A complete guide to Great Dane dogs
Tall, regal and dignified, the Great Dane was first bred to hunt wild boar. Excelling in competitive shows, Great Dane dogs thrive on human companionship and are very gentle despite their impressive stature. Their graceful gait has drawn many comparisons with thoroughbred horses.
Height: Great Dane breeders indicate that fully grown dogs should not be shorter than 30 inches. The tallest Great Dane on record stood 42 inches tall.
Weight: As an approximate range, expect males to weigh between 140 and 175 pounds. Females tip the scales at 110 to 140 pounds.
Coat: This breed's coat is short, thick, glossy and smooth. Brindle, fawn, blue, black and varying patterns of black and white are common coat colors.
Ears and Eyes: Great Dane dogs display deep-set, dark, almond-shaped eyes that are medium in size. According to Great Dane breeder standards, ears should be medium in size, folded over onto the cheek and set relatively high on the head.
Tail: These dogs have strong, thick tails that taper as they approach the hock joint.
Protective by nature, Great Dane dogs make good guards. While their imposing size leads casual observers to believe these dogs are fierce, they're one of the gentlest breeds around and make excellent companions. They're not aggressive with other dogs or animals and tolerate children fairly well.
AKC Group: Working
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Training: Great Dane breeders stress the importance of establishing pack leadership over these dogs to prevent dominance issues – and the behavioral problems that come with them. These dogs need early socialization and a lot of patience during the training period.
Ideal Environment: A Great Dane dog is happiest in milder climates since the breed's thin coat doesn't do much to keep it warm during cold winters.
Health and Care
Feeding: These dogs have slow metabolisms. Be sure to avoid overfeeding them to prevent weight gain.
Grooming: Both Great Dane puppies and their adult counterparts are fairly easy to groom. Their short coats require only brushing; in this sense, they're much like the low-maintenance Boston terrier. Bathe them as needed in warm water or using a dry shampoo.
Exercise: While these dogs have a reputation for being sedentary in nature, the opposite is actually true – they are an energetic breed and need regular, vigorous exercise to prevent laziness. At minimum, a long daily walk is recommended.
Health Problems: Every dog breed faces its own unique set of potential health concerns. Canine cancer, heart disease and gastric torsion rank high among the most common serious health issues for Great Danes. Hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism are also problematic.
Average Lifespan: Unfortunately, like most large breeds, these dogs have a relatively short lifespan, averaging 7 to 10 years.
Find a Great Dane to Take Home
Through a Great Dane rescue facility, prospective owners can give abandoned, unwanted or abused dogs loving new homes. Contact local animal control authorities for area-specific Great Dane rescue resources.
Trustworthy, certified Great Dane breeders are a good place to look for Great Dane puppies for sale. The advantage of getting a young dog through a Great Dane breeder is that puppy parentage is screened and controlled. Expect prices to range between $800 and $1,100.
Don't trust puppy mills to provide healthy pets – their lower prices aren't worth the risk.