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Dane Shepherd (Great Dane & German Shepherd Mix) Info, Pics, Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

great shepherd

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

With this Great Dane and German Shepherd mix, you should expect a friendly, loyal, alert dog that will serve as a great guard dog and an excellent companion dog. He will usually be laid-back and eager to please his master.

In some cases, the Dane Shepherd 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.

The Dane Shepherd needs plenty of room and will not do well in a small apartment. He also has plenty of energy and a massive appetite, but his German Shepherd lineage also means that he can be very easy to train with an experienced handler.


Dane Shepherd Puppies


It’s best 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 your puppy’s likely size and physical attributes as he ages.

The parent breeds of Dane Shepherd
The parent breeds of Dane Shepherd: Left – Great Dane (BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock | Right – German Shepherd (Kamracik, Pixabay)

3 Little-Known Facts About the Dane Shepherd

1. They Can Be Wary of Strangers

The German Shepherd is one of the most highly sought-after guard dogs. This is partly because they are easy to train but also because they are wary of strangers. They 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 dogs will remain cautious around new people. Considering the sheer size of the breed, it’s 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 compared to the Great Dane, and depending on which parent is dominant, you could end up with a mammoth canine. If your dog takes after the Great Dane, he will need a lot of space. Even tasks as seemingly simple as turning around can become problematic if this hybrid breed lives in a confined space. Although the Dane Shepherd does not require as much time outdoors as some other large breeds, he is better off living in a large house with a decent yard.

If you have small children, take careful note of the dog’s size. He will be loving and won’t want to hurt tiny humans, but it can take time for this message to get to his rear end and tail. Accidents happen, and when that accident involves a 100-pound dog with clumsy feet and big claws, it can be 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 is used by police forces worldwide 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, explosives, and drugs. In fact, the first seeing-eye dog was a German Shepherd, even though the Labrador Retriever is better known for the role nowadays. They’re highly effective guard dogs and help people with a range of disabilities and impairments lead fulfilling and normal everyday lives.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Dane Shepherd🧠

The Dane Shepherd combines the German Shepherd’s intelligence with the Great Dane’s laid-back attitude. 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, they 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 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 try their best to ensure they don’t hurt or injure young children. However, they are giant dogs that 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 their ears or tails to ensure that they get along well.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?🐶 😽 

The Dane Shepherd is a true gentle giant and usually gets along very well with all other animals, from cats to dogs. Again, you need to consider the size of the dog. Cats are usually instinctive enough to get out of the way when a large dog starts to charge around, and you should always supervise time between a giant dog and a small animal.

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

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

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Things to Know When Owning a Dane Shepherd:

The prominent attribute of a Dane Shepherd is their size. They are easily one of the biggest designer breeds, especially if they get their physical characteristics from the Great Dane, 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 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 must ensure you stick to a good diet. Expect to feed between 3 and 4 cups of good quality food every day. If you give them snacks or use treats to aid training, ensure that you feed healthy snacks that won’t encourage weight gain.

Because of their size, the Dane Shepherd will not struggle to grab food from the countertop, and you’ll have to prevent them from eating food that isn’t hazardous to canines.


The Dane Shepherd is a big dog with a big appetite that needs daily exercise. However, despite his giant stature, he doesn’t need as much exercise as other breeds. Expect to provide around 60 minutes of exercise a day, which can include 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 they can become bored if they are not stimulated. A bored dog can be destructive since they will create their own 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 are okay.


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. Although loving and eager to please his family, the Great Dane 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, the German Shepherd in your hybrid will take over, and your dog will dominate training proceedings.

Dane Shepherd
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

The Dane Shepherd usually takes after the Great Dane regarding 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 on 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 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

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Male vs Female

Female Dane Shepherds are generally considered sweeter and more loving than males. The male Dane Shepherd 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.

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Final Thoughts

The Dane Shepherd is a mix of German Shepherd and a Great Dane. It is a giant dog 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, but their sheer size might limit their utility, and you will often find yourself having to help your dog out of sticky situations caused by their size.

Healthwise, the Dane Shepherd is generally considered 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 your puppy is screened for common health problems at a young age to keep them healthy.

Overall, the Dane Shepherd makes an excellent companion or family dog, and they can be trained easily to adopt positive behaviors and avoid negative attributes.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

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