great dane Earl Wilkerson Shutterstock e1634197015120

Why Do Great Danes Have a Short Lifespan?

A Great Dane’s life span is actually that short.

The average life span of a golden retriever is 10-12 years. The average life expectancy of a labrador retriever is about 12 years. The average lifespan of a Rottweiler is 8-10 years. The average life span of a pitbull is 10-12 years.

The average life span of a Great Dane is ‘between 8-10’ years old, according to google.

Any dog’s life is fragile and, unfortunately, shorter than a humans life.

But, giant breed dogs do not actually need to be labeled as short.

Why Do Great Danes Have a Short Lifespan

So, Why Do Great Danes Have a ‘Short’ Lifespan?

The Great Dane life span is one that any gentle giant owner knows not to take for granted. Large dog breeds tend to have shorter life expectancy than a smaller breed dog.

Great Dane Lifespan: Can we increase the lifespan of a Great Dane?

A Jackson Terrier, for example, has a life span of anywhere from 16 to 20 years. This is because larger dogs age faster than smaller dogs and their bodies are less efficient in dealing with illness and injury as they get older.

However, does a giant breed need to have a short life expectancy, just because they are giant breeds? Although, inevitably, large dog breeds will not outlive small dogs, we think not in comparison to the average medium to large dog.

How Long Do Great Danes Live?

Great Dane Puppies are Cursed From the Beginning

What would you say if I told you that you may have put a curse on your dog’s life, before you even brought them home?

Well, you might want to sit down for this.

When you bring home any puppy, but especially large dogs, it is crucial that you source them from an ethical place.

What happens when you buy your Great Dane puppy from a backyard breeder or pet shop?

Yes, I’m sorry, but that means buying your Great Dane at the pet shop is most likely not going to lead to a happy life. Instead, it will probably bring them a short life span full of issues like heart disease, bone disease, hip and elbow dysplasia / joint and bone diseases, other joint problems and musculoskeletal diseases, bloat (stomach twisting) or other health problems.


Therefore, In a Way, You Get To Choose Your Great Dane’s Life Expectancy

Obviously, we are not psychics.

However, what if we told you that you could, in a way, help to dictate the life expectancy of your Great Dane.

The life expectancy of any living thing is unknown and unpredictable. Fate is always a factor. But, several small decisions could impact your Great Danes living a long and happy life or being apart of the data that keeps giant breeds in the ‘short Great Dane life span’ category.

Factors to Consider for Large Breed Dogs and the Great Dane Lifespan

It’s simple really. A healthy life is not that hard to come by for keeping a Great Dane healthy.

But, it starts before you bring your big dogs home, which is one of the issues.

Don’t worry, if you already have a Great Dane, all hope is NOT lost.

  1. Choose an ethical breeder who health tests their big dogs.
  2. Surround yourself with EDUCATED Great Dane owners, a veterinarian who is educated on Great Danes and other giant breeds, and do NOT take/listen to all advice you hear on Facebook groups and online forums.
  3. Practice and promote good health by living out the truths that your Veterinarian and other studied/data driven resources provide for your Great Dane.

Lets dive in.

Choosing an Ethical Breeder for your Great Dane

Unfortunately, huge dogs have become a business. (Great Dane Breeder Scams & Shady Business)

This business has, consequently, damaged the Great Dane’s lifespan. People who have absolutely no business breeding a Great Dane are now qualifying themselves as Great Dane experts in Facebook groups, online websites, and other forums. (We call these people backyard breeders, even if you don’t view them as backyard breeders- they are sneaky!)

This means that, if you are not careful in your research, you may be unknowingly buying a puppy from a backyard breeder or pet shop who has no ethical standards and is only interested in making money off of puppies.

Therefore, it is very important to do an extensive amount of research before you decide you are ‘ready’ to bring a Great Dane home.


Why Do Great Danes Have a Short Lifespan

What to Look For In a Breeder

Find a breeder who breeds Great Danes to promote a healthy life, free of health issues, to better the breed. Find a breeder who shows their dog’s health history, proper training, proper care and transparency of ANY health conditions in the families history.


Look for a breeder who keeps their dogs tested for the regular/standard OFA health issues. These include things like heart disease, hip and elbow dysplasia/joint problems, eye infections, etc. The breeder should also have a full blood test of the parents to make sure they are healthy before breeding them.

“Founded in 1966, our mission is to promote the health and welfare of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease. The OFA website and databases provide the tools needed, whether you are a veterinarian, breeder, or prospective animal owner.” –OFA


Training is a HUGE part of a Great Dane’s lifespan. Since bloat is directly correlated to a dog’s anxiety, training can make an impact on whether they are predisposed to bloat (the twisting of a dog’s stomach) or not. And, since bloat is one of the top killers and health conditions of Great Danes, it is very important that the breeder you choose to purchase a dog from is socializing the puppies from birth.


Do not fall prey to a breeder who shares MLM / Scammy dietary fads for their dog food of choice. A quality Great Dane breeder will know the current science and data in regards to a healthy diet, and begin the puppies on a healthy diet as soon as they are transitioned to real food.

Lifes Abundance Food should NEVER be fed.

Puppies should eat puppy food. (Read more here)

Puppies should not eat adult dog food. (Read more here: Can Puppies Eat Adult Dog Food? The Scary Truth of Feeding a Great Dane Puppy)

Puppies should get regular exercise. (Read more here)

Puppies should NOT be overfed (obesity leads to a slew of health issues such as heart diseases, problems with Great Dane’s joints, and a dog’s quality of life) (Read more here)

Puppies should be supplemented with Buffered Esther Vitamin C in order to prevent Knuckling and promote proper growth.

Surround Yourself With An Educated Village

Now, if you already brought home a Great Dane, and you’re just now realizing that your Great Dane is from a backyard breeder, don’t sweat.

I did too.

You may (probably will) face more health problems down the line but it does not mean your Great Dane will be ‘destined’ for a short life span. You can still help to create a longer and healthier life for your Great Dane.

Why Do Great Danes Have a Short Lifespan

But, not if you fall victim to the Great Dane ‘experts’ who share false and damaging information on Facebook groups, Instagram and YouTube.

Find an educated village to surround yourself with which consists of Vets, Scientists, Researchers, Breeders who are transparent about their health testing and dieting, and experienced Great Dane Owners.

Join our facebook group for a science based conversation.

Trusting your Veterinarian with Your Great Dane

Treat your Great Dane as you would a human child in regards to all aspects of the Great Dane life. Trusting your veterinarian means finding a veterinarian who is knowledgable and informed about the Great Dane and other large dog breeds.

Most dog breeds require a very different treatment plan than a Great Dane.

If you find yourself doubting your vet- ask yourself why?

Is it because of you, or is it because of them? Read an abundance of studies and determine whether you are having a lack of confidence due to a lack of knowledge on their part or yours. Typically, it will be an uneducated / uninformed error on your part. And, after all, you didn’t go to vet school.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are a GREAT way to connect with other Great Dane owners, learn new things about Great Danes, and get tips on how to take care of them. But, don’t just join any group. Find a group that is full of experts and has an active mod team to make sure all information shared is backed by research and facts.

You don’t want to risk the health and safety of your Great Dane by relying on uneducated advice.

Many owners of Great Danes, for example, share outdated information that could actually HARM your dog.

On this website, we share ONLY up-to-date and scientifically backed information about Great Danes.

The Great Dane life is fragile and a blessing- don’t waste it with myths.

Practice What You Preach

Once you have surrounded yourself with all things Great Dane, make sure to practice what you preach.

If you are educating yourself on Great Dane health, ensure that you follow a healthy diet, provide your dog with adequate exercise, and avoid any questionable or risky situations for your dog.

Be Aware

Be aware of things that, statistically, lower a Great Dane’s lifespan.

Health problems that commonly lower a Great Dane lifespan include bloat, heart issues, cancer, bone and joint problems.

Be proactive in preventing these health issues by:

  1. Feeding your Great Dane a healthy diet (Always do your research!)
  2. Monitoring your pup’s weight and body condition score
  3. Comparing insurance quotes to make sure you have the best coverage for your Great Dane and are always able to provide them the healthcare that they need
  4. Frequently (at least yearly) do bloodwork for your Great Dane to avoid unexpected health problems
  5. Provide your Great Dane with the socialization and interactions they need to avoid anxiety and temperament issues
  6. Hire a trainer!
  7. Avoid Great Dane myths (Bloat Myth Busting Here) (Grain Free myth busting here)

The Great Dane Lifespan: A Porcelain Blessing

From the time you bring your Great Danes home, you find yourself feeling as though they are made of glass.

Sort of funny, since they’re so huge.

Great Danes come across (and are) a strong, regal, loyal, protective and beautiful breed. But, once you become an avid owner and lover of Great Danes, you realize the beauty resembles a porcelain antique. The value that a Great Dane life holds is something you may not ever experience again. It should be cherished, protected, and held close to the heart.

The life of a Great Dane is precious and fragile; with the right care, diet, socialization, medical experience and an educated village to guide them- you can ensure your pup lives a long and healthy life.

The Great Dane lifespan is a constant nag that you will hear once you become involved in the world of Great Danes. But, with such huge dogs comes even bigger responsibility.

Great Danes have the potential to live a long, happy and healthy life if we break the narrative of following myths that have been proved wrong by science decades ago, follow our veterinarians advice, and do what is truly in the best interest of our beloved canine companions.

Our Great Danes only have one life- let’s make sure it is happy, long and healthy!


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