Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
fast facts

About Daniff

115-130 lb
8-12 years
not applicable
Best Suited For
Singles and families with children and other pets, living in a house with a yard
Smart, loyal, protective, loving, gentle, active
Comparable Breeds
Great Dane, Mastiff
32-34 inches

Daniff Basics

The Daniff is also known as the Great Daniff, Mastidane, and English Daniff. If you’re looking for the type of dog that you can hold in the palm of your hand, then the Danliff sure isn’t it. This is the sort of dog that feels as much like a roommate as it does a pet. These dogs will make their presence known through the physical space that they take up, but they will also win you over with their stellar personality.

These are gentle giants that will protect you and love you forever. They are big but their hearts are even bigger! You’ll love the snuggles and slobbery smooches this imposing doggo will give you without hesitation. These lovable pups will snuggle you into submission. You can try not to love them, but you will fail. Of course, it’s not just about devotion, affection, and loyalty with these unique mixes. The Daniff has so much more than that to offer to the right owner.

As a designer dog breed, the Daniff is a combination of two popular purebred- the Great Dane and the Mastiff. Due to their unusual ancestry, these dogs bring the best of both worlds to the table. Boasting the traits of two giant dog breeds, the Daniffs are truly something special. If you love either of the parental breeds, chances are you’ll be mad about the Daniff! That’s how genetics work, people!

Good-natured, sweet, and adaptable with the right approach, the Daniff will appeal to many different types of pet owners. Naturally, this doesn’t make them a perfect choice for anybody- these dogs do require some special care and conditions to be happy. You might fall for this dog as soon as you meet one, but you should learn more about what these dogs need before introducing one to your family. How do you do that? Simple, you stay on this page to find out everything that you could possibly want to know about these remarkable animals. So, read on to find out all about the Daniff and by the end you’ll know whether or not one of these big beauties home.

The Daniff is a cross between a purebred Great Dane and Mastiff.


Much like many designer dog breeds, the Daniff has a sadly mysterious past. While we know that these gentle giants are slowly but steadily growing in popularity, no one knows when the breed had its start. However, as the International Designer Canine Registry only started registering this breed in 2009, it’s safe to assume that the Great Dane and Mastiff mix is one of the more recent hybrid breeds- and that their intentional crossbreeding became popular sometime in the last 10 to 15 years alongside the rise of designer dogs in general. While there is no information about the breeders who first started to crossbreed these two giant purebreds, it’s safe to assume that this happened in the United States, where most designer dogs were first developed. It’s a shame that no one wants to claim credit for the creation of these remarkable animals because they truly made the world a better place.

Despite the short history and enigmatic origins of the Daniff, we do know a lot about this new and unusual breed. Their parentage speaks volumes about the qualities they have! The Great Dane is thought to have been created more than 4 centuries ago, and the Mastiff’s roots go as far as the 15th century. Throughout their long histories, both of the parental breeds have been praised and cherished as pets and guard dogs. The Daniff shouldn’t thought of that differently from his mom and dad! They combine the best traits of both beloved breeds!


The Daniff is a cross between a purebred Great Dane and Mastiff. This is a so-called first generation hybrid, with 50-50 percent genes from both of his parents. While this makes sure that the puppies inherit traits from both their mom and dad (hopefully the best of both worlds!) it also makes them unique. Each Daniff will be one of a kind- you can never know with certainty which of the breeds will prevail in the mix or if the puppy will be a perfect and equal combo of both. Even puppies born to the same litter will have different genetic makeups. Not unlike most designer dogs, the majority of the Daniffs are first generation crossbreeds. Some owners love that this ensures there designer dog will be unique amongst all others, while some prefer a little more predictability in their puppies.

This doesn’t mean that there are no Daniffs with different percentages of parental breeds. For instance, a Daniff can be a 75-25 percent mix or 60-40 mix of the Great Dane and Mastiff. This is a result of multigenerational crossbreeding, a common practice with designer dog breeders. They re-introduce one of the parental breeds by mating a Daniff to unrelated Danes or Mastiffs- to increase the traits of one breed and create a more uniform look. Overtime, this will create a more standardized breed of Daniff. However, we are still a few generations away from that happening.

Food / Diet

One of the most important things you can do for your dog is provide a healthy, balanced diet throughout their life. Quality nutrition can have a beneficial impact on so many things, and can even help reduce chances of certain health issues down the road. Of course, it’s not always easy figuring out what type of food your pet needs to thrive – especially when you have a relatively new and unknown breed such as the Daniff. 

The first thing to consider is the amount of food your pooch will need to stay in their best shape. Because the Daniff is such a big dog, you will need to provide him with plenty of food in order to give him the nutrition and energy that his body requires. However, you also don’t want to overdo it with the feeding, as you don’t want your pet to become overweight or obese. Additionally, thanks to their parentage, Daniffs are at increased risk of bloat, otherwise known as gastric torsion, which is another reason why you need to be mindful of the amount of their food and eating habits. Their deep-chested physique makes it easier for the stomach to fill with food (or liquids and gasses) and rotate on its axis, leading to blood supply to the stomach being cut off, a painful and even potentially lethal condition. For that reason, make sure to follow the advice on recommended amounts of food for your pet’s size, and split the amount in two or more smaller meals spread out throughout the day rather than serving one large meal. 

As for the food itself, a good place to start is feeding your dog a high quality dry food that contains whole food ingredients without any allergens or artificial ingredients. In addition to always providing your pet with clean, fresh water, you can also give your dog some high quality canned dog food to add variety to his diet. If you take this route, just reduce the amount of dry food so that your dog won’t end up overeating.

As always, if you are in any way concerned about what you are feeding to your pooch, then it’s always worth checking in with a veterinarian. While dog food manufacturers and pet blogs provide useful feeding guidelines, they are still only guidelines and should not be treated as gospel. All dogs are different after all, each with their own needs. The only person qualified to determine the specific dietary needs of your personal pooch is a vet. So always rely on their expertise before establishing or drastically altering your dog’s diet.

Because Daniffs are smart and eager to please, training should not be a difficult task.


Because the Daniff is smart and eager to please, training should not be a difficult task. When it comes to obedience training, this breed is typically submissive, so he will be glad to follow the rules.

As with all other canine breeds, the Daniff will respond best to positive training techniques that involve rewards, treats, and praise. You should not scold your dog or be harsh with him. This is far closer to abuse than training and will never yield the results that you crave. Instead, it’s a far wiser idea to keep the training sessions short and engaging. Be sure to use a consistent, patient, and firm approach to establish yourself as the pack leader. As long as your pooch knows that you are the alpha in the relationship, training should be a breeze.


A giant-sized breed, the Daniff weighs between 115 and 130 pounds. These are big boys. No doubt about it. Big beautiful boys too. And, of course, this giant size brings with itself a lot of special rules. Firstly, their weight and height dictate the need for a lot of free space. Tiny home and small apartment owners – look away! The gentle Daniff giants cannot thrive in such constrained spaces, and that’s the simple truth. They will feel claustrophobic at best, and won’t be able to live happily always bumping into you and looking for ample space. To that end, it is best to house your pet in a spacious home, especially one that has a fenced-in yard. That way, a Daniff can certainly stretch all they want. But even so, you will need to ensure they get regular outside time. Walks, plays in the park, and plenty of running around are all mandatory for dogs of this size. Oh, and don’t forget the diet! Giant-sized, the Daniff dogs will want to eat a lot!

Temperament / Behavior

It’s unfair to think of all large dogs as scary, aggressive, or even terrifying.These giant dogs are known for their calm and kind disposition, inherited from the Great Dane, and their feelings of fierce loyalty towards their family these crossbreeds inherit from their Mastiff parents. Even though the Daniff might appear intimidating because of its large stature, this breed really is known for its caring, gentle, and protective nature. The term “gentle giant” was practically invented simply to describe this dog. These pups form strong bonds with their human families, and they are also able to get along well with other pets, as well as with children. They live to love and you’ll find it all too easy to love these dogs right back.

Of course, the owner will influence their pet in many ways. If you want your pet to be loving, protective, and gentle, you should provide good examples that they can follow. Just like you do with kids. Do things right, and you will allow the Daniff to develop their natural, kind character traits. In other words, while the Daniff has a good predisposition to become a great family pet that plays with children and gets along with other dogs or cats in the household, you will need to make sure that they are properly socialized and trained on time. Proper upbringing is crucial when it comes to forming their character, and these dogs can as easily become overly territorial, prone to resource guarding, or display other behavioral issues if they are not properly trained on time.

If you would like to have a watchdog that will bark to let you know that someone suspicious is near your home, the Daniff will not disappoint. These dogs are leery of strangers until they are certain that the new people can be trusted, but they are not aggressive. They will cause a stink and intimidate intruders away, but are never so aggressive as to be truly dangerous. That’s a very important trait to have in a family dog dog will be around children. In many ways, the Daniff is a true watchdog, protective of the family it loves, and wary of strange new faces. That makes them ideal in a family setting, with a fenced-in yard that can act as their little perimeter.

Common Health Problems

This is a first generation crossbreed dog, and as such you’d think that their health is superb. In many ways, this is so – hybrid dog breeds tend to pick up the very best traits from their parent breeds, making them hardy, enduring, and healthy. But, of course, it’s not all entirely perfect. Like other hybrid canine breeds, the Daniff might end up inheriting some of the health ailments that most often affect its parent breeds. However, there really is no way to predict an individual dog’s long-term health, as every animal is unique. Plus, there is no guarantee that a Daniff will inherit any of these problems, especially since hybrids tend to be surprisingly hardy. Generally speaking, a Daniff will be a sturdy and robust breed, with very solid health. They are a powerfully built breed, athletic and strong, and their physical appearance in many ways mirrors their health.

With that being said, there are a few health issues that you should be aware of when you adopt a Great Dane and Mastiff mix. First are common ailments of all giant and large breed dogs – these are not exclusive to Daniff or their parental breeds, but rather plaque all big-boned dogs. They will be more prone to hip dysplasia, which is a common genetic condition where the hip joint does not develop properly. This can also lead to arthritis, a painful and debilitating condition that impacts your pet mobility and quality of life, as the hip joint becomes loose and causes abnormal wear and tear. Joint pain and issues are more common later on in life, so it pays off to invest in supplements and a healthy lifestyle as a form of prevention for these types of issues. 

Additionally, some Daniffs might be at increased risk for bloat, hypertrophic osteodystrophy (and orthopedic developmental disorder), or heart issues such as dilated cardiomyopathy and aortic stenosis. This is why it’s important to maintain regularly scheduled checkups with your vet to ensure that any potential health issues are identified and treated as early as possible.

Of course, keep in mind that your pet can only remain healthy and strong if you provide them with ample care. They will need your help in order to stay hardy and strong – this includes a balanced and healthy diet, plenty of exercise and care. Only with this provided, can your pet thrive as they should. 

Life Expectancy

The Daniff has an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years. While certainly not the maximum expected lifespan for most dog breeds, which goes up to 15 years, Daniff still boasts a solid life expectancy for a dog of their size – 12 years is a considerable age for any dog, especially one as large as the Daniff. Of course, do not expect your pet to reach this age all on their own. While there are natural predispositions for reaching their maximum lifespan, they will still need your help along the way. This help consists of a healthy and balanced diet fit for their size, a lot of exercise and outdoor time, regular vet checkups, and of course, tons of affection. With all these in check and implemented always, you can expect your Daniff to even surpass the 12-year mark if you’re lucky. Look after your pet and they’ll stay by your side for many good years.

Exercise Requirements

Daniffs require regular exercise to remain fit and happy. If you are an active person, this energetic dog will love spending time with you as you go jogging, biking, hiking, exploring, and more. These dogs should be walked every day and need to be given opportunities to burn off their energy.

Considering their size, it is clear that a Daniff cannot easily become obese, since they are tall, muscular, and lean. But that doesn’t mean that physical exercise is not needed. Neglect this, and you can risk your pet developing a host of issues both physical and mental. It is important to let them stretch those big legs of theirs and spend the energy (of which they will have tons) effectively. Take them to the park regularly! They’ll love to run about and engage in activities with other friendly doggos. If not, let them out into your fenced-in yard, or simply go for a walk with them. Every little bit helps with the Daniff. It is good to know that once they have their daily dose of energetic activity, they will be quite content with snoozing, resting, or being their friendly selves. It doesn’t take much to please Daniff.

It is best if you have a spacious home where your large dog can be comfortable as he plays with a variety of toys to remain mentally stimulated and prevent boredom. And if you have an enclosed backyard where your Daniff can run off-leash and play, that is ideal as well. These are not idea pets to keep in a small condo. They will not respond well to those tight quarters.

Even though the Daniff might appear intimidating because of its large stature, this breed is known for its caring, gentle, and protective nature.

Recognized Clubs

The Daniff is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, as it is considered to be a hybrid breed. However, this breed is recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), the Designer Breed Registry (DBR), the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR), and the Daniff Kennel Club (DKC).


Brushing and grooming can be a tedious task for any dog owner, especially the one with a busy daily schedule. This is especially true with doggos with long and flowing, shaggy coats that can require near-constant brushing. If this is not your cup of tea, and if you’re looking for a dog that will require hardly any grooming, this is it. The Daniff features a smooth silky coat that sheds minimally, so you won’t be cleaning up a lot of hair throughout your house and car like you would with other breeds. Overall, grooming is a low maintenance task, as you can simply brush your dog once a week to maintain the health and beauty of his coat. Perfect for your busy schedule. 

Still, don’t neglect their grooming needs altogether just because they don’t need much to stay in top shape. Neglect their hygiene, and you soon end up with a dirty and stinky doggo, but potentially an unhealthy one as well, with issues such as dry and irritated skin or excessive shedding popping up. 


There is hardly anyone that can resist the charm and the cuteness of a tiny little puppy. So small, so cute, so cuddly. And even though the Daniff will grow up to be a giant-sized and powerfully built dog, as a puppy they will nonetheless be small and fragile. The puppy must be treated like a delicate flower. Be sure your pet is always in a safe environment where he won’t get hurt and keep an eye on him around children. It is also a good idea to supervise him while he interacts with children so you can prevent injuries. Avoid large crowds with a lot of eager cuddlers. A puppy can end up scared, traumatized, and injured, which will leave consequences for the rest of their life. Keep them protected in that first period, ensuring that they take ideal first steps in their life. 

But once the delicate period is over, you can begin showing them the world. Start introducing them to people and dogs, and begin that very important early socialization. It can be a crucial part of their life. Be sure to start socializing and training your puppy as early on as possible. In this way, he can begin learning the rules of the house right away, and he will also become comfortable with being around a variety of people and animals. This is especially important if you have other pets in your family. Use the puppy period to lay down the ground rules, to establish early routines, training, and important tricks. Daniff puppies will eagerly soak up all that info, being smart and curious as they are. Keep in mind that socialization and training should not be overlooked – attempting them later on during their adult life can be a major obstacle, often requiring professional help. 

Photo credit: davemontreuil/Bigstock; Lynne Napton/Bigstock

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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