Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix: A Balancing Act

Although not as unlikely as a Chihuahua Saint Bernard hybrid, a Great Dane Blue Heeler mix probably does not cross your mind often. You might suddenly think, “Why not?” Such a cross, once conjured, seems intriguing and promises to possess several positive qualities.

A Great Dane Blue Heeler mix is a large dog that is usually solid steel gray, merle, or blue roan in color.

It has a short smooth coat, and the ears can stand upright or hang hound-like against the sides of the face. They are energetic and companionable with other dogs their size.

They enjoy staying active and make effective watchdogs, although their size and herding instincts beg caution around small children.

History and Background of Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix

The background and historical purpose of a dog often explain its eventual appearance and personality.

Great Dane Heelers, while not common enough to be considered designer dogs, likely arose in the US after 2015 to serve as unique and loyal family companions.

Great Danes were developed in Germany about 400 years ago to hunt boars and deer. They eventually became boar hunting specialists that would run down the wild hog and hold it at bay for the hunter (a type of catch dog).

Originally, Great Danes were created much like modern hog hunting dogs by crossing a bully breed (English Mastiff) with a sighthound (Irish Wolfhound and possibly Scottish Deerhound).

Over time, as wild hogs became scarce in Europe, Great Danes became cherished as guard dogs and then giant companions. Breeders selected dogs for exaggerated characteristics like size and elegance and against hunting traits such as aggression.

Great Danes have a smooth, short, and thin coat that can be fawn, black, steel blue, harlequin (white with torn patches of black or gray), white (not AKC-approved), or merle (torn black patches against a dark gray base).

Thomas Hall developed the Australian Cattle Dog or ACD in Queensland in the 1800s. Forbearers of the breed were traditional cattle-driving dogs and tame dingoes.

These so-called Hall’s Heelers gave rise to both the modern Australian Cattle Dog and a bobtailed type, the Australian Stumpy-Tailed Cattle Dog.

In recent times, the ACD continues to be a formidable working dog but has also risen in popularity as a pet and as an infusion to designer dog mixes.

Cattle Dogs have a short coat that is longer on the neck and shorter on the face and legs. They come in blue roan often with tan points on the muzzle, legs, under the tail, and above the eyes.

Blue roan is black and white intermixed hairs that give the dog an impression of being bluish. These dogs are commonly referred to as Blue Heelers, although they are not a separate breed.

Australian Cattle Dogs can also be red roan, which is a brown to a red-orange dog with white interspersed hairs.

The Great Dane joined the AKC in 1887 while the ACD joined in 1980.

Appearance, Coat and Colors, Personality, and Traits of a Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix

Great Dane Blue Heeler hybrids make an interesting mix with their large size, various colors, working traits, and agreeable personality.

Appearance

A Great Dane contributes height and a large rectangular head to the mix. The eyes are deep-set under prominent brows, and the ears are high-set and fold forward to lie close against the face. In the US, Danes frequently have long cropped ears to balance the size of the head.

Great Danes have a pronounced stop, and the muzzle and top of the skull run parallel to one another. The head should be finely chiseled with no prominence of the cheeks.

A Great Dane’s body is as distinctive as its head with a square build, long arched and elegant neck, broad and deep chest, level topline, and clear abdominal up-tuck.

The tail sets on high from the mildly sloped and broad croup. A Great Dane carries its tail with a slight curve when excited.

Blue Heelers have a very different head and body from the Great Dane. You will immediately see the facial features are coarser with a shorter relative muzzle length and more prominent cheeks.

Heelers also have medium-sized, oval, wide-spaced eyes and upright medium-sized or small ears with moderately pointed tips.

A trait of the Cattle Dog is a clearcut angle at the pastern (area of the foot between the fetlock joint and the lower leg).

Heelers are slightly longer than tall with a body length to shoulder height ratio of 10:9. Like the Great Dane, a Heeler has a muscular, broad, and deep chest and level topline. In contrast, however, Heelers have a long, sloping croup and a low-set brushtail that may have a slight curve at the end.

Great Dane Blue Heeler Crosses can look almost completely like one of the parent breeds, although you usually will see a stray trait that differentiates them from a purebred. Most crosses are a 40:60 to 50:50 blend of characteristics from both parents.

  • Size: 20 to 27 inches tall; 70 to 115 pounds
  • Head: large but in balance with the body; skull and muzzle of equal lengths; muzzle strong and moderate
  • Stop: mildly sloping
  • Ears: prick, button, hanging, or rose
  • Eyes: brow not as prominent as in Dane but apparent; eyes dark, slightly oblong
  • Chest: muscular, powerful, broad, and deep
  • Body: almost square (same height and length)
  • Croup: broad and slightly sloping
  • Tail – mid-range set with a slight curve; length is to the hock
  • Abdominal up-tuck is moderate
  • Topline – level, back looks short
  • Neck – medium-length and powerful; slight arch into the head; subtle broadening into the withers

Coat and Colors

Your Dane Heeler mix will likely have a short coat that is about an inch long with a thin to moderate undercoat. It will be neither as thin as a Great Dane nor as dense as an Australian Cattle Dog. Sometimes the coat is noticeably thicker around the neck, and the tail can resemble a paintbrush at the tip.

Most commonly, Great Dane Blue Heeler mixes are white speckled with blue, roan, or merle. They can also be other colors.

This dog looks like a sighthound mix but illustrates the merle color with tan points.

  • White with black – mantle (black blanket-like pattern with white markings) or harlequin (white with black torn patches resembling spotting)
  • Solid blue
  • Blue fawn – any black such as in the facial mask will be diluted to charcoal or bluish color; eyes will be light, usually amber
  • Isabella – diluted liver
  • Brown or tan
  • Fawn
  • Blue brindle

Traits

Based on the prevailing characteristics of each of the parent breeds, your Great Dane Blue Heeler will consistently have the following traits.

  • Moderately protective over home and family – not like a guard dog
  • Flexible pasterns – enables your dog to achieve quick bursts of speed and turn on a dime
  • Tendency to chase small animals
  • Strong work ethic, moderate intensity, and drive – need a job to do
  • Herding instinct
  • Athletic with an efficient cruising lope and tremendous stamina
  • Moderately tolerant of hot and cold conditions as long as they are not extreme – need to stay between 32 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit; need to remain active to be in the cold; individual tolerances based on coat quality

Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix Puppies for Sale

Great Dane Blue Heeler mix-breed dogs exist, but they are not common. Their rarity does not mean that breeders are inherently ethical, so do your research before hunting down your dream puppy.

If you visit a litter of pups, the facility should ooze cleanliness, and all the dogs should look happy and in good condition.

Sometimes a breeder will select a puppy for you in an attempt to match its personality with your lifestyle. Otherwise, choose a pup that is neither shy nor overly dominant.

Puppies should be nine weeks of age or older and hopefully have been dewormed and received an initial inoculation series and veterinary exam.

Grooming Your Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix

You should brush your Dane Heeler cross twice a week. If she has a coat more like the Great Dane’s single layer of extremely short hairs, you only must brush once a week. With a moderate undercoat, you may need to brush your dog every other day in the spring when shedding increases.

Your dog’s coat will be mildly self-cleaning, and thus resistant to clinging dirt.

Trim your dog’s nails every six to eight weeks. He will have strong, dark nails, so you need a high-quality set of nail clippers, or let your groomer perform the task.

You should brush your dog’s teeth every couple of days or use various dental chews on the market. Many dog owners use both tools.

Check your dog’s ears every few days for signs of an ear infection. Infected ears often indicate active allergies.

Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix Health

While Heelers are generally healthy dogs, Great Danes are fraught with a string of problems that plaque giant breeds.

Lifespan

Great Dane Blue Heelers crosses live an average of 12 or 13 years. Their lifespan range can be from 12 to 15 years.

Health Problems

  • Arthritis secondary to orthopedic problems
  • Orthopedic disorders – hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, OCD (cartilage growth abnormalities leading), or panosteitis (inflammation of long bones of large-breed growing pups)
  • Wobbler’s disease – seen more commonly in Danes than other breeds: abnormal spacing and spinal instability in the neck
  • Bloat or GDV – a problem of deep-chested dogs; exact cause is not known but associated with large meals and exercising after drinking a lot of water; stomach swells and often rotates; life-threatening and can involve the spleen in its torsion
  • Hypothyroidism – low thyroid hormones
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy – more prevalent in Dobermans, this genetic problem can affect many large-breed dogs; weakness of the heart walls causes the heart to be inefficient leading to dilatation, wall thinning, arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure; in recent years associated with some diet trends
  • Deafness
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – hereditary in the ACD; thin tissue in the eye where rods and cones live slowly degenerates; the affected dog will eventually become blind
  • Cataracts
  • Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) – is more prevalent in Great Danes and other large breeds such as the Rottweiler, which is a close relative of the Dane
  • Allergies
  • Von Willebrand’s disease – clotting disorder

Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix Food Requirements

The Blue Heeler adds a higher metabolism to the great Dane, meaning your mix’s caloric requirement will go from 22 calories per pound to 26 to 30 calories per pound of body weight.

For an 80-pound dog, this would work out to 2075 to 2400 calories or four to five and a half cups of dry kibble a day.

The equivalent of fresh or raw food would be 1.6 to 2.5 pounds daily or roughly 2% to 3% of your dog’s weight.

Most of your pet’s diet should be animal-sourced protein in addition to fats or oils. Opinions abound about feeding carbohydrates to dogs.

Your Dane-Heeler, unlike a wolf or wolf hybrid, can readily extract nutritional value from grains like corn as well as potatoes and legumes. Whether a dog should get a significant portion of her diet from carbs is not so clear.

The important thing to feeding your cross is to coordinate a well-balanced diet, utilizing the help of a veterinarian or nutritionist if you have doubts. Some dogs with allergies or food intolerances have to avoid specific ingredients such as grains or various meats.

Homemade diets almost always require professional input to avoid imbalances in vitamin A and B vitamins as well as calcium, zinc, and selenium. Raw dog food should be proceeded by your working knowledge of how to deal with the risks of bacterial contamination.

Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix Exercise Requirements

The Blue Heeler will add a lot of energy and drive to your mix. Plan on exercising your Great Dane Heeler cross 75 to 100 minutes a day split into two sessions. Limit the activities of a pup until she reaches maturity at 12 to 16 months.

From two through six months old, your puppy should only exercise purposely for five minutes per month of age up to twice daily.

Past the six-month mark, your dog should undergo a maximum of 20 minutes of exercise twice a day until skeletal maturation. Otherwise, allow your young dog to pace herself through play and spontaneous running.

You should infuse most of her education in the early weeks and months with basic training and vigorous socialization.

Puppy classes can provide a way for you to bond with your puppy as well as socialize her with other dogs and strangers.

Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix Training

As with any dog, your Dane Heeler should start training as early as eight weeks old or when you bring him home.

Patience is key as both contributing parents to your puppy typically exhibit the stubbornness and independence that are characteristic of chase and herding dogs.

The use of force is futile and could hurt your bond with your mix because of Dane’s sensitivity.

Many Blue Heelers make no secret of trying to outsmart you. The Heeler is a good example of a highly intelligent dog that does not always have easy trainability.

If you are a novice when it comes to training dogs, the size and spirited nature of your hybrid will prove challenging.

Do not hesitate to vet out and hire a professional trainer if you are struggling with communication with your dog or do not feel effective.

Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix and Families

The Great Dane Heeler mix’s loyalty and sweet and affectionate nature make it a great family dog.

The cross has no problem spreading his love to all human members of the household. While Great Dane mixes can be great playmates for children, their large size and tendency to herd warrant close monitoring and limited exposure to kids under seven years old.

This is an active mix that is happiest by your side and with a job to do. You can train your Dane Heeler hybrid to compete in herding trials, agility, tracking, and even therapy.

Alternatively, your style might lean more towards jogging or hiking. Great Dane Blue Heelers are moderately protective, but a well-socialized mix will not be aggressive except under extreme duress.

The cross will be wary when first meeting a guest but will warm up in short order. Some individuals remain reserved but should be polite if not overtly friendly.

A Great Dane ACD mix is a wonderful watchdog with an intimidating bark and size that will dissuade even the most persistent burglar.

Great Dane Blue Heeler Mix and Other Pets

Great Danes tend to be territorial against other dogs. Nevertheless, if you raise your mixed dog with other dogs, he will do fine living alongside them.

This is especially true because of the influence of the Blue heeler which is a breed that historically works in cooperation with others.

Your mix is sure to have a problem with other dogs if you do not socialize her. Moreover, it is not a great idea to allow your Dane Heeler to play or live unattended with a miniature or toy breed.

Your dog’s prey drive and size are too much to risk around a dog under 25 pounds or so unless she is uncharacteristically sweet and gentle. You should apply the same rule to cats.

As far as other pets go such as mice, rats, birds, and snakes, your dog’s predatory instinct will prove too much.

Your dog also should not be around livestock unless you have trained and socialized her with them. She is apt to chase them to their detriment if she knows nothing about herding.