Are you thinking about adding a Great Dane to your family?
If so, there are some things you should know before making that decision. Great Danes are wonderful dogs, but they require a lot of space and exercise.
They are not the best choice for everyone.
In this blog post, we will discuss 10 things that every Great Dane owner should know. We will also provide some tips on how to make sure your dog has a happy and healthy life!
What it is Like Owning Great Dane Dogs
Great Danes are one of the most popular giant breed dogs in the world. These gentle giants are large breeds who were originally bred in Germany to hunt wild boar. However, they quickly became beloved family pets due to their gentle nature and obedient personalities.
The Great Dane is a Popular Dog
Today, Great Danes are still prized for their loyalty and affection. If you are considering owning a Great Dane, there are a few things you should know.
Is Your House Equipped?
First, Great Danes require a lot of space. They ARE, however, well suited for small homes or apartments if you are able and willing to provide the stimulation that they need.
Is Your Schedule Equipped?
Second, Great Danes are a high maintenance breed. They require regular grooming and exercise to stay healthy and happy. Finally, Great Danes puppies are notoriously mischievous. They need plenty of patience and training to become well-behaved adults.
Now, lets dive into 10 things about these Gentle Giants called Great Danes that we find important for you to know before you bring one in as a family member.
One: The Great Dane is Unlike Any Other Dog Breed
Giant breeds are special dogs that come with their own set of pros and cons. Owning a Great Dane is truly NOT like owning any other dog breed. When you decide to get a Great Dane, you should know that some factors of life with a Great Dane is unique and different to that of other dogs.
For example, any giant breed dog is going to be VERY expensive! With a large dog comes a large EVERYTHING: large meal, large crate, large toys, and even a large car to transport them to and from the vet, etc.
Secondly, they also require a significant amount of exercise and space. Yes- both a puppy and adult Great Dane can thrive in an apartment or small space. However, you need to be willing to get them the exercise that they need.
Additionally, since a Great Dane grows FAST from a young age, you need to be prepared to put in your own work with them before they become a full grown Great Dane, in order to help them become the best possible family member to your human family and other dogs.
IS YOUR GREAT DANE PUPPY KNUCKLING?
Check out our science-based and constantly always growing knuckling resource page.
In many ways, the Great Dane stands up to its name of the ‘Apollo of dog breeds’ – there is simply no other breed that can match its size, strength, and beauty.
Two: Health Issues in Great Danes
Great Danes are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. Often considered to be gentle giants, they are known for their even temperament and affectionate nature.
However, Great Danes also come with some unique health concerns. Backyard breeders have perpetuated health issues in Great Danes.
Euro Danes: A Big, Droopy Problem
What Does Euro Mean in Great Danes?
Miniature Great Danes: The Pocket Size Version
Scam Breeders: What to Look For
Breeders: Shady Business
Should I Choose a Breeder or Rescue?
Joint Disease in Great Danes
Because they are such large dogs, they are prone to hip dysplasia and other joint problems. Older dogs, especially, may need joint supplements or pain medication to keep them comfortable.
Arthritis in Great Danes? Read here.
Cancer in Great Danes
Unfortunately, cancer is also a common health concern in Great Danes. Some giant breeds will be more prone to getting joint cancer, called Osteosarcoma, compared to other dogs. Unspayed females, over the age of hormonal development are also at risk for mammary cancer.
Bloat in Great Danes
Great Dane owners need to be aware of a problem called bloat, which can be fatal if not treated promptly. Bloat happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas and twists, cutting off blood flow, which causes Torsion. Bloat induced Torsion is a life threatening condition which requires emergency surgery.
Does Resting After Meals Prevent Bloat?
What are the signs of bloat?
If your Great Dane is showing signs of bloat, they will be:
- Pacing or restless
- Attempting to vomit but not being able to
- Having a distended abdomen
If you think your dog is bloating, take them to the vet immediately.
Can Dog Parents Prevent Bloat?
There is no scientific measure to completely prevent bloat.
However, genetics, gut health, and anxiety have been best shown as the key triggers for bloat. Therefore, to BEST prevent bloat, choose a breeder who health tests their breed against pre-existing conditions. Work on consistently improving the gut health of your dog, and work to minimize the daily anxiety that your dog faces.
Reputable Breeding and Bloat
To help ensure a long and healthy life for your Great Dane, it is important to work with a reputable breeder and to take steps to prevent these common health problems. With the proper care, a Great Dane can be a loving and loyal companion for many years to come.
Three: Large Breeds Food and Diet Requirements
Food is one of the most important things for all animals, and dogs are no different. Dogs need food to fuel their bodies and to provide them with the nutrients they need to grow and stay healthy.
Great Dane Food Requirements
For larger breeds of dogs, food requirements are even more important.
Why do Large Breeds Need a Specific Diet?
Larger breeds have a rapid growth rate and require a higher quality of food than smaller dogs. When a small dog such as a tiny chihuahua may thrive on a variety of foods, a fast growing Great Dane puppy or adult need to eat a very specific diet.
Growth and Food
The food Great Dane’s, eat as a large breed dog, can make a significant impact on their overall growth. Therefore, you want to ensure that they eat something that is made specifically for big dogs.
IS YOUR GREAT DANE PUPPY KNUCKLING?
Check out our science-based and constantly always growing knuckling resource page.
For a more comprehensive list of high quality foods we condone for Great Dane Adult Dogs, be sure to check out this post:
And if you have a growing Great Dane puppy, be sure to check out some of our favorite dog kibble for a Great Dane puppy:
Quantity of Food for a Great Dane:
They also need more food overall, as their larger bodies require more calories. Check out our feeding chart for puppies to use as a general guideline here.
When choosing a high quality food for a larger breed dog, it is important to consult with a veterinarian or animal nutritionist. They can help you select the best food for your dog based on their individual needs.
Four: Are Great Danes Friendly Dogs with Other Dogs?
Great Danes, when bred ethically and raised appropriately LOVE to spend time with dogs, kids, and other animals or human family members / new people.
Unethical Breeding and Temperament
Unethical breeding has allowed timid, fearful and aggressive Great Danes to begin their way out of the woodwork.
What is the Breed MEANT to Act Like?
However, as a whole, the breed is meant to be confident, fearless and peaceful. Originally called boar hounds and bred to hunt wild boar, Great Dane’s stature and demeanor was intended to be both people oriented and friendly with dogs.
What Should Training Look Like?
With the proper training mechanisms which should include both positive reinforcement and necessary corrections / boundaries, your Great Dane will thrive in social settings.
For more information on how we use an e collar to train this giant dog breed, be sure to check out our e collar guide and utilize it with your dog.
Five: Getting Insurance On Your Great Dane
We cannot stress enough the importance of a pet insurance policy for your Great Dane.
Pre Existing Conditions
Remember, most insurance companies will not insure any pre-existing conditions.
So, if you wait until your dog is already sick or injured to get insurance, your policy will not cover those expenses.
Get a Policy ASAP
Get a policy as soon as you adopt or purchase your dog to ensure that you are covered in case of an unforeseen accident or illness.
Since your Gentle Giant will be more prone to health issues and those can be expensive, we recommend not waiting on getting them signed up with their policy. Look for a pet insurance policy that covers both wellness as well as emergency.
Six: Great Danes and Obedience Training
Training your Great Dane is unique compared to other pets. Because they are a large breed, your puppy will begin to grow quickly, and will be very large very fast.
5 Common mistakes you may be making when Training Your Great Dane
Start training your Great Dane early, as soon as you bring them home. It is important to socialize them and get them used to being around people and other dogs who you trust to be a great role model for your dog. However, socialization DOES NOT always mean that they need to be interacting with other dogs or humans.
Socialization can be an abundance of fun activities, which is why we put together a Puppy Socialization Guide. You can find the guide here to find out which socialization activity is the perfect match for your Great Dane.
Have a Great Dane Puppy?
Check out our positive socialization guide, and learn how to socialize your pup the right way!
Friendly – Confident – Resilient
Seven: Do Great Danes Need a Lot of Exercise?
The exercise needed in the breed can vary from dog to dog.
How Much Exercise is Needed?
Generally speaking, Great Danes need at least 30-60 minutes of moderate daily exercise every day. However, some of Great Danes require more than this.
Are They Couch Potatoes?
The total amount of needed daily exercise will depend on the health, and energy level of your dog. Whatever the case, you should not plan on the breed being ‘couch potatoes’ as a whole.
As a matter of fact, many Great Danes actually participate and thrive in dog sports such as agility, obedience, tracking, and even dock jumping! You can generally find these sporting events on the American Kennel Club website.
For further information on a Great Dane and exercise, feel free to read here:
Eight: Do Great Danes Shed?
The short answer is: YES. And, since there is simply a LOT of dog, there can be a LOT of hair.
Great Danes Have Short Hair
The breed has short hair, so you won’t have to deal with the hair getting everywhere as much as you would with a longer haired breed.
But, they will still shed enough that you’ll need to vacuum frequently and brush them out weekly to help manage the shedding.
Recommendations for Shedding
If you are in need of recommendations on which types of brushes we like as well as to further read about what can cause unnecessary shedding within the breed, be sure to check out this post.
Nine: How Long Do Great Danes Live?
By far, the hardest part about owning a Great Dane is losing them. The ‘average’ lifespan of a Great Dane is unfortunately between 8-10 years.
Contributing Factors to a ‘Short’ Lifespan
However, bad breeding is one aspect that lowers this average. Some well-bred Great Danes have been known to outlive this average. Some have even lived up to 12-14 years.
The Importance of Ethical Breeding
Bad Breeder Resources
We put together some resources on bad breeding, be sure to check them out if you are interested in getting your own Great Dane.
Ten: The Grand Danois: Should I Bring Home the Apollo of Dogs?
In our opinions, despite the difficulty or unique hardships that the Great Dane ‘Greek God’ might bring as a whole, you will never find another love like the ‘Apollo of Dogs’.
Great Danes are one of the most gentle, loving, and loyal companions that you could ask for. They will quickly become a part of your family and will always be by your side.
Once you have fully researched the breed, understand what it might look like for your family to have your very own ‘Scooby Doo’, and feel like you are ready, we know that it will be an adventure of a lifetime.
We hope this article has helped you understand some key things to know before owning a Great Dane. If you have any questions or would like to add anything, please feel free to reach out or join our Facebook community by clicking the image below.