probiotics and fermented foods can help the body absorb more healthy nutrients to support the joints such as glucosamine and chondroitin. Food high in these two nutrients include trachea, gullet, bone broth, and raw joints. Feed these foods often to help prevent joint issues. Turmeric, CBD, MSM, and astaxanthin are also helpful additions for joint health.
Preventing Degeneration of the Disc:
Regular chiropractic visits and keeping your dog active are two important steps in keeping your dog’s spine healthy. Do all you can to keep your dog’s inflammation low. Again a raw diet, CBD oil, turmeric, and reduced exposure to toxins are all helpful steps in preventing back issues.
Preventing Skin and Allergy Issues:
Most of these issues are preventable with a species-appropriate, raw diet. Be sure to feed the skin when possible when feeding raw. In traditional Chinese medicine, they say that “like cures like” this means that eating raw skin can help to support your dog’s skin.
Preventing Chest Issues:
It is a great idea to feed your dog raw lungs and heart to help support your dog’s lungs and heart. The addition of a high-quality omega-3 supplement that is aminal-based is also helpful for heart and overall health.
Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections:
Again diet is a major player in the prevention of UTIs. A raw diet will serve your dog best. It wouldn’t hurt to throw in a few cranberries and raw kidney every now and again as well.
Preventing Dental Problems:
A raw diet that contains raw meaty bones is a great way to prevent dental issues and support a healthy mouth. Daily toothbrushing can also be helpful. Keeping carbohydrates to a minimum is incredibly important in maintaining dental health. This is because carbohydrates stick to teeth, attract bacteria, and then grow plaque! So, keep the meat high and the carb low.
The Golden Shepherd can be a wonderful companion, a happy family member, and easy to train partner. There are some health conditions to consider, but if you take the right steps then can be prevented. Also, don’t even consider a Golden Shepherd unless you have several extra hours in a day to exercise the dog!