Great Danes are beautiful dogs. Unfortunately, there are times when owners are unable to continue taking care of their Great Dane and he/she is put up for adoption. Rescuing these dogs and giving them a family is a meaningful and loving act that you will not regret!
Animal shelters and Great Dane rescue organizations are located all over North America, offering adoptions and foster care programs to the public. Most rescued Great Danes are calm, socialized, and love human companionship.
Finding the right Great Dane for you can be difficult, especially if you’re looking in local animal shelters. I’ve compiled a guide of where to go, what to do, and what it will be like to find and adopt your own Great Dane!
Where to Go
Unfortunately, more than 3 million dogs are put up for adoption each year in the United States. Many of these dogs have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. On the bright side, there are many people just like you that are considering taking in one of these dogs!
When searching for a Great Dane rescue, you are basically faced with two options: rescue organizations or animal shelters.
Whichever choice you go with, the bottom line is that you are saving the life of a Great Dane in need! Many Great Danes put up for adoption have been neglected or treated unfairly and deserve a human’s love and compassion.
First of all, you should know that adopting a Great Dane from a rescue organization is serious. It’s a lot like adopting a child! There may be less paperwork and commitment, but remember that you are held accountable for this dog’s life!
Great Dane rescue organizations are located all over North America and offer opportunities for anyone with a genuine desire to help Great Danes in need!
Opportunities that are offered include: volunteering, donations, foster care, and adoptions.
Many rescue organizations are non-profit organizations completely run by volunteers in their spare time. The best way to find a Great Dane rescue organization is to browse online in areas near you. Some of the organizations that specialize with Great Danes are:
- Great Dane Rescue Inc.
- Rocky Mountain Great Dane Rescue
- Upper Midwest Great Dane Rescue
- The Great Dane Sanctuary
If these are not in your area, or you cannot find an organization in your area, you can try to expand your search to rescue programs for all dogs, and contact them about the dogs currently in their care.
When a Great Dane is brought into a rescue program, they are put into a foster home and evaluated on their health, temperament, and personality. Any health needs such as vaccinations, neuter/spays, or general health tests are taken care of.
Great Dane rescue programs care deeply about the breed and ensure that their dogs are taken care of before and after adoption.
Before adoptions, future owners are asked to evaluate what they want, when they want it, and how they will commit to their new dog. After an application is filled out, future owners are contacted by the organization for further evaluation.
If the adoption does go through, most programs reserve the right to inspect living conditions and may take the dog back into foster care if the living conditions are not deemed appropriate.
Adopting a Great Dane is serious business!
NOTE: Most Great Dane rescue programs only offer adoptions to a certain number of states and neighboring states. If you can’t find a program that offers adoptions to your area, try contacting one of the above-listed programs to see if they can either make an exception or a recommendation to another organization!
Adopting from a Great Dane rescue program is a great opportunity! Although as I mentioned, many rescue programs are limited to a certain area.
If you cannot find a program offering adoptions to where you live, animal shelters are your next best option!
Animal shelters can be found in almost every city in America, and they are ALL just waiting for people like you to bring one of their dogs into your home!
Unfortunately, there is one downside to adopting a Great Dane from an animal shelter.
Because Great Danes are expensive and somewhat rare, you will most likely have to spend a bit of time on the phone with shelters in search of one.
Animal shelters do not do as thorough of a background check as most rescue programs but do ask that you ensure you can provide proper living conditions and emotional care for the animal.
The average adoption fee in the United States is about $250.
Although, adoption centers reserve the right to set their own fees based on the age, condition, and type of animal.
Many adoption centers offer discounts or incentives to new owners! Some of the offers I’ve seen from shelters include:
- No adoption fee
- Free vaccinations
- Free Medication
- ID Tag
- Pet Food
- Other tests (genetics)
- Pet Insurance trials/discounts
- Follow up Health Exams
None of these incentives are guaranteed to be offered by every adoption agency, but it doesn’t hurt to ask! Below, I’ve listed a few reputable adoption centers located around the United States as well as their usual adoption fees for dogs.
- Devore Animal Shelter, San Bernardino, CA ($80-100)
- Second Chance for Homeless Pets, Millcreek, UT (fee varies by age)
- Oakland County Animal Shelter, Pontiac, MI ($136.50)
The Adoption Process
So now that you have some information on where you can find these gentle giants, how do you go about adopting one?
When adopting from an animal shelter, the process is fairly simple. You pay an adoption fee, do some light paperwork, and you’ve got yourself a new dog who will love you more than you can imagine!
Although, when adopting from a Great Dane rescue program, the process is a little more complicated, and for good reason!
Great Dane rescue programs care immensely for their dogs and do their best to make sure they are going to a good home.
The adoption application for a Great Dane rescue program asks a number of questions evaluating living conditions, pet preferences, current/past pets, etc.
A few questions commonly asked on these applications include but are not limited to:
- What type of home do you live in? (house, apartment, etc.)
- Do you own or rent your home?
- Who will care for the dog?
- Do you have a yard?
- Do you have a fence? If so, how high is it?
- Where will the dog sleep/live?
- What will you feed him/her?
- Do you have any other pets? (list name, type, age)
- Do you have children? (name, age)
- DO you plan on having pet insurance?
- Personal Preferences? (age, color, temperament, ear cropping)
As you can see, the applications get pretty personal.
Although keep in mind that many of these questions you might not have considered before beginning your application! When adopting a rescue, it is important to consider what you want from your dog.
Appearance is something that is important to a lot of owners. Great Danes vary in size, coat color, ear cropping and etc.
Ear cropping is the act of removing part of a dog’s ears for health or cosmetic reasons. Ear cropping is popular with Great Danes, and is something you may want to consider when searching for a rescue!
Color and ear cropping are pretty simple characteristics to consider.
On a more serious note, it is important to consider what physical condition you expect from your rescue dog! At first thought, most would think that they just want a healthy dog.
Who would want an unhealthy dog, right? Unfortunately, that is the issue!
If you are considering helping a rescue dog, ask yourself if you are willing to be the one person that asks about senior, blind, or deaf dogs!
One last thing to consider is your commitment. Adopting a Great Dane is a huge commitment! (Pun intended) This dog will be a part of your life for several years to come.
The last thing that a dog would want is to be put back up for adoption. If this seems like too big of a commitment for you, consider becoming a foster parent!
Rescue programs are always looking for volunteers to help their dogs. Becoming a foster parent for Great Danes might be your calling!
Many programs that work to shelter dogs lack a specific place to shelter them, especially if it is a larger organization across several states handling numerous dogs. Foster parents are needed to house and care for the dogs while they are put up for adoption.
Generally, foster parents are not financially compensated for their work. Although, many rescue programs or shelters will reimburse or directly pay for any medical costs, food, or treatment required.
As a foster parent, you will house a dog for a certain amount of time in order to evaluate his/her health and temperament while he/she is up for adoption.
After doing any needed health tests or treatments, an ad is put up for the dog’s adoption. On average, dogs end up staying in a foster home for about two months.
Sometimes, dogs who are too young to adopt will need to stay until they are old enough. Other times, a dog might be put in a foster home and adopted within two weeks!
Fostering dogs is not just for someone who doesn’t want to commit. It is a job for people who care deeply about these dogs and are willing to commit their time and effort to those dogs as if they were their own.
Rescue programs such as Great Dane Rescue Inc. have applications and information on becoming a foster parent linked on their website.
What Will it Be Like?
The adoption process takes a lot of time and effort, but it can help you determine if you are ready for all the work you are going to have put into taking care of your new Great Dane.
The Great Dane is often appropriately referred to as a “gentle giant”.
Great Danes are one of the most loving, understanding, and protective breeds out there.
Owning a Great Dane, while fun, requires a lot of commitment. These large dogs require a lot of food, exercise, and love!
Unfortunately, large dogs such as the Great Dane can suffer from a condition known as bloat. This is a medical condition in which the stomach is filled with excess gas and expands until it twists and can be fatal.
This is an unfortunate risk for many large dogs, but can be avoided! Bloat is caused by eating large amounts of food in one sitting.
In order to avoid bloat in your Great Dane, be sure to feed his/her daily intake in several smaller meals throughout the day, followed by at least an hour of light activity.
Great Danes are also prone to anxiety and attachment disorder.
Anxiety has become a much more talked about issue among humans, but many are not aware that anxiety can occur in dogs as well! Great Danes, in particular, should never be kept alone for long periods of time in kennels, cages, or even small homes.
Training a dog to behave the way you want may be more difficult as well if you are not the first owner and he or she has developed some habits already. Be prepared to put in a lot of effort when you adopt.
Great Danes take a lot of work, but if you do things right, this dog will love you for years and years to come!
Special Needs Dogs
I mentioned this lightly before, but dogs with special needs deserve the most love! No one admits it, but a lot of people don’t want to care for a dog with special needs.
Although, here are some reasons that you might want to care for one!
First of all, a deaf dog does not know he/she is deaf!
This does make certain aspects of ownership difficult, but can also make many things easier! Here are a few benefits:
- Deaf dogs get along great with other dogs just as long as they are socialized when they are young, just like hearing dogs!
- Deaf dogs can be easier to train because they are less easily distracted.
- Deaf dogs also respond very well to visual signals such as facial expressions, body language, and hand signals.
- When you own a deaf dog, you can drive around with your music as loud as you want and not bother him/her!
- Take your deaf dog to a fireworks show!
- Watch a movie with him/her during a thunderstorm!
- Hearing dogs usually love squeaky toys, but there is no need with a deaf dog!
These dogs need love, and not a lot of people are willing to give them love!
Similar to deaf or blind dogs, many people don’t want to adopt an old dog.
Although, there are some great benefits to owning an older dog!
- If you want a lazy, loving dog, senior dogs love to sleep on the couch and snuggle!
- Senior dogs love getting attention!
- Do you hate potty training a puppy? There is no need, your senior dog is already potty trained!
- Senior dogs are well behaved. They are adults! No hyper, crazy puppy tendencies.
- This is a bit sad to admit, but senior Great Danes are in their last few years of life. If you don’t feel fully committed to raising and keeping a dog throughout its entire life, you can make a senior Dane happy in his/her final years!
Occasionally, rescue programs will have senior Great Danes available, often because their owners are unable to care for them anymore or they have been left in a shelter.
Senior Danes can still be a productive and active member of your family. They should be able to live out their lives in happiness!
Whatever your choice may be, if you rescue a Great Dane, you will have a new loving, caring, and understanding member of your family.
If you’ve adopted a Great Dane of your own, leave a comment about your experiences!