Great Danes as Pets: Cost, Life Expectancy, and Temperament

Great Danes are the biggest, sweetest dogs you could ever meet. They are often used as family guard dogs and make the best companions. They are definitely a great breed to consider when searching for a dog of your own.

What is a Great Dane like? Great Danes are a very large breed of dog. They are roughly 2.5 feet in height and weigh anywhere from 100 to 200 pounds. They can come in an array of colors such as black, harlequin, fawn, and blue. These dogs are known for being gentle giants and make great guard dogs.

These dogs are frequently called “horses” because of their massive size, but they couldn’t be any closer to a lap-dog personality. Great Danes should definitely be put on your list of consideration for a loyal, loving, four-legged companion.

Below I have gone into detail for you guys and given you all of the information you will ever want to know about these loveable dogs!

Demographics

Size:

WeightM. 100 – 200 lbs.
F. 100 – 200 lbs.
HeightM. 32 in
F. 30 in.

Physical Traits:

Ear TypeFloppy
Coat LengthShort
Coat TypeFlat
ColorsBlack
Blue
Fawn (Light Brown)
Harlequin (Black and White Blotched)

Needs/Tendencies:

Exercise 20-40 min./day
Energy
Level
Average to High
Longevity6 – 10 yrs.
Social
Interaction / Attention
High
GroomingLow
SheddingAverage
TrainabilityEasy
FriendlyVery
Family
Dog?
Yes
Apartment
Dog?
No (Must be willing to take the dog out and provide proper interaction and exercise)
Drooling
Tendency
High
Barking
Tendency
Low
Snoring
Tendency
Low
Digging
Tendency
Low

Great Danes are a super energetic breed of dog that requires a lot of exercise. They should be exercised for roughly a half hour each day. This exercise can come in many forms such as walks, throwing a frisbee or tennis ball, going on a run around the neighborhood, or even some intense playing in the yard.

These dogs have a rather short life expectancy and this is simply because they are prone to a lot of health conditions. If you simply pay careful attention to your Great Dane’s health and keep them happy and active they should live for a decently long time.

Great Danes are also a super friendly breed of dog that requires a lot of social interaction. They will take any attention they can get and will love every second of it. If you are in the kitchen making dinner, they will be right there trying to help you.

If you are laying in bed or on the couch watching T.V., they will hop up and try to become the biggest lap-dog known to man to just be there with you and get attention. They are super easy to train and listen well, though.

Due to this friendliness and affection for people, these massive dogs make for great family dogs. They are gentle with children and can keep up with their active playing habits. They will be great for protecting your children as well, due to their protective instincts with those they love.

Great Danes are highly energetic, lovable big dogs with a shorter lifespan (around 9 years).

Great Danes, however, are not great dogs for apartments. They are a very large breed of dog that requires a lot of exercise and living in an apartment may make that hard.

If you really need or want to live in an apartment with a Great Dane, you will need to be dedicated to keeping up a frequent exercise routine and take your dog out all of the time so that they can stay healthy.

Consider if you have a large apartment that your dog can comfortably wander in. They do not do well in small spaces!

Their tendencies are rather easy to manage, though, and these dogs are low maintenance in these regards. Great Dane’s do not bark much which is super nice, especially if you have cranky neighbors. These canine giants also don’t snore or dig much which is great!

You won’t have to fill holes in the yard constantly nor lose sleep over the chainsaw sounds. These dogs also aren’t awful about shedding and don’t need very much grooming.

Health Concerns:

Hip DysplasiaA crippling malformation of the hip socket. Repaired by surgery which could possibly result in arthritis later.
Hypertrophic
Osteodystrophy
The puppy grows too fast and their bones struggle to
keep up with their rapid growth rate.
Cancer (Bone*, Skeletal, Vision, Nuerological)Check the health conditions and history of the parents before getting a Great Dane puppy to best avoid.
BloatA condition where the stomach expands with air/gas.
Can lead to Gastric Torsion if it gets serious.
Gastric Torsion (Gastric Dilation-Volvulus)A result of serious bloat in which the stomach twists on itself, cutting blood supply. Can be fatal. Take the dog straight to the vet if this is the case.
Cardiomyopathy (Heart
Disease)
Heart disease in which the heart muscles are
enlarged.

The Great Dane breed of dog is prone to a lot of health problems anywhere from growing too fast for their bones to be able to keep up with their growth to cancers.

You should check the parent’s health history before getting a Great Dane so you know what your dog is prone to and so that you can avoid as many of these health issues as possible.

One of the health concerns that Great Danes are super prone to bloat and Gastric Torsion. This is super common in Great Danes and most die from this. Bloating is simply the stomach expanding with air.

This usually isn’t too bad and is just like human bloating, but can lead to a much more serious condition that can be fatal Gastric Torsion.

Gastric Torsion is a result of bloating and is the next step after bloating if it gets really bad. This condition is when the stomach twists on itself and could even cut blood supply due to the twisting.

There are some “home remedies” that people may suggest doing, but if your dog has this, just take them straight to the vet as soon as possible because it is a very serious and even fatal condition that many Great Danes die from.

Another very common health condition is Hypertrophic
Osteodystrophy. This happens in the puppy’s rapid growth phase in which it grows too fast and its bones can’t keep up with the rapid growth rate. This can, however, be helped and remedied by a modified diet.

This condition usually is a result of a diet too high in protein, calcium, or supplements. Simply watch what your dog is eating and the contents of it to ensure it has reduced amounts of these things.

Personality and Temperament

The Great Dane is one of the biggest softies you will find in a dog. They are a super loving and affectionate breed of dog, often called “gentle giants” due to their loving manner. They are very mild and easy-going which makes them very easy to deal with.

These gentle giants are very playful and energetic. They are wonderful family dogs, as they are great with kids and can keep up and play with them in a gentle manner. They can always be found in the middle of any social interaction as well because they love to be loved and doted on.

They are total attention hogs, so much so that they will even try to be lap-dogs. They are the biggest wanna-be lap-dogs you will ever find, but they are too cute and loving to refuse.

Great Danes are a very social breed of dog as well, as you can imagine. They thrive on social interaction with others and need lots of it for good health and happiness. They especially need and thrive on excess amounts of social interaction when they are young.

Great Danes are social attention hogs.

Taking your Great Dane puppy out very frequently to interact with people is actually recommended to help build their confidence and stabilize their temperament. This social interaction helps them to be easier to train as well.

These affectionate dogs are great guard dogs as well. They were once bred as hunting companions for large animals then became estate guard dogs for nobles, and these instincts still are relevant. Great Danes are a very loyal breed that will always protect it’s loved ones.

They actually make for better indoor, family dogs than they do outdoor adventure dogs.

Great Danes, along with getting along well with humans and loving social interaction of that sort, get along well with other animals too. They tend to do best if they have grown up around the other animals, but they are generally easy to get along with and are just protective of you if they have been having any problems with other animals.

Taking them out to socialize often when they are young can help to develop great social skills as well.

These giant dogs are so social-oriented that they don’t do great alone. They tend to be a bit destructive and worry when you are gone for too long. Though, as long as they have proper training and ample social interaction, they should be just fine.

Get started on training your Great Dane sooner than later!

The Great Dane breed is generally easy to train, but you must start training your dog very early. They are quite intelligent and will start picking up on things as early as even 6 weeks.

Do not wait until they are 6 months to a year old to start training them! The longer you wait to train these large dogs, the harder it is to train them because they will become stubborn in their ways and will be a lot harder to manage due to their massive size.

These dogs are very obedient, especially after they are trained. As long as you start training them before they become 6 months old, you should be just fine and won’t have too many problems with disobedience in this breed.

They are “people-pleasers” and will do whatever it takes to make you happy. Especially at their young and impressionable age when they are super young puppies, they should be easily manageable.

Care Requirements and Recommendations

Great Danes aren’t too hard to care for once you get the swing of things. They just need lots of food, tons of T.L.C., and frequent checkups with Doc.

Regarding food, Great Danes will need anywhere from 6 to 10 cups of food per day. Yeah, I know. That’s a lot! But they need this much food in order to sustain them because they are so large and energetic.

When shopping for food you will want to find something that is not high in protein, calcium, or other supplements.

A male Great Dane will need roughly 7 to 10 cups of food per day and a female will need about 6 to 9 cups.

This is because Great Danes, as I mentioned earlier, are prone to developing Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, which is where the dog, in its rapid growth stage as a puppy, is growing too fast for its bones to keep up with.

This can be made worse by a diet high in protein, calcium, and supplements that all help to increase growth.

It is also recommended to split up feedings for your dog. You should feed your dog these excess amounts of food spread out throughout the day as meals rather than just one giant feast. Splitting up feedings is highly recommended because Great Danes are very prone to bloat and worse, fatal conditions starting from this.

By splitting feedings and making your dog eat slower, you are helping to prevent them from getting bloated which will help to avoid these fatal conditions.

Another thing you should make a solid routine of with your Great Dane is daily exercise. They require about a half hour of daily exercise to keep them in shape, happy, and healthy. This exercise can be a walk, going on a run, throwing a ball around the yard, or any other super active activities for your dog, just as long as they get the workout in.

Great Danes will also need to go see the veterinarian on a semi-regular basis. They will need the obvious occasional checkups, but this breed of dog is super prone to quite a few diseases and other health concerns.

Because of this, you will need to take into consideration random visits in case you have concerns about your dog having something or if your dog needs medical attention because it does already have one of these.

These canine giants will also need a very active social life to keep them happy and healthy. Great Danes are a super sweet, social breed of dog that loves to meet people and to give and receive lots of love and affection.

Because of their longing for exchanged attention, it is important for you to have your dog around people, even if it’s just friends coming over to your house for a dinner party. The extra company and social interaction will help to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Pricing

The cost of a Great Dane can vary depending on how young you buy it and where you get it from. If you are buying a puppy, it is going to be more expensive than getting an adult. Price will also vary depending on if you are getting it from a breeder or adopting it from a shelter.

It could also cost more if it is bred to be a show dog versus a companion dog. All of these factors and more play into how expensive your dog will be.

Adopting a Great Dane will cost about $325 to get an adult and about $375 to get a puppy. Getting a Great Dane from a breeder can be very expensive. The price can vary anywhere from $600 to $3000 depending on the genetics of the dog and the breeding purpose.

Another thing to consider when looking into getting a Great Dane is all of the accessories that will need to be bought with the purchase of the dog. You will need to buy a bed, food bowls, a leash and collar, lots of food, a kennel, etc. It all adds up pretty quickly.

Great Danes eat a lot, so factor food price in with your initial purchases.

One thing that will make the biggest impact on the costs accompanying the dog is food. Great Danes are huge and, therefore, need a lot of food to sustain their needs. You will need to buy two or three bags of food per month! This can cost anywhere from $60 to $80 depending on what food you buy and how much of it you need to get.

Another thing to consider when thinking about pricing, other than the dog itself, food, and necessary accessories, is the Vet. bill. This breed of dog is very prone to quite a few diseases and other concerning health conditions that can become fatal very quickly.

Because of this, not only will your Great Dane require regular visits to the veterinarian, but they will also probably have emergency appointments for when they have health issues that need medical attention. This can get expensive very fast!

History

Great Danes have been around for roughly 400 years and are a mixed breed of dog that originated from Germany in the 14th century. They were originally called Boar Hounds, because their original purpose was to assist in hunting Wild Boars, but were then more commonly known as “Deutsche Dogge” in Germany.

This “Deutsche Dogge” is thought to have been a combination of three dogs: the Irish Wolfhound, the Mastiff, and the Greyhound. The Irish Wolfhound is thought to provide the “height” genes while the Mastiff is thought to provide the “heft” and the Greyhound providing the “physique” of the Great Dane.

These three breeds were bred together in order to make this massive dog in order to help their masters hunt Wild Boars and other large animals. They were bred to be extremely fearless, intelligent, and strong to have the best selection of traits to be an excellent hunting companion.

Great Danes were hunting dogs before they were luxury hounds.

When the desire for hunting died down, they were then used more as estate guardians and family companions for the nobles and elitists around the 17th century in the late 1600s. They were a luxury for the rich families in this time to have.

The name “Great Dane” name came from Denmark in the 1700s where they called this breed the “Great Danois” and then the “Great Danish Dog”. Throughout time the name has since been shortened to the name we know as “Great Dane”.

In the 1800s, the Great Dane was then being bred to be calmer and less aggressive to make a better house pet and family companion type of dog. After they were bred to be more gentle, they became the oversized lap-dog wannabes that we know and love today and they were brought to the U.S.

The Great Dane was deemed the National Dog of Germany in 1876 and recognized for its origin. In 1887 the large breed was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club as well and the breed is now 17th on the list of great dogs.

Are Great Danes for Me?

Now, I know I have listed a lot of not so great things about these giant, loving “lap-dogs”, but they are not all that bad. These are just some things you will need to keep in mind. So, is this dog the one for you?

If you are willing and able to handle:

  • Lots of attention and love
  • A giant lapdog
  • A daily exercise partner
  • Tons of snuggles and playing
  • A constant companion
  • Obedient dog
  • Energetic and playful partner
  • Gentle and kind animal
  • Protective instincts
  • A great family dog, especially with kids
  • Easy-going
  • Low-maintenance

Then this is definitely the dog for you!

However, if you can’t handle having to deal with or pay for:

  • Excessive amounts of food
  • Large vet. bills
  • Susceptibility to lots of health conditions
  • Large animal… and their “bi-products”
  • LARGE accessories
  • Being super social
  • Working out a lot
  • Expensive dog
  • Lots of good old T.L.C
  • Careful monitoring of their eating habits and health condition
  • Frequent trips to the vet.

Then this dog is probably not the one for you.

This is an amazing and loving breed of dog to have, but you will need to be willing and able to give these gentle giants the necessary love, attention, active life, and financial support they will need in order to stay happy and healthy.

Related Questions:

Why do Great Danes have such a short lifespan? These massive dogs are susceptible to a lot of health issues which is why Scientists think their lifespan is so short. Being so prone to these serious health conditions shortens their lifespan quite a bit.

Are Great Danes difficult to train? These dogs are not difficult to train at all, as long as you train them young. If you wait to try to train them till they are older, you will have a very difficult time because they will be stuck in their ways.

It is highly recommended to train these giant dogs when young because they are much more prone to listen and more manageable size-wise as wise.

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