The German Shepherd Great Dane mix is truly a one-of-a-kind hybrid dog that brings together two of the most popular large breeds – the intelligent German Shepherd and the massive yet gentle Great Dane. This unique crossbreed exhibits the best traits from both parent breeds, resulting in an amazing canine companion.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about this relatively rare but beautiful mix, from their appearance, temperament, potential health issues, to care and training requirements. Read on to find out if the Shepherd/Dane mix could be the perfect addition to your home.
Here is a helpful table summarizing some key information on the German Shepherd Great Dane mix breed:
|German Shepherd Great Dane Mix|
|Size||25-32 inches tall, 80-180 pounds|
|Coat Colors||Black & tan, black & white, brindle, fawn, harlequin, merle, mantle|
|Coat Length||Short to medium|
|Common Health Issues||Hip/elbow dysplasia, bloat, allergies, eye issues, osteosarcoma|
|Grooming Needs||Moderate – Require brushing 2-3 times per week|
|Shedding Level||Moderate – Year-round shedder|
|Exercise Needs||High – 60-90+ minutes daily|
|Training Difficulty||Moderate – Respond very well to positive reinforcement|
|Temperament||Loyal, intelligent, energetic, gentle, protective|
|Good with Children||Yes – Very patient and loving with kids|
|Good with Other Pets||Yes – With proper socialization|
|Apartment Living||Low – Require a yard and plenty of daily exercise|
An Overview of The Breed’s Origin
As a relatively new mixed breed, the German Shepherd Great Dane doesn’t have a very well documented history. However, by understanding the background of the parent breeds involved, we can get a good idea of where these hybrids originate.
The German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is a classic herding dog that originated in Germany in the late 1800s. They were bred specifically for their intelligence, strength, and ability to follow direction.
Over the decades, German Shepherds have been bred for various roles like search and rescue, police work, service dogs, and loyal family companions. They are known for being highly trainable, courageous, and protective of their family.
The Great Dane
Great Danes have an ancient history stemming back thousands of years as hunting dogs bred to pursue wild boar. They likely originated from a mix of English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds.
This giant breed was later refined in Germany in the late 19th century to create the Great Dane we know today – a loving home guardian with a graceful, dignified appearance. They are known as gentle giants that are eager to please and devoted to their family.
By combining these two pedigreed breeds, breeders aimed to produce a dog that had the intelligence and trainability of a German Shepherd along with the imposing size yet gentle loyalty of a Great Dane.
The result is a versatile hybrid with the potential to make an excellent family companion, work dog, or show dog. However, they are still quite rare and can be difficult to find outside of breed-specific rescues or shelters.
Physical Characteristics: Size, Appearance & Coloring
The German Shepherd Great Dane mix can vary significantly in looks, depending on which parent they favor more. Generally they will be a large to giant breed dog with a noble appearance and a muscular yet elegant physique.
- Height – 25-32 inches
- Weight – 80-180 pounds
Since both parent breeds are large dogs, you can expect a Shepherd/Great Dane cross to be a big dog. Their exact size can differ quite a bit based on their lineage but they usually fall within the above range.
Males also tend to be larger than females, which is common in many dog breeds. Proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care can help support their growth and development.
These hybrids tend to have a sturdy, athletic build that combines strength and agility. Some of their physical features may include:
- A large, domed head that is long and square shaped
- Floppy or erect ears
- Long muzzle and black nose
- Deep chest and straight back
- Long legs with large paws
- Long, tapered tail
Their overall look can lean more towards the German Shepherd or Great Dane parent, so appearances will vary from dog to dog. Generally they have an alert, noble expression.
When it comes to their coat colors and patterns, German Shepherd/Great Dane mixes display a wide variety.
Some of the most common color combinations include:
- Black and tan
- Black and white
- Blue or grey merle
- Mantle (black and white)
- Harlequin (white base with black torn patches)
Their coats may be bi-colored, tri-colored, or solid. No matter their color, their fur will be straight, short to medium length, and thick.
Temperament & Behavior: Are They Good Family Dogs?
A well-bred German Shepherd and Great Dane cross will combine the best personality traits of their parent breeds. With the proper training and socialization, they make loyal pets and affectionate companions.
Here’s an overview of their expected temperament:
- Intelligent and highly trainable
- Protective instincts
- Energetic and playful
- Loyal and loving towards family
- Patient and gentle with children
- Wary of strangers without proper socialization
- Not overly aggressive but will defend their home and family if needed
These dogs form extremely close bonds with their owners and aim to please. They thrive when given plenty of attention, activity, and time together.
With early socialization and positive reinforcement training, they get along well with kids, other pets, and unfamiliar people. But if not properly trained, their protective nature can become problematic.
Overall, German Shepherd/Great Dane mixes make wonderful family dogs for an active household with lots of room both indoors and outside. Their loyal and gentle temperament allows them to thrive as companions.
Exercise & Activity Levels
Thanks to their German Shepherd ancestry, Great Dane/Shepherd mixes are energetic dogs with high exercise requirements. Without sufficient activity, they are prone to boredom and destructive behavior.
- Expect to provide at least 60-90 minutes of exercise per day. The best activities for them include walking, running, hiking, playing fetch, or taking part in canine sports like agility.
- Having access to a securely fenced yard is ideal, but daily walks and playtime are a must.
- Mental stimulation through obedience or trick training is also important. Their intelligence makes them excel in canine activities that test their focus and trainability.
- They enjoy being challenged and having a “job” to do alongside their owners. Whether it’s learning new skills or accompanying you on outdoor adventures, these dogs crave both physical and mental exercise.
Thanks to their Great Dane ancestry, they are generally more easygoing housemates when their energy needs are met. But be prepared to provide higher levels of daily activity for these energetic hybrids. With appropriate outlets, they will thrive.
Training Tips & Requirements
The German Shepherd Great Dane mix combines the trainability and intelligence of two highly clever breeds. When properly motivated, these dogs are a joy to train and can master virtually any task you throw at them.
Here are some useful training tips:
- Start obedience training early and be consistent. Use positive reinforcement techniques to shape desired behaviors.
- Crate train your puppy to help with potty training and preventing destructive chewing habits.
- Socialize frequently to many people, animals, places, and experiences during puppyhood. This prevents over protectiveness or shyness.
- Teach and reinforce the basic commands: sit, stay, come, down, heel. Increase training difficulty as your dog masters each skill.
- Activities like agility, tracking, or advanced obedience are great outlets. They keep these bright dogs challenged.
- Use firm leadership but avoid overly harsh correction. Be patient and persistent with training.
- Motivate them with praise, play, and treats for tasks done well to reinforce the behaviors you want.
When trained properly using rewards-based methods, this hybrid picks up on new things quickly. Training time strengthens the bond between dog and owner.
Grooming Requirements & Shedding
German Shepherd/Great Dane mixes have moderately high grooming needs. Their short to medium length double coats require regular brushing and bathing. Here are their grooming requirements:
- Brush coat 2-3 times per week with a slicker brush or undercoat rake to remove loose hair. Be extra thorough during shedding season.
- Bathe every 6-8 weeks or when dirty using a gentle dog shampoo. Overbathing causes skin irritation.
- Trim nails every 2-3 weeks to prevent cracking or overgrowth.
- Brush teeth 2-3 times a week using dog-safe toothpaste. Dental disease can cause health issues.
- Clean and check ears weekly for waxy buildup, irritation, or infection. Don’t insert objects into the ear canal.
- Professional grooming like deshedding treatments can be helpful during heavy shedding periods.
Thanks to their German Shepherd lineage, this crossbred dog is a year-round shedder. You’ll need to stay on top of brushing and vacuuming to manage loose hair. Their grooming routine should start as a puppy to get them used to handling and brushing.
Nutrition & Feeding Recommendations
A proper diet is essential for this large, active hybrid to stay fit and healthy. When feeding your German Shepherd Great Dane mix, keep these nutrition tips in mind:
- Feed a high-quality dog food formulated for large breeds. Look for a balanced blend of proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
- Feed 2-4 cups daily, divided into 2-3 meals. Amount varies based on age, size, and activity level.
- Cater to their high protein requirements. Meat should be the first ingredient.
- Monitor their calorie intake. They have a risk of rapid growth and obesity.
- Avoid overfeeding especially in puppyhood to prevent joint issues. Follow package directions.
- Provide fresh water available at all times. Especially important before and after exercise.
- Mix in some cooked meat, eggs, veggies or fruits for variety and extra nutrients.
- Choose an age-appropriate formula as your dog grows from puppy to adult.
Talk to your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s diet, weight, or nutrition. They can make personalized recommendations to keep your Shepherd/Dane at their healthiest.
Health & Care: Potential Issues To Look Out For
German Shepherd Great Dane mixes are generally robust dogs, but like any larger breed, they are prone to certain health conditions that responsible breeders will screen for.
Some potential health issues include:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Eye problems like entropion or ectropion
- Cardiac issues
To help prevent these conditions:
- Feed a healthy diet tailored for large breed puppies to support bone growth
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise daily but avoid strenuous activity in puppyhood
- Schedule annual vet checkups and catch issues early
- Brush teeth and clean ears regularly
- Invest in pet insurance for emergency costs
With excellent preventative care and nutrition, the German Shepherd Great Dane mix has a typical lifespan of 8-13 years. Give them the proper love and care, and your gentle giant can enjoy many happy years as your companion.
Finding German Shepherd Great Dane Puppies
Since Great Dane/German Shepherd mixes are an uncommon designer breed, finding puppies may take some effort. Here are some tips:
- Research breeders carefully and ask about health clearances. Make sure they genetically test their breeding dogs.
- Check local shelters, rescues, or breed-specific rescues for adoptable mixed breed puppies.
- Breed-specific Facebook groups and community message boards sometimes post rehoming ads.
- Be patient and willing to wait. Quality breeders often have waiting lists. Avoid those rushing sales or shipping puppies.
- Expect to spend $500 to over $1000 for a responsibly bred pup.
- Avoid pet stores or online ads selling these popular mixes cheaply. They likely come from irresponsible breeders.
Take your time to find an ethical, conscientious breeder you feel comfortable with. Never support unscrupulous breeders just to get a puppy quickly!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are German Shepherd Great Dane mixes good family dogs?
Yes! When properly trained and socialized, German Shepherd/Great Dane mixes make wonderful family companions. They form strong bonds and do very well with children thanks to their loyal and gentle temperament. Their protective instincts make them excellent watchdogs as well.
How big do German Shepherd/Great Dane mixes get?
These designer dogs are classified as giant breeds. Fully grown adults typically range between 80-180 pounds and 25-32 inches tall at the shoulder. Males tend to be larger than females. Their large size should be taken into consideration when owning one.
Do GS/Great Dane mixes need a lot of exercise?
Definitely! German Shepherd/Great Dane mixes are energetic dogs with high exercise needs. They require at least 60-90 minutes of vigorous daily activity such as running, hiking, or playing fetch. An active, outdoorsy owner is ideal for keeping up with their exercise requirements.
What colors do German Shepherd Great Dane mixes come in?
Their possible coat colors include black & tan, black & white, blue/grey merle, harlequin, mantle, brindle, and more. It depends which parent they take after. No matter their color, expect a short, thick double coat that sheds year-round.
Are Shepherd & Great Dane mixes easy to train?
Yes, they are highly intelligent and trainable dogs when positive reinforcement is used consistently. Their eagerness to please makes them respond very well to reward-based training. Starting socialization and obedience young is key to bring out their best qualities.
The Takeaway: Why Consider This Amazing Hybrid
If you’re seeking a loyal giant breed dog with intelligence and versatility, the German Shepherd Great Dane Mix has exceptional potential. They make devoted companions who thrive when exercised and trained properly.
While very large and energetic, these pets bring together the best qualities of two of the most popular breeds. They can make wonderful pets for owners able to provide all their enrichment needs.
We hope this guide gave you a comprehensive introduction to this unusual crossbreed. Let us know if you have any other questions about owning one of these gentle, loveable giants!
The German Shepherd Great Dane mix is truly one of the most unique and loveable hybrids out there, combining two iconic breeds into one phenomenal companion. They have quite high needs when it comes to exercise, training, socialization, and space requirements. But for the right owner, they make extraordinarily loyal and gentle pets.
From their striking appearance to their larger-than-life personalities, this mixed breed is a rare find that results from blending some of the best qualities of both parent breeds involved. If properly raised, they have the potential to be calm housemates and adventure-loving outdoor partners through every stage of life. Just be ready to accommodate their energetic nature!
We hope this complete guide gave you all the information you need to determine if the Shepherd/Great Dane could potentially be the perfect next addition to your family. They are truly special dogs for the owner willing to provide them with proper care, training, and daily enrichment. By understanding their needs and unique traits, you can decide if one of these amazing gentle giants would be the ideal companion for you.