The German Shepherd breed is known for a number of desirable characteristics. Because of this, they…
Getting a mixed breed pup has its perks. Not only will you have a unique dog but mixes can sometimes be less likely to suffer from certain genetic disorders. However, this depends on the compatibility of the two parents.
But what about crossing a Dalmatian and a German Shepherd? Is the German Shepherd Dalmatian mix a good breed? This article will give you everything you wanted to know about the German Shepmatian breed!
About the German Shepherd Breed
The German Shepherd was initially bred as a herding dog. It was developed not just for its speed and agility but also for its confidence and intelligence. Over time, this breed has proven its capabilities across various roles, including as military dogs, police dogs, personal protection dogs, and even companion dogs.
Today, the German Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds in the world. In the United States, it is the 2nd most popular dog out of 197 registered with the American Kennel Club.
About the Dalmatian Breed
Not much is known about the exact origins of the Dalmatian breed. However, its earliest documented role was as a coach dog. Its job was to trot alongside horse-drawn carriages to protect both the horses and rig. That means both an instinct for guarding and remarkable stamina.
The American Kennel Club ranks the Dalmatian as the 56th most popular breed in its registry. Even if ranks much lower than the GSD, it is still one of the most recognizable dog breeds because of its iconic coat pattern of solid black spots against pristine white fur.
Why cross a Dalmatian with a German Shepherd?
A German Shepherd Dalmatian mix—also lovingly called a German Shepmatian or Germatian—is most often the product of accidental mating.
When done on purpose, however, breeders are often after the intelligence and work drive of the German Shepherd and the outgoing nature of the Dalmatian. For others, the motivation is seeing the Dalmatian’s striking spotted coat on a GSD’s robust body.
The German Shepherd Dalmatian Mix is an intelligent dog that is a fun, loving, courageous, and easily trainable larger-sized breed.
General Characteristics of a German Shepherd Dalmatian Mix
Like most crossbreeds, the German Shepherd Dalmatian mix is an unregulated breed. It has no documented breed standards and so these dogs can differ vastly from one another.
Dogs of this mix can take on the characteristics of either parent, so you might find one that’s more like a GSD and another that predominantly takes after the Dalmatian parent.
Nevertheless, here are the general characteristics you should expect if you decide to get a Dalmatian-German Shepherd crossbreed:
Both the German Shepherd and the Dalmatian are fairly large dogs. Here’s how they compare in terms of height and weight:
|German Shepherd Dog
|22 to 26 inches
|50 to 90 pounds
|19 to 24 inches
|45 to 70 pounds
No matter which parent the German Shepherd Dalmatian mix puppy takes after, it will undoubtedly grow up to be a big dog. It will likely be leaner if it predominantly takes after the Dalmatian parent or stockier if it takes its physique from its GSD parent.
Having a Dalmatian parent does not always lead to spotted offspring. A Dalmatian x GSD cross can take after either parent and even puppies from the same litter can appear dramatically different from one another.
Pups of this cross can either have the short and dense coat of the Dalmatian or the medium-to-long double coat of the German Shepherd. They can be black or liver-spotted, solid-colored, or saddle-backed (like the common black & tan GSD variant).
Both the GSD and the Dalmatian are pretty heavy shedders. However, the German Shepherd’s longer hair and dense inner coat mean more involved coat maintenance. A cross that takes its coat after the GSD parent will need more frequent bathing and brushing, and will likely blow off their coats twice a year.
Their ears will also need more attention if they take after their Dalmatian parent. Unlike the GSD, which has large upright ears, Dalmatians have large floppy ears, which need to be checked frequently and dried thoroughly after every bath.
The German Shepherd has a large, robust body while the Dalmatian’s is lean and muscular. A German Shepherd Dalmatian mix will undoubtedly be strong and athletic.
In terms of bite force, the GSD has a pretty serious bite at 238 psi. Although the Dalmatian’s bite force hasn’t been documented, the size and strength of its jaws are good indications that these dogs can cause just as much damage.
A Dalmatian-German Shepherd mix will undoubtedly be quick on their feet, especially given the heritage of both parents as working dogs. German Shepherds are already known to be fast runners.
German Shepherds run at speeds of approximately 32 miles per hour. However, the leaner bodies of Dalmatians enable them to run even faster at about 37 miles per hour.
Apart from speed, you can expect a GSD-Dalmatian cross to have incredible agility and stamina. This makes them potentially good working dogs or companion dogs for active humans.
Given the energy levels of both its parents, the German Shepherd Dalmatian mix will undoubtedly need plenty of exercise. At least one hour of physical work per day is ideal for these dogs. Additionally, they should have ample space to roam independently so they can build their confidence on their own.
The intelligence levels of both the GSD and the Dalmatian also signal that a cross between the two will likely need plenty of mental stimulation. These dogs will thrive with plenty of training and opportunities to work their brains. Otherwise, they could quickly develop some destructive behaviors.
German Shepherds are among the smartest working dog breeds in the world. In fact, it ranks 3rd and shares this tier of intelligence with breeds like the Border Collie, Poodle, Golden Retriever, and Doberman.
At this level, dogs are expected to learn new commands in fewer than five tries. Additionally, they’re obedient enough to follow those commands 95% of the time, at the minimum.
Although Dalmatians aren’t ranked as high for their intelligence, they’re still considered above-average ranking at 39th. At this level, they’re about as smart as the Giant Schnauzer, Portuguese Water Dog, Samoyed, and English Setter.
At this level, they may take up to 25 repetitions to master a command. They’re also expected to obey these commands at least 7 out of 10 tries.
No matter which of the two parents a crossbreed will take after, however, it is expected to be highly trainable with a good work ethic and a strong eagerness to please.
Both German Shepherds and Dalmatians can be excellent family dogs, so there’s no reason why their mutts wouldn’t be the same. These dogs are good-natured and adaptable to almost every kind of environment. However, a lot depends on its training and socialization.
When properly socialized—ideally during puppyhood—these dogs are not only stable but also playful, loyal, and affectionate.
Like most large dogs, the Dalmatian-German Shepherd mutt might be prone to hip dysplasia. However, national breed clubs require their breeding stock to be tested for such issues.
If both parents of a mutt are from reputable breeders, the crossbreed puppy should be perfectly healthy.
Additionally, Dalmatians are prone to congenital deafness, which is why the Dalmatian Breed Club of America requires all breed stock to go through the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER test). But given that most GSD-Dalmatian mixes are the product of accidental mating, there’s a chance they will have this genetic predisposition.
The lifespan of a German Shepherd-Dalmatian cross is expected to be between 11 to 14 years old, which is based on the typical lifespan of both its parents. Given that mixed breeds are less likely to suffer from certain genetic conditions, however, it is likely that the GSD-Dalmatian mix will live close to the higher end of the range.
Since the AKC is a registry of purebred dogs, a German Shepherd Dalmatian mix cannot be registered with the organization. However, such crosses can still participate in certain AKC-hosted canine competitions, including Obedience, Agility, Rally, and Tracking.
How popular is the German Shepherd x Dalmatian mix?
Since both Dalmatians and German Shepherds are valuable as pure breeds, they’re not as commonly crossed. That makes the German Shepherd Dalmatian mix pretty rare. It would be difficult to find reputable breeders that specialize in this crossbreed as these pups are often the result of accidental mating.
Nevertheless, there are still proponents of the Dalmatian x German Shepherd mix. They believe that purposely crossing the two breeds results in beautiful, healthy, and vibrant dogs. If you’re lucky enough to find one, this crossbreed could really be a delight to own.
A German Shepherd Dalmatian Mix can be a great companion dog. When trained properly, they are also excellent working dogs.
Just like the Australian Shepherd and Dutch Shepherd, they tend to be incredibly intelligent and energetic, so, they thrive in households that give them plenty of opportunities for physical exercise and mental stimulation.