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Great Dane Personality Guide: Gentle Yet Demanding Breed Needs Lots of Space, Exercise (2024)

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great dane temperament whats it like owning oneGentle giant seeking soulmate.

Let this lovable lug melt your heart with slobbery kisses and lean his giant noggin on your lap.

His silly antics and goofy grin will brighten your days.

Though huge in size, this docile dude just wants to cuddle on the couch.

He’s a loyal, mellow companion who’ll stick by your side, if you’ve got space for this big bundle of love.

Despite his massive mass, he’s just a big baby longing for belly rubs, walks in the park, and snuggles by the fire.

Give this gentle giant a home and you’ll gain a friend for life.

Key Takeaways

  • Form strong bonds with families, especially when socialized young. Gentle and affectionate companions.
  • Require ample daily exercise and training. Prone to health issues like hip dysplasia that require monitoring.
  • Wonderful family dogs, great with respectful kids. Playful and affectionate with children when socialized early.
  • Need consistent training and socialization starting young. Respond best to positive reinforcement.

Great Dane Personality Traits

Great Dane Personality Traits
Great Danes are gentle giants with moderately playful and very affectionate personalities.

They make wonderful, loyal companions that form strong bonds with their families.

However, their size and needs demand space, exercise, training, and attention.

Gentle Giants

As a giant breed, Great Danes are known for being gentle, affectionate dogs despite their imposing size.

Form strong bonds with family when properly socialized young.

Meet their emotional needs for security and belonging through behavioral training and ample affection.

With the right care, these gentle giants can thrive in homes that provide sufficient space and daily activity.

Moderately Playful

You’ll find they’ve a moderately playful nature.

As gentle giants, Great Danes can be quite mellow, but they also enjoy playing when given the chance.

With proper exercise and stimulation, these dogs can show their fun-loving side through play.

Prefer playtime with owners over toys.

Enjoy bursts of activity followed by rest.

Require behavioral stimulation to prevent boredom.


One may find Great Danes are very affectionate dogs that love attention and physical contact with their families.

You’ll often see them leaning against people or sitting on their owner’s lap despite their massive size.

They thrive on bonding rituals like cuddling, petting, and being near their humans to fulfill their need for social attachments and emotional expressions through human interaction.

Though gigantic, they crave affection.

Great With Kids and Families

Great With Kids and Families
Great Danes often make wonderful family dogs despite their massive size due to their gentle, patient, and friendly nature.

Their affectionate, loyal nature makes them excellent companions for kids.

They enjoy bonding closely with family members and participating in activities together.

Their playful spirit and tolerance for handling make Great Danes a top choice for households with respectful children.

With proper training and socialization, Great Danes become gentle giants who adore being around kids and families, providing loyal companionship to all.

Their kind temperament allows them to form tight bonds with family members, creating many special memories together over their years.

Families who can meet their spacious home and exercise needs will be rewarded with a wonderfully kid-friendly and devoted companion.

Require a Lot of Exercise

Require a Lot of Exercise
You’ll need to provide these big dogs with at least an hour a day of vigorous exercise to meet their physical needs.

Great Danes have bountiful energy, so variety and mental stimulation keep their minds and bodies engaged.

Mix up walks, playtime, and training sessions to prevent boredom.

Adjust intensity as your Dane ages, keeping exercise age-appropriate.

Monitor your Great Dane closely during outdoor play and walks to ensure safety, since their curious nature can lead them into mishaps.

With ample daily activity tailored to their needs, your gentle giant will happily channel that imposing size and strength into staying fit.

Give your Dane the exercise they crave, and their sweet temperament will continue to shine through as you build an unbreakable bond.

Prone to Serious Health Issues

Prone to Serious Health Issues
You’re looking at some serious health issues with Great Danes:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia are common. Get x-rays done.
  • They’re prone to bloat, a life-threatening stomach twisting. Feed small meals and prevent vigorous play after eating.
  • Cardiomyopathy and hypothyroidism should be screened for. Consult a vet about tests to run.

Great Danes require diligent preventative care and routine veterinary visits to stay healthy, but their loving temperament makes it worth the effort. Work closely with your vet and keep up with tests to catch any issues early. Though they’ve shorter lifespans, their gentle nature rewards those who put in the hard work to care for them.

Need Obedience Training and Socialization

Need Obedience Training and Socialization
You’ll need to provide consistent obedience training and thorough socialization for your Great Dane from an early age.

Raising and training a gentle giant breeds understanding and patience.

Start socialization young, introducing your pup to new sights, sounds, pets, and people in calm settings.

Use positive reinforcement like treats and praise for wanted behaviors.

Be firm, yet gentle with correction.

Great Danes yearn to please, but their size makes obedience non-negotiable.

Consistency and positivity help them overcome fear or stubbornness with guidance.

Daily practice strengthens the human-canine bond built on mutual respect and deepens your Great Dane’s trust and focus.

While challenges persist, the rewards of a well-trained companion are immeasurable for both pup and parent.

Put in the time and effort and you may just have an exceptionally loyal best friend.

Can Be Frustrated When Left Alone

Can Be Frustrated When Left Alone
You’d be frustrated too if you were left alone for long periods in a small space.

To reduce separation anxiety:

  • Provide an enriching home environment with interactive toys.
  • Consider a canine companion for company.
  • Practice leaving your Great Dane for short periods to get them accustomed to alone time.
  • Make sure they get plenty of exercise beforehand.

With training, coping strategies, and an environment tailored to their needs, Great Danes can learn to handle time by themselves.

But their gentle nature thrives on companionship, so minimize prolonged isolation.

Require a Large Home

Require a Large Home
Accommodation is crucial when considering adopting this massive breed.

You’ll need ample room for a Great Dane to thrive in your home. Their size means they require more space than the average dog.

A house with a yard is ideal, providing them room to stretch their long legs and run.

Inside, high ceilings and open floor plans allow them to move freely between rooms.

Large crates give them a comfortable safe space.

Hard floors are better for their joints than carpeting.

Outdoor access enables potty breaks and playtime.

Apartments can work, but daily long walks are a must.

Compromising their need for space risks frustration and health issues.

With proper room to roam, they’ll happily fill your home with their gentle, loyal presence.

Big Appetites Mean Big Food Costs

Big Appetites Mean Big Food Costs
With your Great Dane’s enormous size comes an enormous appetite and correspondingly enormous food costs.

  • Budget for premium dog food and several cups per meal.
  • Factor in healthy treats and chews.
  • Account for higher veterinary bills.
  • Save up for emergencies or pet insurance.

Even with a fixed budget, make sure your gentle giant gets the nutrition they need.

Look for discounts on quality food and treats.

Supplement with low-cost proteins and veggies from your own kitchen.

Your Great Dane gives endless love – a little thriftiness provides for their care.

Space is a top consideration, ensuring exercise and preventing frustration from confinement.

But the real investment is your time and training for a well-behaved companion.

While Great Danes require more than many breeds, the joy they bring is beyond measure.

Focus on the rewards, not just the demands, and embrace both the gentle spirit and scale of your giant friend.

Lifespan is Shorter Than Other Dogs

Lifespan is Shorter Than Other Dogs
As we’ve discussed, Great Danes require substantial time, space, exercise, training, and financial commitments.

Unfortunately, their shortened lifespan compared to other breeds means less time with your gentle giant. Many Danes live just 7-10 years due to health challenges like bloat, bone cancer, heart conditions, and more.

Take steps to maximize your Dane’s quality of life through proper veterinary care, nutrition, exercise, and love.

Focus on each joyful day together rather than dreading the future.

Create beautiful memories, capture many photos, and learn coping strategies for when that difficult day comes.

With compassion and mindfulness, you can make the most of your Great Dane’s shortened but rich lifespan.

Treasure your loyal companion while you have the chance.

Make Excellent Watchdogs

Make Excellent Watchdogs
You’ve found that Great Danes have shorter lifespans than many breeds, but they make highly watchful guardians of their home and family.

With their imposing size and protective nature, Great Danes are alert protectors that:

  1. Use their powerful bark to deter intruders
  2. Remain vigilant and observant of their surroundings
  3. Quickly alert owners to any suspicious activity
  4. Make attentive companions who want to keep their family safe

Great Danes bond closely with their families, so they take their role as a security companion seriously.

Despite their gentle disposition, they can be fierce and vigilant defenders when necessary.

Their guardian instincts and massive size make them ideal watchdogs for providing a sense of safety and security.

Though their time with us is regrettably shorter, Great Danes devote their years fully to being devoted, guardian giants.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Great Danes good apartment dogs?

Great Danes aren’t the best choice for apartment living.

Their massive size and high exercise needs mean they thrive best with ample room to roam.

If your home is limited on space, look into more compact breeds.

But with proper training and care, these gentle giants can adapt.

What matters most is providing companionship, activity, and affection.

How much grooming and shedding can I expect with a Great Dane?

You’ll need to brush them weekly to remove dead hair.

Great Danes are average shedders. Their short coats don’t require much grooming.

You’ll want to bathe only when needed, as over-bathing can dry out their skin.

With minimal grooming needs, you get to spend more quality time together.

What kind of temperament does a Great Dane have around other dogs?

You’ll find your Great Dane is typically quite friendly and gentle with other dogs.

They tend to get along well with canine companions, although early socialization helps ensure good dog-to-dog manners.

Their sweet nature makes them more interested in human bonding than dominance with other pets.

How do I transport a Great Dane in a car?

Great Danes require large vehicles as they can weigh over 100 pounds.

Consider using crates or harnesses to restrain them while driving.

Always roll down windows to give them fresh air.

With space and restraints, you can safely transport your gentle giant in a car.

What types of health problems are common in Great Danes besides bloat?

You’ll need to watch for:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Heart problems like dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Bone cancer

Early health screening and regular vet checkups are key for picking up issues promptly.

Providing good nutrition and daily walks helps too.


All in all, Great Danes are a remarkable breed.

Their gargantuan size belies gentle giants longing for lazy lounging and loving laps.

Though demanding of space, exercise, and training, their steadfast loyalty and goofball antics make superb snuggle buddies.

For folks furnished for this friendly behemoth, adopting one grants a gratifying companion.

But their exceptional needs mean they aren’t for everyone.

Give ample thought before bringing home this delightful dog.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.