Great Danes always make an interesting mix with any dog breed perhaps because of their distinction as the tallest dog. However, their size may also be why you do not see certain Great Dane hybrids very often.
Australian Shepherds also make intriguing mixes with their merle coats and blue eyes. As crosses between the Aussie and Great Dane occur more frequently, their appeal has proven contagious.
An Australian Shepherd Great Dane mix is a large- to a giant-sized dog with a loving personality and active nature. Many have a large Great Dane head with a round Australian Shepherd face.
Although its ancestors had important roles in herding sheep and hunting wild hogs, Aussie Danes are most often seen as family companions where they get along with other dogs and older children.
These hybrids can be blue or Isabella merle, white, black with white markings, or tri-color.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Get an Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix
There are a few reasons why an Australian Shepherd Great Dane may not fit with your family life.
- Large dog
- High energy level
- Strong herding instincts – can be nippy with young children
Reasons Why You Should Get an Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix
Great Dane mixes frequently make fabulous family companions.
- Active – can keep up with families that enjoy outdoor activities every weekend or dog sports
- Great watchdogs without being aggressive
- Flashy coat colors
Appearance, Personality, Coat and Colors, Lifespan, and Traits of an Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix
Australian Shepherd Great Dane crosses are variable in appearance. Occasionally, a puppy will look exactly like one of the parent breeds.
Most puppies in a litter have a blend of temperamental and physical traits that highlight both the Aussie and the Dane. An even mix will have many consistent physical characteristics.
A Great Dane Aussie’s head will have a rounded crown and will look broad between the ears. You will notice an exaggerated wedge shape on a few dogs because of the wide face relative to the muzzle which is longer than an Aussie’s snout but narrower than a Great Dane. Some mixes have a very long face with a deep muzzle.
The eyes are almost round with a slight slant at the outer corners. They can be brown, amber, hazel, or blue. Some dogs will have eyes of two different colors.
The ears are medium-sized and high-set, folding over to lay close to the face. A few individuals carry their ears high when alert, so they appear to be rose-shaped.
Neck and Limbs
The neck is medium-long and powerful but lacks the arch of the Great Dane. Like both parents, the mix has long and sloping shoulders. Her legs appear long relative to her size and show a lithe strength. There is moderate angulation of the stifles (knees) and hocks while the forelegs are straight.
The Australian Shepherd Great Dane mix is almost square (same length from shoulder to hip and height from withers to the ground). Her chest lacks the broadness of the Great Dane but is deep.
The topline is level, and the mix has a prominent abdominal up-tuck (description of the degree the belly rises upward from the edge of the ribs to the hips).
Aussie Dane crosses are 24 to 29 inches tall and weigh 70 to 125 pounds.
Your dog will have a mildly sloping croup that curves naturally into the tail. While some purebred Aussies are born with a bobtail, your dog’s tail will likely hit the level of the hock and be straight or curve slightly upwards at the tip.
The Australian Shepherd Great Dane cross may carry its tail just below the back when excited or working.
Coat and Colors
Aussies have a medium-long wavy double coat with feathers on the backs of the legs. Danes, by contrast, have a short single coat. Your mix will have a short or medium-length double coat without the density of the purebred Aussie’s underfur.
You can see a variety of colors, most of them unusual or flashy.
- Isabella merle (quite common in this mix) – base color is a dilute liver (Isabella) with dark brown torn patches
- Harlequin – white with torn black patches; blue merle patches mixed in are common
- Black with white markings
- Blue merle – white and black swirled together or dark gray with torn black patches
- Tricolor – usually has more white than a typical tri-color of other breeds; often will see a mostly white dog with black and tan on the head
Australian Great Dane crosses make affectionate, alert, and attentive pets. Despite their training difficulties, they do enjoy being by your side.
The mix tends to show kindly regard for all family members but often has a favorite person with whom it bonds most strongly.
Although they do not extend their affection to people outside of the household, Australian Shepherd Great Dane mixes are friendly, approachable, and inquisitive. They are polite and tolerant once they get to know your guests.
Aussie Dane mixes are vocal to announce visitors or suspicious occurrences. Barking can become a problem for bored dogs. Some traits of the Aussie Great Dane are:
- More of a Velcro dog than other breeds
- Springy fluid gait
- Enjoy a job to do
- May bite at young kids’ ankles and try to herd them
This mix can live an average of 10 to 15 years. Because of the longevity of the Aussie, Australian Shepherd Great Dane mixes do not seem to suffer the shortened lifespan of six or seven years that some Danes experience. This is likely because of a somewhat decreased risk of cardiomyopathy and bloat with hybridization.
Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix Puppies for Sale
Although Australian Shepherds are used more frequently than many other breeds for Great Dane mixes, this combination is still not that common.
You will have to perform due diligence to make sure the breeder you choose is not just after a quick buck.
Try to select a pup based on a history of excellent health, conformational soundness, and temperamental stability.
You can find out a lot about a seller by visiting the premises before your purchase and word of mouth.
Although many breeders may not conduct health certificates on the heart, eyes, elbows, and hips, some will.
At the least, you want someone who has had a vet look at the litter and does not focus solely on superficial qualities such as coat color.
Grooming Your Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix
You can get away with grooming your dog once or twice a week because its coat is not prone to matting or soiling.
You may have to step up your efforts to every other day in the spring and fall depending on how much undercoat your mix has. Australian Shepherd Great Dane mixes shed moderately the entire year.
Make sure to attend to other grooming needs.
- Clip nails
- Bath – may need to use medicated shampoo weekly or more for allergic dogs
- Check the skin for growth or a rash when you brush
- Check ears every couple of days for signs of infection – redness, excessive or abnormal discharge
- Swab ears and wipe face
Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix Health Problems
Both the Australian Shepherd and the Great Dane contribute significant health issues to the mix. Aussies can have devastating eye problems while Danes suffer mostly from orthopedic and cardiac challenges.
Ocular Problems of Aussie
- Iris colobomas – part of the iris (colored part of the eye) is missing
- Detached retina
- Progressive retinal atrophy – retina degenerates over time, eventually leading to blindness
- Optic nerve coloboma – the affected dog will not be able to see
Orthopedic and Heart Issues of Dane
- Panosteitis – inflammation of bones in fast-growing large-breed dogs
- Dilatative cardiomyopathy – dog inherits a weakened heart muscle causing an enlarged heart, arrhythmias, sudden death, or congestive heart failure; affects mostly the left side of the heart but eventually, the entire heart becomes dysfunctional
- Bone cancer – can affect young dogs compared to other breeds
Health Problems from Aussies and Danes
- Hip and elbow dysplasia – growth abnormalities in either or both named joints; affects large breeds and herding dogs
- Allergies (both)
- Skin tags (Dane) – small pendulous growths
- Cataracts (both) – can be juvenile or sets in at an advanced age
- GDV or gastric dilatation and volvulus – often referred to as bloat; the stomach swells with excess fluid or gas and often rotates in large or deep-chested dogs
- Cushing’s disease (Aussie) – dog has steroid levels that are too high from an adrenal or pituitary tumor; manifests as symmetrical hair loss, excessive drinking, eating, and urination, and a distended abdomen
- Deafness (Aussie) – often associated with a lot of white on the face
Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix Food Requirements
Australian Shepherd Great Dane hybrids require a high-protein diet with a certain ratio of fat.
Many nutritionists advocate a balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, while some purists believe dogs should avoid carbs altogether.
Many formulations exist, including dry, wet, moist, raw, and fresh diets. Raw and lightly-cooked dog foods offer the easiest methods to deliver plenty of animal proteins, but homemade preparations can be challenging to properly balance.
Enlisting the expertise of a nutritionist is always appropriate if you have any doubts about your dog’s dietary needs.
Some dogs, particularly those with Cushing’s disease, often benefit greatly from homemade diets.
Your Australian Great Dane will need roughly 28 to 34 calories per pound daily. Puppies need up to three times that amount during their fast growth cycles between four and twelve months old.
Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix Exercise Requirements
As herding dogs, Aussies require two or more hours of daily exercise. Luckily for you, Great Danes are relatively laidback working dogs turned companions and only need 35 to 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Plan on exercising your mix for about 60 to 90 minutes a day. You should focus a good portion of your exercise goals on mentally stimulating your dog.
You can accomplish this with team activities like agility or puzzles. Moreover, dogs can achieve mental exercise by playing and wrestling with other dogs.
Otherwise, keep up with advanced training and try to offer your dog a novel adventure such as hiking, camping, or jogging a couple of times a week. Puppies need more training and socialization and less time spent on dedicated physical exercises.
Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix Training
You should start training your Aussie Great Dane as early as you get him home in anticipation of his large size as an adult.
It is easier to establish your authority before your dog figures out how big and strong he is. The Australian Shepherd Great Dane mix is not easy to train.
You will need to have patience and perseverance, keeping in mind the potential emotional sensitivity of the Australian Shepherd.
Aussies are average in working intelligence while Danes are slightly below-average. Out of 138 dog breeds, your Australian Shepherd Great Dane hybrid will probably be similar to a Coonhound or King Charles Cavalier Spaniel on renowned behaviorist Stanley Coren’s list of smart and obedient dogs. Difficulties in training your mix result from the following traits.
- Aussie – can think for itself and is used to making decisions without human intervention
- Dane – as gentle as the Great Danes is, it is not known for its desire to be a people pleaser and sometimes is not enthusiastic about learning new things
Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix and Families
Australian Shepherds and Great Danes are both protective for different reasons. Aussies are instinctively protective of the flocks they are in charge of.
The Aussie in your mix will be protective of you and your family along with your other pets. Well-socialized Australian Shepherds, however, are not aggressive attack dogs.
Great Danes, once much more ferocious guarding estates in Europe, are also protective but not usually biters.
If you socialize with your Aussie Dane, she will be wary and reserved with strangers but not an effective guard dog. Your dog will also warm up to your guests, Although she will not necessarily be open to physical displays of attention.
Australian Shepherd Great Dane Mix and Other Pets
Your Aussie Dane will tend to get along with other dogs as long as you expose your pet to other animals at an early age. However, Aussie mixes still possess a strong herding instinct and may try to corral and dominate other dogs.
Lack of socialization can lead to a dog the is afraid of others or overly territorial.
Your window to make the most out of your puppy’s social interactions is between six and twelve weeks of age.
Your Australian Shepherd cross can also get along with cats with early encounters, but you should err on the side of caution when it comes to leaving your large dog alone with a cat. Likewise, your dog’s canine friends should be larger than 30 pounds.
You may find that you can train your Aussie mix how to herd, but otherwise, you need to carefully assess how your dog reacts to large flighty animals.
Again, early socialization is crucial if you think your dog has the potential to meet horses, ponies, donkeys, sheep, goats, or cows.