Breed Group: Working
Height: 28 to 32 inches or more at the shoulder
Weight: 110 to 190 pounds
Life Span: 7 to 10 years
The Great Dane’s size attracts attention and offers instant protection — no one will guess what a sweetheart he is on the inside. The Great Dane is a real family companion. He wants to share the couch and help you watch TV.
Did You Know the Great Dane Has a Calm Nature?
Great Danes have appeared in a variety of films, but far and away the best is the 1965 Disney film “The Ugly Dachshund,” about a Dane puppy who is raised with Doxies — and thinks he’s one of them. A must-see for Great Dane lovers.
As puppies, Great Danes can knock over small tables and large children. As adults they can clear a coffee table with a swipe of a tail. Although he may sometimes seem like a bull in a china shop, the biggest thing about the Great Dane isn’t his formidable size (up to 175 pounds), but his heart. He may have been bred to hunt ferocious boars and guard estates, but these days, this tall and elegant dog is better suited to life as a lover, not a fighter. If you’re looking for a gentle giant, this may well be the dog for you.
His size may seem to require its own zip code, but the Dane’s calm nature makes him more suitable to apartment living than many a more anxious or active breed. While puppyhood may be a challenge in an apartment, a well-socialized and well-trained Dane will be perfectly content to have one good 10 or 20-minute walk a day for his exercise.
Because Great Danes have protective natures when their families are involved, it’s essential to teach young dogs not to jump up on people and that nipping or any act of aggression is not allowed. What tends to be laughed off in a tiny dog is no laughing matter in a full-grown dog of this size. Let the Dane’s size itself serve as a deterrent and never encourage aggressive behavior.
While most Great Danes aren’t nuisance barkers, if allowed to develop barking as a habit, they’ll have what’s probably the loudest, deepest, most far-carrying bark of any canine. (There’s a reason that a Great Dane led the Twilight Bark to get the news of missing puppies into the countryside in the classic movie “101 Dalmatians.”)
Many Great Danes have cropped ears, but that look seems to be on the wane, even in the show ring, where “natural ears” are now allowed. While there are still people who defend this cosmetic procedure, ear cropping has no benefit to the dog whatsoever, and it is a painful fashion that most of the civilized world has outlawed. As for grooming, Dane owners get off relatively easy. The short coat is easy to care for, although the Dane does shed and it can seem like a lot of hair since he’s a lot of dog.
What you’ll save on grooming bills you’ll more than spend on food, since these giant dogs need a lot of fuel, particularly when they’re growing. Although overfeeding is not healthy for any dog, it’s especially important in a Great Dane puppy since rapid growth can contribute to skeletal problems including arthritis. Put aside extra time for clean-up, by the way, since much of what goes in must come out, in rather alarming quantities.
Other Fun Facts About the Great Dane
The Great Dane’s height and weight place him among the largest breeds. Only the Irish Wolfhound is taller, and a few Mastiffs may outweigh him. Teach puppies never to jump on people.
This giant breed is apartment-friendly because of his quiet, inactive nature, but before you move him into a place with stairs, think about how you would get him in and out if he were injured or ill and couldn’t manage them on his own.
The Great Dane’s coat colors include brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin (white with black patches) and mantle (black and white with a solid black “blanket” over the body).
The Great Dane is easy to groom, but he does shed. He also drools, so get in the habit of carrying a hand towel to wipe up slobber.
Great Danes are flatulent, but they give you someone to blame your own emissions on.