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Breeds for Every Lifestyle

Pros and Cons of Great Danes

By Mawoo Pets · 17 Mar · 7 mins read
Pros and Cons of Great Danes

If you're considering adding a Great Dane to your family, but are not sure what exactly to expect, you've come to the right place! Great Danes are gentle giants of the canine world that epitomize the phrase "the bigger, the better". But that said, it's critical for potential owners to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this breed before making the commitment to bring one home. 

So, in this guide, we'll delve in to better understand this majestic breed, highlighting the main upsides, such as their unparalleled loyalty and affection, and also some key challenges, like their potential health issues and deep need for social interactions.

We promise this guide will provide you some wisdom to gain a balanced perspective on the truly great Great Dane. 

Pros of Great Danes

1. Highly sociable creatures 

Great Danes are innately fond of company and are known for their sociability. They thrive in environments where they can engage and bond with all members of the family. From kids to senior citizens, their big hearts have room for everyone. Not just with humans, they can also get along exceptionally well with other dogs when properly socialized. This cheerful camaraderie they offer is one of the many reasons owners find themselves falling in love with this breed. You'd be amazed how swiftly a Great Dane will weave herself into the fabric of your family life! 

2. Remarkably intelligent and trainable 

Great Danes are not all brawn, but brains too! These magnificent dogs are known for their keen intellect and can be trained effectively. That said, given their high intelligence, they can exhibit a stubborn streak. But with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, they're often extraordinary learners. If you're worried about the challenges of toilet training or teaching your Great Dane pup commands ... fret not! These pups learn crate training and can master house rules more quickly than you might think. 

3. Renowned for their loyalty 

Great Danes are renowned for their exceptional loyalty to their families. They create deep bonds with their loved ones, displaying a steadfast devotion that sets them apart from other breeds. If you're looking for a lifetime companion, their unwavering faithfulness is a quality that can't be overlooked. A Great Dane by your side means having a faithful friend who'll stand by you, no matter what.

great dane dog kissing her smiling owner outdoors

4. Excellent watchdogs

Ever desired an affectionate pet that is not just your companion but also your devoted protector? The Great Dane seamlessly fits the bill here! Their sheer size might be an initial deterrent for any intruder, but their alert nature, loyalty, and protective instincts make them fantastic watchdogs. While they are incredibly friendly towards family members, their suspicions escalate around strangers. But remember, they are not aggressive. They're simply watchful. 

5. Easygoing and patient - truly "Gentle Giants"

One of the reasons that Great Danes make excellent family dogs is their patient and easygoing natures. This is what's earned them the nickname "Gentle Giants". They're mellow canines with a propensity for calmness, which pairs exceptionally well with moderate exercise needs. Just a casual stroll around the block or a playful bout in the backyard, and they're happy as a clam. 

6. Adapt well to apartment living and city environments 

Looking at a Great Dane, you may assume these dogs would be out of place in smaller living spaces. But it couldn't be more different! Despite their large statures, Great Danes are remarkably suited for apartment living. Their adaptability to varying environments and generally calm disposition pair well with the indoor lifestyle. They also bark little, making it easier from a noise perspective for your neighbors.

Remember, though, they still require some good exercise and mental stimulation, so daily walks and playtime are a must. 

7. Extraordinary bond with children 

Great Danes have a deep affinity for children -- arguably one of their most endearing traits. They are a combination of playful, gentle, and protective that makes them the perfect canine playmates for your kids.

Surprisingly, despite their size, they are incredibly careful and patient with young children and understand their role as a gentle playmate. At the same time, their protective natures mean that they'll quickly get in between your kids and any perceived dangers. 

The bond between a kid and a Great Dane is a truly special one that can significantly benefit the emotions and wellbeing of your kids.

little girl in princess costume hugging black great dane outdoors

8. Lower grooming needs 

Don't let their size fool you! Great Danes, in fact, do not require extensive grooming. This is because their have short coats that don't shed excessively, making them one of the easier breeds to groom. A quick brush once a week usually does the trick and helps to keep their coat vibrant.

Of course, regular bathing and nail trims should be a part of their care regime to ensure their optimal health. 

9. Moderate exercise needs 

Their large size may lead you to assume that Great Danes require an immense amount of exercise. But that's not the case. These gentle giants have a moderate energy level that generally requires only up to an hour of exercise per day.

A couple of short, daily walks or a game of fetch in the yard will satiate their exercise needs, especially if complemented with mental stimulation games indoors. So despite their size, they have quite manageable exercise requirements. 

10. Great Danes handle alone time well 

One significant concern that often surfaces with pet ownership is separation anxiety. Dogs left alone frequently experience stress and anxiety, which can manifest as unwanted behaviors like excessive barking or destructive chewing. Great Danes, however, are known to handle periods of solitude better than many other breeds. Whilst they love spending time with their human family, they are also independent enough to manage their time well alone. 

11. Unlikely to put on unwanted weight 

Are you concerned about your potential pet becoming overweight? With Great Danes, this doesn't tend to be an issue. As long as they are provided with a balanced diet and get their daily dose of exercise, they are less likely to pack on the pounds. You won't have to worry about excessive weight gain as long as you meet their dietary and exercise needs. 

12. Little unnecessary barking  

Did you picture Great Danes as rampant barkers? Surprise, surprise - they're not! Despite being excellent watchdogs, these giants are generally quiet and not known for unnecessary barking. Yet, they can become vocal when they sense any problem or threat around their loved ones. Their bark is incredibly powerful, making any potential intruders think twice. Also, remember, they are intelligent creatures, so a little training can go a long way in managing any noisy tendencies! 

13. Exceptional emotional supports animals 

With their innate sense of empathy and unwavering loyalty, Great Danes simply shine as emotional support animals. They are uniquely adept at providing comfort and companionship to their owners, and make excellent companions for individuals looking for a larger-sized ESA. This ability comes from their calming presence, which can help to alleviate stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. So, for prospective pet owners seeking emotional support, a Great Dane could be a suitable choice.

Cons of Great Danes

1. Overwhelming size and strength 

One of the traits that undoubtedly set Great Danes apart is their impressive size and strength. They stand up to 32 inches at the shoulder, and are also one of the strongest dog breeds in the world.

These features, while magnificent, can pose some challenges. Their sheer size and strength mean they can accidentally knock over smaller objects or even children or frail adults. This issue can be more pronounced when a Great Dane is particularly excited. So before bringing home a Great Dane puppy, make sure that you can accommodate such a heavyweight character!

2. Significant space requirement 

Due to their colossal size, Great Danes call for a significant amount of living space. It's also important to note that their long, waggy tails can unintentionally knock over furniture or decorations. Remember, these dogs don't always realize just how large they are! In a smaller kitchen or living room, that accidental swipe from a Dane's tail is much more likely to happen.  

great dane sitting on a couch indoors

3. Shorter lifespan than smaller breeds 

One unfortunate reality to consider is that Great Danes usually have a shorter lifespan compared to smaller dog breeds. On average, they live for about 8 to 10 years. On the one hand, this is fairly standard for dogs of their size. On the other hand, it's always difficult to imagine having your furry companion by your side for a shorter period of time.

It's important to consider this shorter lifespan of this majestic breed to make sure it aligns with your plans and expectations. 

4. Frequent veterinary check-ups 

Great Danes are unfortunately susceptible to some health issues. Among these are hip dysplasia, a common skeletal condition in large dogs; gastric dilatation-volvulus, more commonly known as bloat, which can be life-threatening; and certain types of heart diseases. Due to these breed-specific health vulnerabilities, Great Danes tend to need regular veterinary visits. This means additional time caring for them, and also higher vet bills and insurance premiums, which can add up over time. Make sure that you're prepared for this financial responsibility before bringing home a Great Dane pup. 

5. Massive food intake 

It's surely no stunner that these gentle giants require a substantial diet to uphold their massive bodies and energy needs. They need ample proteins to support their large muscles and nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids for their overall well-being. It's also necessary to provide them with smaller meals spread throughout the day to prevent conditions like Canine Bloat.

The costs for all that food can add up and should be budgeted for by prospective owners!

6. High prey drive 

Great Danes tend to have a high prey drive, meaning they have an innate impulse to chase and capture small, quick-moving animals. Little creatures like squirrels, rabbits, and even smaller dogs or cats can trigger this instinct. This could be a concern if you have other small pets at home or enjoy regular visits to dog parks teeming with small dogs. 

greaet dane towering over a chihuahua on grass outdoros

7. Potential sensitivity to cold weather 

Given their short coats and lanky frames, Great Danes are somewhat sensitive to harsh, chilly climates. This sensitivity means that they may need some extra care and comfort like heated beds or jackets during winters or high-altitude living. If you live in a region with cold winters, you should be prepared for the extra steps to keep your Great Dane warm and comfortable. 

8. Can trigger allergies

Great Danes, unfortunately, can trigger allergies and don't do great in households with allergy-prone members. Unlike large hypoallergenic breeds, Great Danes release a fair amount of dander which can trigger sensitivities. So, if you have a family member or house guests who suffer from allergy sensitivities or asthma, owning a Great Dane may not be the best idea. 

9. Loud, boisterous barks

Great Danes are not known to be frequent barkers. But when they perceive a threat or feel excited about something, they let it be known in a powerful, booming bark. This trait is excellent for protecting your home, but it can also disturb neighbors and occasionally nuisance barking problems arise in some Great Danes. So it's important to consider your living environment and the potential for noise issues. 

10. Dealing with drool 

If you’re not a fan of slobber, a Great Dane may not be the best choice for you. Naturally drooly dogs, these canine companions can leave a trail of slobber, especially after drinking or eating. It's all part of their charm, but it's something you may want to consider. This means the occasional cleaning up after your wet-mouthed friend. 

In Conclusion

With their stately stature, enthralling character, and graceful charm, Great Danes are, indeed, a breed of distinction. Yes, they come with a set of unique challenges that demand your time, resources, and attention. Their daunting size, voracious appetite, and occasional obstinance can certainly put new owners to the test. However, their resilience to adapt to various environments, their congenial behavior, and their exceptional intelligence can be just as rewarding, if not more so. 

So, are they the perfect breed for you? That's a decision only you can make. But it's crystal clear that if you can handle and appreciate their individualistic charm and satisfy their requirements, the companionship of a Great Dane enriches life in countless ways. Never forget, though, that getting a Great Dane, like any other breed, is both a privilege and a profound responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly. 

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