Following are the frequently asked set of questions compiled for all those dane fanciers considering to acquire a Great Dane pup. It is to help them understand the true breed type needs and the facts to consider before they commit themselves. Gaint dogs bring giant responsibilities and therefore it is cructial that any Dane owner or prospective Dane owner understands this. Although ownership of a Great Dane can be immensely pleasurable, ownership of a dog of any giant breed also requires extra thought, planning and care. Enjoy reading the following.
Is the Dane the Right Breed for You?
Because a 25 pound eight-week-old male puppy will generally grow to
about six times that weight, special consideration needs to be given
before acquiring a puppy. Dogs are abandoned every day because their
owners didn't realize that their cute little puppy would grow up to be
a very large dog with real needs. Therefore, anyone considering a Dane
as a pet (puppy or adult), should first spend time with adults of the
breed, and then ask themselves the following questions:
Will I be able to provide enough food for a giant breed dog? They
eat about three to six cups of high quality dog food twice each
Can I afford the other expenses involved with owning a dog of this
size? Medication, crates, bedding, equipment, supplies, toys,
etc., all cost more for a giant breed dog.
Am I prepared to provide a Dane with the companionship and
exercise he requires?
Am I able, and willing, to provide positive and consistent
training, beginning as soon as my Dane enters my home?
What is the Great Dane personality like?
"The Great Dane's personality is the quality that most find so appealing. The Dane is a "people dog" - a sensitive and affectionate companion. They can be elegant and dignified one moment, and then playful and silly the next." (Georgia Alyse Thomas). They are good guard dogs, in that their mere size and bark are a deterrent, but generally speaking, they are sweet and loving, without a mean or aggressive bone in that big ole body.
How big is a Great Dane really? When is a Dane full grown?
According to the standards, the male Great Dane should not be less than 30 inches at the shoulder and is preferable that he be 32 inches or more. The female should not be less than 28 inches and is preferable to be 30 inches or more. From what I have seen in the show ring a very correct male of 34 inches can win but most people like larger dogs (a height of 36 inches is an advertising point in the breed magazines). How long it takes a Great Dane to become full grown depends on the breeding with some pedigree lines maturing at about 1 year of age for females and some (many) not maturing until 3 years for males. Full height is often achieved by 18-24 months and weight/musculature by 3 years. The "puppyhood" of a Great Dane usually lasts at least 18 months. They usually settle down from frantic puppy activity levels about 9 months to 1 year and are mentally mature (out of adolescense) between 18 - 28 months.
How much does a Dane eat? What kind of diet is required?
This really depends on the type of food you choose to feed (how concentrated it is). Follow the directions on the bag for the weight and condition of your dog. However it is generally recommended that puppy food NOT be fed to this breed. Usually a good quality dog food that is 22-25% protein and 15-18% fat is good. It is important however to feed a Great Dane multiple times a day throughout their life. Danes are susecptible to bloat and torsion so the less stress on the gastrointenstinal tract the better. Puppies are usually fed 4 times a day gradually decreasing to twice a day between 4 to 6 months. Also refer to "Growth and Diet" page for more information.
How much excercise does a Dane need?
As puppies, they should not be enforced exercise. Usually a walk on a long lead (as they get more exercise than you do by running from here to there smelling everything)
or 10 - 15 minutes of chasing a ball or stick per day are sufficient.
However, it is recommended that you do NOT jog with a Great Dane until they are at least 18 months old (they grow so much so fast that continued strain of this kind could lead to development problems).
How much room does a Dane need? Where should I keep a Dane?
It is recommended that Great Danes be kept indoors. This is both because of their short hair coat and their disposition. Danes can handle a kennel situation if it is run right and they receive enough attention but really thrive indoors with the family. They can also be kept in apartments provided they get their required amount of exercise per day.
When should we start training a Great Dane?
Because of their size, an un-trained Dane can be a very serious
hazard. Dane puppies should be started in a puppy training and
socialization class at about three months of age. At that stage, they
are very impressionable, and a relatively manageable size. For their
own safety, and for the safety of their owners (and others), all Danes
should be taught not to bite (even in play), and not to jump up on
people (unless invited). They should also learn (at a minimum) the
five basic obedience commands: heel, sit, down, stay, and come. Danes
are a very sensitive breed, and (for the best results) should be
taught using motivational/inducive methods.
Is grooming and caring for a Dane difficult?
Very minimal grooming is needed. Danes are short haired dogs so there is no required daily brushing, trimming, stripping etc. A bath about once monthly, nail trim and teeth cleaning (if you feed raw beef leg bones the teeth rarely need cleaning) are all that are needed, although a currying or brush with a short hair glove or rubber curry brush will be appreciated. I use a horse shedding blade once in a while as well, on a shedding coat).
Shedding happens in the spring and fall and though not heavy, can be a bit messy. I like to wipe down the coat every once in a while with a bit of coconut oil for a sheen. Bag Balm rubbed on the elbows helps prevent callouses.
Handy tip on ear cleaning, especially important for Natural Eared Danes, make a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar. Dampen a cotton ball with the mixture and squeeze it into the ear canal. Rub the base of the ear for a few seconds then let the Dane shake his head. Swab out the remainder of the wax and yuckies with a dry cotton ball or two.
What are common health problems associated with Great Danes?
There are a few health problems which afflict the Great Dane breed: growth problems (HOD, PANO and OCD), hip dysplasia (OFA and Penn-Hip tests), and bloat/GDV/torsion are primary concerns. Wobblers, thyroid problems, and problems with the eyes (CERF test) also appear in the breed. Also refer to "Health Care" page for more information.
What is the average lifespan of a Dane?
The average lifespan of most giant breeds is about 8 years. I know of Danes living to 10-12 years but 8 is average.
Are Great Danes good with children?
Danes are known for their compatibility with kids. Remember though, that a dane is still a big dog, and as a pup, his size and enthusiasm may not mix with a small toddler. Care should be taken and common sense when mixing the two. Children should be taught to treat a dog with respect also.
Are Great Danes good with other dogs?
A well socialized and trained Dane is usually good with other dogs. However, remember, strange dogs can still be defensive, and we don’t recommend you just let him waltz up to a strange dog without first ascertaining the nature and intent of same. Danes can sometimes frighten smaller dogs just by their size, making the other dog react aggressively. Use caution and common sense. Danes as a rule are not dog aggressive, but they are still dogs!
Many danes live with all kinds of other breeds, Chihuahuas, for instance!
Are Great Danes good with other sorts of animals”?
The Great Dane was bred originally to hunt wild boar. Whilst aggression has been deliberately bred out, all dogs still retain subliminal feral instincts. Brought up with other species, most danes are very good. If not, they can show curious, and semi agro behavior to things that are furry, squealing, with game like responses. True to their ancestral form, Danes have been known to go for pigs, sheep and goats. Most danes are not jumpers, so good standard height dog proof fencing should be adequate. Bring him up with anything you want him to live with from puppy hood. Many Danes live happily with cats for instance.