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Great Dane

Great-Dane

A Companionate Dog

Friendly, Spirited, Working group

Great Danes are extraordinary dogs. While it is interesting to learn about the breeding purpose of Great Danes, their genetics actually influence health, outward appearance and behavior. Some behaviors make the Great Dane and some can be quite irritating! Understanding her unique needs will help you keep her healthy and will create a stronger bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about where she came, which health conditions are a risk to her and how to keep her feeling her best.


Breed Details

Height:28-35" Weight:110-180lb Lifespan:7-9 years

Size
5

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
1

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
2

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
3

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
4

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
4

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: The Great Dane is a large smart dog with lots of energy, so keep her mind and body active, or she'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. She can have a high prey drive, so she needs to be leash walked and a sturdy fence is a must. It is recommended that you provide her with soft bedding to help prevent joint problems and calluses. 

Grooming: She has low grooming needs. Brush her coat as needed, at least weekly. 

Dental: Great Danes generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week! 

Ear Care: Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how! 

The Great Dane is courageous, loyal, and sometimes reserved, but with proper socialization and training, she is a true Gentle Giant. 

Positive Traits:

  • Lovable, playful companion 

  • Good with children 

  • Confident, steady, and fearless 

  • Good watchdog with a loud bark 

  • Mild-mannered and easy to get along with 

  • Energetic, active, and athletic 


Negative Traits:

  • Takes up a lot of room due to her massive size 

  • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog 

  • Prone to separation anxiety and associated chewing behaviors 

  • Can be gassy and drool a lot 

  • Can be aggressive, fearful, or snappy if not socialized properly 

  • Can be independent and strong-willed 


Whether you are considering adding a new Great Dane to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Great Dane will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. By exploring the health concerns specific to the Great Dane you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. She’s counting on you to be her health expert.

Some health issues a Great Dane could encounter:

Bloat

Heart Disease

Cancer

Bone Cancer

Lymphoma

Bleeding Tumor

Bone and Joint Problems

Joint Disease

Bone Pain

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Neurological Disease

Eye Problems

Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's)

Hemolytic Anemia and Thrombocytopenia

Thyroid Disease

Allergies

Mange

Paw Infections

Dental Abnormalities

The Great Dane originated in Germany over 400 years ago. Initially bred to hunt deer or wild boar and to serve as estate guards, the Great Dane’s modern purpose is companionship. The Great Dane was developed from a cross between the Irish Wolfhound and Old English Mastiff, and is also known as the German Mastiff. The Great Dane is an easy-going and social breed; they are known to be patient with children and highly devoted to their family. Great Danes are a large breed that mature slowly and have moderate exercise needs, so do not over exercise them during their early years. The Great Dane is friendly and charming, a wonderful family companion. The Great Dane is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of seven to nine years.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Great Dane shows signs of the following:

  • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen 

  • Fainting, collapse, breathing issues, cough 

  • Any new or changing lumps or bumps 

  • Lameness with or without swelling 

  • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss 

  • Pale gums, labored breathing, weakness, or sudden collapse 

  • General reluctance to run or play 

  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes 

  • General listlessness, droopy facial expression, vomiting, diarrhea 

  • Gums that are a color other than bright pink 

  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain 

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing 

  • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws 

  • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth


  • Care

    Routine Care: The Great Dane is a large smart dog with lots of energy, so keep her mind and body active, or she'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. She can have a high prey drive, so she needs to be leash walked and a sturdy fence is a must. It is recommended that you provide her with soft bedding to help prevent joint problems and calluses. 

    Grooming: She has low grooming needs. Brush her coat as needed, at least weekly. 

    Dental: Great Danes generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week! 

    Ear Care: Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how! 

  • Characteristics

    The Great Dane is courageous, loyal, and sometimes reserved, but with proper socialization and training, she is a true Gentle Giant. 

    Positive Traits:

    • Lovable, playful companion 

    • Good with children 

    • Confident, steady, and fearless 

    • Good watchdog with a loud bark 

    • Mild-mannered and easy to get along with 

    • Energetic, active, and athletic 


    Negative Traits:

    • Takes up a lot of room due to her massive size 

    • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog 

    • Prone to separation anxiety and associated chewing behaviors 

    • Can be gassy and drool a lot 

    • Can be aggressive, fearful, or snappy if not socialized properly 

    • Can be independent and strong-willed 


  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Great Dane to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Great Dane will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. By exploring the health concerns specific to the Great Dane you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. She’s counting on you to be her health expert.

    Some health issues a Great Dane could encounter:

    Bloat

    Heart Disease

    Cancer

    Bone Cancer

    Lymphoma

    Bleeding Tumor

    Bone and Joint Problems

    Joint Disease

    Bone Pain

    Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

    Neurological Disease

    Eye Problems

    Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's)

    Hemolytic Anemia and Thrombocytopenia

    Thyroid Disease

    Allergies

    Mange

    Paw Infections

    Dental Abnormalities

  • History

    The Great Dane originated in Germany over 400 years ago. Initially bred to hunt deer or wild boar and to serve as estate guards, the Great Dane’s modern purpose is companionship. The Great Dane was developed from a cross between the Irish Wolfhound and Old English Mastiff, and is also known as the German Mastiff. The Great Dane is an easy-going and social breed; they are known to be patient with children and highly devoted to their family. Great Danes are a large breed that mature slowly and have moderate exercise needs, so do not over exercise them during their early years. The Great Dane is friendly and charming, a wonderful family companion. The Great Dane is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of seven to nine years.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Great Dane shows signs of the following:

    • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen 

    • Fainting, collapse, breathing issues, cough 

    • Any new or changing lumps or bumps 

    • Lameness with or without swelling 

    • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss 

    • Pale gums, labored breathing, weakness, or sudden collapse 

    • General reluctance to run or play 

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes 

    • General listlessness, droopy facial expression, vomiting, diarrhea 

    • Gums that are a color other than bright pink 

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain 

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing 

    • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws 

    • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth


Great Dane Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Great Dane breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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