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Great Dane

Known as prestigious guardians of estates and carriages, the Great Dane breed is a gentle giant, affectionate, loving and, all in all, great with people. Although they were originally bred to hunt wild boars, the Great Dane is not such a big fan of the sport nowadays, and would much rather spend their energy running around and playing. 

They would be perfect for someone who is at home a lot (as they are not easily portable), has lots of space, and is able to cope with a friendly dog, whose head is on the level of every worktop, but thinks they are a lapdog! 

8–10 years
Ideal weight should be 54kg. Females should be 46kg
Over 18 months of age, the minimum height of dogs should ideally be 76cm. Females of the same age should be a minimum of 71cm
Fawn, black, blue, brindle and harlequin
Kennel Club group
The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Need to be aware of potential health issues
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Giant dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Quiet dog
  • Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training
This breed may encounter health problems

The Great Dane is predisposed to a number of problems that are common in large breeds of dog, including:
- Gastric dilatation volvulus
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia 
- Dilated cardiomyopathy which is a condition where the heart muscle becomes progressively weak and cannot beat properly.
- Wobblers syndrome which is a problem in the spine that causes a wobbly abnormal gait.
- Inherited myopathy of Great Danes which is a disease that causes muscle wastage in this breed.
- Osteosarcoma which is a serious type of bone cancer.
- Entropion and/or ectropion which are painful conditions where the eyelids turn inwards or outwards, this happens as a result of excessive skin around the eyes.
- Cherry eye, which is where a gland within the third eyelid pops up in the corner of the eye.
Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.

Great Dane Appearance

The Great Dane truly deserves the nickname “gentle giant”. These dogs are indeed giant with the Great Dane size reaching 86 cm in the case of males, and about 81 cm in the case of females. Despite being muscular and strong, they have a friendly expression and a genuine desire to please everyone around them, humans or pets. They can be easily recognised due to their large stature as well as their long, rectangular head. The Great Dane colours range from fawn and black to blue, brindle, and harlequin. 

Great Dane Personality

The Great Dane is an affectionate dog, ideally suited to an active family. They can become very close and loyal to their family, and even to frequent visitors. They are quick to alert the family of any strangers approaching their territory, as they are excellent guard dogs and can sometimes be territorial and not welcoming of canine intruders. Puppy socialisation and puppy training is of particular importance in such a canine giant. 

Vet Rating

History and Origins

Ideal Owner

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Great Danes

Training Great Danes

Are Great Danes Good Family Dogs?

Great Dane Fun Facts

  • The Great Dane holds the record for being the tallest dog breed in the world, and while in its present form it has only worked as a guard dog, the ancestors of this canine colossus have been war dogs, fighting dogs, and high-status hunting dogs. 
  •  They are now gentle giants, bred for their docility. Their deep powerful bark being far worse than their, pretty much non-existent, bite.
  • Scooby-Doo is probably the most famous Great Dane cartoon. Astro from ‘The Jetsons’ and Marmaduke, the comic strip hero that became a film starring Owen Wilson, are also Great Danes. 
  • A Great Dane named Just Nuisance who loved riding trains, served in the Navy and even got promoted to Able Seaman. After his death, he was buried with full military honours. 


Are Great Danes smart? 

Great Danes might not be as smart as Border Collies, but they are pretty bright dogs. In fact, they ranked as the 44th smartest breed out of a total of 208 breeds.  

What should I expect from a Great Dane? 

Don’t be fooled by their big size, Great Danes are actually very friendly and highly social. Because of this, they can become quite anxious if left alone for too long. 

Are Great Danes difficult? 

Although they might be pretty stubborn, Great Danes are fairly easy to train as they are easy-going and intelligent gentle giants. 

Do Great Danes swim well? 

Great Danes are naturally proficient at swimming and can easily manage to keep their heads afloat. However, even though they love playing in the water, they will not be able to stay afloat for long periods of time. 

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