Is a Great Dane right for you
Great Danes are wonderful Dogs. Many times, this breed's size and beauty is what attracts people to desire to own one however a Great Dane is not for everyone. The problem arises when owners do not do the proper research about the breed before bringing a Dane home. This lack of education is one of the main reasons why Danes end up in rescue or shelters. Please make sure that you do in depth research before deciding to add one of these magnificent Dogs to your life. There is nothing quite like owning a Dane and the love that they give you. This breed bonds strongly with their owners and they deserve a loving, stable home where they will stay for their lifetime.
Great Danes are much, much larger than a normal large breed Dog. They are considered an XL or even XXL breed. The average female is about 130 lbs and 28-34 inches at the shoulder and the average male is about 160 lbs and 32-36 inches tall at the shoulder. There are Danes that have weighed over 200 lbs. A fully grown Great Dane standing up on his back legs hugging you can stand over 6 feet tall! World record holders have been about 7 feet tall. Although Great Danes do not require a large home, they do require more space than most Dogs. If they need to be crated, their crates are humongous so you will need a space to fit it into your home. Because of their height, Danes can reach many more things than a smaller Dog can. Many times Danes can reach anything that is left out on your countertop without much effort. But they can be trained not to counter surf.
Because of their size, Great Danes will need more food than an average Dog. Most adult Great Danes eat between 5-8 cups of food a day, some even more. It is important that you feed a Dane premium Dog food, so be prepared to spend $40-$80 on each bag of food depending on what food your Dane does best on. Great Danes may need twice the amount of flea, tick and heartworm preventative than the average Dog. So this is an expense that you need to take into consideration. If your Dane needs any kind of medication it will likely be more expensive than other Dogs because of their weight. Your vehicle must also be able to accommodate such a large Dog.
Great Danes make wonderful family pets however they crave attention, human interaction and must be inside with their family. They do not do well as outside Dogs but they do need a fenced in area for daily exercise and play. Danes should not be outside for very long in cold weather because of their short coats. Most Great Danes are good with children but they can easily, accidentally knock down a toddler. All Dogs should always be supervised when around children.
Most of the time Great Danes are couch potatoes and have short periods of activity and require a couple of short walks a day along with a period of off leash time to run and play in the yard. However, some Danes can be destructive when left alone. The damage they can do can be extreme so it is important to determine if they need to be crated when left alone for their safety and for the preservation of your home. Destructiveness seems to happen mostly with younger Dogs and they usually outgrow this behavior, although some Danes with anxiety will continue to be destructive whenever left alone and given free roam.
One of the MOST IMPORTANT things to understand when owning a Dane is the importance of TRAINING!!! Danes are very large Dogs and it is an obligation, not a choice as a Dane owner to take your Dog to training classes! No matter what age they are when you bring them home, training is an absolute must! You need to be able to control your XL Dog in every situation. If you adopt an adult Dog you may think that they do not need training but this is not the case. When adopting a Dog, you need to establish who is the pack leader, who is in control, as well as build a relationship while creating a bond of trust between you and your Dog. Lack of training is one of the number one reasons why any Dog is surrendered to rescue or a shelter. Training is fun for you and your Dog and it will help the two of you to build a bond that you would never achieve otherwise. Training your Dog at home can be beneficial but training with a qualified Dog trainer is the best for you and your Dog. Obedience training may be a requirement of an adoption contract.
Great Danes tend to have a shorter lifespan, typically 8-10 years, however they have been known to live as long as 13 years old. You need to be aware of the potential health problems that can affect Great Danes which can be serious and expensive. Bloat is the number 1 killer of Great Danes. Saving a Dane from this condition can cost thousands of dollars. Danes are also prone to dilated cardiomyopathy, wobblers syndrome, hypothyroidism, orthopedic conditions and bone cancer. You absolutely must be prepared for any unexpected health problems that should arise. Even less severe problems such as allergies can cost an owner a good bit of money. Many owners have pet insurance, care credit, other credit cards set aside for their Dogs or special savings to use if needed. Do not neglect being prepared for veterinary costs for your Great Dane. Some of our Danes are surrendered for this reason. If you cannot financially care for a Dane then the breed may not be the right choice for you.
Bringing a Great Dane into your home is not a decision that should be taken lightly. A lot of people do not realize the great responsibility that comes with owning a Great Dane. Even if you have owned Dogs before, Danes are just different. It is almost like having another human in your home similar to a huge toddler lol. They can be very needy, require a lot of attention, have medical needs, and will take up your entire couch or bed if you let them. You must supervise them, clean up after them, give them lots of attention and be willing to rearrange your schedule for their needs. Please be sure that you are willing to do what it takes to own a Dane before you decide to bring one home. Be responsible and do your research. Every Dane deserves the best!
Written by Angel Booth at MAGDRL