Great Dane German Shepherd Mix
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Great Dane German Shepherd Mix [do they make good family pets?]

Many people love both Great Danes and German Shepherds as household dogs, but what happens if you combine them? You get a wonderful mixed breed called the German Shepherd Great Dane, Great Shepherd, or Dane Shepherd. This hybrid breed is relatively new but is rapidly becoming a well-loved big dog breed. 

Keep reading to get more information about Great Shepherds before you take that adorable puppy home with you.

How Big Will a Great Dane German Shepherd Get
How Big Will a Great Dane German Shepherd Get?

History of the Great Dane

Great Danes have an interesting but vague history. Though they are called the Great “Dane,” they are actually not associated with Denmark. 

In fact, their history originates in Germany, and they are known as the “German Dog” in Germany. 

History of the Great Dane
History of the Great Dane

Historically, German nobles used to use Great Danes to hunt wild boars due to their large size and strong jaws. They are very protective and loving of dog owners and families. 

Because of their origin in Germany, it is possible that they evolutionarily share a recent common ancestor with German Shepherds!

Great Danes are considered to be part Irish Wolfhound and English Mastiff.

History of the German Shepherd

The first historical mention of German Shepherds can be traced back to Germany in the early 1800s. 

Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz, who was a cavalry officer, admired some dogs he saw herding sheep in the nearby German fields and decided to breed them. 

He brought one of his dogs to a local dog show, where many took great interest in it and it earned high marks.

History of the German Shepherd
History of the German Shepherd

The German Shepherd dog (GSD) soon became known for their beauty and ability in the region and was frequently bred and sold. 

This popularity eventually led to the development of the first German Shepherd club in world history. 

The German Shepherds registered in this GSD club became the first official members of the German Shepherd breed. 

The breed of dog became readily accepted by the American Kennel Club in the early 1900s.

History of the Great Dane Shepherd

The Great Shepherd, also called the Dane Shepherd, is the nickname given to German Shepherd Great Dane hybrid mixed dogs

These dogs do not have a clear origin story like their separate breeds do. 

Because they are a recent mixed breed, it is unclear when the first German Shepherd Great Dane mix was born. 

History of the Great Dane Shepherd
History of the Great Dane Shepherd

Though we don’t have an origin story, it is clear that the Great Shepherd is becoming more popular over time. 

More and more families are seeking out these amazing mixed purebred dogs for a new and unique pet. 

The Great Shepherd dog is loyal, protective, intelligent, gentle, and patient. What’s not to love?

German Shepherd Great Dane Characteristics

The Great Dane Shepherd mix has some very unique characteristics both physically and behaviorally that separate them from other breeds as well as their parent breeds. 

Take a look below to see some of the physical markers and behavioral markers of this special breed that make it a great companion. 

German Shepherd Great Dane Size

Because German Shepherds and Great Danes are both large dogs, their hybrid puppies are often large as well. 

How Big Will a Great Dane German Shepherd Get?

Great Shepherds often exceed 28 inches in height and can be anywhere between 65 and 130 pounds. 

They also have a body similar to a Great Dane with long, muscular legs and a muscular torso. Their fur can have a large variety as well. 

Because Great Danes have a variety of coat colors and German Shepherd coat colors are often a combo of brown and black (but can also be white), puppies often have a combination of these colors. 

They may also have a single coat like their Great Dane parent or a thick double coat like their German Shepherd parent

German Shepherd Great Dane Personality

Dane Shepherds often have personality characteristics from both parents that contribute to their behavioral traits. 

They often will receive traits of loyalty and protection from their German Shepherd parent and gentleness and patience from their Great Dane parent. 

Often, these hybrid puppies need significant training because this combination can make them anxious toward others. 

Socializing these puppies is essential to make sure their best behaviors shine through. 

By socializing and training early, you can ensure that your Great Shepherd puppy is loyal and gentle while not becoming aggressive or easily frightened. 

German Shepherd Great Dane Temperament

German Shepherd Danes have a unique temperament not necessarily shared by other dogs. 

German Shepherd Great Dane Temperament
German Shepherd Great Dane Temperament

Because they are the hybrid of two special large breeds, they have specific needs and tendencies other dogs don’t have. 

Take a look below to see some of the temperaments and tendencies Dane Shepherds have so you know what to expect when taking one home. 

Are German Shepherd Great Dane Mix Dogs Good With Children?

Great Dane Shepherds can be a great family dog and often do well with children if properly trained. 

Because of the gentle nature of Great Danes, many Dane Shepherds enjoy children and spending time with their families. 

The German Shepherd side can also make them very protective over their families, sometimes showing signs of aggression towards others perceived as “strangers” in the home. 

If given the right socialization and training, Great Shepherds can be very playful and cuddly dogs with children and family members. 

They will often want to play with your children and even exercise with you. 

Does the German Shepherd Great Dane Get Along With Other Pets?

Because both German Shepherds and Great Danes have significant prey drives, your puppy will likely need significant socialization before encountering your other pets. 

You will also want to make sure you introduce your pets slowly to one another over a period of time. 

As they get used to one another’s scents and presence, they will see each other as companions rather than predators and prey. 

Once they are used to each other, they will often get along great with one another. You may find all of your pups playing with one another and even napping together. 

With appropriate training, your Dane Shepherd’s gentleness should win out and they will become protective of their furry friends. 

German Shepherd Great Dane Socialization

Dane Shepherds are the combination of two large breeds with the potential for aggression. 

As puppies, you want to make sure they are socialized often with people and other animals to make sure they do not become shy or aggressive towards others. 

Always introduce them slowly and make sure they understand others are not a threat. 

You can help socialize your pup by introducing them to friends, taking them to the pet store, or even taking them to a dog park. 

With the latter, make sure you take it a day at a time and let your Dane Shepherd adjust at his own pace. 

Eventually, he will learn how to communicate with other dogs and people by being cautious rather than aggressive. 

Where to Find German Shepherd Great Dane Mixes?

German Shepherd Great Dane mixes can be found in lots of places. 

How to Find a German Shepherd Great Dane Breeder

The best way to find a good breeder is to search the internet, look for positive reviews, seek out clubs, and to ask your local vets.

German Shepherd Great Dane Breeder
German Shepherd Great Dane Breeder

Some reputable breeders have begun breeding them as their own breed, so you may be able to find a puppy through a breeder. 

Always make sure breeders are reputable with their clients as well as their veterinarians! You may also be able to find a German Shepherd Great Dane mix at a shelter or animal rescue.

Shelters and Rescues 

Some dog rescues that are dedicated specifically to German Shepherd or Great Dane breeds may also rescue mixes of these breeds. 

Contact your local shelter or animal rescue for more information and to see what pups they have available. 

German Shepherd Great Dane Care

Your new Dane Shepherd puppy is going to need a lot of care when you first get them! 

Before taking that furry friend home, take a look below at what you will need to do to care for them properly. 

As always, make sure you have a reputable veterinarian in your area that can care for your pup during routine appointments, vaccines, and medical emergencies. 

German Shepherd Great Dane Diet

Because Great Dane German Shepherd mixes are large breeds, you will need to get your puppy on a large breed of puppy food. 

Normal puppy food will cause your pup to grow too large too quickly, which may result in joint and mobility issues later in life. 

Large-breed puppy food will help your large puppy grow slowly so their joints develop properly over time.

You also want to make sure the food is nutritional and does not include any unhealthy fillers. A high-quality diet is especially important during a puppy’s development. 

If you have questions, talk to your vet about the best food types you can provide your Dane Shepherd puppy.

Finally, always make sure your German Shepherd Great Dane has water available. They will need proper hydration as they grow. Make sure you give them plenty of water throughout the day. 

German Shepherd Great Dane Exercise Requirements

Great Dane German Shepherds are a combination of two high-energy dog breeds. Because they are large, they often need lots of exercise from both walking and playing games. 

They may even want to exercise with you to stay by your side, whether that means running with you down the street or staying nearby while you do some yoga.

Do German Shepherd Great Danes Like Toys?

They may also like toys that help them spend their energy, such as tennis balls for playing fetch or rope for tug-of-war. 

Chewing toys such as Kongs or bones will also make them happy as this breed enjoys chewing and using their strong jaws. 

Always make sure the toys are large enough for your large-breed dog as you don’t want them to become a choking hazard.

German Shepherd Great Dane Grooming Requirements

Your Great Dane GSD may inherit the short coat of a Great Dane in which case that would make grooming relatively easy. A quick brush two or three times a week should do the trick.

Great Danes also don’t shed much.

Is a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix Hypoallergenic?

Even though you have a good chance of your Dane Shepherd having a short coat that is easy to maintain does not mean they are hypoallergenic. No dog is truly hypoallergenic.

German Shepherd Great Dane Risk Factors

Though there are many positives to this unique breed, there are also some specific risks involved with raising them. 

In particular, specific health problems and behavioral problems are the most common issues when it comes to Great Shepherds. 

Take a look below at some of the most common health and behavioral issues regarding Great Shepherds. 

Health Problems for Great Shepherds

Great Shepherds have very specific health risks due to them being the hybrid of two different large dog breeds

They may end up with a combination of health risks from both breeds, so dog owners need to be on the lookout for the below issues. 

If you are concerned for your pet, make sure you contact your vet immediately for an assessment and treatment plan. 


Large dogs such as Great Danes are more prone to suffer from bloat. Bloat can progress into a serious problem in dogs so it is important to recognize the signs of bloat and ways to avoid it.

It is important to know that the possibility of your dog getting bloat increases substantially with age.

If you think your dog may have bloat take them to your vet right away!

Symptoms of Bloat in a Dog

  • Swelling of the stomach
  • Trying to vomit
  • Excessive panting and/or pacing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Stomach feels tight if you touch it
  • Increased heart rate
  • Whimpering or other sounds that signify your dog is suffering

Keep in mind this is not a complete list of possible symptoms. Always call your vet right away is you are concerned.

Tips to Avoid Bloat in a Dog

Some easy tips to help avoid bloat in your Great Dane German Shepherd Mix are:

  • Avoid exercise and related activities immediately after eating
  • Purchase a bowl designed to slow down the speed they are eating
  • Give them high-quality, low-fat food

Joint Problems

Because they are a large breed, Dane Shepherds frequently have joint problems. These issues may include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and osteoarthritis

Dogs with bone and joint issues may have mobility problems later in life such as limping or reluctance to walk.

Make sure your dog is fed large-breed dog food as a puppy to reduce their chances of developing joint conditions as they grow. 

In addition, if you suspect your Great Shepherd is developing a joint disorder, contact your vet for an assessment and to determine a treatment plan. 

Common treatments may include supplements, dietary changes, or surgery. 


German Shepherds are prone to spleen cancer while Great Danes are prone to bone cancers. As a result, hybrid pups of the two may be prone to cancer as well. 

Always keep your Great Shepherd on a healthy diet and with a lot of exercises to reduce their chances of developing cancer in older age.

If you suspect your dog has cancer, always be sure to take them to a vet for testing and for potential treatment. 

Heart Disease

Great Danes and German Shepherds are known to suffer from Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). This heart problem is usually found in larger dog breeds and can result in sudden death.

In fact, some data suggests that Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) (an inherited heart issue with no cure) is the cause of death in 20% or more of Great Danes.

These heart problems can progress slowly over the course of a lifetime but will usually show signs in the third to the sixth year of the dog’s life.

German Shepherd Great Dane Behavioral Issues

Though German Shepherds and Great Danes have many benefits, they also have their own specific behavioral issues that could appear in your Dane Shepherd hybrid breed. 

German Shepherds, though loyal, have tendencies towards aggression and have a high prey drive. 

Your Dane Shepherd may exhibit these instincts and will need lots of socialization and training to make sure they will behave around strangers and other pets.

Great Danes are gentle giants but also have a tendency to be nervous or shy, which can lead to aggression if not socialized properly. 

Combined, a Great Shepherd may show significant anxiety or aggression. 

Be sure to find a trainer that understands these breeds to get your pup the best obedience training possible as well as public socialization at group training or dog parks. 

Risks with Breeding German Shepherds and Great Danes

Breeding German Shepherds and Great Danes carry the same risks as any other breeding scenario. 

It is encouraged to let the larger dog be the female carrier to reduce the chances of any issues in growing and birthing the pups. 

Always make sure your dogs get excellent and frequent vet care during their pregnancy. 

Great Dane German Shepherd Mix Names

Here is a short list of some great names for your Great Dane Shepherd!

  • Beau
  • Coco
  • Cuddles
  • King
  • Lola
  • Major
  • Pepper
  • Roxy
  • Thor
  • Zeke

Related German Shepherd Great Dane Mix Questions

Is the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix recognized as a breed?

Great Dane German Shepherd mixes are not currently registered as an American Kennel Club (AKC) breed. 

Because they are still an uncommon mix of two breeds, the Dane Shepherd is seen as a mutt rather than its own breed. 

However, several other breeds once started this way and it is not entirely off the table for Great Shepherds to eventually have official AKC status!

In the meantime, the American Kennel Club still allows mixed breeds to compete in some remote competitions under the “household pet” category. 

Check your local dog shows to see if they allow household pets in their competitions. At a minimum, your pup could be eligible for agility trials or other exercise-related categories!

What traits are German Shepherds known for?

German Shepherds are known for their work as police dogs or military dogs. 

They are incredibly intelligent, bold, and loyal working dogs which makes them perfect for the tasks assigned to them by officers of the law. 

They also make excellent guard dogs due to their protective nature and can be great family dogs if given the proper training and socialization. 

What traits are Great Danes known for?

Great Danes are known as the gentle giants of the dog breed world. 

Though they are one of the tallest canines, they are known for their soft, loving demeanor as well as their loyalty to their families. 

If you’re looking for a low-key but large-sized dog, a Great Dane is a perfect choice.

How tall was the world’s tallest Great Dane?

Zeus, a Great Dane from the United States, was the world’s tallest dog according to Guinness World Records. In 2011, Zeus measured 1.118 meters (44 inches) tall! 

Though many other Great Danes have come close, none so far have passed Zeus’s historic height. 

How long do German Shepherd Great Dane hybrids live?

On average, Great Dane German Shepherd mixes have a life span between 8 to 13 years. 

Because they are prone to a significant amount of health issues, the exact age usually depends on the specific pup and their overall health. 

What is so unique about German Shepherd Great Dane mixes?

German Shepherd Great Dane mixes are special because they tend to have the gentle nature of the Great Dane while also having the protectiveness and intelligence of a German Shepherd. 

They are also quite cute dogs with their large ears and long fur. 

They are both very special breeds that combine to make an even more special hybrid pup, even if they do have their own special needs. 

Bringing a Great Dane GSD Mix Dog Home is Special

Before you run to a breeder to find a Great Dane German Shepherd mix, be sure to take into consideration the special needs Great Shepherds have and the training they will need. 

Take the time to put some honest thought and consideration into deciding if this hybrid dog breed is right for you and your family. 

The Great Dane German Shepherd mix is a large dog with lots of energy and personality and may not be the best choice if you have small children.

You will also want to make sure you have a great vet nearby that can help your furry friend as needed. Big dogs tend to need more attention to live a healthy life.

With proper care and consideration, a Great Dane Shepherd can make a great addition to your family.

Great Dane German Shepherd Mix

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