The Great Dane Lab mix is the result of a Great Dane cross Labrador. This cross breed is also known as a “Labradane.” You can expect a large dog with bundles of love to give. Your Labradane may also have some genetic health concerns to contend with.
People Often Ask…
- Are Great Dane Lab mixes good family dogs
- What is Wobbler Syndrome in Labradanes?
- Are Labradanes ‘designer dogs?’
- How long do Labradanes live?
What’s In This Guide
- Great Dane Lab mix At A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Great Dane Lab mix Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A Great Dane Lab mix
Great Dane Lab mix: Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: No official stats available but both parent breeds are very popular
- Purpose: Both parent breeds were used as hunting and working breeds but the Labradane is bred as a companion animal
- Weight: 100-180 pounds
- Temperament: Sweet, affectionate and eager to please
Great Dane Lab mix Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose of the Great Dane Lab mix
- Great Dane Lab mix appearance
- Great Dane Lab mix temperament
- Training and exercising your Great Dane Lab mix
- Great Dane Lab mix health and care
- Do Great Dane Labs make good family pets
- Rescuing a Great Dane Lab mix
- Finding and raising a Labradane puppy
Origin of the Labradane
There isn’t much available information about the exact origin of the Labradane but we can tell you lots about the parent breeds.
Labrador Retriever Origins
The Labrador retriever is one of the country’s most popular dogs. You probably already know this if you have been looking at mixed Lab breeds. Labradors are traditional English dogs. These working dogs got their name because of their ability to retrieve game and fishing nets from the water. The Labrador’s oldest ancestor is the St. John’s water dog. This dog was quite popular in Newfoundland, and was brought over to England in the 1800’s. It was bred with other smaller dogs, and this is where the Labrador retriever came from.
There are actually two types of Labrador retrievers, the American and English varieties. Typically, the ones we see in the United States are the European ones, and these dogs are used to create canine mixes like the Labradane.
Great Dane Origins
Great Danes are extremely large dogs. It may not come as a surprise to learn that the canines were created by crossing the equally large Irish wolfhound and the English mastiff. Great Danes were bred as working dogs to hunt English boar. This breed from Germany, but they have a long history in England as well. Specifically, the dogs were often used to protect estates, carriages, and nobility. Great Danes are sometimes called German mastiffs, since the dogs do originate in Germany.
What to expect from a Great Dane Lab mix
We can’t predict exactly how a Great Dane Lab mix will turn out. Genetics play a major role on everything from personality and appearance to health (which we’ll deal with later). We do know that you can expect a medium to large dog with the flopped over ears of each parent breed. These mixes may also come in a variety of colors, just like the parent breeds.
Great Dane Lab appearance
So, what does a Great Dane Lab or a Lab Dane mix look like? The canine will have a mix of physical attributes based on the parents, so let’s take a look at Labradors and Great Danes.
Lab Size, Height and Weight
The Labrador Retriever is a medium-sized dog that is about 55 to 80 pounds. The dogs have round, broad heads and sit about 22 to 25 inches off the ground.
Great Dane Size, Height and Weight
Great Danes are definitely considered large dogs (much larger than Labs). They stand at a whopping 28 to 34 inches tall and weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. This weight may seem a bit high, but the vast majority is due to the powerful and sleek muscles that line the body.
Labradane Size, Height and Weight
The Great Dane cross Labrador will have a mix of physical characteristics that are similar to both the Labrador and Great Dane. You can’t bet on an exact phenotype, or set of physical characteristics. However, your pup will probably have a height and weight in between the two dogs. So, you can expect your Labradane to be a medium- to large-sized dog that is well over 100 pounds and close to, or more than, 30 inches in height. Basically, if you look at a Labradane growth chart, the canines will be less heavy than a pure Great Dane.
The Labrador Great Dane cross can be a number of colors, depending on the mix of the Lab and Great Dane. You can expect your chocolate Lab Great Dane mix puppy to be dark if the Great Dane was also a black or chocolate color. Of course, the hair shed from these dogs will certainly appear on your white couch or cream-colored carpet.
Great Dane Lab temperament
Just like physical characteristics, you need to look at the parents when figuring out the type of personality your Lab Great Dane mix puppy will have. Labrador retrievers are known for their sweet personalities. There are a few words used to describe the dogs, including gentle, loving, and loyal. Of course, the dogs also have a fun and active streak. Labs love to play and chase, and this is one of the reasons why the canines are often suggested for families.
Great Danes are also affectionate, gentle, and loyal. They are fiercely protective of their owners and make excellent guard dogs, barking when danger or trouble is detected. While Great Danes are considered stoic and dignified, they are eager to please, just like Labradors.
Great Dane Lab Personality
Fortunately, both Labradors and Great Danes have a lot of the same personality traits, so you can predict the personality fairly easily. The best news is that these dogs are great for families with children. Labradane breeders often say that their pups retain the loving, gentle, and loyal qualities of their parents. In some cases, the dogs do have a bit of a stubborn streak. This is due to the Great Dane and its strong willed temperament.
Labrador Great Dane pups do respond well to obedience and training classes, if you do happen to adopt a stubborn canine. Just remember that reward-based or positive reinforcement training is best. According to Dr. Stanley Coren, positive reinforcement is not only more effective, but it leads to happier and healthier canines.
Great Dane Lab socialization
We know Labradors as being super friendly. It’s no wonder they’re one of the most popular breeds in the world. However, this doesn’t exempt them from socialization training. This is especially true when the Lab and Great Dane are crossed. A larger dog will need to be extra careful when interacting with people, children and other animals.
You can socialize your Labradane from an early age. Introduce them to a wide range of people, animals and places. This will stand to them as they grow older. They’ll be less likely to be fearful of new people.
Training and exercising your Great Dane Lab mix
There are so many ways to train and exercise your new dog. Some kinds of training might take precedence when you have a new puppy in the house. For example, you will want to get into potty training or crate training right away.
Although the Great Dane is a large breed, it is the Labrador parentage that will likely be the source of your Labradane’s energetic streak. It’s important that you have space available or nearby for your Great Dane Lab mix to get out for a runaround every day. Exercise will keep your dog happy and healthy compared to a similar dog that’s been cooped up inside all day. Building muscle is important, but allowing your dog out to get to know her surroundings will stimulate her brain too.
Great Dane Lab health and care
We briefly described how mixed breeds can develop their personality and appearance based on a mix of both parents. The same is true for mixed breeds’ health. It can be heartbreaking to adopt a pup with a chronic or fatal illness. This is why it is always advisable to speak with breeders about genetic testing.
Genetic tests will reveal the health of the mother and father and whether or not the parents are carriers for certain illnesses. Genetic tests are now inexpensive, widely used, and readily available. So, it is not out of the question to insist on working with a breeder who can verify healthy parents with DNA tests.
With that said, some people may seek out a puppy without asking for test results. You may also fall in love with a Labradane at your local shelter. So, we want you to know about a few of the health issues that most commonly affect Labs and Great Danes, in case your dog does become ill. When it comes to Labradors, there are a few things to be aware of.
- Orthopedic issues are common and affect the elbows and hips. Specifically, the canines are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, and these illnesses seem to have a genetic component.
- Studies also suggest that Labradors are prone to arthritis due to the breakage of cartilage tissues within the joints. This type of issue is also a genetic one.
- Some Labradors will develop congenital heart issues. They are prone to the development of malformations of the tricuspid valve. The dogs also may develop something called Ebstein’s anomaly, where the tricuspid valve forms low within one of the ventricles of the heart.
- Other cardiovascular issues can occur as well, and this is one reason why Labradors can succumb to something called exercise-induced collapse. This happens when the dog goes into cardiac and respiratory distress after exercising heavily. Research shows that the issue appears for the first time when dogs are about 12 months old.
Labradors do tend to develop cancer more often than other dogs, so this is something to be aware of.
Great Dane Health
Now that you know a little about potential Labrador health problems, let’s take a look at some of the ones that Great Danes are prone to.
- Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and arthritis can show up in Great Danes. Since these things are also sometimes seen in Labradors, you should definitely speak to your veterinarian about orthopedic concerns when you adopt Labradane puppies.
- Another orthopedic issue, called panosteitis, is also a concern. This ailment involves bone inflammation due to the rapid growth of bones. Panosteitis typically involves the leg bones. Since Labradanes are a bit shorter than Great Danes, it may not be an issue for your pup.
- Heart ailments, including an enlarged heart, may be a problem. Heart issues are often associated with larger dogs, and Great Danes sometimes develop congestive heart failure.
- Like Labradors, Great Danes can be born with certain heart defects like valve defects and stenosis of the aorta, so this may be a concern with your Great Dane and Labrador as well.
Wobbler syndrome is something you should be concerned about. The ailment is a neurological one that involves the nerves in the spine and neck. Specifically, dogs affected by the disease have smaller spinal canals, and this causes compression of the spinal cord. Compression causes a great deal of pain.
Wobbler syndrome is thought to be a genetic disorder, and according to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University, the illness affects about 4.2% of all Great Danes.
Great Dane Lab Health
Before you can really start looking at a mix or cross-breed, you need to understand the controversial nature of choosing one of these dogs as a pet. If your dog is a family dog and meant to bring love and joy to your life, then you may not care about the quirky name and the controversy of choosing a cross breed over a purebred pup. However, some people are worried about the back-room breeders who are trying to make a quick buck by capitalizing on the popularity of designer breeds, and rightfully so!
But there is no guarantee that a breeder is reputable just because a pup has papers and a higher price tag. It is true that you need to be vigilant when it comes to choosing a breeder and making sure the parents and the puppies are in good health. This is something you should always do, regardless of the dog’s breed or lineage.
The Labradane is a designer breed. But what does that mean? Designer breeds have popped up within the last 10 to 20 years, and they are mutts, or mixed breeds. The only difference between these dogs and the ones you may see at your local shelter is the fact that both the parents are purebred dogs. Basically, the designer dogs are a mix of two breeds, while a mutt may have a genetic lineage from any number of breeds.
Great Dane Lab Mix Genetics and Potential Issues
The topic of genetics is often brought up when individuals debate about purebred vs. designer dogs. Some people state that health issues can develop in mixed breed puppies. It is true that you can see all sorts of different genetic combinations when purchasing a mixed breed pup.
Simply put, thanks to these combinations, you may see numerous health issues in your canine that are associated with both the breeds. For example, your dog may develop hip dysplasia common to Labradors and also heart disease associated with Great Danes. On the other hand, you may also adopt a puppy that is completely healthy with very few to no health problems.
Purebred dogs are more prone to health problems due to their genetic makeup. This has a lot to do with something called hybrid vigor. Hybrid vigor is the term used to explain how inbreeding can reduce a dog’s genetic diversity. When genes become more homogeneous, or similar, then health suffers. This is true when it comes to both genetic diseases and overall health. Genetic diversity may be limited in purebred dogs because many lineages are similar.
Also, since dogs have been bred for certain traits, their genetic makeup is oftentimes similar in nature, simply based on how the canines were chosen for breeding in the first place.
We know that genetics is very confusing, but the main takeaway is that genetic diversity is the key to canine health. Cross-breeds, like a black Lab and Great Dane mix, are more likely to be genetically diverse. So health issues really need to be addressed on a case by case basis.
Great Dane Lab Mix Drooling Concerns
Outside normal care and grooming, there are few concerns, except for some drooling issues. You may know that Great Danes drool a bit. Excessive salivation, or ptyalism, is something that affects the breed.
Research studies do indicate that a disease called craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO) can cause even greater salivation in canines like Great Danes, but the problem is usually normal. Some salivation is also normal in Labradane puppies. Of course, your pup may not drool at all- you will need to wait and see. If this is an issue for you, the Labradane may not be an ideal pet for your family.
Great Dane Lab Life Expectancy
Labradors tend to live about 10 to 12 years. Unfortunately, Great Danes usually only live between six and eight years. The good news is that the lifespan of the mix seems to be closer to that of the Labrador, so your canine will live a long and happy life of 10 years or more. It may be better to assume that your dog will live between 6 and 12 years as these are the lower and upper limits of both parent breeds’ life expectancy.
Great Dane Lab Shedding
The Labradane will shed seasonally like most other dogs. This means you can get away with a weekly brushing schedule, until fall and spring roll in. Daily brushing is often required during these times of the year.
Great Dane Lab Grooming
There are a few unique things about Labradors and Great Danes that can lead to some grooming concerns. The Labrador and Great Dane mix will often have hair similar to that of the Great Dane. Since these dogs have short and dense hair, shedding is not a huge issue
The color of your dog’s coat may mean that you need a more regular grooming schedule.
After all, Great Danes are large dogs, and Labradanes are pretty big, too. So even though the dogs may not shed a lot, you may see bits of dark brown hair on your furniture, simply due to size and hair color.
Do Great Dane Lab mixes make good family pets
As we mentioned previously, if you can’t handle a drooler this isn’t the dog for you. Aside from that, this mixed breed has bundles of personality and should be very good natured. This is a breed that should be good around children but you will need to exercise caution when any dog is around kids. Because of this breed’s size we suggest that the Labradane would be best suited to families with older children.
Here are some other dog breeds and mixes you might want to consider:
- Golden Retriever Labrador Mix
- German Shepherd Lab Mix
- Border Collie Lab Mix
- Boxer Lab Mix
- Chihuahua Lab Mix
- Great Dane
- Chocolate Lab
Rescuing a Great Dane Lab mix
Rescuing a dog has lots of benefits. My personal favorite is that you get to give a dog a new lease on life. Aside from that, you will be able to know immediately about any health conditions a dog has picked up since he was a pup.
Rescue centers are often very supportive of adoptees and will provide you with health test results and general support and advice. Another added bonus is that rescuing a dog means not buying from a puppy farm or pet stores.
Great Dane Lab Breed Rescues
We were unable to find any rescue centers that specifically cater to this mix breed. However, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact any Labrador or Great Dane rescue in your area. They might be able to point you towards the dog you’re looking for, or perhaps could get in touch with you if they come across the Labradane your heart so desires.
Finding a Great Dane Lab puppy
If your heart is set on finding a Labradane puppy there are some things to keep in mind about finding a pup. You should check out this complete guide to searching for a puppy. It covers everything you need to know including lots of information about the needs of big dogs vs small dogs and what red flags to look out for on your search.
Great Dane Lab Breeders
Firstly, you want to find a breeder who is reputable and who you can trust. Good breeders will be able to tell you all about the pup, his parents, and any health concerns he has about them. Health testing is of the utmost importance and any breeder worth their salt will be able to show you the results of those tests. They should be able to answer any questions about the dog you may have and will have no problem showing you where the pups and parents are living.
All this is to say, there are breeders who are not in it for the love of the dog. Puppy mills, for example should be avoided at all costs. On that note, so too should pet stores who by and large source their dogs from mills.
Great Dane Lab products and accessories
- Best Dog Leash
- Indestructible Dog Toys
- Best Toys for Large Dogs
- Best Large Dog Bed
- Dog Training Equipment
- Best Large Breed Puppy Food
- Best Indestructible Dog Beds
- Socialization Guide
Is A Great Dane Lab Right For Me?
To summarize, let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of getting a Labradane
- Quite a few potential health concerns
- May be too big for some households
- Needs quite a lot of exercise
- Good natured
- Great companion animal
Your Great Dane Lab
Do you have a Great Dane Labrador mix? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.
This article has been extensively revised in 2019.
References And Resources
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- O’Neill et al. 2013. Longevity and Mortality of Owned Dogs In England. The Veterinary Journal
- Adams VJ, et al. 2010. Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
- Schalamon et al. 2006. Analysis of Dog Bites In Children Who Are Younger Than 17 Years. Pediatrics
- Duffy D et al. Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied Animal Behavior Science 2008
- Strain G. Deafness prevalence and pigmentation and gender associations in dog breeds at risk. The Veterinary Journal 2004
- Packer et al. 2015. Impact of Facial Conformation On Canine Health. PlosOne
- Kook, P H (2013). Ptyalism in dogs and cats – a short review. In: North American Veterinary Conference, Orlando, U.S., 19 January 2013 – 23 January 2013.
- Coopman F, Verhoeven G, Saunders J, Duchateau L and van Bree H (2008) Prevalence of hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and humeral head osteochondrosis in dog breeds in Belgium. Veterinary Record 163: 654-658
- Clements DN, Carter SD, Innes JF and Ollier WER (2006) Genetic basis of secondary osteoarthritis in dogs with joint dysplasia. American Journal of Veterinary Research 67: 909-19
- N.Sydney Moı̈se. Inherited arrhythmias in the dog: potential experimental models of cardiac disease. Cardiovascular Research, Volume 44, Issue 1, 1 October 1999, Pages 37–46
- Susan M. Taylor, Cindy L. Shmon, G. Diane Shelton, Edward (Ned) E. Patterson, Katie Minor, and James R. Mickelson (2008) Exercise-Induced Collapse of Labrador Retrievers: Survey Results and Preliminary Investigation of Heritability. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association: November/December 2008, Vol. 44, No. 6, pp. 295-301.
- Coren, S. Reward Training vs Discipline-Based Dog Training, Psychology Today, 2010
- Hunter, T. and Yuill, C. Panosteitis in Dogs, VCA Animal Hospitals
- Wobbler Syndrome, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website