width=”423″ height=”269″ alt=”Buster with Meghan” border=”0″>

Buster (9 month old merle dane) and Meghan (5 month old yorkie)

Being a Great Dane owner is not a decision to be taken
lightly. A Great Dane is known as the Gentle Giant. The key word
here is GIANT. A Great Dane is not the right dog
for every home.

General Information

The Great Dane was
created in Germany to hunt wild boars. Over the past 100 years
breeders have made the Dane’s temperament what it is today –
sweet, friendly, steady, fearless, sensitive, protective but not
aggressive. It is the perfect companion dog for those wanting a
house pet.The Dane has to be with his family. He is not a kennel
dog. He is also the perfect dog for protection. His massive size
deters even the biggest of men. He does excellent with children
and other pets, many times adopting a kitten as his own. He is
extremely intelligent and needs to be trained with positive

Life Span

Due to his massive size, the Great
Danes life span averages 7-10 years. There have been many cases
of this dog reaching to age 12 up to 15 years old.


The Great Dane comes in many colors –
some recognized by the AKC and some not. To be recognized by the
AKC, the color needs to be pure color bred for four
generations.AKC Recognized Colors: Fawn – a golden yellow with
black mask, Brindle – a light gold with continuous black streaks,
Harlequin – a white with irregular black markings over its entire
body – neck preferably pure white, Mantle (formerly known as
Boston) – Black with white collar and white forehead line, Black,
and Blue. Common Colors not recognized by AKC: Merle – a gray
with black patches, White – Albino (usually partially or totally
deaf, possible partially or totally blind).


The Great Dane is a Giant dog. Minimum
height is 30 inches for males, 28 inches for bitches.The Great
Dane can be as tall as 3 feet. Weight averages 135 pounds, even
though males as big as 170 – 190 are not uncommon.


Cropped Ears

The Great Dane is best
known for his classic cropped ears standing straight on top of
his head. This was done 400 years ago to prevent the ears from
being mutilated while hunting wild boar. Cropped ears are not
naturally occurring on Great Danes. It is done between 6 – 8
weeks of age by a veterinarian. The dog is sedated then
approximately 1/2 of his ear is cut off. His ears are taped up
using popsicle sticks or a cup sitting in the middle of his head.
He then needs frequent tape changes. His ears are usually taped
6-12 weeks until his ears are trained to stand tall, erect, and
pointed.Cropping ears and tails in dogs has become controversial.
Many veterinarians hesitate or flat outright refuse to crop or
dock. The AKC accepts cropped and natural ears.

Natural Ears

The Great Dane’s ears naturally fall down around his face like a
Labrador Retrievers.


The Great Dane with its short,
thick and smooth coat requires only minimum bathing (when dirty)
and once a week brushing.

Living Environment

Many people find
it hard to believe but the Great Dane is most definitely a house
dog. He does not do well as an outside pet. He needs human
companionship.He has no realization of his size – he thinks he is
a lap dog. It is a common Great Dane trait to try to sit in your
lap or to sit on the couch with his front legs on the floor.He is
a quiet inside dog – not nervous or “hyper”. People who
work all day must realize that Great Danes suffer from separation
anxiety and must have a plan to deal with it so that the Dane
does not destroy their house. A crate usually makes the Dane feel
safe and secure while you are gone.


Great Danes easily become couch
potatoes. Long daily walks are best for him. However, Great Danes
do very well in agility training when given the opportunity.There
is nothing more beautiful than a finely tuned Great Dane in full
gallop.Do not exercise a Great Dane for at least one hour after
he has eaten to prevent bloat.


Great Danes are very intelligent
and highly trainable. They need to be trained with positive
reinforcement and a gentle hand. They are extremely sensitive and
do not do well with rougher training methods. It is very
important to start their training early. They need to be obedient
on command in order not to frighten strangers or knock over

Cost to Own

Due to his large size,
everything with a Great Dane costs more.Vet bills are more
because everything is charged by the pound. A spay/neuter
procedure can cost up to $250. Heartworm medication can cost up
to $150/year. He eats a large amount of food. A quality food
usually costs $32 for a 40 pound bag lasting 2-5 weeks depending
on age and size of Dane. An extra large crate can cost $100-$270.


It is important not to overfeed a
Great Dane puppy. He cannot have just any food. He needs a
special low protein, low calcium, low fat diet his first 2 years
of life to slow down his growth rate to protect his
joints.Regular puppy food is too high in fat, protein and calcium
to feed to any Giant Breed dog and could lead to brittle bones
and hip dysplasia later in life. Between 4 to 6 months of age,
you might want to consider giving your puppy adult maintenance
dog food. A giant dog does best if he eats in a standing position
to aid in proper digestion and lessen bloat. This means you need
to provide his food and water on a raised platform at shoulder
level. There are several quality food stands on the market that
help to accomplish this. Or you could simply put his food at the
proper height on a chair or table. Feed your Dane 2 -3 small
meals a day and do not exercise your dog or let him run around
for around an hour after eating to lessen the risk for bloat.

Great Dane Feeding and Nutritional Guides

Linda Arndt, a noted Author,
Nutritional Consultant, and owner of Blackwatch Great Danes
Kennels has graciously agreed to allow us to share her feeding
guide along with other nutritional articles she has published.
Please feel free to print out any information for future use and
share it with a friend.

Click here for guide


Giant dogs can get a condition
known as “bloat“. This usually occurs
when a dog is fed one big meal a day and allowed to run around
afterwards. His full stomach is being bounced around in his large
chest cavity and can turn around on itself or become twisted.
This is a life threatening situation! The blood supply to his
stomach and intestines is compromised and even cut off. He will
suddenly become lethargic and try to vomit unsuccessfully. His
stomach will bloat – meaning fill with gas and enlarge. A dog
with this condition needs immediate veterinary assistance. The
veterinarian will try to release the gas in the stomach to make
the dog more comfortable. Then he will perform a surgery where he
will open the chest cavity, empty the stomach contents, untwist
the stomach, sew the stomach in place so it can no longer twist,
and look for black (dead) stomach and intestine tissue. If the
blood path has been compromised too much where there is a large
part of dead intestine and stomach tissue, the dog will have to
be euthanized.If the condition is caught early enough, the dog
can survive and return to normal. This surgery usually costs
$1000-$1500. Prevention is best! Large dogs also are genetically
predisposed to hip dysplasia and bone and joint problems.

About Stomach Torsion

This article is to bring awareness to first time Great Dane owners
of Stomach Torsion, which is the number one killer of Great Danes.

Click Here for full Article

Want to Breed?

Read this if you are interested in breeding your dog.

Virtual Breeding 2 is now available too.