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Great Dane German Shepherd Mix: A Guard & Lapdog Rolled Into 1 Big Pup

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Elaine Navajo

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Great Dane German Shepherd Mix: A Guard & Lapdog Rolled Into 1 Big Pup 1

If you are thinking of getting a Great Dane German Shepherd mix puppy, who can blame you? A gentle giant with the intelligence of an all-around working dog can be quite hard to beat.

Before combing through the internet to find a healthy puppy, we encourage you to know more about the parent breeds to determine if the Great Dane Shepherd mix is the right dog for you.

What is a Great Dane German Shepherd Mix?

The Great Dane German Shepherd mix is a new designer dog breed that is sure to melt the hearts of big dog fans. It is the product of breeding a Great Dane with a German Shepherd dog. 

A Great Dane mixed with a German Shepherd will grow up to be anywhere from a large breed to a giant-sized dog. 

With both parents known to be very affectionate and loving dogs, you are almost guaranteed to have a massive lapdog with this designer breed.

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Great Dane German Shepherd Mix Breed Overview

Pedigree: Mixed breed

Parent Breed: Great Dane and German Shepherd Dog

Breed Group: Working/ Herding group

Breed size: Large to giant 

Height: 25 to 32 inches

Weight: 67 to 172 pounds

Energy level: Moderate to high energy

Lifespan: 7-10 years

Great Dane German Shepherd Mix: A Guard & Lapdog Rolled Into 1 Big Pup 2
Image from Imgur

The Great Dane German Shepherd Mix’s Appearance

Just like any other mixed breed, German Shepherd Great Dane mixes’ appearance can be quite varied. With its two parent breeds looking very different from each other, it can be quite hard to predict if the puppies will resemble their Great Dane mom more, their German Shepherd dad, or a perfect combination of both.


While every other inherited trait could be difficult to predict, one thing is sure – you will have a big pup on your hands. Your puppy could take after its German Shepherd parent and grow up to be a large-sized dog, or a giant-sized dog if it inherits the size of its Great Dane parent.

A purebred Great Dane’s height averages around 30 to 32 inches for males, and between 28 to 30 inches for females. German Shepherd males stand about 24 to 26 inches, while females are around 22 to 24 inches tall.

The giant breed Great Dane is a heavyweight lapdog with an average weight of 140 to 175 pounds for males, and 110 to 140 pounds for females. They have deep, broad chests and well-sprung ribs. 

German Shepherds are smaller than Great Danes, but by no means are they little dogs. The muscular German Shepherd males average between 65 to 90 pounds in weight, while their female counterparts weigh between 50 to 70 pounds.

These strong and highly agile dogs have muscular bodies. They also have deep chests that allow for bigger lung and heart capacity. 


The regal-looking Great Dane head is described by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as “rectangular, long, distinguished, expressive and finely chiseled, especially below the eyes”. Their angular heads’ size should be in proportion to the size of the dog.

A purebred Great Dane has a square jaw and a deep muzzle. The nose should be black, except in blue, merle, and harlequin Danes. Blue Great Danes have blue-black noses, while merle and harlequin ones have spotted or black noses.

The AKC’s German Shepherd official breed standard describes the head as “noble, cleanly chiseled, strong without coarseness, but above all not fine, and in proportion to the body” They also describe males’ heads as distinctly masculine, and the females’ distinctly feminine – these are qualities that they share with their Great Dane counterparts.

German Shepherds have long muzzles that are typically predominantly black (except for white German Shepherd dogs).

Great Dane German Shepherd Mix: A Guard & Lapdog Rolled Into 1 Big Pup 3
Image from The Smart Canine


The ears are easily one of the parts of the parent breeds' bodies that look the most different from each other's. The Danes have floppy ears, while the German Shepherd has pointed ones that stand erect when they are alert.

In the past, cropping Great Danes’ ears were quite popular to achieve a certain look. However, this trend has seen a decline in recent years as many deem it an unnecessary surgical procedure.

Purebred German Shepherd puppies are born with their ears down. While they are teething, it is common for their ears to go through an up-and-down phase. By the time they have all their adult teeth, their ears should already be standing at attention. 

While there is a possibility that a German Shepherd Great Dane mix may inherit the pointy, erect ears of the GSD, it is more likely that they will have floppy ears of their Great Dane parent, or ones that don’t lie close as close to the head. 

No matter which way their ears point, you are sure to have an adorable puppy that would give you the cutest head tilts.


The Great Dane’s eyes are medium-sized and deep-set. They are described as lively and intelligent. The color can be anything from blue, dark brown, to bright brown eyes. 

Known for their alert and intelligent expression, German Shepherds have dark, almond-shaped eyes. These herding dogs’ expressions are often described as confident and composed.


A purebred Great Dane has a short, smooth, and glossy coat. This very short, single-layer coat is quite easy to maintain and sheds only once or twice every year.

The German Shepherd has a thick double coat that is of medium length. The AKC’s breed standard for the GSD states that the thick outer coat should be straight, harsh, and lying close to the body. The undercoat is also thick, yet softer than the outer coat.

A Dane Shepherd puppy can inherit the GSD’s thick double coat or the Great Dane’s short coat. They can also have a single-layer coat that is slightly longer than the Great Dane’s.

Coat Color

Both dog breeds have quite a variety of accepted purebred colors. Because of the many coat color possibilities, a Dane Shepherd mix’s coat is another trait that could be highly unpredictable.

Crossing the two dog breeds could result in Dane Shepherd puppies having any of the following coat color combinations depending on their purebred parents’ and ancestors’ colors:

Coat Colors and Markings As Listed by the AKC
Great Dane Coat Colors
  • Black
  • Black & White
  • Blue
  • Blue & White
  • Blue Brindle
  • Brindle
  • Chocolate
  • Fawn
  • Harlequin
  • Merle
  • Silver
  • White
  • Chocolate & White
  • Chocolate Brindle
  • Mantle
  • Mantle Merle
  • Merlequin
Great Dane Markings
  • White Markings
  • Merle Markings
  • Black Markings
  • Fawn Markings
  • Black Mask
  • Blue Mask
  • Piebald
  • Brindle Markings
  • Blue Markings
  • Chocolate Markings
  • Chocolate Mask
German Shepherd Coat Colors
  • Black & Cream
  • Black & Red
  • Black & Silver
  • Black & Tan
  • Blue
  • Gray
  • Liver
  • Sable
  • White
  • Bi-Color
Great Dane German Shepherd Mix
Image from Alpha Paw

History of the Great Dane German Shepherd

While many designer breeds have surged in popularity over the past few years, the Dane Shepherd mix has remained quite rare compared to other dogs of mixed breeds. 

Due to its size, it is understandable why the German Shepherd Great Dane is not as popular as other dogs that are of designer breeds like Cavoodles, Puggles, or Pomskies. 

The German Shepherd Great Dane requires a lot of space and effort as far as caring for them is concerned. Not to mention, everything they need has to be purchased in quantities that are at least 7 times more than that of smaller dogs.

The history of the Dane Shepherd mix is not clear. However, knowing more about the origins of its parent breeds can help us understand more about the temperament, health, and physical traits of this pretty tall hybrid dog. 

History of the Great Dane

Known as the Apollo of dogs, the Great Dane is actually of German origin and not from Denmark. The breed is believed to have been around for 400 years. In the 16th century, European nobles imported very large dogs from England. These dogs were said to have descended from English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds.

From these English dogs, members of the German nobility bred hunting dogs at the start of the 17th century. The dogs were used for hunting bears, boars, and deer. Some of them also worked as excellent guard dogs or chamber dogs to protect German royals as they sleep at night.

As the new breed of dogs was no longer bred using English methods, the name was officially changed from “Englische Dogge” to “Deutsche Dogge” in 1878. As the use of firearms became popular in hunting, these big dogs were no longer needed in the sport. From hunting dogs, the Deutsche Dogge or German Mastiff became companion pets that were a symbol of wealth and luxury.

It was due to the increasing tensions between Germany and other countries that the breed’s name was eventually changed to the Great Dane. 

Today, Great Danes are popular family dogs. Though larger than most dogs, this gentle giant breed is known to be great with children. They are adorable lapdogs that don’t seem to be aware of how massive they are.

Great Dane German Shepherd Mix: A Guard & Lapdog Rolled Into 1 Big Pup 4

History of the German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd is a great shepherd dog that has taken on numerous jobs in various industries was originally developed by German cavalry officer Captain Max von Stephanitz specifically to herd sheep. 

In the 1800s, many communities in Germany have been practicing selective breeding for breed herding dogs that had the traits or characteristics that they need for their specific jobs, such as herding and protecting the flock from wild animals

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However, herding dogs differed in every community as there were no breed standards officially set at the time. Captain von Stephanitz wanted to create an official breed standard for herding dogs. He wanted not just a common breed standard, but to create a breed that had what it takes to be the perfect herding dog. 

It was at an 1899 dog show that he finally met a dog that had all the qualities he was looking for. A dog named Hektor Linksrhein had the strength, intelligence, and loyalty that von Stephanitz wanted in a herding dog. He immediately purchased Hektor and renamed him Horand von Grafrath.

Horand became the first registered German Shepherd in the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (Society for German Shepherd Dogs), which von Stephanitz himself created. He bred Horand with dogs within the German Shepherd society. It is said that all modern-day German Shepherds can draw a genetic link to Horand’s direct descendant, Beowulf.

Extensive inbreeding was done with Horand’s offspring and his descendants to develop today’s modern German Shepherd dog. However, inbreeding has also caused the dogs to be prone to certain health problems.

The Great Dane German Shepherd’s Personality/ Temperament

The Great Dane Shepherd mix is a composed, confident, and loyal dog with great watchdog abilities. They may be friendly, but these dogs are loyal and can be protective of their loved ones when they feel it is necessary. With the instinct of guard dogs, this Great Dane mix will bark to alert its owners to the presence of strangers or strange noises.

The Dane Shepherd loves being around their family members and gets along well with other pets when socialized at an early age. They crave human affection and enjoy activities with the family. If they take after their German Shepherd parent, they will likely be athletic dogs who thrive when given a job. 

Great Danes are a bit more chill compared to German Shepherds. As puppies and young adult dogs, they can also have high energy levels. Due to their size, socialization and dog training/ canine education at a young age are very important.

The Great Dane and GSD’s offspring tend to look quite intimidating to others. Playing rough with smaller dogs can get the small dogs hurt. Teaching them to be well-mannered at a young age can avoid any unwanted incidents involving people and other pets. Puppy classes are highly recommended. Give your dogs good treats as a reward during training.

Great Danes are snuggle bugs. If your Great Dane mix inherits this trait, then you may also have a dog who loves to lean on its favorite humans and other pets in the home. They may also sit on your lap, lie next to you, or on top of you. 

While this is how these sweet dogs sometimes express their love for their owners, keep in mind that they can weigh up to 175 lbs!

Great Dane German Shepherd Mix: A Guard & Lapdog Rolled Into 1 Big Pup 5
Image from Pinterest

Exercise Requirements of the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix

With intelligent parent dogs, the Great Dane Shepherd will need a good amount of mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored. German Shepherds are highly intelligent and are very happy when given jobs. Keep them entertained with fun activities and interactive toys.

Taking daily walks can keep the high energy of your young Shepherd Great Dane mix under control. Playtime at the dog park is ideal especially at an early age to get them socialized and used to other dogs and people. 

Running agility courses at moderate speed can not only help keep a German Shepherd Great Dane mix fit but also mentally stimulated. Hiding treats all over the house for a fun treasure hunt is another activity that your pup will love.

Avoid long runs or hikes until the dog is two years old to avoid damage to its joints. Large dog breeds must remain fit and not overweight to prevent joint pain from too much strain on their joints.

The Great Dane German Shepherd Mix’s Health

Being a cross between two pure breeds, the risk of developing certain genetic conditions is lower in this Great Dane mix. That being said, they can still be prone to certain health issues commonly seen in very large dog breeds.

Keeping them physically fit and providing them with high-quality wet or dry dog food that is appropriate for their breed size, life stage, and activity levels can go a long way in keeping your dog healthy for many years. 

Keep in mind that large breed dogs like this German Shepherd Great Dane mix mature slower than smaller dogs. As such, feed puppies puppy food made for large or giant dogs until they are 18 months old or as specified by the brand of puppy food.

With veterinary advice and guidance, you can also prevent diseases through regular check-ups, vaccinations, and parasite treatments. Vets can not only provide veterinary advice about diseases, but they can also help you if you need behavior, grooming, or product advice. You can also ask them about how much exercise is ideal for your pup.

Genetics plays a part in your dog’s overall health. Great Danes and German Shepherds are prone to Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or bloat: a life-threatening condition that often happens when deep-chested large dogs are given a large meal or drinks a lot of water right before exercising. Pet parents of Dane Shepherds should be very careful when scheduling feeding times and exercise.

Here is a list of health problems commonly observed in Great Danes and German Shepherds.

Common Great Dane Health Issues

  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)/ bloat
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Wobbler Syndrome
  • Degenerative Lumbosacral Stenosis
  • Happy Tail Syndrome
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Common German Shepherd Health Issues

  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Cancer
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)/ bloat
  • Allergies
  • Heart disease
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)
  • Pannus or superficial keratitis
Great Dane German Shepherd Mix: A Guard & Lapdog Rolled Into 1 Big Pup 6
Image from Alpha Paw

Grooming Requirements of the Great Dane German Shepherd Mix

This Great Dane mix is quite easy to groom. They just need a quick brushing a few times every week to keep the dog’s coat healthy. If they inherit the German Shepherd’s double coat, they will shed profusely twice every year. Frequent brushing will be needed during shedding season.

German Shepherd Great Danes only need to be given baths occasionally or when they get dirty. Use a gentle, organic dog shampoo and conditioner to prevent stripping your dog’s skin of its natural oils. 

While bathing, give your Dane Shepherd a good brush with a shampoo brush or a curry brush to scrub away dirt, dead skin, and loose fur.

Your dog’s ears should also be cleaned with a gentle ear cleanser once every week as German Shepherds can be prone to ear infections.

Like other breeds, it is recommended to trim your Great Dane mixes’ nails regularly. Dental health is important in maintaining your dogs’ overall well-being. Their teeth should also be brushed daily or at least three times a week. Use only toothpaste made for dogs as those made for humans contains ingredients that can be toxic to our furry friends. 

Grooming Tools for the Great Dane Shepherd Mix

  • Medium bristle brush
  • De-shedding brush
  • Slicker brush for medium-length hair or double-coat
  • Organic shampoo and conditioner
  • Shampoo brush/ curry brush
  • Nail clippers
  • Toothbrush
  • Dog toothpaste
  • Ear cleanser


Getting any dog or puppy of other breeds is a huge undertaking, but even bigger in every aspect in the case of the German Shepherd Great Dane mix. This mixed-breed pup’s jumbo size means an even bigger responsibility for the pet parent.

Not recommended for first-time dog owners, these big dogs need owners that are capable of controlling them when needed or providing them with the proper dog training that they need to be good, well-mannered pups. Early socialization is highly recommended.

These dogs need more space than small to medium-sized dogs. They also need a lot more food and pet care products such as treats, grooming products, supplements, medication, etc. As such, getting giant breeds costs a lot more than the average.

Despite their imposing size, these dogs are very loving and crave the attention of their owners. Unless given proper training, they will likely not do so well when left alone for long hours. Any bored dog can develop destructive behaviors, and very large ones can cause major damage.

Veterinary guidance and care are very important aspects of pet ownership. Before getting any pet, especially very large ones such as Dane Shepherds, we should take into consideration the costs and logistics of taking the dog to the vet.

This involves finding a clinic nearby and figuring out how to take the dog there in case of emergencies. What vehicle can be used? Will the dog be needing a travel crate or a car harness? These are just a few of the questions that aspiring owners of big dogs need to consider.

Because of their many needs, many large to giant dogs end up in shelters when their owners get overwhelmed. While the German Shepherd Great Dane Mix is not very common, we encourage our readers who are thinking of getting this designer breed, to check out shelters or adoption organizations as they likely have big dogs in search of a forever home.

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