Great Dane Old English Sheepdog Mix: This Hybrid Is a Truly Unique Family Dog

The Great Dane is one of the true giants of the canine world. These dogs are so enormous that they regularly win Guinness Book of World Records “largest dog” titles.

The Old English Sheepdog, in contrast, is more unassuming in size. But they are very memorable in appearance, with long shaggy hair coats that have earned the breed roles in movies like “The Shaggy Dog.”

But what would you get if you bred a Great Dane to an Old English Sheepdog? You would get a Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix, which is the hybrid dog you are about to meet here in this article.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog Mix

The Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix is a hybrid or designer dog breed. The simplest way to explain this is to say this is a breed that is being newly developed.

Whenever a breeder decides to cross two different purebred parent dogs, there can be a great deal of genetic diversity in the first litters of hybrid puppies. This is especially true when the two parent dog breeds are very different in some ways.

With the Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix, the biggest differences you are likely to see are in terms of size and coat type.

See a Great Dane and an Old English Sheepdog Dog Playing

In this sweet owner-made YouTube video, you can watch a Great Dane and an Old English Sheepdog playing happily together.

It quickly becomes clear that both dogs have playful yet surprisingly gentle personalities – each dog seems aware of their own size and strength.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog Mix: Dog Breeds History

One great way to consider what a hybrid puppy like the Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix might be like is to learn more about each parent dog’s breed history.

Great Dane history

According to the Great Dane Rescue, this dog breed is so ancient it may have gotten its start back in the time of ancient Egypt!

Researchers have found etchings from 3,000 B.C. that look remarkably similar to the Great Dane dog of today.

These dogs were always intended to serve as hunting dogs and protection dogs. Great Danes have historically hunted the largest, most dangerous prey like wild boar. They were originally reserved for royalty only.

Old English Sheepdog history

The Old English Sheepdog has a very strange name given this dog breed’s actual origins and history.

They are quite a bit smaller than the Great Dane and have the exact opposite type of coat. Their original job was to herd cattle rather than sheep and they may have gotten their breed start in Russia or Scotland rather than England.

And the breed only dates back 150 years or so, meaning they are a very recent breed of dog.

However, this breed is known to be very faithful and gentle and is a hard-working herding dog that also knows how to rest.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix history

While the Great Dane is potentially one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, the Old English Sheepdog is potentially one of the youngest.

But younger than both is the Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix, which is likely to inherit a gentle yet vigilant nature and a natural love for people.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog Mix Personality & Temperament

The Great Dane Old English Sheepdog inherits an overall complementary personality from each purebred parent dog.

But there are also some important differences to be aware of and we look at this in this section.

Great Dane personality and temperament

The Great Dane scores higher in people-pleasing than does the Old English Sheepdog. These dogs are typically very social and loving as long as they are well-bred and trained.

These dogs make great watchdogs and guarding and protection dogs.

Old English Sheepdog personality and temperament

The Old English Sheepdog has a more independent and stubborn temperament than the Great Dane.

As VetStreet points out, while these dogs make good watchdogs in the sense they will sound an alarm if there is the need, they are not typically thought of as guard or protection dogs.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix personality and temperament

Depending on which parent dog your Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix puppy most favors, you may or may not bring home a dog that will guard and protect you and your family.

However, you will bring home a people-centric dog that will at least be a good watchdog and a loving canine companion.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog Mix: Size, Height and Weight

Other than the coat, there is no single attribute where you will see more variance in Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix puppies than sheer size.

This is where knowing in advance which parent your puppy will grow up to look like can really matter!

Great Dane size, height, and weight

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Great Dane typically weighs anywhere from 110 to 175+ pounds and stands up to 32 inches tall (paw pads to shoulder girdle).

These dogs are lean and rangy in their build with long legs, deep chests, and a regal bearing.

Old English Sheepdog size, height, and weight

The Old English Sheepdog, in contrast, is short and stocky with a coat so thick it is sometimes hard to detect a dog under all that fur!

The American Kennel Club (AKC) explains that the Old English Sheepdog typically weighs between 60 and 100 pounds and stands about 22 inches tall (paw pads to shoulder girdle).

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog size, height, and weight

If you are working with an early-stage hybrid dog breeder that specializes in F1 (first generation) or F1b litters, it can be nearly impossible to tell in puppyhood how tall, heavy and big your mix puppy may grow up to be.

If this is a concern based on the size of your space or housing requirements where you live, it is a better idea to work with a later-stage breeder (second generation or later) where you have a better idea of how large your puppy will grow up to be.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog Mix: Training and Exercise Needs

It is easy to make the mistake of simply looking at a dog and thinking you know how much daily exercise and activity they might need.

For example, many people who are first-time dog owners assume that a larger dog is always going to need more activity than a smaller dog.

Actually, size has little to do with it. Rather, the amount of activity has a lot more to do with why that breed was developed in the first place, as you will discover here.

Great Dane training and exercise needs

The Great Dane, with their long legs and enormous bodies, does enjoy some daily activity and play.

But these giant dogs can be surprisingly heat-intolerant and should be kept inside during the hottest part of warm-season days.

Great Danes are also famous for loving to lay on the couch and on their people’s laps. They are typically quite happy with a few vigorous play or walk sessions per day once they are fully grown.

Old English Sheepdog training and exercise needs

The Old English Sheepdog has a moderate energy level for a working herding dog breed. Some are more energetic than others, which is why it is important to meet the parent dog of your hybrid puppy.

These dogs don’t necessarily look like great canine athletes but they are quite playful and can become easily bored during training if you don’t keep the sessions short.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog training and exercise needs

Your Great Dane Old English Sheepdog puppy’s adult size will in part dictate how much daily exercise your dog can safely do until they are fully grown.

This is because large and giant dog breeds grow up more slowly and their bones don’t fully harden until the growth plates close. So in either case, you won’t likely have to provide any vigorous exercise until year two or three.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog Mix: Coat Care, Shedding & Grooming

The other area where you will see the greatest variance in hybrid Great Dane Old English Sheepdog puppies is in coat type.

Great Dane coat care, shedding, and grooming

The Great Dane has a short, neat, single layer coat that is unusual in a working dog breed.

These dogs do shed, but the hair is short and they don’t require much brushing or coat maintenance.

Old English Sheepdog coat care, shedding, and grooming

The Old English Sheepdog can appear to be all hair – and in truth, these dogs are about as hairy as a dog can be!

The coat is double-layer, thick, and sheds constantly as well as seasonally. You will need to brush the coat several times per week to keep mats and tangles from forming.

You will also need to trim your dog’s coat or pay a professional groomer to do this for you. Either way, the time commitment of caring for this dog’s coat can quickly add up.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix coat care, shedding, and grooming

No matter which parent dog your hybrid puppy favors, you will have shedding to deal with.

But the amount of weekly brushing and trimming required will be vastly different based on whether your puppy inherits more of the Great Dane coat type or the Old English Sheepdog coat type.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog Mix: Longevity & Health Issues

It is always important to verify that any breeder you work with has pre-screened each parent dog for the genetic (heritable) health issues associated with that dog breed.

This way, you know there is little risk of your hybrid puppy inheriting potentially life-limiting (and often very expensive) genetic health issues.

Great Dane longevity and health issues

According to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database, the Great Dane breed has the following known possible genetic health issues you need to be aware of:

  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis.
  • Eye issues.
  • Cardiac issues.

While not a true genetic health issue, the Great Dane is also very susceptible to bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus), which can become quickly fatal.

There is a simple surgery your veterinarian can do to prevent this from happening that is often done at the same time your dog is fixed.

The Great Dane has a typical life expectancy of seven to 10 years.

Old English Sheepdog longevity and health issues

According to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database, the Old English Sheepdog breed has the following known possible genetic health issues you need to be aware of:

  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Elbow dysplasia.
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis.
  • Cerebellar degeneration.
  • Congenital deafness.
  • Exercise-induced collapse.
  • Primary ciliary dyskinesia.
  • Eye issues.
  • Heart issues.

The Old English Sheepdog has a typical life span of 10 to 12 years.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix: longevity and health issues

Happily, the additional genetic diversity contributed by the Old English Sheepdog parent may increase the life expectancy for this hybrid dog over what a Great Dane purebred might typically enjoy.

Great Dane Old English Sheepdog Mix: Is This the Right Dog For You?

A Great Dane Old English Sheepdog mix may not be the right dog breed for everyone. There are definitely some extremes to watch out for in terms of both size and coat type.

But this hybrid dog is likely to inherit a gentle, child-friendly, people-centric, and loving personality that will endear them to all age family members and friends.

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