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Great Dane

Great Dane Breed


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Dog Size

Energy Level

Dog Energy Level


Dog Trainability

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Paws 'N' Pups Ranking


Physical Characteristics:
Height: 28-34”
Weight: 95-200 lbs.
Energy Level: Moderate
Health & Longevity: 6-8 years
Breeders screen for the following conditions:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Eye and heart diseases
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Hypothyroidism

Unfortunately, cancers are prevalent in the breed. Like many large, deep chested breeds, Great Danes are susceptible to gastric torsion (bloat), a life-threatening situation if immediate veterinary intervention is not sought.

The American Kennel Club recognizes the Great Dane in the following colors:

  • Black
  • Black and white
  • Mantle
  • Fawn
  • Brindle
  • Merle
  • Blue
  • Harlequin
Great Danes are often found with the following markings:

  • Black
  • White
  • Black masking

Temperament & Train-ability

Affectionately known as gentle giants, the Great Dane is a noble and devoted breed, easy going and mild mannered. Originally bred to perform mastiff-type duties, Danes have been bred for so long to be sweet, friendly companions that some aren’t even that great as watchdogs. Typically affectionate with everyone, from children to strangers and other dogs, Great Danes are one of few giant breeds that are suitable for novice owners. They actually can work in an apartment or condo setting, as long as the square footage can accommodate their size; they need a fair amount of space just to move around. But whereas the close proximity of neighbors and people coming and going in apartment complexes causes other more protective breeds concern, the social Dane handles it in stride. Because personalities vary widely, be sure you talk to your breeder or rescue organization about the kind of dog you’re looking for.

Their towering size must be considered; Danes can easily reach countertops and their tails can clear a coffee table like nobody’s business. Typically not prone to being rambunctious or highly energetic makes their large size more doable than many giant breeds as a housedog. One of their biggest drawbacks is their relatively short life.

Great Danes are highly affectionate, often leaning against people to get closer. Some even fancy themselves a lap dog! This sensitive breed needs companionship and will be most unhappy left alone for long periods. Not typically jumpers, a standard 6-foot fence is usually sufficient. Most are satisfied with a long walk or an hour of exercise. If you plan on jogging with your Great Dane, this should not begin before growth is completed at around 2 years. Danes usually make outstanding family dogs, but just as your dog will need careful socialization to learn appropriate behavior around children, your children must be taught how to properly interact with your Dane. Never allow children to sit on, attempt to ride or pull ears, etc. Children should be taught how to recognize when a dog needs a break and give them space.

Though usually non-aggressive, the imposing size of a Great Dane, with their booming bark, makes for an effective deterrent. Some Danes can be more wary of strangers and less tolerant of other animals. Finding a breeder who produces the kind of temperament you’re looking for is critical, as is early socialization. As good-natured as they are, Great Danes will still need a lot of socialization when young to be sure they mature into confident adults. Dealing with a dog of this size who is fearful of new things is quite difficult. Socialization should be continued through adolescence, till about 18 months of age. Danes are sensitive to the cold, and may need a sweater, even in the house during winter in cold climates. They’ll definitely need a coat for outdoor activities.

Great Danes are typically eager to please and so highly social that training is an easy process. They respond beautifully to positive reinforcement training, which is favored for them over harsh, punitive methods, which may confuse them and shatter their trust in you. Husbandry behaviors such as having nails trimmed, ears cleaned and baths should be a top priority for puppies, along with socialization, as you won’t be able to out-muscle your adult Dane into the tub.


With an easy-care smooth coat, Great Danes still can shed a significant amount. Weekly brushing with a curry or soft bristle brush will help remove dead coat so it doesn’t end up all dropping in your house. There is considerable drooling with a Dane around, especially around the water bowl.


The amount of food a Great Dane will require can vary depending on age, activity level, and type of food fed. On average, they will eat 6-10 cups of food daily, fed in two meals; free feeding should be avoided. A high quality food should be fed, and one formulated for giant breeds is recommended. Danes may require 3 meals per day until they are 4 or 5 months of age. A constant supply of fresh, clean water must always be available.

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The cost for a Great Dane is in the $1,000-$3,000 range. Many times Danes are also available through breed rescue organizations; adoption fees generally range $300-$600. Whether you acquire a dog from a breeder or rescue, do your homework to be assured that the temperaments of the dogs are tested and sound.

Ongoing expenditures include the typical supplies, food, and regular vet visits. Remember, too, everything costs more with a large dog; beds, the amount of food needed, as well as veterinary procedures. Don’t forget to consider whether your vehicle can safely accommodate an adult Great Dane.

Paws ‘N’ Pups Ranking

Paws ‘N’ Pups ranks every breed out of 4 with 1 being easiest to integrate into your life and 4 being the toughest – The lower the ranking the better.

Ranking takes into account a few basic factors such as cost, skill level needed, high vs low maintenance, and how critical regular training is to success. The Great Dane rates a 2; they are easy to keep and live with and suitable for novice owners. Still, their size is a hurdle that won’t work for everyone.


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