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Great Dane

Avg. Owner Satisfaction

4.4/5

(227 Reviews)

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Is this dog right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Dane; Grand Danois; Dogue Allemand; Deutsche Dogge

The basics:
Always among the top twenty most popular dog breeds in America, the Great Dane is a well-regarded gentle giant who makes an enthusiastic pet for families that know how to handle a large, boisterous dog. They tend to be friendly and curious, but they can also make fine watch dogs because their sheer size discourages potential intruders. However, the rambunctious puppies are not for the physically or emotionally fragile. You need to be confident enough of your own strength to be able to handle a large dog who might jump up or even lean on you in a moment of excitement.

According to legend, this ancient breed is descended from the Molossus hounds of the Roman Empire, further developed in the Middle Ages to hunt boars and bait bear by crossing them with the Mastiff and Irish Wolfhound. With that heritage, the Great Dane looks like an imposing and powerful animal. However, some lines are notorious for their short lifespan. Considering those challenges, this breed might not be the right choice for the novice dog owner.

Appearance / health:
The Great Dane has a broad and well developed head with a pronounced stop and a large, rectangular-shaped muzzle; his head is very refined and chiseled in appearance; forehead is flat and on a plane parallel to the muzzle; ears are either cropped (long, pointed, erect) or left natural; his jaws are well developed. His eyes are round, generally dark, and well set with a sparkling and intelligent expression; the nose is quite noticeable and black (except in blue Danes, which are permitted to have a dark blue-black nose, and Harlequins, which are permitted a black spotted nose); the lips are somewhat pendulous but not exceedingly loose; his white teeth are well developed and must close in a scissors bite.

The Great Danes short-haired, smooth coat is easy to groom. Comb her with a firm bristled brush and use dry shampoo when necessary. Keep the nails trimmed short and level with the ground so that they do not push up into the foot as she walks.

Care should be taken not to exercise your Great Dane puppy excessively to avoid injury to developing bones, joints and muscles. Avoid strenuous activities such as jogging or hiking until he has fully developed. They do need a long daily walk and plenty of room to stretch out those long legs. They will self-exercise if put out into the yard and most will enjoy a game of fetch with their owner. Without this exercise, your Great Dane will likely become very rowdy and independent to the point of ignoring your commands. Once fully grown, any signs of weight gain should be immediately be addressed with monitored food intake and increased exercise.

Due to their size, Great Danes are prone to more health problems than a smaller dog. Potential health concerns for Great Danes include genetic heart problems, skin and bone tumors, hip dysplasia, Wobbler Syndrome and Dilattation/Volvulus (“bloat/torsion”), skin allergies, and von Willebrands Disease.

Ensuring you purchase your Great Dane puppy from a reputable breeder with OFA certified parent stock and one who offers lifetime support in terms of answering any questions you may have as your Great Dane develops will go far toward avoiding many of these health issues.

Behavior / temperament:
The Great Dane is a giant – a gentle, sweet, kind, affectionate, dignified giant. They are playful and patient with children. They are loyal, brave, and a good watchdog. They seldom become aggressive toward people unless the situation merits it, though they can be same-gender dog aggressive. They are a good breed for the novice dog owner.

The Great Dane is a gentle-tempered and calm dog with a deep loyalty to his family. He can be a strong protector. Proper socialization when young is very important to this breed if you want him to be a great companion. He needs to be socialized to all ages of people and many varieties of pets, as well. The younger this socialization process is started, the easier and more successful your long-term results will be. Great Danes are a spirited and friendly breed and should never be shy or nervous.

The Great Dane is rated high in learning rate, obedience and problem solving. Training is considered easy with this breed as long as it is done with the positive reinforcement method due to their sensitivity. Because the Great Danes can be very destructive during puppyhood, proper crate training is highly recommended. Never allow rough play during puppyhood, either with people or with larger dogs. They should never be teased. Supervise all playtimes, whether with other dogs or with children, during puppyhood. The fast growing Great Dane puppy can easily suffer injuries during play and children should be educated in the proper way of handling the puppy. Highly recommended for the Great Dane, obedience training will combine both the very necessary socialization to people and pets with training at a young age. Leash training is also a necessity for this breed. Because of their great size, it is critical to deal with behavioral issues immediately as they occur and never allow any bad habits to develop, much less become established.

The Great Dane is not noted to be a barker, typically only barking in alert.

wonderful

wonderful family pets, marvelous dogs, GRRRREAT Dog, biggest lap dogs, fearsome watchdog

challenging

joint problems, short lifespans, Great Danes Bloat, gastric dilatation-volvulus, vet bills

interesting

big couch potatoes, terrible coverhogs, elevated food dish, soulful eyes, smaller frequent meals

Member photos

adopt a rightpet

from shelters/rescues

(We've had no luck finding any of these frisky fellas so far, even though we've put up wanted posters and everything! But don't worry, we're working on it!)

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