Great Dane

A Quick Look at the Great Dane…

The Great Dane is one of the largest dog breeds in the world. They are a fearless, vibrant, and beautiful canine. Yet, despite their powerful size, they are a very good-natured and gentle pet and enjoy the company of children. In fact, their charming and affectionate personality as well as their playful, affectionate and patient disposition has earned them the nickname the “gentle giant”.

Danes love to be around people and thrive on human companionship. They do not bark frequently and usually only become aggressive when they feel it is necessary. They are reliable and trustworthy watchdogs. The Great Dane is a devoted and brave dog that makes a wonderful addition to any family looking for a loyal and loving pet.

Here are some fast facts about the Great Dane:

Dog Group:
Working (AKC)
Recognized By:
Dogs – 120-200 lbs. (54-90 kg)
Bitches – 100-130 lbs. (45-59 kg)
Dogs – 30 -34 in. (76-86 cm)
Bitches – 28-32 in. (71-81 cm)
Average litter size:
Life expectancy:
10  years (average of 8 – 12 years)
Health problems:
Coat care:
Exercise needs:
Suitable for children:
Pet compatibility:
Barking frequency:

Brief History

The Great Dane is a breed that has been around for many centuries. Though it is not known when they came into existence, dogs that resemble Danes can be seen in the form of drawings on Egyptian monuments that date back to about 3000 B.C. While it is not clear when they were first created, it is clear that this breed has Mastiff roots. In fact, many believe that they are a cross between the old English Mastiff and the Wolfhound and then later, the Greyhound.

Great Danes were developed in Germany and were initially bred for hunting. They were admired for their powerful appearance and for their ability to bring down ferocious animals, especially wild boars and bears. When they were no longer used for hunting, they became companions and were also used as estate guard dogs.

Danes were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887. Today they are well loved family pets that excel at many things including watchdog, carting and tracking.

Great Dane Breed Appearance and Characteristics

General Appearance – The Great Dane has a powerful physique. His body is square and his long head has a rectangular shape. He has a deep muzzle with a distinct stop and his nose is black or can be blue-black on blue, harlequin and black spotted Danes. He has medium, dark eyes that are deeply set and soulful. His ears droop forward toward his cheeks when left in their natural state or are set high on the head if they are cropped.

The Great Dane has a high and well arched neck that is both muscular and firm in appearance. Their front legs are very straight and their round paws feature dark toenails. The tail is carried high. Their coat is thick and short and comes in many colors, including fawn, black, brindle, blue, mantle harlequin and merle.

Typical Temperament – Danes are very affectionate and gentle dogs. They are sociable creatures that love to be around people, enjoying the company of both humans and other canines. They are very good with children, love to play with them and are incredibly patient. Danes are a very dependable breed and are courageous, loyal and excellent watchdogs. They bark only when necessary and can also be trained to be guard dogs. They are happiest when they are with their pack and are pleased to engage in just about any activity.

While Great Danes are fabulous four legged wonders, they do require consistent obedience training and need to be taught rules when they are puppies. This is necessary so they understand where their place is in their pack and will grow to be good-natured adults with a sweet temperament. It is imperative that you begin teaching them early because they will grow large very quickly, and it is far more difficult to control a large puppy than a smaller one. Furthermore, Danes that are not taught proper obedience or are not socialized can develop dominance issues and be less accepting of children, other dogs and may chase small animals.

Basic Great Dane Care Requirements

Grooming – The smooth, thick and short haired coat of the Dane is very easy to care for. Simply comb and/or brush with a firm bristle brush everyday and give them a dry shampoo as needed. This particular pooch does not need frequent baths; twice a year should be sufficient. This is good news, as washing a canine his size can be quite the challenge. His nails should be trimmed monthly.

Exercise – The Great Dane needs a moderate amount of exercise and should be taken on a significant daily walk (approximately 30 – 60 minutes). Other good forms of exercise include jogging, hiking and playing fetch. He should also be provided with playtime, and the freedom to move around a yard free of a lead. It is imperative that he is not over exercised or exercised too hard. Though his size and physique may lead you to believe he requires vigorous exercise, too much can lead to injury of the bones, joints and muscles, especially in growing puppies.

Approximate Food Cost – Depending on the size of the Great Dane, this dog can typically ingest 7 – 9 cups of dry kibble per day. The cost ranges from about $45 to $60 a month.

General Health Information

The Great Dane is generally a healthy breed of dog despite his relatively short life span that is typically ten years or less. However, he is prone to certain genetic problems including hip dysplasia, heart disease, epilepsy and arthritis. In addition to what may be in his gene pool, Danes have also been known to suffer from cancer (bone cancer in particular), tail injuries, and bloat.  Muscle, bone and joint injuries are also a concern for developing puppies. As such it is recommended that Danes are not taken jogging until they are at least one year of age.

Common Illnesses include: Bloat, tumors, hip dysplasia and heart disease.

Are You the Right Great Dane Owner?

Living conditions – The Great Dane is not active when indoors. Since this is the case, he can live happily in an apartment. However, apartment dwellers will need to take great care to ensure that their pet is sufficiently exercised or he can become overweight from lack of physical stimulation. The Dane is best suited to a home with a decent sized yard.

Great Dane Training – Great Danes require strong pack leaders who are confident and clear in their leadership. Obedience training should begin at an early age, as puppies are more eager to learn and are less distracted. Moreover, they are smaller and physically easier to control. Danes are smart and are quick learners when they are trained with consistency. Training needs to begin at a young age to ensure you have control over your pet, as well as to ensure he is patient and good with children, and is accepting of other humans and animals.

Common Problems – Although the Great Dane is a very gentle, agreeable and reliable breed, one of the biggest problems that owners encounter with this pooch is his enormous size, of which he is not always aware. Like most canines, Danes will leap up on people if they are not trained out of this habit. This can lead to serious problems if you consider a 150 lb plus dog jumping on a child. Moreover, these dogs should also be watched when in the presence of toddlers and very small children, as they can accidentally knock them down, even with their tails.

The bottom line…

The Great Dane is a tremendous companion who is suitable for both families and single dog owners who are dedicated to spending plenty of time with him by making him an active part of their lifestyle. The Dane is large and has a powerful presence, but his temperament is very mild and friendly, making him a very endearing and well-liked canine.

Filed Under: Great Dane Training


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