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Great Dane Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

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 they don’t want to own a dog that is that BIG! And while 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.

You see…

The Great Dane is a gentle giant that should be on the top of many folks’ “list of dogs” 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 own a Great Dane so that if you’re ever allowed actually to 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” to assist in hunting large animals. And while their name may seem to suggest that they’re Danish, the Great Dane is actually from Germany, where he is called the Deutsche Dogge.

In Germany…

This dog breed has a rich and noble history that is well documented, dating back to the early 1400s when the wealthy elite used these dogs to hunt wild boar throughout Germany. Which begs the question, why were these guys called Great Danes? To which nobody is quite sure. 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. He is referred to as the Great Dane only in English-speaking countries.

We should point out that…

Back in the day, these modern-day gentle giants were always so lovely and friendly. These dogs were bred from the same “stock” as the Irish Wolfhound, Mastiff, and Greyhound, meaning he was born to be big, fast, and challenging! Which is precisely what he is today. He wasn’t born to be a companion animal back then. Instead, he was used to help fight in battles and also take down large games.

The excellent news is…

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 sweethearts that are genuinely a joy to own. This is why the Great Dane has found appreciation far and wide for many centuries and 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

Few dogs are more significant than the Great Dane Dog Breed. The Irish Wolfhound is enormous, as are Mastiffs and the Bull Terrier. But the Great Dane is in a league of his own. He is typically between 26 to 29 inches tall and weighs well over 100 lbs, making him much more significant 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),
  • brindle,
  • fawn,
  • 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 straightforward and won’t require hours and hours of your time. Plus, as a 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 that these guys tend to drool, and a few have been known to possess legendary flatulence, so be warned!

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. He is called 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. It seems as though kids know this instinctively because kids typically never seem intimidated by him. Instead, they adore him.

They seem to…

He has an amiable 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 receive respect from anyone thinking about harming anyone in his presence. However, starting the training and socialization as early as possible is essential. 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.

Potential Health Concerns

The Great Dane is supremely athletic; however, he does not like getting more exercise than he needs, which is probably why you don’t see many folks jogging with a Great Dane by their size. These guys tend to have a  lower metabolic rate than other smaller dogs, so they seem to move at their own pace. Additionally, because of his size, he can develop a joint problem. He is also known to suffer from many cardiovascular problems. Heart disease is familiar to him.

Here is a complete list of health problems he is known to suffer from

What’s the Life Expectancy of the Great Dane?

This magnificent creature has a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years. That is unfortunate, but the time you spend with him is worth it. He brightens your life and makes everyone around him so happy with his charmingly goofy personality. However, 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.

This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable 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.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • dvdnj February 1, 2020, 5:55 am

    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.

    • indulgeyourpet February 1, 2020, 8:29 am


      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.



  • Karen F April 15, 2020, 11:59 pm

    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

    • Randi February 15, 2020, 5:34 pm

      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!!!

    • indulgeyourpet April 16, 2020, 8:36 am


      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,


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