If you’re a lover of big dogs, the Daniff may be for you. A crossbreed of the Great Dane and the Mastiff, these gentle giants combine the size, grace, and calm demeanor of the Great Dane with the fearlessness and the watchful loyalty of the Mastiff.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about the mix, including its history, key characteristics, health considerations, and more.
Daniff fast facts
|140 – 230 pounds (63 – 104 kgs)
|28 – 34 inches (71 – 86 cm)
|Short, smooth, single coat
|Good with kids?
|Good with cats?
|Potentially with training
|Good with other dogs?
|Potentially with training
|Tolerates being alone
|For short periods
|Tolerates apartment life
|1-2 hours per day
|Joint problems, heart problems
|8 – 12 years
|$800 – $2,500
History & origin of the Daniff
The Daniff is a relatively recent American creation, with their origins dating back to the late 20th century. To better understand the crossbreed, let’s break down the history of their parent breeds, the Great Dane and the Mastiff.
The Great Dane is known for being the biggest dog in the world, hence the “Great” part. Despite their name, the Great Dane does not have Danish roots but actually hails from Germany and is thought to have been around for over 400 years.
They were originally bred by German nobility to be hunting dogs for large game, particularly for boar hunting, hence their size. They were descended from mastiff-like dogs and are closely related to the English Mastiff and Irish Wolfhound.
They came to America in the late 19th century, imported by enthusiasts who admired their imposing stature and gentle temperament. The Great Dane was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887 and ranked among the top 20 most popular breeds according to the AKC as of 2021.
The Mastiff has an even longer history dating back to ancient civilizations across Europe and Asia. Over the years, they’ve been used for various purposes, including guarding livestock and property, hunting large game like wild boar, and fighting in bloodsports and wars, hence their huge size and truly fearless nature.
The Mastiff breed has been in America since colonial times, brought over by early European settlers. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1885 and they ranked within the AKC’s top 30 most popular dogs in America in 2021.
Physical characteristics of the Daniff
All about the physical traits of the crossbreed.
Size & weight
The Daniff is a giant, sturdy dog breed, with males typically standing at heights of 28 to 34 inches (71.1 – 86.4 cm) and weighing between 140 to 210 lbs (63.5 – 95.3 kg). Females are slightly smaller, with a height averaging 26 to 32 inches (66 – 81.3 cm) and weighing 115 to 170 lbs (52.2 – 77.1 kg). Due to their huge size, they’re not suited to living in small homes like apartments.
Breeding & puppyhood
Daniff puppies are born in litters of 2 to 8 pups. They usually reach their complete adult height by 9 to 12 months of age, but they continue to fill out until they’re around one and a half years old. Daniff adolescence typically commences at the age of 6 months, and full mental maturity can take 2-3 years.
Breeding Daniffs can come with challenges due to their size and potential for dystocia, or difficult delivery. Careful planning around pregnancy and labor with veterinary supervision are essential.
Daniffs have short and smooth, thick but single coats with no undercoat that are soft to the touch. They are moderate shedders and pretty low maintenance to take care of when it comes to grooming. Like their parent breeds, Daniffs can come in a variety of coat colors, including brindle, fawn, black, blue, and harlequin.
Are Daniffs hypoallergenic?
No, Daniffs are not hypoallergenic dogs. They are moderate shedders that shed a little bit all year round, and a lot during shedding seasons or the transitions from spring to summer and fall to winter, so they’re not the ideal choice for people with allergies to pet hair.
Daniffs generally carry the gentle genes of their parent breed the Great Dane. However, they also have the loyalty and fierceness of the mighty Mastiff. Whilst they’re calm and good-natured, they should be socialized well with other dogs and pets from a young age to avoid territorial or overprotective behaviors.
That said, they’re super loving and loyal toward their family members and friendly towards strangers. They’re good with children and older people and enjoy socializing, being goofy, and playing games.
Whilst they need a fair amount of exercise due to their size, they’re not hyperactive by any means. They’re pretty easy-going dogs, but they do enjoy mentally stimulating play and activities because they’re hard-working dogs.
Are Daniffs good family dogs?
Daniffs excel as family dogs, relishing their place in the heart of the family and creating strong bonds with their loved ones. They are suited to families who enjoy long but paced walks and cozy days at home. They’re great childhood companions for families with children and make great guard dogs for family camping trips.
Are Daniffs good with other dogs?
Daniffs generally get along well with other dogs, but proper socialization from an early age is always necessary to ensure good relationships with other dogs, especially because of the Daniff’s tough Mastiff genes.
Mastiffs are not aggressive dogs by any means, but socialization is all about teaching dogs how to read and react appropriately to the behavior of others, which is especially important in dogs of such size and strength!
Are Daniffs protective or aggressive?
Daniffs are very protective of their homes and families but shouldn’t be aggressive with good training. However, any breed of dog can react defensively when faced with a threat and or experience behavioral issues when they’ve been mistreated or untrained.
Are Daniffs easy to train?
Daniffs exhibit high intelligence, eagerness to please, and a strong desire to learn, but they can be stubborn and independent-minded when bored or frustrated. Effective training sessions should be brief, 15 minutes maximum, and positive with fun and tasty rewards.
Be sure to utilize clear commands and be consistent in your methods. Redirect undesirable behaviors and always start with the basics. You can start as early as you want to, with optimal results achieved through training once or twice a week.
Are Daniffs prone to separation anxiety?
Anxiety is not prevalent in either of the Daniff’s parent breeds. Great Danes and Mastiffs are both famously calm, level-headed dogs. However, any dog can develop separation anxiety based on how they are trained or treated.
Do Daniffs get bored easily?
Daniffs enjoy mentally stimulating play as much as any other dog, but they’re not especially play-driven and don’t get bored as easily as, say, a Border Collie. That said, every dog needs to play games and have fun toys to play with as a basic necessity. Without it, they can get bored and run into bad behaviors.
Does Daniffs drool a lot?
Yes, Daniffs can be prone to drooling, especially after eating or drinking, or when they’re excited. However, the extent varies, with some being droolier than others, but wiping around the mouth can help with any excessive drooling.
Are Daniffs vocal dogs?
Daniffs may bark and growl to communicate or alert their owners to something, but they aren’t known for being especially loud or barking excessively unless they’re bored or left alone for too long, which can be said for any breed.
The Daniff’s day-to-day needs
A brief look at the basic needs of Daniff dogs for budding owners.
Daniffs should eat a balanced diet with nutritionally complete dog food tailor-made for giant breeds. Their food should contain all of the nutrients that they need for whole body health in the densities necessary at such a massive size, including all of the essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins C and E as well as calcium and magnesium for strong bones, muscles, and more!
It’s super important to get your Daniff food that is tailored to their size to ensure they get extra Omega fatty acids and other healthy fats to lubricate their joints and keep them strong, plus high-quality protein and carbs for strong muscles and stable energy levels.
Foods containing natural ingredients are always the best choice for your dog. Be sure to avoid foods that contain cheap filler ingredients like wheat and artificial flavors and colors. You should also buy kibbles or wet foods that are made specifically for your dog’s life stage because puppies, adults, and seniors all have different needs as they grow and change.
These gentle giants need between 1-2 hours of exercise per day, split into two or three walks, depending on their age and energy level. They also like to run, and swim, and make the perfect companions for hiking. Developing puppies, on the other hand, need around 5 minutes of exercise per month of their age per day as they grow.
This may not seem like much, but it’s important not to overexercise young puppies as it can cause irreversible damage to the joints – which is extra important with a giant breed like the Daniff. Seniors should also be slowed down as they start to get older to avoid making any existing joint problems worse.
The Daniff coat is pretty low-maintenance because of its length and texture. It’s not prone to tangling or trapping dirt, and they don’t need haircuts. It’s more than enough to brush them once or twice a week with a pin brush and bathe them as needed with a gentle dog shampoo.
If your Daniff gets dirty a lot on walks, you can do it more regularly, but typically, they don’t need to take a bath more than a few times per year. If you do want to bathe them more regularly, keep it limited to every 2 months at most.
Are Daniff dogs healthy?
Like all big dogs, Daniffs unfortunately have a relatively short lifespan of 8-12 years. They’re not unhealthy dogs, but all breeds are naturally predisposed to certain health conditions and the Daniff’s are mostly due to their huge size.
Hip dysplasia is a fairly common genetic condition in dogs that causes the hip joints to form abnormally, making them loose and wobbly over time and eventually leading to arthritis. Vets can usually diagnose it following a simple body examination and an x-ray of the hips.
Mild hip dysplasia can be managed with daily lifestyle changes, therapies, and pain medications, but more extreme cases can require surgery to correct the joint. With treatment, a dog’s quality of life shouldn’t be affected.
Signs of hip dysplasia in dogs include:
- Limping or bunny hopping
- Whining or showing signs of pain/discomfort
- Loss of muscle mass around the hips
- Low energy and irritability
- Limited mobility
- Inability to get comfortable
Bloat (Gastric torsion)
Bloat or gastric torsion in dogs is when the stomach fills with gas and it’s significantly more common in giant and deep-chested breeds like the Daniff. It’s caused by the rapid accumulation of gas in the stomach, often by eating too fast.
It is considered a medical emergency because it can twist the gut in a way that cuts off its blood supply, and it requires immediate treatment. It can also make the spleen twist and lose circulation, and block vital veins in the back that carry blood to the heart.
Any dogs suspected of having bloat must be taken to the emergency vet hospital as soon as possible. They will need to have their stomach pumped and receive IV fluid treatment, antibiotics, painkillers, and surgery.
Signs of bloat in dogs include:
- A hard, swollen belly
- Abdomen pain
- General distress
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
Giant breeds can be prone to heart issues because their hearts must work harder to pump blood around their bodies. Daniffs in particular are prone to a type of heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy, also known as DCM. It is typically a genetic disease and causes weakened contractions and poor pumping ability in the heart, eventually leading to heart failure.
There is currently no cure and usually, it can’t be reversed, but there are ways to manage the symptoms and prolong life after diagnosis. DCM happens in two phases; the occult phase, in which there are no symptoms, and then the overt phase, when clinical signs start to show. Dogs can live anywhere from months to years with the condition.
Signs of DCM in dogs include:
- Low energy
- Fainting or collapsing
- Coughing or gagging
- Trouble breathing
- Reduced appetite
- Inability to exercise
- Weight changes
- Swelling in the stomach
Arthritis is a common joint condition characterized by inflammation, pain, and reduced mobility, often caused by wear and tear, aging, or underlying health issues. It’s especially prevalent in giant breeds because their joints have extra weight and pressure on them. There is no cure but there are several ways to manage it and relieve the symptoms from non-surgical therapies and lifestyle changes to herbal pain remedies and pain medications.
Signs of arthritis in dogs include:
- Limping or favoring one leg
- Stiffness, especially after rest
- Difficulty getting up or lying down
- Reluctance to climb stairs or jump
- Noticeable decrease in activity level
- Swelling or warmth in the affected joints
- Yelping or whimpering when touched in specific areas or making big movements
- Irritability or withdrawal
Skin and coat issues
Daniffs are genetically predisposed to certain skin and coat issues like dry skin, hot spots, and dermatitis. None of these should affect their lifespan, but can be irritating and uncomfortable. However, they can usually be managed with proper grooming, a balanced diet, supplements, and topical medications.
Signs of skin and coat issues in dogs include:
- Excessive itching or scratching
- Redness or inflammation of the skin
- Hair loss, excessive shedding, or thinning coat
- Presence of hot spots or sores
- Dry, flaky skin
Daniffs are also prone to allergies, which can include food, skin, and environmental allergies. Common food allergies in dogs include gluten, soy, eggs, and proteins from meat and dairy.
Food allergies can cause:
- Dull coat
- Stomach upsets
Topical allergies include harsh chemicals in shampoos and conditioners and can cause:
- Hair loss
- Skin irritation
Common environmental allergies include pollen, dust, and home cleaning products and can cause:
- Red or irritated eyes
- Runny nose
If you think your dog is allergic to something in their diet, you should talk to your vet about doing an elimination diet to help you find and cut out the cause of their symptoms or switch to hypoallergenic food. Stick to topical products with natural, gentle formulas, and try antihistamine medication for environmental allergies if the cause can’t be eliminated.
Osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
Bone cancer in dogs, also known as osteosarcoma, is caused by a cancerous tumor in the bones, typically in long bones such as legs. It’s more prevalent in large and giant breeds and treatment often involves amputation and chemotherapy. Prognosis can vary, but it is an aggressive cancer, so awareness of the signs is essential.
Signs of bone cancer in dogs include:
- Lameness or limping
- Swelling or a mass near the affected bone
- Pain or discomfort
- Fracture of the affected bone
- Reluctance to use the affected limb
Daniff puppy health tests
If you are getting a Daniff puppy from a dog breeder, you need to make sure that you ask them for health documentation signed by a vet that confirms their parents were tested and cleared of breed-specific hereditary conditions.
No dog should be purposefully bred with a serious health condition, and knowing the status of your pup’s health will save a lot of heartache and expensive vet visits down the line. You should also ask for a health warranty from your breeder which states that if your puppy does fall ill with any of the conditions they were meant to be free from, they will help you with any vet bills.
If you’re going to get a Daniff dog, we highly recommend looking into the best joint supplements for dogs and giving them to your Daniff as soon as they reach adulthood. Top brands include Yumove, K9 Naturals, and Zesty Paws. Speak with your vet before doing so and remember that diet and lifestyle are key to maintaining a healthy weight and keeping joints strong for as long as possible, as well as annual vet visits to monitor your dog’s weight and health.
How much does a Daniff cost?
The cost of a Daniff can vary based on whether you choose to adopt from a rescue organization or purchase a puppy from a breeder. On average, the cost of a Daniff puppy in the United States ranges from $1,800 to $3,500.
The exact price can be influenced by several things, including the breeder’s reputation and the lineage of the dog. Smaller breeders often charge higher prices, which reflect the quality of care provided to the dogs. Puppies descended from a champion or working lineage also come with a higher price tag.
Additionally, the coat color of a Daniff can impact the cost, with rarer or more desirable colors potentially leading to higher prices. For instance, a Daniff with a merle or harlequin coat will most likely be more expensive than one with a fawn coat.
Where can I find a Daniff dog?
When considering getting a Daniff from a breeder, it’s crucial to opt for an ethical breeder. Beware of puppy mills and backyard breeders who often operate online and sell their pups at unusually low prices. They typically provide inadequate care for their dogs, which is not only cruel but leads to a higher likelihood of health issues and death, even deception regarding health records.
Instead, seek out small-scale hobby breeders who raise their dogs at home and are endorsed by reputable organizations like the American Kennel Club. Crossbreeds like the Daniff can be found on platforms such as PuppySpot or PetFinder. It’s essential to research breeders thoroughly. Look at reviews and recommendations online, and only buy from breeders who utilize ethical practices.
This includes waiting until the puppies are over 8 weeks old before placing them in new homes, providing a full background on genetic and health information plus documentation, sharing photos and updates on the puppies, and encouraging visits to the pups.
Rescue Daniff costs
Adopting a rescue Daniff will typically cover the adoption fee set by the rescue shelter, which can vary from $50 to $400, depending on where it is, whether or not they specialize in the parent breeds, and whether it’s a well-known shelter or a smaller one.
The adoption process typically begins with completing an application form. If your application is approved, you will have the opportunity to meet the doggy in person. They may also conduct a home inspection as part of the adoption process before you can take your pup home.
Cost of owning a Daniff
Owning an adult Daniff typically incurs an average annual cost of around $1,500, or approximately $125 per month, with slightly higher initial expenses during the first year due to how quickly they go through supplies.
These expenses encompass medical costs like veterinary visits, medications, and insurance, as well as food, treats, toys, accessories, and grooming supplies. Over their lifetime, the average total cost of caring for a Daniff is approximately $18,000.
FAQs on Daniffs
Answering some frequently asked questions about Daniff dogs.
Are Daniffs good for first-time owners?
Despite their great size, Daniffs are suitable dogs for first-time dog owners – so long as they have the space – because they are gentle, easygoing, and trainable. That said, they do need one to two hours of exercise per day, so new owners should only get a Daniff dog if they can commit to taking them out for such long walks every day.
Are Daniffs good with children?
Daniffs are good with children as they’re sweet, laid-back dogs, but care should be taken with smaller children due to their great size. Big dogs can easily knock over smaller children by accident during play sessions, and all children should be taught how to interact with their pets safely and respectfully.
Can Daniffs live with cats?
The Daniff can live with cats quite harmoniously, but they should be introduced to each other carefully. Introduce their scent to each other first and take it slow when introducing them face to face. Reward your dog for having good or neutral interactions and if it’s not a match, don’t force it.
Are Daniffs good for retired owners?
Whether or not Daniffs are a very good choice for retired owners depends on the activity level of the person/people. Although they are a good match in terms of temperament and enjoying chilling out with with good company, they only need a lot of exercise.
Are Daniffs heavy shedders?
Daniffs are not particularly heavy shedders but they do shed moderately all year round, with heavier shedding occurring during the shedding seasons.
Can Daniffs live in apartments?
We don’t recommend that Daniffs live in smaller spaces like apartments due to their size. However, if they do, they must get enough exercise and outdoor time every day.
How long do Daniffs live?
Like most giant breeds, the Daniff has a relatively short life span averaging 8-12 years with common health problems including heart and joint issues. However, you can make sure that your Daniff lives the longest life possible by feeding them a healthy diet and taking them to annual checkups at the vet to monitor their health.
How big do Daniffs get?
You can expect an adult male Daniff to reach 28 to 34 inches (71.1 – 86.4 cm) in height and 140 to 210 lbs (63.5 – 95.3 kg) in weight. Female Daniffs are slightly smaller, but still giant dogs, with an average height of 26 to 32 inches (66 – 81.3 cm) and a weight of 115 to 170 lbs (52.2 – 77.1 kg).
How long can you leave a Daniff dog alone?
You shouldn’t leave your adult Daniff alone for more than six hours at a time, although preferably closer to four. Seniors shouldn’t be left for more than 2-4 hours depending on their health and puppies shouldn’t be left alone for longer than an hour per month of their age. Daniff pups younger than 10 weeks old cannot be left alone for more than an hour.
That is the Daniff dog! Do you have a Daniff or are you interested in getting one? Let us know what you love about them in the comments below!