Great Dane


A large sized Great Dane
Great Dane Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)30-38in (76-96cm)
Weight100-200lbs (45-91kg)
Hair Colour(s)Fawn
Lifespan8-10 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size5-12
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityMedium
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftMedium

The Great Dane is a regal and strong looking dog, and the tallest of the breeds. The large body is lean and muscular with straight front legs, broad and well-angulated hindquarters and a tapering tail that is normally carried straight down. The head has a square muzzle, naturally hanging ears or erect and pointed if cropped, and dark eyes. The coat is short and glossy and the colouring can vary but includes fawn, brindle, blue, black, harlequin and mantle. One famous Great Dane is the Scooby Doo character from children's cartoon TV.


Great Danes are spirited gentle giants that make friendly and dependable dogs. Sweet natured and attentive, they love being around people and are both playful and patient and so make devoted family pets. They do need plenty of attention and so are not suited to those with little time to commit to owning a pet. Although intelligent, they can be stubborn and bossy and so are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership. Any training should be consistent and firm, yet positive - always the best way. Younger dogs can be destructive and boisterous and will need a good deal of supervision, and early socialisation is important to develop a stable and confident manner. They should be thoroughly obedience trained while still young for greater manageability once fully grown, as they will grow! Great Danes are good with children they have been raised with, but their size means they are not suitable for small kids. Some dogs will be fine around other pets, whereas others may be dominant, and so supervision and early socialisation are required. As they are sensitive dogs their reaction to strangers can also vary, and some can come across as being quite aloof. Their impressive size means they makes effective watchdogs.

History & Skills

Great Danes originate from Germany, not Denmark as the name may suggest, and enjoy a long history. Descended originally from Molossus dogs, which were used in warfare in ancient times, perhaps as long as a thousand years ago they were crossed with various other breeds including Greyhounds, Irish Wolfhounds and English Mastiffs. By the 1300s they were established as competent hunters, especially for boar, and as guard dogs. From where their name orignates however is something of a mystery, but it has remained despite the German attempts to correct it. These days Great Danes are popular family pets and are also used in therapy work and for providing assistance to people with mobility problems.

Breed Specific Ailments

Great Danes tend to live between 8-10 years, which is relatively short, and some of the health problems associated with this breed include cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and cataracts. Other health concerns include cancer, wobblers, hypertrophic osteodystrophy and panosteitis and bloat. Care should be exercised in extreme temperatures, as these dogs are sensitive to extreme heat or cold.


Great Danes are medium shedders that also shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, and so may not be suitable for those with allergy problems. However, their grooming requirements are quite low, and the coat will just need occasional brushing with more during periods of heavier shedding. Dry shampooing can be carried out when necessary, as this can take time with a large dog, and the nails should be kept trimmed.

Exercise & Environment

Great Danes tend to live indoors, and despite their large size are pretty flexible and will be fine in small homes and apartments so long as they are exercised. They are not suitable for those that are overly houseproud however, as they can be very messy and drool a fair amount. Although generally fairly inactive while indoors, they do need a fair amount of exercise and plenty of space due to their sheer size. They will need a daily half-hour walk on the leash plus access to play in a secure outside area.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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