In many ways, the Great Dane dog breed is lucky because he is so large, many folks who would not make a “good” Great Dane owner naturally shy away from these guys because they know that they don’t want to own a dog that is that BIG!
We certainly don’t want to discourage anyone who wouldn’t make a good Great Dane owner from not wanting to adopt one of these magnificent animals, we also don’t want to see these guys get a “bad wrap” simply because they are so large.
The Great Dane is actually a gentle giant and one that should be on the top of many folks “list of dogs” to consider when deciding to adopt a new pet.
This is why…
In this article, we wanted to take a moment and describe what it might be like to actually own a Great Dane so that if you’re ever given the opportunity to actually own one of these guys, you’ll know for sure if it’s a good idea or not.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Great Dane Dog Breed Fast Facts
Country of Origin: Germany
Original Purpose: Guardian and hunting dog
Height: 29 to 32 inches tall
Weight: 100 to 200 pounds
Lifespan: 7 to 10 years
Dog Breed Classification: Working group
Great Dane dog breed origin
The Great Dane dog breed is a rather old dog breed that dates back to before the 13th century. During this time, these dogs were mainly used as “war dogs” and to assist in the hunt for large animals.
Their name may seem to suggest that they’re Danish, the Great Dane is actually from Germany where he is actually called the Deutsche Dogge.
This dog breed has a rich and noble history that is well documented dating back to the early 1400’s when these dogs were used by the wealth elite to hunt wild boar all throughout Germany.
Which begs the question…
Why were these guys called Great Danes? To which nobody is really quite certain. The nice thing is that despite the confusion about why they are called a “Great Dane” no one seems to question the fact that they seem to have originated in Germany. In fact, it is only in English-speaking countries that he is referred to as the Great Dane.
We should point out that…
Back in the day, these modern day gentle giants we’re always so nice and friendly. You see, these dogs were breed from the same “stock” as the Irish Wolfhound, Mastiff and the Greyhound. Which means that he was breed to be big, fast and tough!
Exactly what he is today. Only back then, he wasn’t also breed to be a companion animal, instead, he was used to help fight in battles and also take down large game.
The good news is…
That these are no longer “skills” that are sought after which is why over the centuries, these giant “war machines” have been slowly turned into giant sweet hearts that are truly a joy ot own.
Which is why…
The Great Dane has found appreciation far and wide for some many centuries and also why he was “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2000. There is even a very popular Great Dane Club in the United States that is very much in existence today!
Physical Characteristics of the Great Dane
There are few dogs that are bigger in size than the Great Dane Dog Breed. The Irish Wolfhound is huge, as are Mastiffs and the Bull Terrier. But the Great Dane is in a league of his own.
Typically between 26 to 29 inches tall and is well over 100 lbs in weight. Which makes him much larger than even the largest Flat-Coated Retriever. For some, he will even be tall enough to be at eye level with humans when standing on his hind legs.
They can also come…
In a variety of colors including:
- harlequin (as the one in “101 Dalmatians –white with black patches),
- blue and black
- and mantle.
They also have…
Close cropped ears and almond shaped brown colored eyes.
Grooming the Big Guy
Fortunately because the Great Dane coat is short, grooming a Great Dane is pretty easy and won’t require hours and hours of your time. Plus as an added bonus, even the fur that he does have doesn’t seem to shed too much.
But before you…
Get too excited, we should warn you, these guys do have a tendency to drool, and a few of them have been know to possess legendary flatulence so be warned!
Great Dane temperament and personality
The Great Dane is quite a gentleman. He may look intimidating at first glance, but looks could be deceiving. He is anything but that. There is a reason he is called as a gentle giant.
Which is why…
These guys are so good to have around children. You should see how protective he is of the kids in the family. And it seems as though kids know this instinctively because kids typically never seem to be intimidated by him rather they simply adore him.
They just seem to…
Have a very friendly soul that is very good at socialization and is quick to make friends. These guys are not the sort of dog that becomes aggressive or anxious in the company of strangers. But will definitely receive the respect from anyone thinking about doing harm to anyone in his presence.
That said however…
It is important to start the training and socialization as early as possible. While the adult Great Dane is well behaved, Great Dane Puppies have this habit of jumping on people. Training the puppies early will take care of that.
Great Dane health concerns
The Great Dane is supremely athletic; however, he does not like getting more exercise than what he really needs, which is probably why you don’t see a ton of folks jogging with a Great Dane by their size. This plus, these guys tend to have a lower metabolic rate than other smaller dogs which is why these dogs seem to just move at their own pace.
Because of his size he can develop a problem with his joints. He is also known to suffer from many cardiovascular problems. Heart disease is common with him.
Here is a full list of health problems he is known to suffer from
- Gastric dilatation volvulus (Bloat),
- Hip dysplasia,
- Hypertrophic osteodystrophy,
- Aortic Stenosis,
- Osteochondrosis of the Shoulder,
- And lick granuloma,
What’s the Life Expectancy of the Great Dane?
This magnificent creature has a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years only. That is really unfortunate, but the time you spend with him is really worth it.
He brightens your life and makes everyone around him so happy with his charmingly goofy personality.
But since the Great Dane is a big dog with many health issues, the cost of medical treatment can be high, often running into thousands of dollars.
Which is why…
We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.
Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?
No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?
For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.
Had two Danes at same time. Plus a brother at home with cancer. They made the best nurses. Always doing silly things. Wish I could have another one. Best dogs ever
We couldn’t agree more. Locally here in San Diego, one cancer hospital uses several different Rotweilers as care animals and the results are often amazing. There’s just something about when a large dog breed just wants to be your friend that seems to have a “magical” affect on those around them.
Thanks for sharing,
Our 5 month old Great Dane is already 29 inches from floor to shoulder and 85lbs. He is great with the kids and incredibly goofy. Best dog Ive ever owned!!!
Definitely a typo on the height. You would be hard pressed to see a healthy, well bred great dane 26 to 29 inches tall – that is well below the breed standard. 30″ (at the shoulders) and up is what they should be, with 32″ and up more common.
Thanks for the tip. In checking our work, it seems you are right. Breed Standard is 30 (even though some females can be smaller), but capping the height at 29 was definitely an error.