English Mastiff German Shepherd Hybrid Cross Mix Dog Breed Guide

Like most mix breeds, the German Shepherd Mastiff Mix breed combines the genetic features of the two-parent breed responsible for producing it. True to its name, the German Shepherd Mastiff Mix is a product of crossing a Mastiff with a GSD. We will briefly discuss both parent breeds shortly.

German Shepherds

Until 1899, almost nothing was heard about this dog breed. It originated from the Thuringian area of Germany and was notable for its effective herding ability.  They are brave, trainable, and very focused. Today, they are commonly used as police and military dogs due to their sense of purpose and tracking abilities.

The English Mastiff

There are different mastiffs such as Tibetan Mastiff, Neopolitan Mastiff, English Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, and Cane Corso. However, the English Mastiff is often used for crossing with GSD.

The English are an ancient dog and probably an ancestor to the dogs used to fight lions and bears in the Roman Gladiator  Arena. Although, this assertion is still speculation as it is yet to be proven by Scientists. 

Other versions claim that they originated from Phoenician Pugnaces Britanniae around 550BC. They are also believed to have been influenced by the Norman’s Alaunt from around 1070AD.

After the second world war, the Mastiff and many other dog species had almost gone extinct since they had form part of people’s meals during the war. In a bid to preserve them from going extinct, a surviving female Mastiff named Nydia of Frithend was crossed with 15 other dog species.

Mastiffs were mostly used as hunting dogs, herding of livestock, and also served as guard dogs. Due to their fierceness, they were used during wars, and today, people still use them during dogfights.

Features of German Shepherd Mastiff Mix 

This mixed breed shares physical characteristics from both the German Shepherd and Mastiff. 

From German Shepherd

The German Shepherd also referred to as GSD, is quite massive in size and can grow to stand at 26inches in height and weighs anywhere between 50-95 lbs. They have powerful shoulders and neck with distinctively upright ears. Their skin is covered with double-coated and thick fur. Their tails are long and fury as well.

The German Shepherd dog breeds are classified into standard, faulted, and disqualified according to experts. The UKC and AKC allow for full registration of the rare panda and white German Shepherd. Those with colors that appear to be washed out like Isabella, blue, liver, and cream are considered faulted while the bicolor, red sable, red and tan, black and tan, solid black, and agouti are considered as standard. Most GSD has a distinctive facial mask of black.

From the Mastiffs

This is a much bigger dog than the GSD and stands as much as 30 inches in height with a weight of up to 230lbs. The Male mastiffs are much bigger than the female, but they are all-powerful. They have a big head with broad and powerful chest. Their tails are short and rope-like. They also have a broad, thick, and short muzzle, unlike the GSD, and their ears are quite small in size and folded.

According to experts, there are three acceptable Mastiff colors: brindle, fawn, and apricot. The apricot color range is from light orange to reddish-brown, while the fawn is from silvery tan to cream. Regardless of their color, all mastiffs have a black facial mask. There are other rare colored ones such as cream, blue, pied, and chocolate, and they are all considered as non-standard.

Physical Features of a German Shepherd Mastiff Mix

Being an offspring of big parents, the German Shepherd Mastiff Mix is a massive dog that stands between 25-36 inches in height and weighs anywhere between 80-200lbs.

Like the Mastiff parent, this breed has a round and big head plus a broad muzzle, although not as long as that of a GSD nor deep like the Mastiff parent. They have a larger ear than the mastiff, and it may be upright in some cases. The common colors include sable, recessive black, bicolor, black and tan, and fawn. 

However, when there is a gene of Brindle, it becomes more dominant than the rest colors. Among the agouti colors, fawns are the most dominant. Therefore, the most common colors of German Shepherd Mastiff Mix are brindle and fawn with a black mask. The least likely color is recessive black, which is usually gotten from the German Shepherd parent. 

The Temperament of a German Shepherd Mastiff Mix

The Mastiff and GSD parents are amazing breeds with unique characteristics. Their offspring usually combine their character in an interesting way.

German Shepherd

GSD has been used as a guarding dog for many generations due to its protective nature. They easily recognize the members of whatever home they are a part of and do an amazing job protecting them. No wonder they were the choice guard dogs by many historical breeders. Today, they are used by security operatives such as military, police, and private guards due to their historical reputation. Although they are big and fearless, a properly trained GSD has a definite character and unnecessary biting. However, they may become aggressive under neglect, abuse, poor socialization, and genetic factors.


On the other hand, the Mastiff, as we discussed earlier, are ferocious dogs and have been used for guarding purposes for many generations. The modern breeds are less fierce than their ancestors, who could battle with lions and bears. They are more docile, and level headed. Their size may seem intimidating, but they are quite gentle. Although they effectively play the role of a watch dog and stand to defend any family member when they perceive a threat. Like most dogs, the Mastiff will treat your guest exactly how they observe that you treat them. If there is a cordial relationship between you and your guest, your mastiff will treat him exactly that way. According to experts, the Mastiff will only resort to biting as a last option, and their bark is loud enough to scare anyone intent on intruding into their space. Some Mastiffs are also known to be shy.

German Shepherd Mastiff Mix

The German Shepherd Mastiff Mix is a very friendly and relaxed breed. It takes its behavioral cue from you, the owner, and will remain calm with your guest for as long as it observes that you are relaxed with the guest too. Don’t be deceived by its fierce look and posture, and it will only bite as a last resort. Most of them are used for protective works after proper training. They are very effective, especially as watchdogs and guard dogs. 

How Does The Breed Relate with Other Animals

Just like the other behavioral traits that we discussed earlier, the German Shepherd Mastiff Mix has a blend of the personality traits of both parents.


With proper orientation and socialization, a Mastiff will get along well with other animals around, including dogs and cats. Although since they are big and powerful, it is advisable that someone is around to monitor them when they have to be together with pets and little children not to harm them. 

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are protective of children and every member of the family, including other pets. They are usually very gentle with toddlers. However, they are not as kind to those who are not part of the family, including children and animals such as dogs. They also have the instinct to run after objects in motion. When around other people and animals, be very cautious if your GSD disposition towards them and make sure you hold it, so it doesn’t harm them. A little investment of time and money in their training will make them more comfortable and properly behaved in the presence of strangers.

How Much do German Shepherd Mastiff Mix Shed?

Both parents of the German Shepherd Mastiff Mix are known to shed all year, so their offspring is no different. They have an undercoat that gets blown out around fall and during spring. They are coated with a double coat that is moderately dense.

They are known to survive cold conditions of not less than 30° Fahrenheit but do not thrive in warm climates. Due to their weight and short snout, they are heat sensitive. The grooming requirement of a mastiff is just once a week, unlike the GSD, which requires up to 4 grooming in a week. The German Shepherd Mastiff Mix requires two grooming per week and daily grooming when it is shedding its fur.

Common Health Concerns of a  German Shepherd Mix

The most common diseases the German Shepherd Mastiff Mix are prone to include obesity, hip and elbow dysplasia, urinary tract infection, bleeding disorder, and bloat. In the case of hip and elbow dysplasia, it can result in arthritic changes that can cripple your dog. This disease starts right from the puppy stage and is usually a result of overfeeding. Exercising your dog more often can help reduce the risk of suffering from this developmental disorder. Another common disease that this dog is susceptible to due to its size and weight is bloat. This is as a result of their deep chest, couple with the amount of food they eat. When their stomach is filled with gas or fluid, it may rotate, causing electrolyte imbalance and a life-threatening heart condition. Overfeeding your dog or placing the food on an elevated platform can increase GDV.

The average life expectancy of the German Shepherd Mastiff Mix is up to 12years, which is more than that of most big dogs.

How Often Should a German Shepherd Mastiff Mix Exercise?

Just like humans, exercise is important for the overall wellbeing of your pets at home, whether dog or cats. Properly exercise helps them burn off excess calories and build stronger muscles and bones. Dogs for example have a small intestinal track which makes it more difficult for them to metabolize carbs like humans. Adequate exercise will enable them to do that, as well as protect the body against obesity, diabetes and other diseases that come as a result of it.  

The daily exercise requirements for a dog varies based on its species. According to experts, the minimum requirement for a GSD is 2hrs (120 minutes) daily, while that of a Mastiff is between 40-60minutes. 

The German Shepherd Mastiff Mix requires a daily exercise of 45 to 90 minutes daily to lead a healthy and happy life. The best way to go about it is to split the session into two, i.e., inside going 80mins straight; you can design two sessions of activities that will last 40 mins each. Ensure that you expose your dogs to training that both develop their body and mind simultaneously. Cultures, such as obedience, socialization routine, etc., should be introduced to it during training.

Since their German Shepherd parents are agile and participate in strenuous activities, the German Shepherd Mastiff Mix needs to participate in strenuous activities. However, they may not be as agile as their parents. German Shepherd Mastiff Mix performs well in tracking and is used for military operations, search and rescue, guiding physically challenged, and drug-sniffing.

Additional Thoughts on  training and intelligence of German Shepherd Mastiff Mix

Many dog owners love to keep German Shepherds because of their obedient and intelligent nature, while Mastiffs are known to be stubborn. The German Shepherd Mastiff Mix is much more obedient, responsive, and hard-working than the pure Mastiff. However, they are also more stubborn than the average German Shepherd.


The German Shepherd Mastiff Mix is an interesting combination of powerful genes. They bring together the characteristics of a fierce and ferocious ancient warrior breed with the doggedness, tenacity and focus of another dog which the police and military cannot do without. 

Therefore, you should be ready to get thrilled by the amazing personality and size of this Mix breed. However, you should be ready to spare time to train it in order to inculcate important values such as discipline, obedience etc so it can serve your family as a reliable security dog.

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