An In-Depth Guide about German Shepherd Mastiff Mixes

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German Shepherd Mastiff mixes are an uncommon but fantastic designer mixed breed that makes great additions to any family.

black german shepherd mastiff mix with his eyes closed

The breed is a mix of the German Shepherd and one of many varieties of Mastiff, which means everyone’s German Shepherd Mastiff puppy will look different.

If you’re thinking about adding one of these unique mixes to your family, this article will break down everything you need to know.

Why People Love the German Shepherd Mastiff Mix Breed

The obvious appeal of a German Shepherd Mastiff mix is their intense loyalty and love for their families. Because the mixed breed is made from two protective, loyal breeds, those qualities are only amplified in this mix.

Beyond loyalty, there are so many great reasons to love the Mastiff Shepherd mix. These large dogs may look intimidating, but they’re gentle giants that make fantastic companions.

German Shepherd Mastiffs are:

  • Protective
  • Patient
  • Sweet
  • Laid-back
  • Confident
  • Large
  • Great with kids and other pets

All these great traits make them fantastic family dogs that are laid-back and low maintenance. They can be stubborn dogs, but that only adds to their unique charm.

Breed Histories

The German Shepherd Mastiff is, as the name suggests, a mix between a German Shepherd and a variety of Mastiff.

german shepherd dog sitting outside

While the German Shepherd is a relatively new breed, originating in the 1800s, the history of Mastiffs is ancient, reaching back millennia. This mix of old and new makes for an interesting blend of traits!

The German Shepherd was first bred in Germany by a military officer named Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz.

According to the AKC, Von Stephanitz loved the sheep-herding dogs he saw while in the military, but the breed started to dwindle as more development overtook farmlands. Before the breed disappeared, Von Stephanitz decided to create a German sheepdog for the farm that he had always wanted.

The first German Shepherd was descended from Horand von Grafrath, a Thuringian dog that Von Stephanitz fell in love with a purchased from a German dog show.

Unlike the German Shepherd, the origins of the Mastiff are less clear. Because they’ve been around for thousands of years, the history of the breed is mostly lost to folklore and oral history.

What we do know, though, is that there were bas-reliefs found in Ashurbanipal, a Babylonian palace, which depicted mastiff-like dogs hunting lions. These depictions date back to the 7th century B.C. The breed has been around a long time!

Throughout history, mastiffs were valued for their massive size and intense loyalty. The ancient Romans used them to fight bears and lions in the Coliseum, and Marco Polo documented that Kubla Khan kept a kennel of 5,000 Mastiffs for hunting and war.

Because of their size and food needs, Mastiffs were too expensive for common people to keep, so they have long been the dog of English nobility.

Overview of the German Shepherd Mixed with a Mastiff

Depending on which type of Mastiff your German Shepherd was mixed with, their size, weight, and markings will differ. What’s so interesting about this mixed breed is that every puppy’s unique!

However, here’s what you can expect from your Mastiff Shepherd mix:

  • Size: 27-30 inches
  • Weight: 130 – 190 pounds
  • Temperament/Personality: Loyal, laid-back, protective, loving, gentle, stubborn, can be intelligent
  • Lifespan: 9-11 years
  • Unique Qualities: Excellent guard dogs, great for those who live on a farm or have a large outdoor area.
  • Do they shed: Yes, they are typically moderate shedders, and they shed seasonally. Your dog’s coat will differ depending on the type of Mastiff that your Shepherd is mixed with, so some may shed heavier than others.
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Health Issues: Elbow and hip dysplasia are the most common concerns, but other common issues include bloat, cherry eye, diabetes, bone cancer, and heart issues.
  • Family Friendly: Yes, German Shepherd Mastiff mixes love children and they love to be part of your family activities. Mastiffs are known for their gentle mouths, but their large size still means you should supervise them around children.

What does a Mastiff Shepherd look like?

As mentioned before, your Mastiff Shepherd’s appearance will ultimately depend on the type of Mastiff that your Shepherd is mixed with. Because Mastiffs’ appearances differ so much, there is a lot of fun variation in the mixed breed’s appearance.


The Bullmastiff is easily spotted by its large abdomen, large paws, and folded ears. Most have brown fur with black patches, so many Bullmastiff German Shepherd mixes also have brown or black fur.

gray Neapolitan mastiff laying on the floor

Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiffs have the same heavy-boned, large build that’s signature of all Mastiffs, but they’re characterized by their loose, hanging facial wrinkles. Their coats tend to be black, blue, mahogany, or tawny, so a Mastiff Shepherd of this mix will come in a wider variety of colors.

English Mastiff

These Mastiffs also have that rectangular body and large, muscular build. Their ears are floppy, but a mix may inherit the German Shepherd’s pointy ears. This mix may come in fawn, apricot, or brindle stripes.

Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiffs have much longer coats than typical Mastiffs, so this mix will have a longer coat than other mixes and shed more. You’ll find these mixes in black, liver, sable, blue, and black, and they’ll typically have floppy ears.

Spanish Mastiff (not AKC breed, but FSS)

This Mastiff breed has the same large, rectangular abdomen as the other variations, as well as a robust muzzle and floppy ears. You’ll find a larger variety of colors with this mix, including fawn, red, brindle, and tri-colored.

three cane corsos laying in the grass

Italian Mastiff (Cane Corso)

Cane Corso’s have a shorter coat than other Mastiff breeds, so a mix will commonly have a short-to-medium coat and shed only seasonally. They typically have floppy ears and their coats are blue, black, fawn, or brindle.

How Big Do They Get?

One key characteristic of a Mastiff is their massive size, so these mixes definitely get big!

How big they get will depend on which Mastiff breed is mixed with the Shepherd, and what the combination of traits looks like. However, you can prepare for a large dog that will need a lot of food and daily exercise to keep healthy. Generally, they can weigh up to 190 pounds being around 30 inches in height.

You can expect a puppy to be around 15 pounds, but they can grow to be anywhere from 130-190 pounds, depending on the mix.

Are German Shepherd Mixes Good Dogs?


While German Shepherds can be stubborn and sometimes aggressive breeds, when they’re mixed with Mastiffs, the gentle, patient nature of a Mastiff complements the Shepherd’s temperament.

These mixes can be stubborn, but with the right training, they are great dogs.

black and white mastiff with cherry eye
Mastiff with Cherry Eye

Common Health Issues

Unfortunately, large dogs like Mastiffs do live shorter lifespans, and the combination of both breeds leads to some common health issues.

Common health issues with a Shepherd Mastiff include:

  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Cherry eye – this condition occurs when a gland pops out of the third eyelid and surgery is needed to fix it. It’s really common in breeds that are brachycephalic
  • Bloat – also known as GDV is common for large and giant dogs like this breed as well as the Great Dane and Dobermans. Risks are higher if the canine’s parents suffer from bloat. This is considered a medical emergency and should be treated immediately.
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Cataracts
  • Canine bone cancer
  • Heart issues
  • Urinary Tract Infections

Price of German Shepherd Mastiff Puppies

Because these are hybrid puppies, they will be less expensive than a traditional purebred puppy.

You can expect a Mastiff Shepherd puppy to cost between $350 and $1100, according to AllShepherd, and the price will depend on which Mastiff breed the Shepherd was mixed with. English and French Mastiff mixes are more expensive.

Though this mix is a more uncommon hybrid, it’s gaining popularity and there is always a chance that the mix will show up in your local animal rescue. Always consider adopting one of the dogs waiting in your local shelter for a loving home.

Final Thoughts

German Shepherd Mastiff mixes are an exceptional dog breed. They’re sweet, gentle giants that love their family fiercely, but they do need training, exercise, and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Always keep the breed’s exercise and lifestyle needs in mind before you adopt a Mastiff Shepherd.

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