Great Dane Shepherd Mix 101

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Great Dane Shepherd MixWhile the Great Dane Shepherd mix isn’t the most popular hybrid breed, it’s one of the biggest mixes in the world and is also one of the most unique combinations in the dog world. It has the gentle nature of the Great Dane along with the intelligence and work ethic of the German Shepherd. But before you get your hands on one of these dogs, make sure you understand what it takes to own and care for one of these big dogs.   

What is the Great Dane Shepherd Mix? 

The Great Dane Shepherd mix is known by many names including Dane Shepherd or Great Shepherd and is a cross between two of the most popular breeds, the German Shepherd and the Great Dane. As a result, these dogs produce the largest known crossbreeds in existence, but like their parents, these dogs are majestic and adorable. They’re also known for their warm, loving, friendly, and affectionate nature, despite their large size.     

History of the Great Dane Shepherd Mix

Unfortunately, not much is known about the Dane Shepherd mix but we do know a lot about their parents which can help us understand more about their physical traits, temperament, and health. 

Great Dane History

Referred to as the Apollo of Dogs, Great Danes hail from Germany and are believed to have been in existence for 400 years. During the 16th century, large dogs such as Irish Wolfhounds and English Mastiffs were imported from England, which helped to create these canines. They were then used to hunt boars, bears, and deer; others served as excellent guard dogs to protect royals from Germany as they slept at night. 

Because new dog breeds at this time were no longer bred using English techniques, their name was changed from “Englische Dogge” to “Deutsche Dogge” in 1878. Once firearms became popular for hunting, these huge dogs became obsolete and transitioned into companion pets that became symbols of luxury and wealth. Eventually, their name changed to the Great Dane due to increasing tensions with other countries — today, Great Danes are the 19th most popular dogs in the country according to the American Kennel Club.      

German Shepherd History

We all know that the German Shepherd is among the most beloved and sought-after breeds anywhere in the world, and is currently the 4th most popular breeds in the United States. During the 1800s, communities in Germany practiced selective breeding for herding dogs that came with traits needed for specific jobs such as protecting flocks from wild animals. However, there weren’t any breed standards at the time; Captain Max von Stephanitz set out to create the official breed standard for these herding dogs and produced the first German Shepherd dogs we know today. 

It was during an 1899 dog show that Max von Stephanitz met a dog named Hektor Linksrhein which had all the qualities he was after. Because this dog had the intelligence, loyalty, and strength he needed in a herding dog, he quickly purchased the dog and renamed it Horand von Grafrath. Horand went on to become the first German Shepherd dog registered in the Society for German Shepherd Dogs, where he made offspring that would become the descendants of today’s GSDs. 

Great Dane Shepherd Mix Appearance

Much like any mixed breed dog, German Shepherd Great Dane mixes will come with varied looks because their parents look so different from each other. As such, it can be hard to tell which parent they will look like — they can look more like one or the other or they can be a wonderful combination of both. However, one thing is sure; you can end up with a giant dog because a purebred great dane is such a large breed.  

Size

These dogs will have an average height of around 30 to 32 inches for males and around 28 to 30 inches for females. While German Shepherds aren’t this tall, they’re still large dogs that can stand between 24 to 26 inches for males and 22 to 24 inches for females. Furthermore, Great Danes weigh between 110 to 175 pounds and German Shepherds can weigh anywhere between 50 to 90 pounds, which means that their offspring can be just as big as their German Shepherd parent breeds, or even bigger like the Great Dane. 

Physical Characteristics

As described by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Great Dane has a head in proportion to their enormous size, which is the same for German Shepherds. The German Shepherd has a masculine look for males and a more feminine look for females; another quality they share with great Danes. Because of this, their offspring will typically come with floppy ears, a long muzzle, and bright brown eyes, along with deep chests that come with bigger heart and lung capacities. 

The Great Dane has a smooth, short coat that’s glossy and comes in a single-layer which is easy to care for and will only shed once or twice a year. German Shepherds come with a thick double-coat in medium length which means more work but is nevertheless beautiful. Great Dane German Shepherd puppies can inherit either coat, as well as their colors, which we break down below. 

Coat

Both these dog breeds come in a wide variety of colors and because of this, Great Dane mix dogs can come in a wide range of color possibilities and can be very unpredictable. Crossing these two breeds can result in any of the following colors and/or combinations: 

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Gray
  • Sable
  • Liver
  • Black and white
  • Black and cream
  • Black and silver
  • Black and red
  • Black and tan
  • Blue and white
  • Brindle
  • Blue Brindle
  • Fawn
  • Chocolate
  • Merle
  • Harlequin
  • Merlequin
  • White
  • Chocolate and white
  • Silver
  • Chocolate brindle
  • Mantle 
  • Mantle Merle

Great Danes can also come in a wide range of markings which can include the following: 

  • White markings
  • Black markings
  • Fawn markings
  • Chocolate markings
  • Merle markings
  • Brindle markings
  • Blue markings
  • Black mask
  • Blue mask
  • Chocolate mask
  • Piebald

Great Dane Shepherd Mix Temperament 

Also known as the Great Shepherd, these dogs are known to be confident, composed, and loyal; they also come with great watchdog abilities, making them a good choice for families. Because of their friendly nature, these dogs love spending time with their family members and will get along with other pets when they’re socialized at an early age. These loving dogs crave human companionship and will usually take after their German Shepherd parent and come with an athletic build, making them perfect for active families. 

Their Great Dane parents, on the other hand, are calmer and are huge snugglers so if your Great Dane Shepherd mix inherits this personality, it may lean on their favorite people. Because of their size, they will need more training to keep their bodies from causing accidents and it will also help to give them puppy classes to avoid unwanted accidents with smaller dogs. Despite having an intimidating appearance, this gentle giant is loyal and has a protective nature when it comes to their loved ones when they deem it necessary. 

Their protective instinct comes from their background as guard dogs, this alert dog will bark to tell its owners about strange noises or strangers in the area. 

Great Dane Shepherd Mix Care

If you’re set on taking one of these dogs back home, it’s important to understand how you can care for them, which we share below. 

Feeding 

Because they’re such big dogs, they will need a high-quality dog food that contains a high amount of protein since they’re quite active dogs. Because they’re prone to joint problems, they will benefit from a formula that supports their joints — there are a few ingredients that you can use to help with this. Due to their size, these dogs will need a substantial amount of food per day, so you may need to spend quite a bit of money on their diet alone. 

A healthy puppy will need around 3 to 5 cups of dog food each day depending on their weight and size. Luckily, they’re not picky with their food, and will eat pretty much anything you give them; a few good choices include Wellness Core Dog Food and the Nutra Thrive Dog Food Supplement. It’s best to divide their food into two meals per day to help them feel fuller throughout the day — be sure to give them a balanced diet that’s regularized to aid their slow metabolism.   

Grooming 

Thankfully, this pup is easy to groom and maintain; they only need regular brushing using a smooth bristle brush to keep their coat smooth and healthy. If your pup inherits their German Shepherd parent’s coat, they will shed a lot twice a year so you will need to brush them more frequently. Because they don’t need much maintenance, they will only need occasional baths, but be sure to use a gentle organic dog shampoo to keep the natural oils within their skin. 

Be sure to clean your pup’s ears using a gentle ear solution once a week since they can be prone to ear infections — it’s also important to pay attention to their dental health. Be sure to brush their teeth around two to three times a week, and only use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs. Finally, trim their nails regularly to avoid accidents and injuries; trimming every two weeks or when you hear their nails scratching the floor is the best time.      

Exercise

Because they come from such intelligent parents, the Great Dane Shepherd will need a high level of mental stimulation to stop them from getting bored at home. Luckily, these dogs will remain happy as long as they have jobs to do, but can also be entertained with interactive toys and fun activities. You can also help to spend their high energy levels by taking them on regular walks and by taking them to the park where they can socialize with people and other dogs. 

Another great idea is to take them running around agility courses at moderate speeds, which won’t just help them stay fit but will also help to keep them mentally stimulated. You can also hide treats around the house to encourage them to participate in fun treasure hunts. It’s best not to take these dogs on long hikes or runs until they turn two years old to prevent joint damage — maintaining a healthy weight will also help to keep them from putting too much strain on their joints.  

Training

Training and early socialization are essential for these dogs, but because they’re so smart and love to please, they will quickly pick up commands and listen to their owners. Moreover, they’re not stubborn and won’t ignore commands — however, their defensive instincts mean that they will need proper training. Experienced owners may be able to train these dogs on their own using positive reinforcement, but classes are still recommended for most owners to ensure they get the training they need. 

Because these dogs can be territorial and protective, they will need socialization; otherwise, they will assume the other dogs and people are enemies. Make sure to introduce your pup to many different people, dogs, environments, and situations while they’re still young. Puppy classes are a great place to start, which will provide your canine companion with the opportunity to deal with different encounters.    

Great Dane Shepherd Mix Health Problems

When given proper care, veterinary attention, and nutrition, Great Shepherds can live around 8 to 12 years, but if you want to give them the life they deserve, be sure to speak to your vet. Veterinarians won’t just provide advice regarding diseases, but they can also help you with your grooming, behavior, and product concerns. Finally, you can talk to your vet about how much exercise your pooch should get — because genetics play a part in your pup’s overall health, getting an expert’s opinion will help.    

Because this dog is a cross between two pure-breed dogs, the Great Dane Shepherd mix comes with fewer health issues compared to others. Even so, they’re still prone to certain health conditions that are commonly seen in larger dogs. These include the following:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Allergies

Maintaining their physical health through the right diet, regular exercise, and going on regular veterinary check-ups can go a long way to keeping your pup healthy for the years to come. It will also help to remember that dogs this big will mature slower than small-breed dogs, so ensure you get the right guidance and advice from your vet. A visit to your veterinarian won’t just provide you with information but will also help you catch diseases and parasites through vaccinations and checkups. 

Great Dane Shepherd Mix Cost

The cost of getting a Great Dane Shepherd mix can vary depending on the lineage of their parents and other factors such as the reputation of their breeder, your location, and the quality of their parents. These dogs can cost anywhere from $400 to $1000, but it’s always best to check for reputable breeders who can guarantee their good health and ensure they have a good start with you.  

Living with a Great Dane Shepherd Mix 

This designer breed can be costly in terms of everyday spending and will require plenty of quality food. Luckily, these can be balanced with their minimal grooming needs and fewer health concerns. Meeting their dietary requirements will cost around $100 every month until the puppy reaches adulthood; by this time they will need more food and come with more energy, so they’ll need more food.

Because you’re unlikely to encounter health issues until after they age over the years, you can save some money on their healthcare. Finally, their minimal grooming needs mean you won’t spend too much on professional services or specialized styling.   

Conclusion 

The Great Dane Shepherd mix is a combination of two of the most iconic breeds today, but the right owner will need to have a good-sized yard that will meet the needs of both parent breeds. Because these dogs are highly active, they will need a lot of space and a lot of time to be given much exercise and in turn, it can be a great guard dog for your family and home. This designer breed can be the right dog for anyone willing to give it the care and attention it needs.

 

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