All About — the German Shepherd Mastiff Mix

Pet Type


August 12, 2020
Image souce: Mastiff Shepherd

When deciding what kind of dog to add to your family, picking a mixed breed pooch can be like having the best of both worlds. It’s common practice to breed two purebred dogs in order to produce a mixed breed with favorable traits from both parents.

Every dog has its own personality and quirks, but mixed breeds come with their own recognizable and lovable features.

The German shepherd mastiff mix, also known as the mastiff shepherd, is not the most common mixed breed you’ll find out there. Still, it is a well-loved mixed-breed dog considered to be hardworking, social, and courageous. If you’re looking for an active and charismatic dog as a new addition to your family, the mastiff shepherd could be the right choice for you.

Is the Mastiff Shepherd a Perfect Mix for You?

This mixed breed comes from breeding a German shepherd and a mastiff, two large breeds known historically as working dogs. Both were commonly seen on farmland in past centuries, helping herd sheep or guard vulnerable livestock.

Nowadays, a German shepherd mastiff mix makes a popular household pet. Don’t let their size fool you; their gentle and patient demeanor makes them suitable companions for children.

Like any other pure breed or mixed breed, these dogs have specific physical traits as well. This means you can predict the general size, weight, and common health concerns of your future mastiff shepherd. The following paragraphs will explore this mixed breed more thoroughly and give you all the information you need about this lovable pooch.

German Shepherd Mastiff Mix Size

Considering the large size of both parent breeds, it’s safe to assume your mastiff shepherd will grow to be pretty huge. You’ll want to have plenty of space for your dog to romp and play, even if they look cute and small as a puppy.

The average height of a German shepherd mastiff mix is between 22 and 26 inches tall, putting them in the range of medium to large.

It’s ideal to have a fenced outdoor area for such a big dog. If you’ll need to keep your pooch in a kennel for a portion of the day, make sure the enclosure is large, so they aren’t cramped. Remember that although a mastiff shepherd can grow pretty big, some training and socializing will ensure your dog is a friendly giant who gets along with the family.

German Shepherd Mastiff Mix Weight

The weight of this mixed-breed can vary quite a bit, from 50 to 220 pounds, depending on the dog’s size and sex. The heavier weight is inherited from the mastiff side since they are usually very hefty animals. This characteristic makes them ideal working dogs. Dogs of this size will need plenty of exercises to stay healthy.

Your mastiff shepherd’s weight is determined by which breed the dog is more inclined toward. In case your pup is more inclined toward the German shepherd side, they might be on the lighter end of the weight range.

After picking a breeder to buy from, you can ask about your puppy’s heritage. You can also get further information on what to expect in terms of size and weight.

German Shepherd Mastiff Mix Health

When it comes to keeping your mixed breed healthy and preventing any significant health issues, the best thing you can do is pick a reputable breeder.

Unfortunately, many health issues in dogs arise from irresponsible breeding practices. Before bringing your puppy home, make sure the breeder can provide you with documentation that the parents were healthy before producing the litter.

Even if you do everything you can to adopt a healthy puppy, health scares are always a possibility. The most common health concerns seen in mastiff shepherds are obesity, elbow and hip dysplasia, cherry eye, and bloat. We’ll explore each of these further to talk about preventative care, symptoms, and what to do if you notice your dog suffering from one of these issues.

All of these health conditions might sound scary and overwhelming. They can indeed be dangerous to your precious pooch, but thankfully, many dogs live their entire lives without experiencing any of them. The best thing you can do for your German shepherd mastiff mix is learning what can prevent these health issues, and what to do if you see symptoms develop. Your veterinarian is always a valuable resource for this.

  • Obesity

Mastiff shepherds are naturally massive dogs, but without the proper care, they can become unhealthily overweight. Make sure to consult with your veterinarian to learn the appropriate amount of food for your dog, and give plenty of opportunities for exercise throughout the day, whether it’s playing fetch or going for a run.

  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia

This disorder affects the joints of the elbows or hips, causing them to grind painfully. It’s essential to learn how to treat this condition and keep your pooch comfortable.

Signs of elbow or hip dysplasia include decreased activity/range of motion, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, a swaying gait, loss of thigh muscle mass, and enlargement of the shoulder muscles as the dog depends more on their front legs to avoid pain.

Because elbow and hip dysplasia are genetic disorders, you don’t have much control over whether or not your dog develops them. The best thing you can do is check with the breeder to make sure the parents are healthy before bringing your puppy home.

If your mastiff shepherd gets diagnosed with one of these disorders, there are many things you can do to help keep them comfortable. These include managing your dog’s weight to keep pressure off the joints, physical therapy to maintain mobility, joint supplements like glucosamine, and anti-inflammatory medication to manage pain.

  • Cherry Eye

This condition happens when a dog’s tear gland becomes inflamed, then prolapses. It can look alarming, like a red lump in the corner of the dog’s eye, but it’s not known to be particularly painful. If caught early, anti-inflammatory eye drops can be enough to resolve this issue.

Otherwise, your veterinarian will likely recommend surgery to remove the mass.

  • Bloat

Although it doesn’t sound very severe, this health issue can quickly become deadly if not recognized and treated. Bloat occurs when excess air causes a dog’s stomach to expand, which can then cut off circulation to other vital organs.

It’s most common in large dog breeds. If your dog’s stomach is distended and you notice retching, foamy saliva, and distress, take your pup to the vet immediately.

To prevent bloat from becoming an issue, it’s good to encourage your dog to take their time while eating. There are certain toys and specially designed food bowls to help with this. It’s also recommended to keep your dog from exercising or drinking a lot of water directly after a meal. Instead, let your dog relax and digest their food for a little while first.

Grooming a Mastiff Shepherd

Both parent breeds have short, straight hair with a soft undercoat. The coat of a German shepherd mastiff mix will likely be the same. Your four-legged companion may or may not shed quite a bit, depending on their genes. The best thing to help with shedding is daily brushing and regular trips to the dog groomer. 

The color of a mastiff shepherd also depends on genes. Their coat can range from black and tan to fawn. It’s very common for this mix to have black areas on their face. It’s also possible, but not likely, for a mastiff shepherd to be entirely or mostly black.

How to Train a Mastiff Shepherd

It’s vital to start training any dog as a puppy. Dogs learn most quickly at a young age, and those early years are the best time to help your pooch build positive lifelong habits.

Especially for large breeds, it’s essential to teach obedience and gentle behaviors so that you don’t run into problems or aggression once they’re older. Training a puppy is a big responsibility, but it will be worth the hard work.

When training, it’s crucial to make it clear that you maintain dominance over your pup. Speak clearly and firmly while looking directly at your mastiff shepherd. Reward good behavior with treats, and dissuade bad behavior with a boop on the nose or some water from a spray bottle. This will communicate to your puppy over time which behaviors are right and wrong.

There are some key things to teach any type of dog. Potty training is a big one–house training your dogs, of course. It’s also essential that your pooch learns to respond to their name so you can call them and keep them by your side. Finally, teach your puppy to play gently, because they will be a lot bigger and stronger one day.

The Friendly Giant

The day you pick up a German shepherd mastiff mix, you’ll bring home a sweet and playful friend. This mixed breed isn’t widespread yet, so you’ll be the lucky owner of a unique dog full of energy and loyalty. And if you show your mastiff shepherd respect, dedication, and love, they will return those sentiments tenfold!