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.
Read on for more information about how long Great Danes live!
HOW LONG DO PUREBRED 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.
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.
HOW TO MAKE A GREAT DANE LIVE LONGER
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.
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.
GREAT DANE CARE
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):
- Minimize bloat risk
- Feed a healthy, giant-breed appropriate diet
- Wait until 24 months to neuter or spay
- Add fiber and fresh foods
- Avoid foods with fat in the first four ingredients (may increase bloat risk)
- Avoid grain-free kibbles that are full of peas, pea protein, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans and potatoes
- Keep your Dane lean (this alone can add 2 years, on average!)
- Keep nails trimmed
- Take care with your puppies joints and structural health
- Reduce and resolve anxiety and fear with training and routine
- Socialize your puppy; lots of positive exposure to the world
- Use modern science-based training methods, not intimidation and dominance (the popular reality TV/showmanship training style that is known to increase stress/anxiety)
- See a veterinarian when health issues pop up
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