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Great Dane breed Information

Great Dane Dog Breed: An Insanely Comprehensive Guide 2020

Are you thinking of Buying or Adopting a Great Dane dog? Maybe you already own one but do you know all the vital information about the breed? Worry no more because this is a comprehensive guide with all the details that any Great Dane dog parent should read.


Let’s dive in:



What Are The Characteristics Of Great Dane Dog Breed

The Great Dane dogs happen to be one of the largest breeds in the world. Despite their colossal size, they’re one of the best-natured dogs because of their affection to owners and gentleness with kids.


They might not be the best in adapting to specific environments but possess the best qualities to be happy about.


Let’s take a look at the characteristics of this gentle giant.



1. Adaptability

Great Danes are not that good at adapting to some environments. They have an average of 2/5 stars adaptability level. Nevertheless, this should not scare you since they can adapt to any situation if trained early.


This poor adaptability rating is brought about by the fact that:


  • It is not suitable for apartment living because of its vast size. Dogs that are good for apartment living should be small bodied, quiet and reasonably calm when indoors. Great Danes are not that type of dogs; therefore, they only score 1 star in a grid of 5 stars.
  • A Great Dane has 1 star out of 5 when it comes to first-time parents. This means that they're not suitable for novice owners
  • It is not an easy-going dog breed since it has a high sensitivity level of 5 out of 5 stars.
  • It's poorly suited to be alone and possesses only one-star out of five tolerance for being left alone.
  • It has 2/5 stars tolerance to cold weather. A jacket will be necessary for chilly walks because it has a short coat.
  • Great Danes moderately tolerate hot weather and are not that vulnerable to overheating. Scoring three out of five stars, they're moderate lovers of warm weather.


2. All-Around Friendliness

Great Danes are 100% friendly. They have 5 out of 5 stars all around friendliness, and so you can count on its obedience and loyalty.


This judgment resulted from the following facts:


  • They're not aloof and are indifferent to everyone. These dogs are affectionate with family hence hold 5 stars out of 5.
  • Possess 5 out of 5 stars for being kid-friendly and sturdy enough to handle other pets.
  • It is friendly with other dogs holding 5/5 stars rating regarding dog friendliness. It would rather play than fight with others.
  • It possesses 5 out of 5 stars for being less aggressive to strangers. It is a stranger-friendly dog, and so you don't need to be worried about it troubling your guests.


3. Health And Grooming Needs


Great Danes are known to be generally healthy dogs and don't require much grooming. They're rated at 4 stars out 5 for being healthy dogs and ones with less grooming needs.


Below are the reasons towards this:


  • It has a short, single, and smooth coat that is easy to maintain but sheds a lot during springtime hence 5 out 5 stars shedding potential.
  • Great Danes are droop-prone dogs with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
  • It is easy to groom holding 5/5 stars.
  • Its general health is excellent, possessing 4 out of 5 stars when it comes to its health.
  • It has a low potential to gain weight with only two stars out of five.
  • If size could be measured in stars, then Great Danes stand at 5 stars out 5. They're the largest breed (a.k.a the towering Great Dane), so you need to be considerate of space if you're planning on parenting one.


4. Trainability

This dog breed is easy to train and follows instructions to a tee without putting in much effort. It has an excellent training experience of 3 out of 5 stars.


Let's see how we arrived at that:


  • It is easy to train holding 5/5 stars ease of training experience. It is gifted in comprehending what is required of it, and so less effort will be needed during training sessions.
  • It has an average intelligence level of 3 stars out of 5.
  • Great Dane dog breeds have only 2/5 stars potential for mouthiness. When young, they tend to nip and play-bite. They're good for playing fetch games with kids.
  • These dogs have a 3-star inborn desire to hunt prey. You need to teach them how to associate well with pets in your house.
  • Great Danes are loud when it comes to barking and have 4/3 stars barking potential. This is something that could be maddening if you hate noise.
  • It tends to follow its nose and has an average of 3 stars out of 5 wanderlust potential.


5. Physical Needs


The towering Great Dane has high physical needs of 5 stars out 5and it comprises of the following:


  • Great Danes have a high energy level rated at 5/5 stars because they were bred to perform extremely high canine jobs such as hunting.
  • They're vigorous dogs possessing 5/5 stars intensity level so unless you train them, they will do everything with energy including eating.
  • They require more time for exercise hence rated at 5/5 stars exercise needs. 
  • Dogs of the Great Dane breed are highly playful with a playfulness potential of 5 stars out of 5.


At a glance, this breed is an excellent choice to raise. 



Important Stats You Should Know About Great Dane Dogs





Dog Breed Group/Purpose

Working Dogs/ Hunting Boar, Guardian


Aggressive, ferocious

Coat Length

Short smooth

Average Height

76 Centimeters (Female), 81 Centimeters (Male)

Weight Range

45-90 Kilograms

Energy Level


Social/Attention Needs


Life Expectancy

7-10 Years

Tendency to Snore


Exercise Requirements

20-40 minutes a day

Grooming Requirements

Once a week



















Other Fun Facts About Great Dane Breed

  • Great Danes are gentle and friendly giants who are people-oriented. They are obedient and respond well to training so you’ll always enjoy training them.
  • They have great affection for family and are still ready to defend and protect them. 
  • Don’t mistake their friendliness/gentleness for stupidity; they can use their size, power barks, and aggression to deal with potentially unfriendly people. Remember, their primary purpose was to hunt wild boar. 
  • Despite having a gigantic body size and massive weight, they’re still well suited for kids.
  • You’d think that they will eat a lot due to their huge size, but no, they only eat to satisfaction, hence making it less costly when it comes to meals.
  • Tall dogs take time to reach their growth limit. The bones of such dogs tend to take about 18 months for them to stop growing and become strong and stable. Therefore, you mustn’t allow your dog to jump from extended heights. It is recommended that you take ‘em for jogging when they’re 18 months and above.



What Is The History/Origin Of Great Dane Dogs

The origin of the Great Dane dog breed can be traced thousands of years ago and are believed to have originated from Germany. They evolved from the English Mastiff but some sources claim that they emerged from Irish Wolfhounds.


Great Danes were initially bred for hunting the powerful Boars, which required a dog with high power and ability to put them down until the hunter arrived.


As days went by, the need to make the Great Dane a watchdog arose. It was no longer needed for its hunting services. The breeders' aim was to convert it into a less aggressive dog that could make a great companion, and they succeeded. However, they can still perform their primary duty - hunting.


Since they became popular among humans, Great Danes dog breeds hold a Guinness World Record for being the tallest dog on the globe. However, this record was recently broken by the Zeus breed, which has an average height of 111 centimeters.


Studies say that some drawings of dogs similar to this breed were found on Babylonian Temples and Egyptian Artifacts. Drawings on the Babylonian Temples were dated 2000 B.C while those on the Egyptian Artifacts were dated 3000 B.C.


Before they were named the Great Danes, they were initially called Boar Hounds (because of their role to hunt Boars) and later called English Gogges in the 16th Century. They were given the name Kammerhundle (Chamber Dogs) around the 1600s. In the 1700s, a French naturalist traveled to Denmark, saw the dog, then decided to call it Grand Danois. This name was later transformed into the Great Danish even though the breed was not bred in Denmark.



What Is The Average Size Of A Great Dane


Both male and female Great Dane dog breeds have an imposing size and weight.


If you're planning on parenting a Great Dane, you need to ask yourself:


  1. Can your family fit in your car together with the dog?
  2. How much space do you have in your lounge for the dog to lie?
  3. How much space do you have for the dog to play?
  4. Is the door to the dog's shade big enough for an adult Dane to get through?


The above information is important because female Great Danes have a height of 76-81 Cm and an average weight of 45-59 Kg. On the other hand, an average male Great Dane’s height ranges from 81-86 Cm with a weight range of 54-90 Kg.



What Is The Personality Of Great Danes

Great Danes have a great personality. They are affectionate, and intelligent dogs who interact well with family members but don't like being left alone.


These dogs are kid-loving and also bond quickly with strangers. However, their anxiety and high sensitivity can make them problematic if clear boundaries are not set. They tend to be protective if they feel like you need to be defended, and therefore, they can bark at strangers who step in their premises. 


Great Danes are not excellent jumpers so don't worry about building high raised fences. However, consider burying them deep in the ground because Great Dane puppies are active landscapers who enjoy digging.



If you want to have a well-behaved dog, train it early before it becomes a headstrong dog.



What Are The Major Health Concerns Of Great Dane Dog Breed


Despite having an average rating of 4 stars out 5 for being a healthy dog, Great Danes have the potential to develop some genetic health complications.



Don't fall for lies from breeders who don't want to provide a health guarantee on puppies. There are no breeds who are 100% healthy. 


That said, let's cut to the chase with common health problems that Great Danes can suffer from.

1. Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

This is a condition that causes bloat. It affects giant breeds mostly as opposed to small dogs.


GDV or Gastric Torsion is a life-threatening problem (can cause death in a matter of hours) that occurs when a dog's stomach is filled with gas or food.


The stomach tends to expand trapping gas and also stopping the blood supply to the stomach.


When a dog is faced with this problem, pressure accumulates in the stomach and becomes difficult to be released. As the situation worsens, the tissues die, and the stomach could even rapture. This issue can cause severe problems to the heart and lungs.


What causes bloat in Great Dane Dog Breed

  • Large deep chest
  • Stress and anxiety
  • High/Vigorous activity - could be because large meals/over-exercising
  • Feeding your dog with only one meal
  • Eating too quickly/Gulping

What are the signs and symptoms of bloat in Great Danes

  • Extreme lethargy
  • Excess salivation
  • Distended abdomen
  • Pale gums
  • Restlessness


The above signs warrant immediate action, and you should seek a veterinarian immediately.

2. Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)

This is a condition that dogs develop as they grow. A dog suffering from Hip Dysplasia tends to have a loose fit of the hip joint.

What causes CHD in Great Dane Dog Breed

  • Multifactorial (hereditary genetics)
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Excessive nutritional intake

What are the signs and symptoms of CHD in Great Danes

  • Hip pain (it might be difficult to tell, but when observant, you can notice if your dog is experiencing some pain)
  • Abnormal movement (lameness, limping)
  • Reluctant to rising (stand) or jump
  • Loss of muscle mass (often in rear limbs)


Dogs with this problem progressively lose cartilage and could develop scar tissue around the joint and later develop arthritis.

3. Elbow Hygroma

Swelling on your dog's elbow should pose questions. The swelling is not that the dog got hit, but it is Elbow Hygroma, and as time goes by, the swelling grows and feels hard.


The swollen area is usually filled with fluid and it’s never painful but medical attention is essential.

What causes Elbow Hygroma in Great Dane Dog Breed

  • It could occur when your dog frequently lies on hard surfaces (e.g. concrete, hardwood floors).
  • The inflammatory response in the tissue under the skin

What are the signs and symptoms of Elbow Hygroma in Great Danes

  • If you notice a yellow/red swelling (filled with fluid), your dog is battling this ailment.


Keep in mind that your dog might not show any signs of discomfort unless the swollen area is infected. Seek medical assistance when you notice this condition.

4. Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (Heart Disease) is a common health problem in dogs.


It is a disease that affects the heart muscles making the ventricles lose the ability to contract normally.


The left side of the heart (one which receives blood from the lungs) that pumps blood to the body is the most affected by this ailment, and after some years, it could cause congestive heart failure.

What causes DCM in Great Dane Dog Breed

  • Genetic mutations (this disease is passed from the pups parents)
  • Nutritional deficiency (lack of Taurine -a type of amino acid required for the development and functioning of the myocardium/heart muscle)
  • Grain-Free diets could also cause heart disease
  • Toxins e.g. anti-cancer drugs, doxorubicin(Adriamycin)

What are the signs and symptoms of DCM in Great Danes

  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale gums
  • Increased heart rate
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness and fainting

5. Caudal Cervical Spondylomyelopathy

This is a disease that affects neck vertebrae and could stretch its impact on the spinal cord.


This condition can also be referred to as:

  • Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI).
  • Cervical Vertebral Malformation (CVM).
  • Cervical Vertebral Malformation-Malarticulation (CVMM).

What are the signs and symptoms of CVI in Great Danes

  • Wobbly gait.
  • Dogs with this problem walk with their heads down.
  • Dogs appear weak.
  • Have trouble getting up.
  • Dogs with this problem might become acutely paralyzed in all the legs.


There is no known cause of this disease, but it is believed that it is genetically based though it is still not clear. However, find help from a professional veterinary when you notice any of the above signs and symptoms.


Other diseases that a Great Dane dog breed could contract are:

  • Development Issues (growing problems): Mostly caused by improper diet
  • Bone Cancer


How To Take Care Of Great Danes

Great Danes are huge and not suitable for apartment living. However, this doesn't mean that they should sleep outside. They have a coat that cannot withstand extremely low temperatures and a jacket will come in handy when temperatures are low.


These dogs are enormous, and you'd think that exercises are not necessary for them. They can put on weight if not exercised. For that case, a 90 minutes training session is required every day.


Despite shedding a lot during spring and fall, grooming can be easily managed using a bristle brush.


These dogs require regular teeth brushing at least twice or three times every week to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent possible gum problems.


Trimming your dog's nail should be a routine at least twice every month. Dogs tend to scratch their nails when long, which could cause splitting and tearing.


Make sure that you clean the outer part of the ears using a cotton ball dampened in a cleaning solution.


Since they have a significant weight of between 45-90 Kg, you should prevent them from jumping, leaning, and leash pulling. Don't allow them to jump and don't take them for morning/evening runs until they're 18 months. This will keep their bones growing and healthy.




What Is The Ideal Diet For Great Dane Dogs

A proper diet is vital, especially for a fast-growing giant like the Great Danes. 


The amount of food that Great Danes should eat varies with age and gender. It is, therefore, crucial that you liaise with a vet for dieting.


In general, Great Danes should be fed as follows:






3-6 Months

3-6 Cups

4-8 Cups (3000 Calories)

Great Dane puppies should be given

3 meals a day

until they’re 4-5 months old.


When 6+ months, give them

2 meals each day

and never at any time one meal per day.

8 Months -1Yr

5-8 Cups

6-10 Cups (3000 Calories)


8 Cups

9-15 Cups (2500 Calories)


6-8 Cups

8-10 Cups (2200 Calories)










Best Dog Food For Great Dane

Consider feeding your Great Dane with the following dog food.


Coat Color And Grooming Needs For Great Dane

Great Danes have six recognized coat colors as follows:

  • Fawn
  • Blue
  • Mantle
  • Harlequin
  • Brindle
  • Black

These dogs don’t shed for the better part of the year. However, they shed during spring seasons, and because they have a massive body size, this can be a lot of hair to handle.


They require weekly dressing to keep them tidy and healthy.

What Tools should you use to groom your Great Dane

  • Pin Brush
  • Medium-bristle Brush
  • Rubber Grooming Tool
  • Hound Glove
  • Slicker Brush
  • Nail Clipper

How Do Great Danes Relate With Children And Other Pets

Great Danes are known for being giant but friendly dogs. Their relationship with children is superb since they enjoy human company. Generally, they’re incredibly loving and gentle.


They are energetic hunting dogs who can tear pets (e.g., cats) into pieces but can be trained to relate well with them. This should be done in their early (young) stages.

Australian Based Breed Organizations For Great Dane

If you’re in Australia and would want to adopt a Great Dane dog breed, get in touch with any of the following breed organizations.


Rescue Groups For Great Dane In Australia

Want to share your experience with other Great Dane parents or need one to be rescued? Below are some of the rescue groups around Australia that you can contact.


Summing Up On The Great Dane Dog Breed

Great Dane dog breeds are obedient dogs that can transform your homestead. For extremely insecure places, they can be a great asset to provide protection and if you’re into hunting, they make a good hunting dog because of their energy.


Have any questions about this dog breed? Shoot us a comment, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

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