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Great Dane pros and cons

Owning a Great Dane pros and cons

Great Dane size

What is the lifespan of a Great Dane?

Great Dane temperament

Do Great Danes shed?

Great Dane bloat

Great Dane training

Great Dane care

Great Dane health

How much does pet health insurance for Great Dane cost? Check out Embrace Pet Insurance for a FREE quote and more information.

Great Dane pros and cons

Great Dane pros and cons

Owning a Great Dane comes with advantages and disadvantages. Great Dane pros include the breed's easygoint temperament, impressive size and a reputation of being a gentle giant. Great Danes are ideal for a country living, where the dog can have a large backyard for running around and staying in good physical condition. Owning a Great Dane is best suited for experienced large breed owners, capable of proviging this giant breed with the guidance and training to make the most of this noble breed. Great Danes are affectionate towards their families and can make an excellent guard dog with proper training.

Owning a giant breed such as the Great Dane comes with some cons. Great Danes typically have a short life span, compared to many other breeds. There are some serious health issues that this breed is susceptible to. Canine cancer, for example is the number one cause of death for Great Danes. Great Danes need a life long training as handling an unruly Great Dane can be difficult and even dangerous. Socializing a Great Dane is very important to prevent shyness or aggression. Some Great Danes may be very territorial or dominant, which is another disadvantage. Great Danes are prone to slobbering, which is another con associated with this large breed. Great Danes are not good candidates for living in an apartment. Great Dane cons and pros
Great Dane pro: Protective over owners and makes a good watchdog
Great Dane con: This giant dog breed requires training from an early age as the dog can be difficult to manage once Great Dane reaches full size
Great Dane pro: Great Dane's short coat is relatively easy to care for
Great Dane con: A large dog such as the Great Dane is not suitable for apartment living. This large sized dog needs a home with a fenced yard
Great Dane pro: Great Danes make good companion pets for active families with older kids
Great Dane con: This large breed has a short lifespan in comparison to other breeds

The giant breed originated from a crossing between English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds. The Great Dane was used for hunting bear, boar, and deer and the dog's job was to catch and hold the hunted animal in place until the hunters arrived and killed it. The breed's name was known as a "German boarhound" that later became known as "German Dogge" and "German Mastiff" and finally a "Great Dane" name was given to this ancient breed that dates back to the 14th-13th centuries BC. Dogs that look like Great Danes appeared on Greek money dating back to 36 BC. The Great Dane was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887.

Great Dane size

Great Dane weight
Great Dane male weight: 54 to 91 kg (120 to 200 lb)
Great Dane female weight: 45 to 59 kg (99 to 130 lb)

How tall is a Great Dane?
Great Dane male height: 76 to 86 cm (30 to 34 in)
Great Dane female height: 71 to 81 cm (28 to 32 in)

How long do Great Danes live? Great Dane lifespan: 6 to 9 years
Average lifespan of a Great Dane is shorter than a life span of most dog breeds. Giant breeds such as the Great Dane often have an array of genetic diseases that can significantly shorten the dog's life expectancy. The leading cause of death for Great Danes is cancer, that includes limphoma and bone cancer. Potential Great Dane owners have an option to seek pups from long-living breeding lines that produce dogs with better chances for living a longer and healthier life.

Great Dane other breed names: German Mastiff, Boarhound

Great Dane coat: glossy, short, dense and smooth
Great Dane colors: Fawn, Brindle, Black, Harlequin, Mantle and Blue

How many puppies do Great Danes have?
Great Dane litter size: 1 to 11 puppies

How much does a Great Dane cost?
Great Dane price: from $700 to $3,000 per puppy

Great Dane temperament

Great Dane temperament cons and pros

A purebred Great Dane stands tall above most dog breeds with an impressive male height at around 34 inches tall. This giant working group dog breed was originally developed for hunting on wild boar, bear and deer. A large, powerful boarhound was needed to help keep the hunted animal in place and wait for the hunters. The German Mastiff excelled in this role. The breed is no longer used for hunting and as many Great Dane owners jokingly say, "the Great Dane used to hunt for a boar and now he's hunting for a couch". This doesn't mean that the dog is a couch potato all the time. Though he may be willing to take over your couch, the dog needs his share of exercise every day. Great Danes are very people oriented and need to be around the family a lot.


Can Great Danes live outside? No, this boarhound needs to live indoors with his people. Owning a Great Dane means keeping the large dog indoors as Great Danes are not fit to live outdoors and should spend plenty of time close to the family. An ideal home for the giant breed is a large house with plenty of space and a fenced yard. A Great Dane's personality is loyal and affectionate towards his owners. Great Dane owners should be experienced and physically strong to cope with a powerful, strong-willed, and stubborn at times dog. They must have time to spend with the dog. Danes are surprisingly sensitive and need kind, stable and confident handling. Are Great Danes good with kids? Keep in mind that small children may easily get knocked over by the large dog by accident. In general this breed is more appropriate for families with older kids.

Are Great Danes good guard dogs? One of the big advantages of owning a Great Dane is that the breed is protective of his or her family and territory and will bark when a stranger is approaching the front door. Great Danes have an alert temperament and make excellent watchdogs. Great Danes are effective guard dogs and their size coupled with a deep bark is enough to deter any unwelcome visitors. Training your dog to behave around your visitors is important from the young age. Early basic obedience training and life long socializing is especially important for a large or rather giant breed such as a Great Dane. Owners of small dog breeds can get away with a dog who has bad manners but when the dog weighs close to two hundred pounds and is as big as a pony, having the dog properly disciplined is extremely important. Even if you are planning to have a Great Dane as a guard dog, it is important to socialize the dog starting at a young age. A well socialized dog is more likely to distinguish a safe situation from a situation when he needs to take action. For example, a Great Dane that is not properly socialized will not know the difference between a mailman who should be able to approach your house from a house robber, who is clearly not a welcome visitor. Socializing the Boarhound helps him to make better decisions as he is guarding his territory.

Getting a Great Dane is a big responsibility in many ways, including financially. The giant dog is more expensive to take to the veterinarian, more expensive to feed, to train and needs more space to run around and stretch his legs. Traveling with a Great Dane can also be rather challenging due to the size of the dog. Take all of these factors in consideration before making the final decision to get this breed. If your family budget can afford this magnificent breed, he will make a great family pet and guard dog. Great Danes have a short life expectancy (from six to nine years, sometimes longer depending on the care and other factors). If you are planning to get a Great Dane, consider getting one from a Great Dane rescue center. Unfortunately, many wonderful Great Danes end up in rescue centers, mainly because the owners did not do enough research before getting this large breed. Very often well meaning friends or relatives give a Great Dane as a gift to a family that is not ready for such a big responsibility. And then the little present grows into a large dog that often ends up in a rescue center.

Getting a dog from a rescue center is a really nice thing to do - for yourself and for the dog that you are adopting. Be sure to find out all you can about the dog's temperament and health history. How to adopt a Great Dane from a Great Dane rescue center or from a dog shelter.

Great Dane shedding

Great Danes do shed and even though they don't shed more than an average dog, there seems to be more Great Dane hairs around your home simply because of the large size of the dog. The short and glossy coat requires minimal grooming. Use a hound glove every week to keep the coat clean and shiny.

Furminator video - the deshedding tool is compared to the King Komb deshedding tool for Great Danes.


Great Dane bloat

Great Danes are large dogs with a deep chest and these factors contribute to the predisposition for bloat. Many Great Danes die each year due to gastric torsion (also known as bloat). Bloat is a life threatening condition that occurs when the Great Dane's stomach twists and fills with air and gas. Bloat can be fatal within hours or even less. Take the Great Dane to the vet immediately if you suspect that the dog may be suffering from bloat. Great Dane bloat symptoms include increased salivation, the dog's stomach area appears swollen and sensitive to the touch. The dog may act restless and uncomfortable. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately get in touch with your vet as bloat is a life threatening condition that requires immediate medical help.

To minimize the possibility of developing bloat, feed the dog when he is in a calm state of mind. Excited dogs eat faster and gulp more air along with dog food. To reduce the amount of air that the dog gulps along with his food, feed the Great Dane twice a day. Dogs that eat once a day get very hungry and a hungry dog gulps more air along with his dog food, thus increasing the chance of getting a bloat. Use dog slow feeder bowls to slow down a fast eater. Slow feeder bowls are especially useful for giant breeds such as the Great Dane as the dog eats up to ten times slower than when using ordinary dog feeding bowls. Slower eating means less air goes to the dog's stomach during feeding and the risk of bloat is diminished as a result. Slow eating bowls make eating process more fun for dogs and provide some mental stimulation along with digestive benefits to your pet.


Great Dane training

When you are an owner of a giant breed such as the Great Dane, you can not afford to not having your dog properly trained. Basic obedience commands such as "Here!", "Sit!", "Stay!", "Down!", "Heal!" and "Quiet!" are among the first commands that your dog needs to learn to respond to. Since Great Danes are predisposed to bloat, it is important to keep the dog in a calm state while the dog is having his meal. While your Great Dane is still a young puppy, train him to sit and wait for his meal as you are getting his food ready. As you are preparing his meal, tell him to "Sit!" and then "Wait!". Place the food in front of him and only when you tell him to "Eat!" he should start eating. It is important that the dog is calm during his meal. Excited dogs gulp more air with food and that may cause Bloat which is a very dangerous condition that can turn deadly within an hour if not treated immediately.

Having some experience in training dogs really helps. If you do not have any experience, you may educate yourself on the subject by reading as much as you can about training a Great Dane. Another option is to hire a professional dog trainer or enroll your dog into obedience training classes.

Crate training a Great Dane can help to keep the dog in a familiar environment during trips and a crate can be used as the dog's sleeping area where the dog can hang out and rest. Once you bring home a new crate, leave it open for a few days and put some treats inside the crate to entice the Great Dane to freely come in and out of the crate. Make the crate comfortable for the Great Dane by putting a crate bed. After the dog is comfortable coming in and out of the crate, you may train the dog to spend a little time inside the crate with the crate gate locked. Leave the dog in the closed crate for a few seconds and open the door if the dog is quiet. Do not give the dog any treats as he is coming out of the crate as the dog may associate leaving the crate with getting rewarded. Instead, place some treats inside the crate to get the dog a positive motivation to get into the crate. If the dog begins to whine the moment you lock him in the crate, wait for the moment when the dog is quiet and open immediately once the dog is quiet for a moment. This way the dog will realize that whining does not get the crate to open. Never use the crate as a way to punish the dog - the goal is to have the dog use the crate as his den and by putting the dog in the crate as a punishment will make crate training a lot more difficult - the dog will think that any time he is in the crate - he is getting punished and he will not be happy spending any time in the crate.

What is the right crate size for a Great Dane? Get a crate that is big enough for an adult Great Dane to fit in comfortably, even if you have a young Great Dane puppy. A crate separator that comes with most crates can be used to allocate enough space for the Great Dane and to section off the unused area to prevent the dog from using it as his toilet. The dog should be able to easily turn around in the crate, to stand full height and to stretch out when he is laying down.


If you are getting a puppy from a breeder, be sure to meet the parents of the pup. Leaving your puppy with the litter until he turns 8 weeks old is a good idea to let the dog socialize and learn from his canine family. Within this period of time the puppy's mom will teach her pups very important basics of dog behavior. For example, puppies learn how to properly greet other dogs. Taking a Great Dane puppy that is younger than eight weeks is not recommended. Avoid over-exercising your Great Dane until he is fully mature (about two years old). High impact exercises such as jumping may easily cause damage to the growing ligaments and cause serious issues with his joints or limping immediately or down the road. Great Dane is a large breed and it is very important to allow the dog's ligaments to grow properly. Walking is the best form of exercise for a Great Dane puppy. Once you bring the puppy home, it is important to establish house rules early on, while the Great Dane is still young and small in size. It is easier to train a dog good behavior from start than it is to break bad habits and then teach good manners.

Housetraining a Great Dane should begin the moment you bring the puppy home. Potty training a Great Dane is easier with the right tools. Do not punish the dog in case of an accident. Clean up the mess thoroughly as dogs tend to use areas that smell like dog urine as their toilet in the future. Use enzyme based dog clean up products to completely eliminate any stains or odors and to discourage the dog from using the area as his toilet again.

Be on the lookout for potty readiness signs such as sniffing the floor or walking around in circles. Immediately take the Great Dane outside to the designated potty area and wait for the dog to do his business there. Praise the Great Dane puppy as soon as he is finished. Rewarding the dog right away with a small treat can create a positive association between using the potty in the right area and getting rewarded for the good behavior.

Socializing your Great Dane pup is just as important as teaching him good manners from the start. The most important period for socializing your dog is from twelve weeks and up to six months of age. Do not miss this window of opportunity as socializing helps your dog to grow up with even temperament and confident in different situations. Be sure to introduce your pup to different people of all ages, to other dogs and pets, take your dog to a busy street and to the park (once he had his vaccinations completed). If your puppy is still waiting to get all his vaccinations, you can arrange play dates with other owners whose dogs had all their vaccinations completed. The goal is to let your dog experience different circumstances without overwhelming your puppy. The dog's outlook on life forms during this tender age and the more positive his experiences are, the better. Do not let other dogs or people play rough with your puppy.

Feed your Boarhound puppy high quality dog food for large breed puppies. Do not supplement with additional calcium as this may increase chances of puppy developing joint issues. Remember to let your dog rest for at least 40 minutes after meal before physical activity to avoid developing bloat. Do not over exercise your Great Dane puppy to avoid issues with his growing joints that can be a problem for a large and giant dog breeds. Great Dane puppies under a year old must have their exercise limited to prevent damage to growing bones.

Great Dane care

Do Great Danes drool? Great Danes are prone to drooling and require regular cleaning around the mouth area. Great Dane owners usually have a towel nearby to wipe out the excessive drool.


While the Great Dane is a puppy, get him used to having his teeth brushed. Over fifty percent of all dogs develop dental issues by the age of two years old. Many Boarhound owners don't realize that a dog's teeth need to be cleaned on a daily basis in order to remove plaque that can accumulate around the dog's teeth and then harden into a yellow tartar that is full of harmful bacteria. Tartar can damage the dog's teeth and the bacteria can affect the dog's overall health if left untreated. Brush your Great Dane's teeth every day and provide him with dental chews. Only use canine toothpaste as human toothpaste is not safe for dogs.

Trim the dog's nails every 6 weeks or as soon as you can hear his nails clicking on a hardwood floor. Long, overgrown nails can grow into the dog's flesh and cause pain and affect the dog's gait and posture. Nail clippers for Great Danes should be used from the time when the dog is still a young puppy to get the dog comfortable with the procedure.

Styptic powder
Styptic powder is used to quickly stop bleeding in case you accidentally cut the dog's nail too far and the dog's nail begins to bleed. Immediately place some styptic powder on the nail and the bleeding will stop.
Keep the dog's ears clean and wipe the ears with a dry, clean towel after a bath to prevent moisture from accumulating in the ear canals which can create favorable conditions for ear infections. Ear wipes for dogs make it easy to keep the dog's ears clean.

Provide your dog with a soft bed for sleeping.

Dog bed


Be sure to provide your Great Dane with various dog toys, including chewing toys. Chewing dog toys are especially helpful when a puppy is teething. Hide all of the things that you do not want the puppy to chew - your new shoes, expensive bags or anything else that is valuable. A teething puppy will look for ways to soothe his gums and will chew on anything he can find. A chewable toy will help soothe the dog's gums and can help to distract his attention from the things that you don't want the dog to chew on.

Dog chewing toys


Great Dane health

Great Danes unfortunately do not live as long as many other breeds. Great Danes live on average from six to nine years of age. Cancer is the most common cause of death for Great Danes. The short lifespan of a Great Dane breed is explained in part by certain genetic diseases that the breed is predisposed to. Great Danes are susceptible to the following health conditions: bloat, heart disease, cancer including osteosarcoma, lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, bone and joint problems.

Due to their large size there are several musculoskeletal problems that are associated with Great Danes, including osteochondritis dissecans. Osteochondritis dissecans is a condition that occurs when Great Dane puppies are allowed to grow too quickly and the cartilage in their joints may not attach to the bone properly. Veterinarians recommend to stick to growth rate of no more than four pounds per week for Great Dane puppies. Do not overfeed your Great Dane puppies to avoid excessive weight gain. Feed the puppies with high quality dog food for large breeds. Homemade dog food that meets the dog's nutritional needs can be very beneficial but not all Great Dane owners have the time to only feed the dog with homemade dog food. Another alternative is to add healthy ingredients to the dog's dry or canned food to help keep the dog in optimal health.

Allergies that result in itchy skin, thyroid problems, various eye problems and hemolytic anemia are also among health issues for this giant breed.

Feed your Great Dane a high quality age-appropriate dog food. Because Bloat is an issue for this breed, never exercise your dog immediately after a meal. The dog needs to rest a good forty minutes after a meal before physical activity to prevent Bloat. While the puppy is growing, stick to the recommended growth chart. If the puppy grows too fast, the risk of developing joint issues increases.


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