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German Shepherd Great Dane Mix
|Here is the Great Shepherd at a Glance|
|Average height||28 to 30 inches|
|Average weight||65 to 130 pounds|
|Coat type||Tends to have a short coat like the Great Dane|
|Brushing||Once a day|
|Tolerant to Solitude?||Moderate|
|Tolerance to Heat||Good|
|Tolerance to Cold||Moderate to good|
|Good Family Pet?||Very good to excellent|
|Good with Children?||Very good to excellent|
|Good with other Dogs?||Good with socialization|
|Good with other Pets?||Very good|
|A roamer or Wanderer?||Low|
|A Good Apartment Dweller?||Low|
|Good Pet for new Owner?||Moderate|
|Trainability||Fairly easy but needs firm handling|
|Tendency to get Fat||Moderate|
|Major Health Concerns||Development Issues, bloat, cancer, heart problems, cancer, surgical issues, DM, EPI|
|Other Health Concerns||Joint dysplasia, allergies|
|Life Span||8 and 13 years|
|Average new Puppy Price||$300 to $800|
|Average Annual Medical Expense||$485 to $600|
|Average Annual Non-Medical Expense||$500 to $600|
Where does the Great Shepherd come from?
The Great Shepherd is also referred to as a designer breed. In the last 25 to 30 years there has been a large rise in the number and types of mixed breeds being deliberately bred. The actual where and why of this one is not known, as is the case for many of these dogs. One could suggest the breeder wanted to put together the power and size of the Great Dane with the wariness and alertness of the German Shepherd. Make sure if you do want to buy any designer or mixed breed that you do so responsible by avoiding pet stores, puppy mills and other disreputable breeders who have no care over their puppies and just want to cash in on a trend.
Keep in mind that there are no guarantees with these types of dogs. When you go to buy a purebred there are standards to be met by the breeders and years of breeding have created a personality that is common to all of them. With mixed breeds there are no standards, looks and temperament can vary even in the same litter. Here is a look at the two parents to get a feel for what can go into the Great Shepherd.
The German Shepherd
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century a German cavalry officer decided he wanted to breed a dog who would outperform others as a herder, be intelligent, protective and athletic. He saw and used a dog with a wolfish look but realized that the need for herding dogs was on the decline so using his contacts he put his dog into the military and police force. It was and still is a great success as a working dog. He was there in the World Wars acting as sentry, guard dog, messenger, search and rescue, red cross and supply carrier. Because of anti German sentiment his name was changed in Britain to Alsatian Wolf Dog, and in America to Shepherd Dog. Eventually both went back to the original name though.
In Germany he continued to be bred to be mostly a working dog, though he was also a good companion too. In America breeders focused more on looks and show requirements. Police looking for that working German Shepherd had to look to Germany where they continued to test for health, intelligence , athleticism and temperament. Thankfully today American breeders are also turning back to what made the German Shepherd great. Those bred true are intelligent, alert, protective, athletic and easy to train. While aloof with strangers with his family he is devoted and affectionate. He is sensitive and does not do well when left alone for long periods. He also needs plenty of physical and mental exercise.
The Great Dane
You can find drawings of Great Dane ancestors on artifacts from ancient Egypt dating as far back as 3000BC! It is believed the Assyrians traded their dogs with the Romans and Greeks who then bred these dogs with the ancestors of the Mastiffs. They used to be called Boar Hounds as they were bred to hunt them. Name changes occurred as they often do and the Great Dane name eventually came about in the 1700s when a French man traveled to Denmark and observed slimmer versions of the dog whom he called Grand Danois. In fact the Danish had nothing to do with this dog’s breeding but the name held. It was German breeders who refined him into what we know today, taking the aggressive side from their days of hunting and producing more gentle dogs.
Today the Great Dane is a dog well known for having a great temperament, being sweet, gentle, great with children, loves to play and loves to relax. He also is eager to please and that makes him easy to train. He likes to be where everyone else is and can sometimes do his best imitation of a lap dog despite his size which can get uncomfortable for you but is certainly quite cute!
The Great Shepherd is a great family dog as long as you have the room for him! He is intelligent but agreeable making him fairly easy to train as long as you know how to make your dominance clear. He is alert and makes a a good watchdog. He is also protective and will act to protect the family if he perceives a real threat to them. He is friendly and affectionate and makes a great companion. He has a lot of patience and is quite laid back. He enjoys receiving lots of attention can be playful and curious.
What does a Great Shepherd look like
He is a large to giant sized dog weighing 65 to 130 pounds and measuring 28 to 30 inches tall. It can look like either the Great Dane or the German Shepherd. He is one of the largest mixed breeds though. He has a long body and legs which are also muscular with long ears too. His coat usually leans towards the Great Danes and common colors are black, hazel, black, merle, white and brown.
Training and Exercise Needs
How active does the Great Shepherd need to be?
He needs space just even the home to move around so is not suitable for apartment living. He also needs access to a yard to play in. He has a lot of energy and needs a lot of physical and mental exercise to keep him happy, well behaved and healthy. A dog who is under exercised can act out and be poorly behaved. He will need at least two long brisk walks a day, he would enjoy joining you when you cycle, run, jog or hike. Some time at the dog park too off leash where he can run free and some play time would be needed. As you can see any owner considering this dog for their home needs to be active.
Does he train quickly?
He is intelligent and if trained by someone who knows what they are doing, knows how to quickly establish themselves as the dominant pack leader, this dog will train easily and quickly. Methods of training should be positive not harsh. Reward successes, praise him, give him treats and so on. Training should be firm and consistent. If you lack confidence in your own ability to train he will pick up on it and then the leader ion him from the German Shepherd will try to dominate you and training will not go smoothly. He should receive early socialization and training to get him to be the best dog he can be.
Living with a Great Shepherd
How much grooming is needed?
He is fairly easy to care for and since he usually takes after the Great Dane rather than the harder coat of the German Shepherd he should just need a quick brush once a day to keep it healthy. He will shed seasonally twice a year at which time you will need to vacuum up after him and may decide to bathe him more frequently to remove the loose hairs. Otherwise he just needs a bath when he gets especially dirty. His teeth will need brushing ideally once a day, or at least three times a week. His nails will need clipping if he is not wearing them down naturally. Learn about dog nails first though, it is not a simple task. He will also need his ears checked once a week for infection and wiped clean.
What is he like with children and other animals?
He is patient, playful and really great with kids, but with his size he can bump them over so smaller ones who are not steady yet should be supervised. He is also very good with other pets usually but early socialization and training really helps with this too. Also train your children not to pull at him, try to ride him, or mess with his food.
He will need to eat 4 to 5 cups of high quality dry dog food a day divided into at least two meals. He does bark occasionally. He is alert and makes a good watchdog. He does better living in moderate climates rather than either extreme.
As with any mixed breed he can inherit health conditions, or being prone to certain health issues from his parents. This is why buying from a reputable breeder who can show you health clearances is so important. For this dog those issues include Development Issues, bloat, cancer, heart problems, cancer, surgical issues, DM, EPI, Joint dysplasia and allergies.
Costs involved in owning a Great Shepherd
A Great Shepherd is not the most trendy of mixed breeds to come out in the last 30 years so prices are lower compared to say the Poodle mixes that are out there. Somewhere between $300 to $800 is what you will be paying for a puppy right now, though your location, the breeder, and other factors could change that. He will need a collar and leash, a crate, a micro chip, some blood tests, shots and neutering. This will cost between $450 to $500. Food, training, treats, toys, a license are all things you will need to cover each year and these costs will be $485 to $600. Pet health insurance, vaccinations, health check ups, flea prevention are all medical costs to cover each year and these will be between $500 to $600.
He is a great dog, strong, dependable, kind and will be a wonderful addition to the family. Just make sure you have room for him and are happy to be active with him.
Featured Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock
Top German Shepherd Mixes
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- Where does the Great Shepherd come from?
- What does a Great Shepherd look like
- Training and Exercise Needs
- Living with a Great Shepherd
- Health Concerns
- Costs involved in owning a Great Shepherd
- Top German Shepherd Mixes