The Great Dane is a large breed of dog that stands well over 32 inches at the point of their shoulder, but their average size can be anywhere from 28″ to 34″. They are often called the “Apollo of dogs” due to their enormous size. Many say Great Danes are great family pets.
This article will give you all the insights you need to know about this fantastic, unique dog breed. So keep reading to learn things you probably didn’t know about this BIG dog!
The Mighty Great Dane
Their height seems to match their heart! Great Danes are powerful dogs in more ways than just stature. They are known to powerfully love their owners and families.
This popular breed has a rich history and makes a great guard dog or companion.
History of the Great Dane
What Were Great Danes Bred For?
Great Danes, also known as the Deutsche Dogge or German Mastiff, were originally bred to hunt wild boar and be home protectors for German Nobles.
Modern Great Danes are more companion pets than protectors.
Great Danes originated in Germany and are direct ancestors of dogs used in the middle ages to hunt boar.
Some believe the Great Dane has an ancient history based on drawings of dogs that look similar to them dating back to 1200 BC!
Since Danes were originally bred for Boar hunting, they had been called Boarhounds for centuries.
Then, in the 1600s, people began keeping their boarhounds inside as pets, and they were pampered as royals themselves.
Where Does the Name Great Dane Come From?
Many believe the name originated in the 1700s and is attributed to the famous French Nationalist Georges-Louis Leclerc.
He had seen the breed during a trip to Denmark and had nicknamed them “Grand Danois,” which later transformed into Great Dane.
In the 1800s, the Great Dane was transformed by German Dane breeders from a ferocious hunting dog into the elegant, loveable Great Dane pet dog we see in modern times.
Great Danes Facts and Myths
Great Danes have been a focus of Chinese literature and Egyptian folklore since the beginning of the breed.
Many Great Dane owners through the centuries have even believed that these dogs ward off evil spirits.
Great Danes have been a topic in dream interpretations, and supposedly if you see a male Great Dane in your dream, it is supposed to be a good sign!
In the 18th century, many fictional characters had Great Dane companions that they brought into battles and were rumored to have had special powers! Being so large I guess this makes sense!
Great Dane Characteristics
Great Dane Size
Great Danes are often called “gentle giants” or even jokingly referred to as having their own zip code they are so big!
Male dogs are slightly taller standing up to 32 inches tall while females are generally in the 30-inch range for height.
As you would guess, the Great Dane also weighs a lot! They are normally 100 to 120 pounds!
Great Danes are known as the tallest dog breed in the world!
Great Dane Colors
What is a Harlequin Great Dane?
A Harlequin Great Dane is simply a Great Dane that has the Harlequin colors of black patches on a white fur base coat color. A Harlequin Great Dane is thought to be the rarest color.
Great Dane Personality
The Great Dane breed is notorious for being one of the best-natured dogs you can find. They love their owners and want to be around you constantly.
Great Danes seem to think of themselves as lap dogs regardless of their formidable size!
Due to the Great Danes’ extreme attachment, you must ensure that proper boundaries in your house are established when they are young dogs.
Make sure your Dane has a great area they can relax and enjoy, such as a Dane-sized crate or dog room.
Great Danes love just about everyone in their family but can be dangerous around smaller children due to their size.
Great Dane Temperament
They can easily knock things over. They are not usually aggressive to young kids but clumsy around the house so take that into consideration.
They may knock toddlers over or bump into them during one of their “zoomies” attacks. Great Danes are well known for getting random bursts of energy where they do silly things.
Great Danes need enough exercise to keep them active but are not extremely high-energy dogs for the most part.
How to Find a Great Dane Puppy
If you want a Great Dane puppy, it is important to find a reputable breeder.
Due to their large size, Great Danes can be prone to certain health issues that can be genetically passed on through their lineage.
You can occasionally find Danes in shelters, but they are far less common than most other breeds. If you are certain you want a Great Dane Puppy, you will want to find a breeder.
Since the Great Dane originated in Germany and was refined by a German breeder, people will often have a Great Dane puppy imported, especially if they are looking for a show dog.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has resources for finding a breeder and getting on a waitlist if there is one.
Rescuing a Great Dane
If you are in the market for one of these loveable dogs, adopting is the best way to go if you can, would be to find a Great Dane in a shelter.
Not only do you end up with a dog at an affordable price, but you also get to take part in saving a life.
Many Great Dane rescues work around the clock to find Danes needing great homes and the right owner for each dog.
Once you adopt a Great Dane, it is a great idea to go through puppy training classes or other forms of obedience classes.
How Much Do Great Dane Puppies Cost?
The cost of Great Dane puppies varies greatly. Sometimes you can get a puppy for as little as $600, while other times, you may be looking at paying well over $3,000!
Some of the factors that will increase the cost of a puppy.
- American Kennel Club (AKC) registration
- Coming from a well-known breeder
- Having a Great Dane imported
- Show or stud dog quality puppy
- Pre-existing training, genetic testing
Do Great Danes Make Good Family Dogs?
Simply put, YES, Great Danes make great family pets. Even though they are big dogs, they have big hearts and dearly love their families.
The only thing most Dane owners will tell you about this breed is that they can be unintentionally dangerous around young kids. This is due to their enormous size.
They can easily knock people, plants, tables, and moreover. It is also recommended that you socialize with your Dane early so they are friendly to new people.
A Great Dane can be a good choice whether you are looking for a family pet or a guard dog.
Are Great Danes Hard to Keep?
Practicality will depend on your situation. Great Danes are extremely affectionate dogs who will need a lot of attention from their owners.
You also need to consider that these elegant dogs need moderate exercise.
Today’s Great Dane is much more practical to own than its ancient counterparts, but you still must consider the overall needs of this giant-breed dog.
You will need to have enough room for them to get around comfortably, so apartment living may not be the best option.
Also, take into consideration how much time you spend away from home, how much you travel, what you plan to do with your Dane when you travel, and how active you are.
All of these factors will go together to make sense, or not, out of what breed of dog best suits you.
Does a Great Dane Eat a Lot of Food?
Yes, Great Danes eat quite a large amount of food. On average, per day, a Great Dane will consume between 6 and 12 entire cups of dog food! That is a lot of kibbles.
You can also choose to feed your dog a raw or freeze-dried diet, but this will be very costly and require a constant trip to the pet food store.
Great Danes typically need an extra high protein and fat diet to keep them healthy and active. On average, it is a good idea to budget $100-$150 per month to feed your large companion.
Great Dane Health Issues
Some common health conditions that affect the Great Danes include.
- Canine dilated cardiomyopathy.
- Joint and bone diseases.
- Thyroid problems.
- Tricuspid Valve Disease.
- Addison’s Disease.
- Hip dysplasia.
- Heart disease.
- Wobbler syndrome.
- Gastric dilatation-volvulus.
Due to their large size, the leading cause of death for a Dane is Hip Dysplasia. Dogs of this size can have lots of joint and bone-related issues.
Great Dane Lifespan
Great Danes have some of the shortest lifespans of all dogs, living on average only eight years.
Organizations That Recognize the Great Dane Breed
You can find additional helpful information, breeders, and rescue information below.
What Can You Do with a Great Dane?
There are many fun activities you can do with your Great Dane. From simply working on good manners to excellent guard dog training.
Your options are pretty much endless! Great Danes are an active breed of dog and can compete in many dog sports, from hunting to obedience classes.
Are Great Danes Show Dogs?
Yes, Great Danes are frequently seen at dog shows. If you want to consider showing your Great Dane we provide some interesting information below.
Great Dane Dog Show Guide
If you plan on showing your Great Dane, there is a lot to know. Something your dog will need to be able to handle is a lot of human interaction.
Socialization is imperative for a dog that you plan to show. When actually competing in a class, your dog will need to understand:
Gaiting – Trotting/ running in hand. This allows the judge to see how the dog moves along with its overall structure.
The dog’s head will need to be raised up, and they need to move out enough to have a nice stride. The judge will evaluate conformation, movement, and muscle structure.
Stacking – There are two types of stacking. Free stacking and hand stacking. Stacking is basically asking the dog to stand square for evaluation.
The exact positioning for proper stacking will depend on the breed, but the head needs to be up, the tail will be up, and the legs outstretched slightly.
Free stacking is where the dog stacks by themselves. You use training and verbal commands to accomplish this.
Hand stacking is done by the handler. You will be expected to stack multiple times during the show.
Examination – This is where you stack your dog, and the judge looks them over and evaluates them. They examine the conformation, teeth, and sometimes even the testicles.
- Examination and stacking training
- Consider enrolling in ringcraft classes.
Ringcraft classes are designed to teach both you and the dog you are showing how exactly to show. These are important for new dog showers to get up to speed with dog shows.
Popular Great Dane Names
Here is a short list of some popular names for a Great Dane dog.
Related Great Dane Questions
Are Great Danes really the largest dog breed?
Technically by AKC standards, they are the tallest dogs, but not necessarily the heaviest. The tallest Great Dane was well over three feet tall.
His name was Zeus, and he won the Guinness Book of World Records for being the tallest dog. Sadly, Zeus passed away at only five years old.
Are Great Danes hypoallergenic?
This is a popular question for all dogs but no dog is truly hypoallergenic. They all shed and can cause allergy issues for some people.
Great Danes are no exception and despite the fact that they only have a single coat of fur they do she a good amount so regular grooming is necessary.
Do you need special dog-walking equipment for a Great Dane?
Great Danes are gigantic dogs and can have a tendency to pull people around quite easily. They are extremely powerful.
It is recommended that you use a harness with your Great Dane along with implementing lots of obedience training.
Otherwise, you may end up trying to catch a loose Dane that has taken off down the road.
Muzzles may also be important if you plan to take your Great Dane out in public. Especially if you have a rescue dog, a problem dog, or have not done much socialization with your Great Dane.
Even if you don’t think your Great Dane would actually bite someone, it is better to be safe than sorry. Dog bites can potentially lead to lawsuits.
Consider a Great Dane as Your Next Family Pet
There are many factors that will go into choosing a Great Dane and making sure they are the right choice for you.
While they are big dogs that require a lot of food, Great Danes have the biggest hearts of just about any dog breed and will make excellent companions for most people.