We have to start by saying that these are two wonderful breeds, both deservingly popular, and both can bring so much joy to your life.
And it is no surprise that this is a question that gets asked often, as dog lovers try to decide between two famously big and loyal breeds: the German Shepherd Dog and the Great Dane.
So right at the start we are going to do something strange and right away say that neither breed is ‘better’. The real question is which breed is better for YOU!
First things first, if you are stuck between the two, you have to ask yourself why you want a dog? Either breed brings something a little different to your home.
And secondly, you have to ask which of these two breeds best fits your life. Each breed has different requirements, some of which are big differences.
So let’s start the comparison
German Shepherd vs Great Dane: Size and Weight
When deciding on a breed, it is important to judge size and weight for several reasons…
From the space you have in your home, to the size of your garden, or to whether a stronger dog would be good with young kids.
Height at the shoulders: 60-65 cm
Weight: 30-40 kg
Height at the shoulders: 55-60 cm
Weight: 22-32 kg
Height at the shoulders: 76-81 cms.
Weight: 63-80 kg
Height at the shoulders: 71-76 cms.
Weight: 50-80 kg
So as you can tell there is a big difference between the two. While the Great Dane may not be as far ahead in height over the German Shepherd as you might expect (a lot of that height comes from the long neck and tall head), there is a massive difference in weight!
The Great Dane can be at least double the weight of the German Shepherd; they are strong, muscular and proud. A playful Great Dane can knock you down, and you ain’t got a chance at lifting one up!
German Shepherd vs Great Dane : Puppyhood and Trainability
Both breeds tend to be spirited and playful puppies, with a fun-loving nature. Undeniably they are both super cute breeds when young, though a Great Dane pup is already solidly built. The difference in looks between the adorable puppy, and the noble adult dog is particularly stark with the Great Dane.
Both breeds are on the easier end of trainability, with both willing to learn, though sometimes the Great Dane can be stubborn. The German Shepherd Dog is the smarter breed of the two; in fact, it is one of the cleverest of all dog breeds. They were created specifically to be working dogs. Because of this they are easier to train, more focused, and ready to listen. They, in fact, like to learn from you, and don’t like to be bored, and have nothing to do.
German Shepherd vs Great Dane : Temperament
Both are friendly dogs, with good energy levels, with both requiring good walks daily, but of the two only German Shepherds are suited to very long walks and hikes.
If well socialized early, they are great breeds around other dogs, though sometimes the German Shepherd can be dominant. While the Great Dane is famed as a great breed with all dogs, small and large, due to their placid and laid back nature.
One thing to be aware of, is that Great Danes tend to be more accepting of strangers, in fact they like everybody, once they have been introduced. A German Shepherd may be more wary of strangers, mainly around the home and garden, but to say a German Shepherd will be aggressive to all strangers is a gross exaggeration of their guarding nature.
Without a doubt the Great Dane is the most relaxed and calm of the two, but both breeds are playful, and very much companion dogs. Loyalty is big with both breeds.
German Shepherd vs Great Dane: Care Requirements –
Again both these breeds are relatively low maintenance dogs, but the German Shepherd especially doesn’t like to be alone too too much.
Both are ideal suited to a home with a garden, and a bigger house is better. They need space to play and explore, this is especially true for the German Shepherd who may become bored when just inside all the time.
While the Great Dane is the more relaxed of the two, and more likely to chill out for longer, they are big, big dogs, and really need lots of space, both inside and out.
Grooming – The German Shepherd has a heavier, double coat, and does ideally need very regular brushing to stop excessive shedding. For Great Danes the grooming requirements are lesser, and once a week would suffice.
Climate – Both breeds handle high and low temperatures better than most, though care needs to be taken especially in very hot weather.
German Shepherd vs Great Dane: Health
A well-cared for dog, at a good weight, and well exercised, always has a lesser chance of developing issues. And the German Shepherd and the Great Dane are generally healthy breeds when well looked after. But there are a few conditions to watch out for.
Both are bigger breeds, and therefore more prone to hip and elbow dysplasia than others. But if you choose your puppy from a good source, then you can find out the parents’ health history, and lessen the chances of your puppy getting these genetic conditions.
While cancer is far from a certainty with either breed, the German Shepherd tends to have a higher risk. Whereas there is a little more chance of heart issues with a Great Danes, but not a massive chance.
Again, the best way to reduce the risk of your puppy suffering from poor health is to avoid bad breeders and look for the very best source for your puppy.
German Shepherd vs Great Dane: Specialist Info –
We mentioned earlier how the German Shepherd is a very smart breed. Well, it has a very innate guarding instinct. So if you want a big dog, that will guard your property, but be warm and loyal with you, then they are a fine choice.
The Great Dane is famed for being a gentle giant. Their happy, easy going and warm nature makes them a great choice as companions, and of the two breeds, despite their size, they are super with older children, and very calm and accepting of them. By accident, they may knock over little children purely due to their size. The German Shepherd, well socialized is super with younger children.…
The simple answer is that there is no better breed between the German Shepherd and the Great Dane, but there will be a better breed FOR YOU. With these differences between these two amazing breeds, you can discover which fits your life best, and will be the centre of your happy home.