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Great Danes and Pitbulls are outstanding dog breeds in their own right. What happens then if someone crosses these two breeds together? What can you expect if you adopt a Pitbull Great Dane mix?
Let’s take a look at the things that you can expect, and what you cannot assume, from a mixed dog coming from these two breeds.
Great Danes and Pitbull Mix Key Characteristics
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Pitbull Great Dane Mix Highlights
Here are some of the quick highlights that you might want to keep in mind about the Great Danebull, or the Pitbull Great Dane Mix:
- The Great Danebull is a hybrid of the docile Great Dane and the more active and agile Pit Bull. The Pit Bull itself descended from the English Bull Dogs of the 19th century.
- This mix dog is more similar to its Great Dane ancestors concerning body size and height. However, it inherits the Pit Bull’s energy.
- Both parent breeds are known to be very affectionate towards their family. Thus, this mix dog can also be expected to act like a baby and be a lapdog despite its body size.
- They are also very protective and will become challenging towards other pets, and people they consider as strangers. This is a trait inherited from both parents.
- The Pitbull Great Dane mix requires at least an hour of exercise. Younger individuals may need 30 minutes more every day due to their higher energy levels than adults.
- They are very responsive to training. However, it should be intensive and should be initiated at a very early age.
- This mixed breed dog has a very light coat. Thus, it is unable to cope up with winter temperatures. They are best kept most of the time indoors and brought out only for exercise.
- Because of its light coat, owners can expect moderate to light shedding.
- Their large size will make them unhappy and uncomfortable in tight, cramped spaces. They prefer large indoor areas as well as substantial outdoor areas to play in.
- The Pitbull genes in their blood give them a slightly higher lifespan than their Great Dane parents. They could live at least 10 years and, at most, 15 years, given adequate care.
- The coat of the Great Dane-Pitbull mix comes in various colors, including white, all black, brown, dotted, cream, gray and brindle.
- The mixed breed has received recognition from three canine registration organizations. These are the Dog Registry of America, the American Kennel Club, and the International Designer Canine Registry.
- The Great Danebull’s pitbull ancestry also makes it susceptible to developing the same degenerative diseases that plague its pure breed parent.
According to Dog Breed +, a mix dog bred with a Great Dane and a Pitbull as parents will, more often than not, inherit the physical build of the Great Dane instead of the Pitbull.
Thus, you can expect the mix to be tall, around 2 to 3 feet in height standing up, with a long body and a lean musculature. Their ears stand while they are curious, but most of the time they are set low. While not as muscular as the Pitbull parent, the Great Dane Pitbull mix falls under the “Large” category, like the Great Dane.
Both the Great Dane and Pitbull have short and thin coats, and their hybrid offspring retain that quality. Just like the Pitbull, their coats come in various colors. Standard colors are white, black, and brown. However, some individuals may also have gray, cream, brindle or spotted coats.
Pitbull Great Dane Mix History
Here, we’ll discuss the history of the two parent breeds, starting with the Great Dane.
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Contrary to its name, the Great Dane is not actually of Danish origin. They are actually a German breed, and it is said that the history of the Great Dane stretches back to the city-state era of ancient Greece.
According to American Bully Daily, paintings from ancient Greece depict dogs looking similar to Great Danes. These dogs (referred to as boarhounds) were used to aid hunters in tracking down their prey. Huge and full of boundless energy, these dogs were suited for their very challenging work.
Eventually, with the advent of migration, Europeans came and imported some of these boarhounds to Austria and Germany. These boarhounds were interbred and refined, resulting into what is now known as the Great Dane. However, it was first named as a German Boarhound in the 19th century. There was also an attempt to rename it as “German Mastiff,” to give it a new role in addition to being a working dog.
Why is the breed referred to as Great Dane? In the turbulent times before the 20th century, Germany was always embroiled in conflicts with its European neighbors. These diplomatic and military tensions led to an aversion to anything named “German” – thus, it was simply called the Great Dane.
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On the other hand, the Pitbull’s history is steeped in both mystery and sadness.
There is no definite period in history to which the exact origin of the Pitbull can be pegged. However, what is definite is that, according to Pitbulls.org, English painters have begun creating images of dogs resembling today’s Pitbulls as early as the 16th century.
Formerly called “bulldogs,” they served a role similar to the Great Dane. These bulldogs tagged along with their human masters, driving and capturing prey that the hunters have shot. However, they also had a terrible role to play in the breed’s history.
In addition to being companions to their human masters and being good security guards, the Pitbull became popular because of their role in the sport of bull baiting and, later on, dogfighting.
The sport, says the Animal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), required the bull dogs to undergo training so they will be able to hold their own against full grown bulls in ring combat.
Despite its name, bull-baiting also involved other large wild animals like bears, which were often several sizes bigger than even the sturdiest Bull Dog.
Thus, the English bull dogs were trained to be aggressive enough not to be intimidated by the larger animals and other bull dogs. They had to, after all, bite into the neck of these bigger animals until they die.
In 1835, the English Parliament voted to pass the Cruelty to Animals Act, effectively outlawing bull baiting. That didn’t stop the bulldog owners though – they just created another sport: dog fighting.
According to the ASPCA, this was the time in which the modern Pitbull breed was born. The bulkier Bull Dogs were crossed with terriers to produce a dog that has the agility required to compete in the new blood sport.
Great Dane Pitbull Mix Trainability
Having descended from two breeds that are known for their loyalty and responsiveness to training, a Pitbull Great Dane mix can be expected to retain that same intelligence.
As with all dogs, it is best to start the training regimen for our Great Danebull (as the mixed breed is lovingly referred to by enthusiasts,) early on in their lives.
The puppy stage is the best time to introduce proper behavior and habits to the dog. You should focus on socializing the puppy with people and other dogs to avoid belligerent and territorial behavior that appear later on when they are adults.
Training adults are hard, but not impossible. However, you might end up enlisting the services of a professional trainer. It would also take time for the dog to adjust to training; just like humans, dogs became more stubborn and preoccupied as they grow older.
Even though the Great Danebull inherits the impressive intelligence of both its parents, consistency, and firmness are always the keys to successful training, no matter what the age of the dog is.
The trick is simple, really. Show the dog through obedience training who’s the leader of the pack, and you’d expect no problems from your Pitbull Great Dane mix.
Pitbull Great Dane Mix Temperament
As with any mixed dog, the temperament of a Great Dane Pitbull mix is a combination of the characteristics that the individual has inherited from his or her parents.
Despite their horrible history in bull-baiting (inherited from their English bulldog ancestors,) and from the initial bulldog terrier mixes engaged in dogfighting, Pitbulls have turned out to be brilliant and loyal animals.
This is probably a carry-over from the rigorous training for dogfighting. Trainers and dogs have to develop a close rapport, as the human caretaker has to step inside the ring to separate the combatants and treat to the wounded.
Thus, the dog must be trained to respond to the commands of his handler. These days, even though there are no more opportunities for dog fighting, its history has instilled within the Pitbull an intense loyalty to its owner and responsiveness to discipline and training.
They are so loyal to their owners that, Pet Wave says, Pitbulls love to exercise and to be with its human family. They are very affectionate. A well-trained Pitbull can be relied upon to watch over little children, although there should always be human supervision to spot “bad” behavior in both the dog and the children.
The Pitbull’s loving and loyal nature is supplemented by the Great Dane’s docile temperament. According to Hill’s Pet, the Great Dane is the epitome of what people call the “gentle giant.” When it has grown up with other pets, the breed is very gregarious and gets along well with them.
However, Vet Street warns, the gentle giant can become suddenly combative towards other animals and people it doesn’t know.
Besides, barking is not really an integral part of its personality, although it may bark every now and then. Of course, individuals who are allowed to bark even during inappropriate times could develop it as a habit.
Put these two breeds together, and you can have a mix dog whose temperament is best characterized by protectiveness and loyalty to its family. You also get a dog that’s very affectionate towards its family and will require lots of time for play and bonding with you.
The only aspect of their personalities that they may differ in is their amount of activity. A Great Dane requires only 10 or 20 minutes of exercise every day, and it’s okay with just walking. Pitbulls, however, are more energetic and need at most an hour to expend that excess energy, or else, they become cranky.
A Pitbull Great Dane mix is more likely to inherit the energetic nature of its Pitbull heritage. However, with enough training, you can expect your mix dog to become the gentle giant its Great Dane parent is known for. When broken in socially, they are darlings when they are around you and your family.
Pitbull and Great Dane Mix Breed Nutrition
Just like all kinds of dogs, the Pitbull Great Dane mix can benefit greatly from a balanced diet. When choosing what to feed your mix dog, you should think about what food gives your pet the most amount of nutrients needed for their growth, development and overall good health.
Take note that a proper diet should be observed throughout the dog’s life, with slight alterations as they age.
For starters, you will need dog food that is rich in protein. Canines in general require a lot of protein, much more than we humans do. Thus, you will need to look into the nutritional data in the food’s packaging and determine how much protein it needs.
In addition to protein, your Great Danebull will need doses of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. They could also benefit as well from getting plenty of calories and a healthy serving of carbohydrates. This will help support their energy needs, especially with younger dogs which are more playful and energetic than older individuals.
It is said that mixed breeds like the Great Danebull can tolerate food that contains wheat and meat by-products. However, it is best to avoid these food products to be safe as they can cause irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.
For puppies, you have to make sure that what you are feeding them is formulated especially for dogs their age. Puppies need more calories than their parents, and they also need more protein to support their growth spurts. They also need to be fed more – puppies generally need to eat two to four times a day.
Great Danebull Health and Care
Because of its high energy levels, Dog Appy recommends they be taken out for regular exercise 60 to 90 minutes every day. Its highly energetic nature — inherited from the Pitbull side of the gene pool — makes the Danebull an ideal companion for somebody who enjoys an active lifestyle.
The short coat this breed inherits from its parents, unfortunately, makes it unable to cope up with icy conditions. Dog Breeds 101 suggests that they be kept indoors in a heated environment during the winter. Otherwise, the dog will develop ailments due to cold exposure.
Due to their large size, Great Danebulls are happier in indoor spaces where there is a lot of room for them to move around. If there is not enough room for it in a house, it could end up breaking a lot of things because of its boundless energy. That’s also another reason why the dog should always be exercised so it won’t expend its energy more destructively.
They also have a longer lifespan than its Great Dane parent. According to Dog Breed +, with proper health care and exercise, a Great Danebull can live up to 15 years. The minimum lifespan is also at 10 years.
You could watch this dog grow up with your children, developing a strong bond with them along the way.
Responsible dog breeders always work to breed offspring that are healthy and free of issues, but that doesn’t mean the puppies are out of the woods. Each of the parent breeds is at risk for specific health issues.
With Great Danes, The Nest revealed, possible health issues that they could develop when they become adults include:
- Gastric torsion – This is a condition where the abdominal area of the dog swells in size. It is life-threatening, and dogs should be brought to the vet right away at the first sign of bloating.
- Cardiomyopathy – This condition enlarges the dog’s heart, and is also a fatal complication for a Great Dane. One of the most common symptoms includes difficulty in breathing.
- Wobbler’s Syndrome – Named so because of the abnormal movements afflicted individuals exhibit, dogs with Wobbler’s Syndrome have difficulties in walking and coordinating their limbs.
- Cancer – Great Danes are at risk for bone cancer, and lymphoma.
On the other hand, Pitbulls are susceptible to the following health conditions, according to AnimalWised.com:
- Patellar luxation – This condition is characterized by dislocation of the knee cap. Often, the possible culprit for the injury is over-exercising.
- Hip dysplasia – Similar to patellar luxation, only that is developed due to genetics instead of outside circumstance. Be sure to check with the breeder where you buy your Great Danebull from and ascertain its genetic history.
- Skin diseases – A Pitbull can develop one of many skin diseases over time. These include allergies like atopy. They can also develop dermodicosis – often caused by a mite infestation.
- Degenerative diseases – Pitbulls can also develop degenerative diseases well into their adulthood. These include ichthyosis and hypothyroidism.
Pitbull Great Dane Mix Grooming
The first question you should ask yourself when considering the adoption of any dog breed is: “Do they shed?” Shedding its coat is a natural process for some dog breeds, as any dog will grow a new coat and will need to get rid of the old one.
Fortunately, they have a very light coat. It doesn’t require much from you regarding grooming, although it may shed fur in very manageable amounts. You won’t need a vacuum cleaner for this particular mixed breed dog; a broom and a dustpan will suffice.
Pitbull Great Dane Mix Price
According to Dog Breed +, the average price of a single puppy is $600. That, however, is just a one-time expense for acquiring a puppy. It doesn’t include the medical costs that you will undoubtedly incur in taking care of a dog.
During it’s lifetime, you can expect to spend up to $1250 per year in both medical and non-medical concerns.
Medical expenses cover pet insurance, as well as regular visits to your dog’s veterinarian and periodic vaccines to ensure your dog’s well being. They could go for as low as $500 per year and up to $600 annually.
You could expect to spend roughly the same amount of cash on non-medical items. These include dog food, toys, fees for training with a certified dog trainer, and some stuff you want to spoil your Pitbull Great Dane mix with.
Pitbull Great Dane Mix Puppies
It’s almost difficult to believe that, at the moment that they are born, they will grow up to be the huge darling that it becomes in adulthood.
Puppies are very small and can fit in the palm of your hand. You also cannot tell at first sight how they would look like, and it will take a couple of months more before their appearance can be discerned. However, you are sure to see more of their Pit Bull heritage during their puppy stages until they become fully grown at one year of age, and the height of the Great Dane starts to make itself known.
Puppies should be breastfed by their mothers for at least six to eight weeks after their birth. By two months old, they should already be weaned and ready to eat solid puppy food. At this point, you should also begin training the puppies in socialization and obedience.
The first three months of a puppy’s life should be marked by regular play and exercise. They have boundless energy, and this should be adequately released through exercise and games to avoid belligerent and destructive behavior.
You might also notice annoying behaviors like biting in the early months of your Great Danebull’s life. Your children, if there are any in your house, should be taught to be careful around the puppies at this time. Because this is part of your Great Danebull’s instinct, they would need plenty of non-toxic toys to play with, and aid in the development of their teeth.
With proper training, however, this behavior will lessen as the puppy learns that he or she should not harm anyone in the family.
The mixed breed is registered in a couple of organizations. Its registration is not of a separate kind on its own, but as a mixed breed of two recognized pure breeds. In this case, these breeds are the Great Dane and Pit Bull Terrier.
The organizations that recognize the mixed breed are the Dog Registry of America, the American Kennel Club and the International Designer Canine Registry.
Because it is recognized as a mixed breed by the DRA, you can register your Great Danebull with the organization and avail of several services. The DRA provides registration certificates and extends its Lost Pet Recovery Program to owners of registered dogs.
The International Designer Canine Registry, on the other hand, opens its door for both pure breeds and mixed breeds. Some of its services include genealogy services.
This means that you could record your dog’s ancestry and family tree so you can have documentation on its history. If you’re a breeder of Great Danebulls, for instance, your clients can trace up their puppies’ history as your dog is registered with the IDCR.
The American Kennel Club or AKC has a registration program for mixed breeds. This is separate from its Pure Breed registration program, but otherwise extends the same benefits to registered hybrids.
If you registered your Pitbull Great Dane Mix with the AKC, you are eligible to sign up your dogs for various contests and events hosted by the Club. Your dog can also win annual awards courtesy of the AKC, and a free one-time consultation with a vet accredited by the AKC Veterinary Network.
The Pitbull, unfortunately, is banned in the United Kingdom under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991. The Great Dane, however, is recognized and legal in the UK.
The Great Danebull is a fascinating mixed breed. It inherits a very long history from both of its parents, as well as a list of characteristics that make both pure breeds endearing to their fans and enthusiasts.
In the end, taking care of a happy and healthy Pitbull Great Dane mix is a matter of commitment and love from your part as the dog owner. These dogs require much regarding medical care, food, as well as love and affection.