How Long Do Great Danes Live?

3 mins read

It is often said that Great Danes have ‘short lifespans’, but we don’t believe that’s entirely true! How long do Great Danes live? The answer may surprise you.

Many people have experienced the devastating loss of a Great Dane at a young age and this happens most often because of bloat, heart conditions, orthopedic problems, and other genetic issues.

On the flip side, many people have had Great Danes live for 10 years or even longer!

There is a misperception about the lifespan of Great Danes, and we are here to fix that. Great Danes make amazing family pets in the right homes, and can absolutely live long and healthy lives.

How long do great danes live?

Read on for more information about how long Great Danes live!


Great Danes live, on average, 8-10 years.

Many smaller dogs live 10-15 years, for comparison.
The average is low, but it doesn’t have to be!

The oldest Great Dane currently known in 2021 is Maggie Mae at age 16.

Great Danes suffer from a list of health conditions that are often FATAL and nearly always GENETIC. These health conditions significantly lower the average expected lifespan.

Unethical breeding practices are to blame, not the breed itself.

These health conditions include: 

  • Wobblers Disease (Genetic link)
  • Arthritis (Genetic link, especially when looking at structural problems that contribute)
  • Cancer (Genetic link)
  • Bloat (Genetic link)
  • Blood Clotting Disorders (Genetic)
  • Degenerative Disorders (Genetic link)
  • Heart Disease, including DCM (Genetic link)

DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) is a silent killer. Many Danes are lost to this but it’s not always diagnosed; they often have very few symptoms and may pass suddenly (as if they had a heart attack).

Bloat is an exceptionally dangerous and scary killer; it happens fast and can take a Great Dane’s life in a matter of hours.

Blood clotting disorders are often to blame for Great Danes that don’t make it through routine surgical procedures such as spaying and neutering.

Wobblers is a devastating disease that takes mobility away from Great Danes.

It is very unlikely that a Great Dane with any of these unfortunately common disorders will live long and robust (10+ year) lives.

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A robust, well-bred Great Dane from fully tested and proven parents. Most likely to live a long, healthy life.


The reality here is that most of us want our Great Danes to live forever.

There are things you can do to help them live long, healthy lives and increase the average lifespan. The most important one starts with the breeder you choose. 

Wobblers, bloat, heart issues, blood clotting disorders, anxiety, painful structural problems (including flat feet and roached back) and even cancer have genetic links that can be traced back to the lineage and careless breeding.

Many of the Great Dane breeders perpetuating these common health problems are friendly, say they ‘health test’, breed often and have cute puppies and nice websites!

Treat cautiously with ‘friendly backyard breeders’ who are more interested in profits than the breed itself.

Friendly backyard breeders may even be popular, especially on social media. It’s easy to fall into this trap, and it’s unfortunate because bad genetics is like a game of telephone.

It’s very hard to get rid of the bad genetics so long as they continue to be reproduced.

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A sickly Great Dane puppy from an unethical breeder.


All Great Danes deserve loving homes, even the ones that are already here from careless breeders. Love the Dane in front of you! Coming from a ‘bad’ breeder doesn’t automatically mean a shorter lifespan, either. Just be aware of the additional risks as a whole.

Here are some things you can do to help your Great Dane live a long, healthy life, no matter where they came from (information based on current studies): 

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Interested in more resources for Great Dane training, health and care? Here are a few of our most popular topics:

Hello Danes

Dane lover and believer in ethical breeding, training and rescue practices. Positive + Balanced trainer, owner of rescue dogs and dogs from breeders. Love the dog in front of you.

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