Dane Shepherd (Great Dane & German Shepherd Mix)

Height: 28-30 inches
Weight: 65-110 pounds
Lifespan: 7-10 years
Colors: Fawn, black, brindle, blue, black, harlequin
Suitable for: Families with a lot of room and some experience of big dogs
Temperament: Intelligent, Eager to Please, Energetic, Protective, a Gentle Giant

The Dane Shepherd is a hybrid designer breed that crosses the protective and guarding qualities of the German Shepherd with the Gentle Giant attributes of the Great Dane. Although little is known about the Dane Shepherd breed, because it is a relatively new pairing, plenty is known about both parent breeds.

You should expect a friendly and loyal dog that is alert and will serve as a great guard dog as well as an excellent companion dog. He will usually be laid-back and eager to please his master.

The obvious attribute of the Dane Shepherd is his giant size. In some cases, the breed is unaware of the impact of his size, wanting to curl up on your lap. In other cases, and especially around small children, he seems alert to the fact that he has the potential to cause injury. His size does dictate that the Dane Shepherd needs plenty of room: he will not do well in a small apartment. It also means that he has high food and energy demands, but his German Shepherd lineage also means that he can be very easy to train with an experienced handler.

Divider 1

Dane Shepherd Puppies – Before You Buy…

Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

What’s the Price of Dane Shepherd Puppies?

The sheer size of the Dane Shepherd means that he is not as sought after as a lot of other breeds: small and medium dogs tend to be the most popular. As such, a puppy will cost between $300 and $900 depending on the lineage.

Always choose breeders carefully and opt for those with a good history of sympathetic breeding. Choose one with a good reputation and that receives positive reviews from previous buyers. This will give you a good indication that you will receive a healthy and well-adjusted dog, although there are no guarantees, and factors such as training and socialization will play a major part.

Try to meet the dog’s parents before you make a final decision. Although nature doesn’t necessarily beat nurture, if your puppy’s parents are well behaved, have bred naturally, and are friendly, it increases the chances that you will get a suitably well-adjusted family pet. Meeting the parents can also help you determine the likely size and physical attributes of your puppy as he ages.

Dane Shepherd - Great Dane and German Shepherd dog mix
Parents of the Dane Shepherd. Left: Great Dane, Right: German Shepherd

Divider 8

3 Little-Known Facts About Dane Shepherd

1. They Can Be Wary of Strangers

The German Shepherd is one of the most highly sought-after guard dog breeds. This is partly because they are easy to train, but it is also because they are wary of strangers. They will trust family members and handlers completely, but it can take a few meetings before they trust somebody new. The Dane Shepherd tends to adopt the same attitude. Early socialization can improve their confidence around strangers, but most examples of this breed will remain cautious with new people. Considering the sheer size of the breed, though, this is considered preferable to having a giant dog that jumps up to greet everybody he passes.

2. They Really Are Giant Dogs

German Shepherds are big dogs, but nothing in comparison to the Great Dane, and depending on which parent breed is dominant, you could end up with a very large dog, or a mammoth canine. If your dog takes after the Great Dane, he will need a lot of space and room. Even tasks as seemingly simple as turning around can become a problem if this hybrid breed lives in a confined space. As such, although the breed does not require as much time outdoors as some other large breeds, the Dane Shepherd is better off living in a large house with a decent yard.

If you have small children, take careful note of the size of the dog. He will be loving and won’t want to hurt small humans, but it can take time for this message to get to his rear end and his tail. Accidents happen, and when that accident involves a 100lb dog with clumsy feet and big claws, it can be potentially dangerous. Remember that Zeus, the world’s tallest dog, was a Great Dane until the title was taken from him by a dog called Freddy… also a Great Dane.

3. German Shepherds Make Exceptional Service Dogs

The German Shepherd was originally bred for his utility. The breed is used by police forces around the world to protect and serve. They are trained to sniff out and rescue people trapped in buildings. They are also used to pick up the scent of criminals and even explosives and drugs. In fact, the first seeing-eye dog was a German Shepherd, even though the Labrador Retriever is better known for this role nowadays. They’re not only highly effective guard dogs but help people with a range of disabilities and impairments, lead fulfilling and normal everyday lives.

Great Dane and German Shepherd
Great Dane and German Shepherd, Credit: Nick Chase 68, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Dane Shepherd

The Dane Shepherd combines the intelligence of the German Shepherd with the laid-back attitude of the Great Dane. They will happily sit in front of the fire or, if allowed, on your lap, for hours. But when called upon, they will spring into action.

They are highly intelligent animals, and usually want to please their owners, which makes them relatively easy to train. However, some dogs of this breed require an experienced trainer because they can get carried away.

They will usually enjoy spending a lot of time with their family and might struggle with being left alone for long periods, and they will especially love going for walks or playing with the whole family.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Dane Shepherds usually love children. They are attentive and they try their best to ensure that they don’t hurt or injure young children. With that said, they are giant dogs and they need a lot of room. They may cause accidental injuries when playing, so you should always take care when they are around kids.

The Dane Shepherd can be very protective of their humans, too, and you need to exude confidence so that they know they aren’t solely responsible for looking after the family.

It can be tempting for children to treat a dog of this size as a horse, but this should be actively discouraged. You should also prevent children from pulling his ears or tail to ensure that they get along well.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The Dane Shepherd is a true gentle giant and will usually get along very well with all other animals, from cats to other dogs. This is true in their own home and is also true outside of the house. Again, you need to consider the size of the dog. Cats are usually instinctive enough to get out of the way when a dog of this size starts to charge around, and you should always supervise time between a giant dog and small animals.

Enroll in puppy classes and take your Dane Shepherd to the dog park for extended walks. This will help with socialization and will ensure that your dog is well adjusted and responds to your commands.

Divider 4

Things to Know When Owning a Dane Shepherd:

The obvious attribute of a Dane Shepherd is their size. They are easily one of the biggest designer breeds, especially if they get their physical attributes from the Great Dane parent breed, but the German Shepherd is no lap dog either. They have energy and dietary requirements to match their size, so expect to go on lots of walks and to feed a lot of food.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Dogs of this size and stature can pile on weight, even over a short period. As such, you need to ensure that you stick to a good diet. Expect to feed between three and four cups of good quality food every day. If you give them snacks, or you use treats as an aid to training, ensure that you feed healthy snacks that won’t encourage weight gain.

Their size means that the Dane Shepherd will not struggle to get food from the worktop or countertop. In fact, they’re probably capable of stealing food from tables and even from under the grill so take care here, too.

Exercise 🐕

The Dane Shepherd is a big dog with a big appetite, and this means that he does need good exercise. However, despite his giant stature, he doesn’t need as much exercise as some other breeds. Expect to provide around 60 minutes of exercise a day, which can include some playtime in the yard, as well as walks.

It is worth remembering that this breed needs mental stimulation as much as physical exertion. They are very intelligent, and this means that they can become bored if they are not stimulated. A bored dog tends to mean a destructive dog, as they will create their own means of entertainment and may bark and whine to get attention.

The Dane Shepherd might enjoy agility classes, but they may also struggle with some of the agility courses and classes due to their size. Flyball, fetch, and vigorous games like tug of war will be popular, though.

Training 🎾

The German Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds for use as guard dogs, service dogs, and police dogs because they are intelligent and considered easy to train. The Great Dane, although loving and eager to please his family, can be a little more challenging. The Dane Shepherd will usually fall somewhere between these extremes. They are clever and they will pick things up quickly. Many of them are suitable for first-time dog owners because they are easy to train, but others will require an experienced hand that is dominant without being cruel. Use praise and positive reinforcement but remember that if you fail to take the lead, then the German Shepherd in your hybrid dog will take over and your dog will dominate training proceedings.

Dane Shepherd
Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

The Dane Shepherd usually takes after the Great Dane in terms of its coat. This means that your dog will have short hair that is easy to manage. You can brush him every day to keep his coat under control, and he will probably enjoy the attention. Your dog will shed twice a year, but this is usually only a moderate shedding, unless he takes after the German Shepherd, in which case you might need to brush more often especially during shedding season.

Only bathe your dog when he is especially dirty. Frequent bathing can strip the dog’s hair of natural oils that serve to protect them.

Brush teeth three times a week, and check inside their ears every week. You may also need to clip his nails occasionally, especially if his daily walks are in the park or another soft surface. Most dogs naturally grind their nails down when walking on concrete and abrasive surfaces.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Expect your Dane Shepherd to live up to 12 or 13 years. Unfortunately, the breed can be prone to some of the genetic conditions of the parent breeds. Puppy screening will identify any of these conditions that they are likely to suffer. This hybrid breed can suffer from allergies including dermatitis, bloat, and joint dysplasia.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies
  • Joint Dysplasia
Serious Conditions
  • Bloat
  • Cancer
  • Development Issues
  • Heart Conditions

Divider 5

Male vs Female

In general, female German Shepherds are considered sweeter and more loving than males. The male of the breed will also grow a little larger than the female, but you should expect to have a giant breed on your hands regardless of their sex.

Divider 3

Final Thoughts

The Dane Shepherd is a mix of German Shepherd and Great Dane. It is a giant dog breed that needs a lot of room and will want a lot of attention. They make excellent guard dogs and can be trained as service dogs, although their utility might be limited by their sheer size, and you will often find yourself having to help your dog out of sticky situations caused by their size.

Healthwise, this breed is generally considered quite healthy and you should expect an average lifespan of around 12 years. Feed them well, ensure that their nutritional requirements are being met, and ensure that your puppy is screened for common health problems at a young age to better ensure a healthy dog.

Overall, this hybrid breed makes an excellent companion or family dog, and they can be trained easily so that they adopt positive behaviors and avoid negative attributes.


Featured Image: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock