What are the reasons to get a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix (Dane Shepherd)?
- A highly trainable dog (click here for more details)
- A good family dog who is tolerant of children (click here for more details)
- Will suit an owner with an active lifestyle (click here for more details)
- Minimal Grooming Requirements (click here for more details)
- A balanced temperament (click here for more details)
- Able to get along with cats and other small pets (click here for more details)
- Excellent guard dog (click here for details)
What are the reasons not to get a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix (Dane Shepherd)?
- This dog requires a lot of space
- Will not suit owners who cannot be at home most of the day
- Some dogs may be a little domineering
- Due to size needs to be closely monitored with very small children
- Medical problems associated with a large dog
What is a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix?
The Great Shepherd or Dane Shepherd is one of the largest of the Great Dane Mix breeds. The combination of the Great Dane and the German Shepherd Dog offers a hybrid breed with a balanced temperament, a great sense of fun and high trainability.
With any hybrid it is always important to research the founding breeds in order to be in position to have guidance on both the physical attributes and the temperament. This is because there is no exact science to predict which characteristics will predominate and how they will be configured in any particular dog.
For more information regarding the founding breeds and a whole range of other wonderful types of dogs please feel free to visit our breed guide.
What are the history and origins of the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix?
In order to truly understand the qualities and character of a classic or hybrid breed it is essential to have an idea of their original purpose and development.
So here follows an account of the fascinating history surrounding both the Great Dane and the German Shepherd.
The German Shepherd Parent Breed – Origins and History
This breed came into being in 1899 in Germany. Rittmeister Von Stephanitz oversaw the inter-mingling of three different European shepherds’ dogs in an act of alchemical breeding brilliance. The result was a beautiful and very popular dog. The German Shepherd is highly intelligent and capable and unbeaten in response to training and adaptation.
It is no surprise then that some proud owners have dubbed the German Shepherd as the king of all dog breeds. In keeping with this, Stephanitz’s founding dog for the breed had the princely name of Hector.
The German Shepherd possesses an excellently balanced temperament. These dogs make wonderful pets and are brilliant around children. Some can have excitable temperaments but they are always gentle. German Shepherds are fun-loving members of the family and very playful in nature. In addition they are also able to cohabit with smaller pets.
This breed are natural guard dogs and their protectiveness can make them a little distrustful of strangers. But their high level of trainability allows them to be very adaptable and biddable. Also a well-looked after German Shepherd will usually have a balanced temperament.
The versatile and impressive German Shepherd has consistently proven a very popular breed even occupying the top spot in the American Kennel Club’s popularity rankings for a number of years. German Shepherds remain by far the most popular dogs in the Herding Group and ranks at number three according to 2020 AKC registration data .
The Great Dane Parent Breed – Origins and History
It is perhaps a reflection of the magisterial nature of this dog that national claims to ownership have been something of a big bone of contention in the history of this huge hound. Most sources agree that this breed was, in fact, originally from Germany, although some accounts claim Scandinavian origins even before this.
There is even some evidence that this type of large dog was extant in Ancient Greece, and there are some depictions of dogs in Ancient Egyptian tombs from 3000BC which bear a resemblance to the magnificent breed that we have today.
From the 13th and 14th centuries there are clearer pictorial and written records of the forebears of this giant breed. In Germany they were known as ‘The English Dogge’ owing to it being founded largely on the English Mastiff, which is in itself descended from the large and ferocious ‘Molussus’ dog.
It is thought that extra size and speed of these dogs was contributed to by interbreeding with the Irish Wolfhound, and possibly other Sight-Hounds such as the Greyhound. This added more of a lean, athletic frame while retaining the strength and power that we still associate with the Great Dane.
Although the role of these huge hounds was not to ‘sight’ the prey, but rather they were ‘catcher-dogs’ which ran alongside the horses. Once the prey had been discovered these dogs were sent in to bring down large powerful prey such as boars, deer and even bears.
In 1876 Germany declared the Great Dane as its national dog and pronounced that it should henceforward be known as the ‘German dogg’, but in Holland they continued to call this breed ‘The Dutch Dog’. Finally due to some anathema towards Germany most English-speaking nations settled on Great Dane.
Originally the companion of nobles and kings even to this day Great Danes retain a sense of being an aristocrat amongst canines. The Great Dane is popular not only for its formidable strength and speed but also for its regal appearance.
Indeed this has further been elevated to divine heights and this dog is often referred as the ‘Apollo of dogs’ reflection its beauty and athleticism.
Linked Hybrid Breeds:
Great Dane Doberman Mix, Great Dane Dalmatian Mix, Great Dane Pitbull Mix, Great Dane Boxer Mix, Great Dane Rottweiler Mix, Great Dane Cane Corso Mix, Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix,
Linked Hybrid Breeds:
Great Dane Doberman Mix, Great Dane Dalmatian Mix, Great Dane Pitbull Mix, Great Dane Boxer Mix, Great Dane German Shepherd Mix, Great Dane Cane Corso Mix, Great Dane Bloodhound Mix, Great Dane Bullmastiff Mix, Great Dane Greyhound Mix, Great Dane English Mastiff Mix, Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix.
What’s the difference between a Great Dane and a German Shepherd?
The Great Dane tends to have a mellow temperament while the German Shepherd tends to be little more busy although perfectly balanced and biddable.
Also the German Shepherd Dog is very focused in training and is able and willing to learn a range of commands. Although the Great Dane is trainable they can be a little stubborn and become distracted.
The Great Dane epitomises the idea of the gentle giant and is widely considered as a harmless ‘goofball’. The German Shepherd is usually relaxed with other dogs, but some of them can be aggressive towards other dogs particularly if their guarding instinct is triggered.
What is an interesting fact about the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix?
The German Shepherd Great Dane Mix is very likely, therefore, to have a steady temperament and be protective of the family. But with more enhanced focus in training than a standard Great Dane.
Both parent breeds, the German Shepherd and the Great Dane, have German origins. But at one point in the history they have both had these origins hidden by a change of name.
In nineteenth century the Germans named the Great Dane as their national dog and wanted to call the breed ‘The German Dogge’. This was controversially contested, however, in Holland who continued to call this huge hound ‘The Danish Dog’.
The English, in order to spite the Germans decided to call this colossal canine ‘The Great Dane’ and the name stuck.
In the twentieth century the German Shepherd was renamed the ‘Alsatian’ after an area in Alsace, Northern France in order to distance this breed from negative connotations following the war.
But unlike the Great Dane, the German Shepherd managed to reclaim its name, but not until 1977.
What is the personality and temperament of the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix?
The Great Dane parent breed not only casts a large shadow, but literally becomes a a large shadow as it follows its owners around. The German Shepherd is more independent but is still very keen to stay close to its owners.
The Dane Shepherd is a very large, energetic dog who likes to be kept busy at all times. This means a prospective owner of the Great Shepherd will need to be very active and experienced owner in order to ensure that willing to spend time ensuring this dog is socialized and fully entertained with extensive walking and lots of interactive play.
Although a wonderful dog, some German Shepherds can be a little domineering and occasionally aggressive towards other dogs.
This is likely to be tempered by the more laid back Great Dane parent breed influence, but this still means that early socialization should be put in place to ensure that the Great Shepherd is fully manageable in all canine encounters.
With this in place the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix will prove to be a playful and fun-loving family dog. Both parent breeds have a reputation for being patient and tolerant towards smaller children, and also as having the ability to get on with any felines in the household.
This dog is likely to excel in any training class and the German Shepherd influence will help with good focus and an aptitude to learn a range of commands.
With socialization and training the Great Shepherd will be a confident and obedient dog who is both a good companion in the home, and a well-behaved canine citizen outside of the home. It is possible that this dog may be a little sensitive, so positive reinforcement should be used in training.
The Great Dane German Shepherd Mix is very likely to suffer from separation anxiety, so is ideally suited to households where somebody is able to be at home most of the time.
This dog will generally be gregarious and able to live with fellow canines but if you are bringing a puppy home to an established dog this should be done in a carefully structured way as outlined in introducing a puppy to an older dog.
For the different stages in a puppy and adult dog’s development please click here.
What exercise is required for the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix?
Any Great Dane based hybrid dog requires special consideration in terms of the planning of exercise for puppies and young dogs that are still growing. This means that exercise should initially be compartmentalized into little and often rather than one walk in the very early years of the dog.
This is because over-exercise can potentially damage bones, ligament and joints in the Great Dane and potentially also in this dog. If you are concerned regarding this then it is highly advised that you discuss this with a vet alongside feeding and other aspects of fundamental care for this huge hybrid.
Once fully grown this is a dog that is going be very active, as both parent breeds are energetic dogs. So potential owners should plan to offer a good level of exercise.
The German Shepherd Great Dane Mix will require require least around 2 hours of walking each day. This should include opportunities to run and play off leash.
The Great Shepherd will also benefit from opportunities for interactive play in a safe enclosed area at home to keep this dog fully physically and mentally stimulated. This hybrid breed will relish any form of ‘treasure-hunt’, chasing or training games.
This Great Dane German Shepherd will ideally suit active households who enjoy hiking, cycling and other outdoor pursuits. This dog will happy trot alongside a jogger for many miles.
Is the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix a good family dog?
For an experienced owner who is also very active the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix makes an absolutely wonderful family pet. Both parent breeds are valued and treasured as loyal, devoted and highly trustworthy additions to the family for those who have the space.
The Dane Shepherd will need lots of stimulation and may be a little attention-seeking due to its high levels of intelligence. But they will be very trainable and will quickly learn all house rules as long as they experience strong canine leadership.
The Great Dane German Shepherd Mix will also be fiercely protective of the family and very eager to please. German Shepherds and the Great Dane are both known for being tolerant with smaller humans in the family.
This means the Dane Shepherd will be good and patient with children, although all play must be carefully supervised.
Also with the correct socialization this dog will most likely get on with any smaller pets in the household, although socialization must be put in place to ensure that they are calm when unfamiliar guests appear at the house.
Who is the ideal owner of a German Shepherd Great Dane Mix?
The ideal owner will be active, patient and willing to put in time to socialize and train this dog. As you might expect from the influence of the German Shepherd parent breed, the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix has huge potential in being intelligent and focused enough to learn a range of commands.
This German Shepherd mix dog will also thrive on the stimulation provided by obedience training.
This means that any inexperienced owner must invest the time in attending training classes as early as possible.
Also any experience with large dogs would be hugely beneficial. Like any Great Dane mix, the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix dog will suffer without strong canine leadership.
Also, due to its size, power and high energy levels this dog is best suited to a home environment where they have human company for most of the day.
If it is essential to leave this dog for any period of time regularly then it is absolutely imperative to offer training for separation anxiety at an early stage to prevent destructive behaviours in the house which will be the reflection of the dog’s stress.
What are the grooming requirements of the German Shepherd Great Dane Mix?
The German Shepherd Great Dane Mix has very moderate grooming requirements. This means brushing only once or twice weekly. If the parent German Shepherd is long-haired this may mean a thicker coat that needs slightly more attention.
In periods of hot weather brushing should be undertaken on a daily basis to remove dead hair in order to keep this dog comfortably cool. Please click here for other tips on keeping your dog safe in hot weather.
How much space is required for a German Shepherd Great Dane Mix?
German Shepherds are also on the large side, so the German Shepherd Great Dane Mix is likely to be towards the large end of Great Dane based hybrids.
Additionally this dog will be playful and highly active meaning a prospective household will need lots of space both inside and outside the house.
The Great Shepherd is ideally suited to a rural area or a home which has a good-sized, secure area outside in which to burn off its almost inexhaustible supplies of energy and willingness to play. An urban setting will need a large yard or instant and easy access to a safe outdoor space.
In terms of size and activity levels this dog is not recommended for apartment living.
Ensure that as part of any grooming routine the ears of the Great Shepherd are carefully cleaned in order to avoid infection and nails are clipped.
What is the lifespan of the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix?
The lifespan of the Great Dane parent breed is sadly only between 6 to 8 years. While the German Shepherd Dog has a healthy lifespan of around 9-13 years.
This means that the probable lifespan for a German Shepherd Great Dane Mix is between 7-11 years.
What are the potential health problems for a German Shepherd Great Dane Mix?
Mixed breeds are potentially healthier than classic breeds of dogs, but it is still important to be aware of some of the health complications that can afflict the founding breeds of the German Shepherd Great Dane Mix in order to have a higher awareness of how best to care for your dog in consultation with a vet.
Potential health problems for the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix include:
- cardiomyopathy and other related heart conditions.
- hip dysplasia
- elbow dysplasia
- gastric torsion,
- skin allergies
- degenerative myelopathy.
What kind of training is required for a German Shepherd Great Dane Mix?
With a fast, powerful and vibrant dog like the German Shepherd Great Dane Mix, early socialization and consistent obedience training are something that needs to be put in place early.
As noted above, unless the owner is very experienced with large dog owners, puppy training classes are absolutely vital to ensure that a puppy will adapt to his home in such a way as to feel entirely happy, secure and comfortable.
This dog may also pull on the leash a little, so ensuring this dog heels should be foregrounded in the training. An early focus for the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix should also be recall as this dog will hugely benefit from off-leash exercise.
A consistent and varied approach to socialization will also mean that the Great Shepherd will generally be able to cope with a range of situations both inside and outside the home and forestall any potential aggressive or domineering behaviours towards other dogs. This dog will in generally be a playful companion to other dogs.
Training for separation anxiety should also be prioritized for the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix to avoid destructive behaviors in the house.
Click here for an outline of the benefits of training. Click here for information on socializing a puppy and here for socializing an adult dog.
How big will a German Shepherd Great Dane Mix get?
The Great Dane male is, according to breed standards, at least 30 inches (82cm) tall from the feet to the withers. While the female stands at 28 inches (72cm) or more.
German Shepherds are very powerful and agile dogs with a lean muscularity and streamlined athleticism. Male German Shepherds stand at around 23 to 26 inches (58-66cm) with the female generally between 22 to 24 (56-61 cm) inches.
A Great Dane German Shepherd Mix is likely to reach:
- Male around 28-31 inches (71-79 cm) from feet to withers.
- Female is likely to be slightly shorter at between 25-29 inches (63-73 cm).
How much is a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix likely to weigh?
The Great Dane male typically weighs between 120 to 170 lb (54-74kgs) with the female at 110 to 140 lbs (50-64 kgs). The weight of adult German Shepherds can vary between 75 to 95 lbs (35-43 kg).
This means that a German Shepherd Great Dane Mix is likely to weigh somewhere between 95-155 lb (43-70 kg) with the female averaging around 15 lb lighter.
Where should I get a German Shepherd Great Dane Mix from?
If you are looking for a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix puppy then always contact a reputable breeder and look out for the following.
- You should always have the opportunity to see the Great Shepherd puppies interacting with the mother.
- If there is little interaction with the ‘mother’ be cautious as occasionally unscrupulous breeders can bring in another female dog for appearances.
- A breeder should also have details of the father available on request.
- You should have access to the medical records of both parents and any kennel club certificates.
If possible, adoption is a kind and rewarding option. But ensure that you thoughtfully discuss the details of a rescue dog with the charity or rehoming organization in order to offer a dog an appropriate forever home.
If you already have a dog, then please feel free to browse these tips on how to introduce a puppy to an older dog.
What are the feeding requirements of a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix?
It is always a good idea to consult with a vet or animal dietician regarding feeding requirements in the early days of ownership, as each dog will be unique.
This will ensure that your German Shepherd Great Dane Mix will receive a balanced diet in the correct portions. It is also important to balance feeding against exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
As the Great Dane is prone to bloating it is advisable that owners should plan to exercise their Great Dane German Shepherd Mix at least an hour before they feed and at least an hour afterwards. This will help prevent bloat and other gastric conditions afflicting your dog.
Should I get a male or female Great Dane German Shepherd Mix?
Each dog is unique, so the following only offers a general guide rather than a rule but male and female dogs can have different dispositions.
In general the female German Great Dane Mix tends to be slightly less boisterous or prone to the domineering or aggressive behaviors that can occasionally be inherited from German Shepherds.
But a well-trained and socialized dog of either gender will provide an excellent family dog who can be a trained to a good standard.
What colors are common for a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix?
In general the Great Shepherd can be any solid or partial color, although the following colors are common:
Some may inherit the distinctive black and tan common in German Shepherds. The Great Shepherd may also have the thicker double-coat of the German Shepherd Dog.
Does a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix get along with other dogs?
This breed are able to cohabit with other dogs. This is also true of both founding breeds but ensure you follow clear steps in introducing established dogs to a puppy or another dog. The Great Dane is often described as just a large ‘goofball’ who just wants to play and get along with any canine companions.
The German Shepherd Dog has a generally steadier temperament than the Great Dane meaning this dog is likely to be well-grounded, but will still be very playful.
This means not only will German Shepherd mix dog be gregarious but also will actively pursue a game with other dogs at every opportunity.
Early socialization with a range of puppies in a variety of situations is very important for the Great Shepherd. With this put in place the Great Shepherd puppy should remain playful and laid back with other dogs as it grows to more gargantuan proportions.
Does a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix get on with cats?
If sensitively introduced to cats as a puppy then it is often the case that that they can successfully live with cats and other pets.
German Shepherds and Great Danes have a good reputation for being able to co-exist alongside feline members of the family. As a member of the Herding Group, the German Shepherd will readily accept cats as part of the household and even be protective towards them.
This introduction should be done in the following steps:
This introduction should start with putting down items that belong to the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix puppy before the arrival to accustom the cats to the scent.
The next step is to confine the puppy to an area. This should certainly include at feeding times. This could be a room with a baby-gate.
The area of confinement should be circulated around the house as well as a safely enclosed outside area.
When ready allow the puppy out on an appropriate leash or harness and proactively praise positive interactions and correct any chasing.
Ensure the cats always have escape areas including high places to promote their sense of confidence and safety.
Does the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix make a good guard dog for the home?
This German Shepherd mix dog will certainly provide a reliable and alert protector of the family and the home and are generally excellent guard dogs.
German Shepherd Dogs are people-oriented but are naturally suspicious of strangers and will certainly feel very protective of the family with somebody unfamiliar in the home.
This will somewhat offset the Great Dane‘s tendency of being by nature overly friendly.
The combination of these breeds, however, is certain to produce large dogs that will rise to the occasion and sound an alarm to protect the household in the event of any intrusion.
Where can I found out more?
If you are considering a hybrid breed such as this Great Shepherd dog always research both founding breeds to ensure that you are fully prepared for the arrival of your dog and nuance your training and lifestyle provision for your exciting new canine companionaccordingly.
Please feel free to browse our breed guide for more information on the Great Dane, German Shepherd and other breeds.
Also a good breeder should be willing to offer you advice and guidance when you take your puppy home.
As noted above if you have any queries or doubts regarding the health or feeding of your Great Dane German Shepherd Mix puppy consult a professional vet or animal dietician at the earliest opportunity.
Great Dane Rescue (USA)
German Shepherd Rescue and Adoptions (USA)
Westside German Shepherd Rescue (USA)
German Shepherd Dog Rescue (UK)