Regular readers know that I am very partial to big dogs but not overly enamored of designer breeds. That said, there are some dogs that do make pleasing crosses. Accordingly, I’m giving two thumbs up to the Daniff!
Daniff Dog Breed Overview
What are Daniff dogs? They’re crosses between Great Danes and English Mastiffs. If it’s a big dog you’re looking for, you won’t find anything bigger than a Daniff.
Daniffs are also sometimes known as Mastidanes, Great Daniffs, and English Daniffs. They’re definitely the “new kids on the block” when it comes to designer dogs, having been bred only for the past 10-15 years. They are gaining in popularity, though, and you can expect to see more of these gentle giants in the not-too-distant future.
Historically, both the English Mastiff and the Great Dane were used for protection. Don’t make the mistake, though, of thinking that this is due to anything even remotely approaching ill-nature in either breed. When you’re dealing with a dog as big as either of these breeds, it doesn’t have to be aggressive – it’s enough for it just to be there.
Daniffs are generally healthy dogs but can be vulnerable to conditions affecting the parent breeds. These conditions include elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, heart issues, and bloat. Sadly, like many large breeds, they also have a propensity toward various types of cancer.
Given the tendency toward hip and elbow dysplasia in large dogs, it’s important to make sure your big buddy enjoys good joint health. Until your Daniff is at least a year old, jumping should be discouraged. He’ll also need assistance getting in and out of your vehicle – lift as much as you can to prevent excessive pressure on the joints. Watch his weight as well – if he’s growing too quickly, joint problems are more likely. Feed a quality dog food specifically formulated for large dogs with medium activity levels.
If you’re in doubt as to how much to feed, or whether your Daniff is growing too rapidly, consult your veterinarian. Of course, it should go without saying that regular veterinary checkups are important for your Daniff, as they are for any dog breed.
Daniffs are easy to groom but they’re constant shedders. Daily brushing is recommended. You should also regularly check your Daniff’s ears to make sure there isn’t a buildup of dirt. Tooth brushing a few times a week is also a good idea. It’s best to get your Daniff used to having his teeth brushed and nails trimmed when he’s a puppy. Once he’s fully grown, you’ll never be able to handle him if he decides he doesn’t like what you’re doing.
Because Daniffs are short-coated, they’re not tolerant of the cold. When the mercury dips, you may need to provide your Daniff with a jacket or sweater – a BIG jacket or sweater! As to hot weather, if your Daniff has inherited the short muzzle of the English Mastiff, you may need to keep him indoors when temperatures rise. Short-snouted (brachycephalic) dogs can have trouble breathing when it’s hot.
Like all dogs, Daniffs start out small. However, Daniff puppies grow very quickly, and within their first year can actually quadruple their size!
Daniff puppies can vary a great deal in appearance, even within the same litter. English Mastiffs are usually fawn, apricot, brindle or cream but Great Danes come in a wide range of colors and color combinations. With Daniff puppies, you never know what traits they’ll pick up. To get an idea of the possible color combinations for the Daniff, click here.
With any puppy, it’s best to start socialization and obedience training early. With the Daniff, though, it’s vital. As I’ve already stated, you have no chance at all of controlling a fully grown Daniff if he decides he’d prefer not to do what you want.
Socializing is easy – it’s just a matter of taking your Daniff places where he can meet other people, and ideally other dogs as well. Obedience training takes a bit of effort, but Daniffs are typically cooperative so you’ll get it done eventually. You can obedience train on your own with the assistance of any number of books and/or websites, or you can enroll your Daniff in formal obedience classes. I like the idea of classes because they also provide opportunities for socialization.
Where can you find Daniff puppies for sale? You might find it difficult since, as I’ve said, the Daniff is relatively new. You could try checking out the Designer Breed Registry, although as of the time of this writing (February 2020) there are no Daniff breeders listed. You might also ask local English Mastiff breeders and Great Dane breeders if they know of anyone who’s crossing the two breeds.
I generally advise against looking online for puppies of any breed or breed mix. There are so many scam sites and it’s very easy to get “taken.” If you do decide to go online to look for a Daniff, be very careful and do your research. Run any images through Google’s image search to see if the puppy is on multiple sites. Snip a bit of text and Google it for the same reason. Check the reviews carefully and think twice before sending a deposit.
If you do manage to find a local Daniff breeder, again tread carefully. As Daniffs increase in popularity, it’s a safe bet that there will be puppy mill operators looking to make a quick buck. If the breeder doesn’t want you to meet the parents, or to come to their kennel, that’s a red flag. If the breeder wants to meet you in a parking lot (or any place other than their kennel), that’s another indication that they have something to hide.
Good Daniff breeders aren’t just going to hand over a puppy to anyone who can come up with the purchase price. They’re going to want you to see the litter and the parents. They’re going to ask you a lot of questions and may want references. They’ll also offer to be there for you throughout the life of your Daniff if you have any questions or concerns. If none of these conditions are present, find another breeder.
Daniff size can vary a bit, the mix being fairly new. Given the size of the parent breeds, though, you are unlikely to end up with a Daniff weighing under 115 pounds. If your Daniff takes on the size of the English Mastiff, he could go well over 200 pounds. Height usually ranges between 27 and 33 inches. Females are usually a bit smaller than males.
Daniffs are gentle, loving and protective. Because they are so protective of their humans, they can be suspicious of strangers. However, once a Daniff is satisfied that a stranger poses no threat, he will be friendly.
Daniffs can be stubborn. People often mistake this trait for low intelligence but actually it has more to do with laziness. It’s not that the Daniff doesn’t know what you want from him; it’s more that he considers it to be a bit too much like work! In short, Daniffs can be lazy.
This is not necessarily a bad trait. Because Daniffs are medium energy dogs, this means that they do very well in almost any environment. Have you ever heard someone say “I’d love to have a big dog but I live in an apartment?” The Daniff does very well in small surroundings. As long as he gets about 30 minutes of exercise per day (and it doesn’t have to be all that vigorous; a leisurely walk will do) he’ll happily spend the rest of the time napping or snuggling.
Daniffs are very good with children but may not be the best choice for households with toddlers or seniors simply because of their size. They can easily knock over a small child or a fragile granny.
If introduced to other pets early on, Daniffs will get along well with them. Keep in mind that it’s always best to introduce a puppy to an adult dog or cat as opposed to the other way around.
If you’re looking for a Daniff, a rescue facility or shelter might be a good place to start. You may have your work cut out for you, though, because when a large breed or breed mix like a Daniff ends up in a rescue facility, it’s usually because the previous owner didn’t properly train or socialize him. You could be dealing with a very big dog that has no idea how to behave. If you’re equal to the task, good for you! Just be sure you know what you’re getting into.
With most large breeds (anything from 100 pounds and up) the average lifespan is 9-11 years. With the Daniff you can usually expect 8-12 years.
English Mastiffs usually cost about $1,100. Great Danes cost between $1,200 and $1,500. I’m often baffled by the fact that designer breeds often cost more than their purebred parents and when it comes to the Daniff, I’m even more baffled because the cost is considerably lower than it is for most designer breeds. For a Daniff, you can expect to pay between $500 and $1,000. Even from a high-end breeder, the Daniff price is hardly ever more than $1,000.
Do Daniffs drool?
Generally, Daniffs don’t drool as much as either of the parent breeds, but yes, they do drool quite a bit.
Are Daniffs AKC registered?
No. The AKC does not recognize hybrids.
When are Daniff puppies considered full grown?
Large dog breeds mature much more slowly than small breeds. English Mastiff, Great Dane and Daniff puppies are not considered full grown until they reach age 3.
Why does my Daniff sleep a lot?
See above. Daniffs aren’t overly active dogs and they love to nap and snuggle. Most of us don’t even realize how much our dogs sleep – the average dog sleeps up to 14 hours per day!
When should I neuter my Daniff?
Not all that long ago the conventional wisdom was that a dog should be spayed or neutered as soon as he or she was capable of reproducing – no older than 6 months. In recent years, though, we’ve learned that spaying and neutering too soon can deprive a dog of hormonal protection against various diseases and disorders. Most veterinarians now recommend spaying and neutering at about a year for most dogs and a year and a half for large breeds.
Which is bigger, a Great Dane or a Mastiff?
Great Danes are typically taller than English Mastiffs. The English Mastiff, though, will have the advantage when it comes to weight.
What breed is Scooby Doo?
Scooby is a Great Dane.
What is the largest breed of dog?
It’s the English Mastiff, hands down.
How many puppies does a Great Dane have on her first litter?
The average litter size is 8 puppies. A litter of ten or more isn’t uncommon, but with large litters it’s usually necessary to have them delivered by Caesarian section.
Why is my Daniff chewing wood?
Most dogs will chew wood. It’s because it feels good on their gums. If you want to stop your Daniff from chewing wood, don’t leave fire logs where he can get at them, and give him a toy to replace the wood he wants to chew.
Do Daniffs like water?
Daniffs aren’t what you’d call natural swimmers, but like most dogs, they can be trained to enjoy water. Start by throwing toys on shore, then tossing them into the shallow water, and tossing farther and farther out as your Daniff becomes more comfortable with what’s going on. You can also try getting in the water yourself and coaxing him to come to you.
What is a Gladiator Dane?
This is just another term for a cross between a Great Dane and an English Mastiff.
What do you think? Is the Daniff dog breed for you? You know I love the big guys but I’m not telling you what to do. Think about what you’re getting into and if you decide that a bigger dog means bigger love, then I applaud you and wish you much happiness!