Lab Mixes: Kelpie (Kelpador), Shiba (Shibador), and the Blue Tick Lab Mix

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Labradors undoubtedly make for great pets by showering us with their love and entertaining us with their playful nature. Since this breed is so popular, people have crossbred Labs with many other purebreds, giving birth to beautiful dogs.

A few that I’ll be covering today are Kelpie, Shiba, and Blue Tick Lab mixes. I’ll discuss their physical characteristics, temperament, health issues, exercise needs, and trainability.

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Understanding the Kelpie Lab Mix

The Kelpie Lab mix, also known as Kelpador or Lab Kelpie, is the result of breeding an Australian Kelpie with a Labrador Retriever. These dogs are brilliant and energetic, so they are easy to train and require lots of exercise and playtime. They’re also friendly, loyal, and generally healthy.

Lab Kelpie mix is not a common breed because it’s mostly bred in Australia. Some shelters may have a few of them up for adoption, and some breeders may also offer them from time to time. This incredible hybrid is excellent for families and first-time owners. The friendliness of Labradors and the hard-working nature of Kelpies result in a beautiful mix. 

kelpie lab mix (kelpador)
Photo credit: @nala.kelpador on Instagram

Appearance

Lab Kelpies are available in various colors. You won’t necessarily get a purebred Lab x purebred Kelpie; other breeds (or hybrids) may also be involved. Shades of black and chocolate are the most common colors in this hybrid. Some dogs have legs speckled with white or brown, while others have white chest markings inspired by Labradors. Lab Kelpies may also come in brown, walnut, or red color.

These dogs are medium-sized, with a height of 18-23 inches (45.7-58.4 cm), from paw to shoulder. They usually weigh anywhere from 40-70 pounds (18.1-31.8 kgs). Since this hybrid is not as popular as their parent breeds, little is known about the appearance of these dogs. Like any crossbreed, they may take after Labrador, or they may favor Kelpie.

Personality

It’s hard to predict the exact temperament of Lab x Kelpies because not much information is available about them. However, we can make a few educated guesses and list some chief characteristics you’ll likely see in them.

Both Labradors and Kelpies are known for their intelligence. That’s why their hybrid will also be quite intelligent and eager to please. Their friendliness depends on which breed they favor; they may have Labradors’ friendliness or be shy and aloof like Kelpies. At a very young age, socialization is highly recommended to familiarize the dog with different objects, animals, and humans.

Note that these dogs are also full of energy, which means they’ll always need something to occupy themselves with. They also don’t handle solitude very well because they want to be doing something all the time. If you leave them alone for long periods, they may resort to obsessive, destructive behavior to release their energy. 

Some Lab x Kelpies may instinctively “herd” everything that moves, from children to other animals. Others may be too friendly with everyone and only want to play. 

Health

Lab x Kelpies usually live for 10 to 12 years, but they may stick around for another two years if they’ve received excellent nutrition and exercise throughout their lifetime. They shed moderately. Brushing them once a week is a good idea to keep their skin healthy.

kelpie lab mix (kelpador)
Photo credit: @nala.kelpador on Instagram

Lab x Kelpies’ health can vary wildly, depending on their parents. Again, there’s no standard as this breed is not popular or registered. Some owners report having a robust dog with little to no health issues. In contrast, others claim that the hybrid has several health concerns that already plague their parent breeds. 

For your reference, here are several diseases that are common in Labradors and/or Kelpies:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye diseases
  • Patellar luxation
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Microphthalmia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Tricuspid valve dysplasia

If a Lab x Kelpie inherits the Lab appetite, he’ll be a voracious eater. So, you’ll need to monitor his food and give him time to digest it properly before any physical activity. Not paying attention to his diet will quickly result in an overweight dog, attracting a host of diseases.

Exercise and Training

As we’ve discussed, Labradors and Kelpies are known for their high levels of energy. This means the hybrid will need lots of daily exercises to be happy and content. Be prepared to give them at least an hour of vigorous physical activity and long walks. Since Lab x Kelpies are also highly intelligent, they’ll need strenuous and interactive exercises to entertain themselves. 

kelpie lab mix (kelpador)
Photo credit: @nala.kelpador on Instagram

These dogs thrive in a house with a large fenced backyard because they need space to roam and play in. If you live in an apartment, it would be best to skip this breed.

Coming to trainability, you won’t have any problems training Lab x Kelpies. They’ll learn everything very quickly, and it is recommended to teach them advanced obedience as well. 

They can work tirelessly for hours and can even help you with household chores. Teaching them to pick up the laundry and take it to another room will be a breeze.

Overview of the Shiba Lab Mix

Shiba Inu Lab mix, also known as Shibadors, are intelligent and active dogs with a friendly and playful temperament. These dogs are smart, energetic, and make for excellent family dogs. They are best suited for families that can provide them lots of mental stimulation and exercise.

Shibador standing on table

Shibadors make for excellent companions if you can devote the time and attention they need. They are much more common in the United States than the Labrador Kelpie mix. It would be best to acquire a Shibador puppy through a rescue. Like other hybrids, they don’t have much history, and they likely came about due to accidental breeding.

Appearance

Shibadors may look more like one parent breed than the other. Shiba Inu and Labradors are very different in physical appearance. Labs are large and heavy, 22-24 inches (55.9-61 cm) tall and weighing 55-80 pounds (24.9-36.3 kgs). 

In contrast, Shiba’s height is between 13-17 inches (33-43 cm), and they weigh only up to 24 pounds (10.9 kgs). When these two breeds are crossed, the resulting hybrid can weigh up to 50 pounds (22.7 kgs) and be as tall as 23 inches (58.4 cm).

shiba stock photo
A purebred Shiba

Shiba Inu’s face looks like a fox, but Shibadors tend to lose this appearance. They do, however, inherit those slanted eyes of Shiba Inu. Their ears are mostly long and floppy, but some may also have partially or fully erect ears. Overall, a typical Shibador looks more like a Labrador than a Shiba Inu.

Their coat length is usually medium but can vary. These dogs are available in a few colors like brown, cream, red, black-tan, and white-tan. When it comes to shedding, the parent breeds are almost on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Labradors have a thick double-coat and shed like crazy throughout the year. In contrast, Shiba Inus have a short coat that sheds occasionally. Your hybrid can lie anywhere in-between.

Personality

Labradors and Shiba Inu share a few traits, but they also differ significantly. Shiba Inus were bred to hunt, while Labradors were used to retrieve fishes and ducks from water. When you combine these two, you get a dog that is highly energetic and intelligent. However, the hunting instinct may be prominent in some dogs, so you will need to introduce them to many people and animals at an early age to avoid undesirable behaviors.

Like most Lab mixes, Shibadors don’t like solitude. When left alone, they may resort to destructive behavior and damage goods around the house. So, be prepared to give them lots of time and attention because they love to be a part of everything you do. 

shiba lab mix

For the most part, Shibadors are not watchdogs. The only way they can chase a stranger off is by licking them to frustration. They are incredibly loving and loyal, which means you’ll be welcomed with a wagging tail every time you come home from work.

Health

Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are common in Labradors and Shiba Inus, so Shibadors are also prone to these diseases. They are caused by the non-uniform growth of the hip and elbow joint, affecting the dog’s walking ability and perhaps even leading to paralysis later in life. Retinal dysplasia, glaucoma, cataracts, and luxating patellas are other diseases Shibadors can inherit from their parents. 

As is the case with Lab x Kelpies, you may want to watch out for obesity problems in Shibadors. This is because they can be voracious eaters like their parent Labrador. However, plenty of physical activity and a high-quality kibble will ensure that your pet stays in shape throughout his lifetime. You can expect Shibadors to live for 10 to 15 years on average.

shiba lab mix

Puppy mills often neglect issues that come with mixing purebred dogs. Choosing a responsible breeder also plays a crucial role in making sure your puppy lives long and stays healthy.

Exercise and Training

Both Labradors and Shibas were bred to serve their owners. They have a lot of energy and can work tirelessly for hours. When you bring a Shibador into your home, you must give him enough exercise and playtime to keep him satisfied. Be prepared to spend at least an hour daily and take him on long walks. If you are active and have a backyard, Shibador can be an excellent companion.

Shibadors are also highly intelligent and easy to train, especially if your puppy takes after his parent Lab. Shiba Inus are more independent and strong-willed, so you may face some challenges if your pup favors parent Shiba.

As we’ve said, early socialization is necessary to help your dog curb his hunting instincts. It’s a good idea to take him to doggy daycare and the park regularly to familiarize him with as many dogs and humans as possible.

Blue Tick Lab Mix

The Blue Tick Lab mix is a hybrid that results from breeding Labrador with Blue Tick Coonhound. These dogs are friendly, energetic, and intelligent. Some of them may favor Blue Ticks and be noisy and stubborn. However, the ones favoring Labradors are laid back and always ready to play.

This breed is also not very common, so not much information is available about it. However, we can make a good guess at what a Blue Tick Lab mix will behave like by looking at its parent breeds.

bluetick lab mix
Photo credit: @drock_e3six on Instagram

Appearance

You probably know the drill by now. We cannot exactly predict the physical or behavioral traits of a crossbreed. Let’s briefly discuss Labradors and Blue Tick Coonhounds’ physical attributes so that you can get an idea of what your Lab x Coonhound mix will look like.

Labradors have a broad head, floppy ears, and soulful eyes. They have a thick but short double coat, with a thick, straight “otter tail.” They are medium-sized, with a height of 22-24 inches (55.9-61 cm), but their sturdy build makes them look much bigger. They can weigh 55-80 pounds (24.9-36.3 kgs) and are available in black, yellow, white, and chocolate colors.

Blueticks have long, floppy ears that hang down below their face. They have a spotted or “ticked” dark blue coat, and their hair is short and glossy. You’ll find blue or black spots on a Bluetick’s back, sides, and ears. They also have tan markings just above the eyes and on the cheeks. Lastly, they have dark-red spots on lower legs, chest, feet, and below the tail.

Personality

Overall, these dogs are loyal, friendly, loving, and playful. Both Labrador and Blue Tick are highly energetic, so be prepared to give the hybrid lots of exercise and attention. They will love to be occupied, and leaving them alone for long periods will lead to destructive behavior. Physical and mental stimulation is crucial for the happiness and health of this designer breed.

bluetick lab mix getting sprayed
Photo credit: @drock_e3six on Instagram

Note that Blue Ticks don’t always go along well with other non-canine animals. They have strong hunting instincts, so you should monitor your hybrid around cats and other small pets. 

They can also be wary of strangers. These things suggest that you must socialize this hybrid at a very young age to avoid or mitigate these issues. Also, Blue Ticks are known to be quite vocal, which may or may not be passed on to the hybrid.

Health

Blue Tick Lab mixes are generally healthy. However, like their parent Labradors, they are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. They are also more prone to obesity than Kelpadors and Shibadors. So, you’ll need to take special care regarding their diet and physical activity. Ensure that they eat only high-quality kibble that contains ideal ingredients for large dog breeds to control their weight.

Also, both Labradors and Blue Ticks can be prone to bloat. It is a condition in which a dog’s stomach is filled with fluid, food, or gas, making it expand. There are severe consequences like a harder time breathing, lack of blood flow to the stomach, and a tear in the stomach wall.

Their coats will shed excessively in the shedding season if they favor the parent Lab, but in any case, moderate shedding throughout the year is to be expected. Grooming them doesn’t take much time, though; brushing once or twice a week is enough for most dogs.

Exercise and Training

Like most Labrador mixes, this hybrid is highly energetic, which means the dogs will want to do something all the time. This can be a problem if you’re not ready to devote that much time. Apart from doing something all the time, these dogs will need at least an hour of vigorous exercise.

bluetick lab mix playing ball
Photo credit: @drock_e3six on Instagram

For this reason, they are recommended only for active families with enough space for them to roam in. They are not suitable for apartments or small homes.

As we’ve said, they are highly intelligent, and training them is usually a breeze. However, your dog may inherit some stubbornness from Blue Tick, in which case, training him won’t be so easy. Make sure to not give him too many treats during training to avoid obesity issues.

Pro tip: Are you tired of your dog being hyperactive even after a long walk? Let him sniff around during walks; it’ll tire him out more quickly, but be sure to strike a balance between sniffing and walking.

Final Thoughts

Labradors have been crossbred with various other breeds over the past few decades. Kelpadors, Shibadors, and Blue Tick Lab Mixes (Bluedors? Bluetickadors??) are examples of such crossbreeding. Let’s summarize the chief points about these hybrids:

  • All three are intelligent, energetic, and active; you’ll need to give them the time and attention they need. 
  • They are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia and obesity, so you’ll have to monitor their diet and physical activity.
  • They are friendly, affectionate, and extremely loyal, which means they’ll love you as long as they live.

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