Life Expectancy for a German Shepherd Black Lab Mix

Updated July 19, 2017

Every dog breed has a specific life expectancy. Large dogs typically live shorter lives than small dogs. For example, the average lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog is seven years. Meanwhile, the much smaller Miniature Dachshund usually lives to be around 14.4 years old. When it comes to mixed-breeds, specifically a Labrador Retriever-German Shepherd mix, average lifespan is much less clear cut.

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are considered to be mid-size to large dogs. They are not enormous, but are certainly not small. According to, the life expectancy of a Labrador Retriever is 12.6 years.

German Shepherds

German Shepherds are considered to be large dogs. They have a life expectancy of 10.3 years, over two years less than the Labrador Retriever.

Mixed-breed dogs

There is no magic formula for deciding the life expectancy of a mixed breed dog. suggests that averaging the lifespan of the breeds that make up the mix is a good start. However, that may not always work. Mixed-breed dogs are said to be generally healthier than purebred dogs due to their genetic diversity.

Genetic Diversity of Mixed-Breed Dogs

Purebred dogs have desirable traits as well as undesirable traits. When a dog is of mixed breeds, it is more likely that the undesirable traits will be buried in the gene pool, as they do not come from both parents. According to, "even when a mixed breed dog carries a defective gene from one of its parents, it is often a recessive gene that is masked by the genes of the other parent." It is because of this fact that mixed-breed dogs are known to be generally healthier than purebred dogs.

Labrador Retriever-German Shepherd Mix Life Expectancy

Based on averages alone, a Labrador Retriever-German Shepherd Mix can be expected to live around 11.45 years. However, as mixed-breed dogs are known to be healthier than purebred dogs, the actual life expectancy of this breed mix may be slightly higher.

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About the Author

Based in Washington, D.C., Jacob Bourne has been writing mostly sports-related articles since 2004. His work has been featured on,, and the Pioneer Log. Bourne graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 2009 with a B.A. in communication and Latin American studies.