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Great Danes: Cost, Lifespan, Temperament & Training Tips for This Gentle Giant Dog Breed (2024)

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great danes as pets cost life expectancy and temperamentYou’ve got a big, beautiful heart for gentle giants. As a Great Dane parent, that fierce loyalty and affection come with big responsibility.

Let’s walk this journey of proper care, training, and health together. With some TLC and know-how, your lovable Dane can thrive for years as your trusted companion.

Embrace the special bond – those sloppy kisses and couch cuddles are worth every extra scoop of kibble.

Key Takeaways

  • Great Danes are very large dogs that can live 8-10 years with proper care and nutrition.
  • Despite their imposing size, Great Danes are known as gentle giants and can make very affectionate and loyal pets when trained and socialized from an early age.
  • Proper training and early socialization of Great Dane puppies is crucial to prevent unwanted jumping, mouthing, or other problem behaviors.
  • As giant breed dogs, Great Danes require attentive owners who can provide adequate space, appropriate exercise, healthy food, and consistent grooming and veterinary care.

Great Dane Breed Overview

Great Dane Breed Overview
With their massive frames yet gentle dispositions, Great Danes are considered one of the most lovable giant breeds you’ll come across.

As a breeder who adores these gentle giants, I’m thrilled to share their history.

Great Danes originated in Germany 400 years ago for boar hunting and estate guarding.

Their name derives from the French Grand Danois, meaning Big Danish.

Celebrity Danes like Scooby-Doo have contributed to the breed’s popularity over the years.

Danes come in various colors like black, blue, fawn, and harlequin.

Their short, smooth coat sheds moderately.

Before bringing one home, proof your home by securing chemicals and breakables since Danes can unintentionally knock things over with their sweeping tails.

Providing adequate exercise like daily leashed walks and access to large fenced yards allows them to thrive.

How Much Does a Great Dane Cost?

How Much Does a Great Dane Cost
You can expect to pay $1,000-$2,000 for a Great Dane puppy from a reputable breeder, though pedigreed dogs can cost upwards of $5,000.

Research potential breeders and ask about genetic testing and health clearances.

Account for ongoing costs like food, vet care, medications, grooming, and insurance.

Consider rescuing an adult Great Dane if the upfront cost is a barrier.

Prepare your home for a giant breed by puppy-proofing and buying appropriately sized items.

When determining if this gentle giant is the right fit for your family and budget, factor in all lifetime costs beyond just the initial puppy price. Being a responsible owner able to provide excellent lifelong care is what really matters.

Great Dane Lifespan

Great Dane Lifespan
Unlike many giant breeds, Great Danes actually have a slightly longer lifespan—averaging 8 to 10 years.

Though longer than expected, their lives are still sadly shorter than the average dog’s lifespan of 12-14 years.

So how can you help your gentle giant age gracefully?

Proper nutrition from puppyhood is crucial, as excess weight strains joints and internal organs.

Schedule twice-yearly vet exams to catch issues early, plus clean teeth regularly.

Avoid overexertion, especially before growth plates close around 18-24 months.

With attentive preventive care and a bit of luck, many Great Danes thrive past 10 years.

In the end, any time with these sweet-tempered dogs feels far too short.

Give your gentle giant the best shot at a long, healthy life.

Training a Great Dane

Training a Great Dane
Your plan makes training this gentle giant easy.

Start obedience training and socialization early, ideally between 8-12 weeks old.

Use positive reinforcement like treats and praise to instill good habits.

Correct unwanted jumping or mouthing behavior firmly yet gently.

Make training feel like fun games – Great Danes thrive on human interaction and aim to please their owners.

Work on basic commands using a clicker or verbal marker like yes!

Practice loose leash walking to curb pulling.

Socialize your Great Dane to various environments, animals, and people.

Consistency and patience are key when training this sensitive breed.

Stay positive as you lay the foundation for a well-behaved gentle giant.

Grooming Tips for Great Danes

Grooming Tips for Great Danes
As a Great Dane owner, you’ll be brushing your dog regularly to minimize hair build-up and shedding.

  • Brush your dog’s coat at least once a week with a slicker brush to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils.
  • Wipe your Great Dane’s face and neck daily with a damp cloth to keep drool under control and prevent staining.
  • Trim nails every 2-3 weeks, taking care not to hit the quick. Use a nail grinder for smooth edges if needed.
  • Check and clean floppy ears weekly using a vet-approved cleanser to prevent infections.
  • Bathe every 6-8 weeks using a mild shampoo. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry completely to avoid matting and irritation.

Exercise Needs of Great Danes

Exercise Needs of Great Danes
Because Great Danes are large, energetic dogs, you’ll need to provide them with at least an hour of vigorous exercise each day to meet their needs for activity.

As working breeds, Danes love outdoor activities like long walks, jogging, or hiking where they can really stretch their legs.

Make sure to supervise off-leash adventures in safe areas so they don’t wander off.

Beyond physical exercise, Danes need mental stimulation through training, games like fetch, or even dog sports like agility courses.

Since Danes are so big, take care not to overexercise them while they’re growing.

With the right amount of daily activity suited to their energetic temperament, your Dane will stay happy and healthy.

Feeding a Great Dane

Feeding a Great Dane
While Great Danes have high exercise needs, you’re also feeding them appropriately to fuel their large frames and maintain a healthy weight.

As giant breed dogs, they require a diet specifically formulated to support their rapid growth when young and to prevent issues like bloat as adults.

Great Danes have unique nutritional requirements due to their size. Their diet should be rich in glucosamine, chondroitin, and antioxidants to support bone and joint health.

Feed them a high-quality commercial dog food made for large breeds, dividing it into multiple smaller meals throughout the day.

Provide access to clean water at all times.

Consult your veterinarian if you have questions about your Great Dane’s ideal diet or meal schedule.

Great Dane Health Issues

Great Dane Health Issues
As gentle giants, Great Danes do face some common health problems you should be aware of.

Two of the most prevalent are bloat and hip dysplasia, which can be expensive to treat.

Knowing the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for these conditions will help you provide the best care for your Dane.


You’re sometimes at risk for bloat, a potentially life-threatening stomach twisting.

Prevent it by:

  • Feeding smaller meals more frequently
  • Avoiding vigorous activity after eating
  • Learning bloat symptoms like unproductive vomiting or retching

If you see those, get emergency vet care immediately – bloat can kill fast.

Reduce risk by consulting your vet on tailored dietary precautions for your Great Dane.

Catching and addressing bloat quickly can save their life.

Hip Dysplasia

Although you’re raising a happy, healthy Great Dane pup, be aware that they’re prone to developing hip dysplasia as they grow.

  • Make sure your pup maintains a healthy weight. Obesity will put extra stress on those hip joints.
  • Avoid overexercising them too young. Let those growth plates and bones develop properly first.
  • Look into joint supplements if you notice any early stiffness in their rear legs.
  • Have their hips X-rayed around age 2 to catch any dysplasia before it causes them pain.
  • Keep them active but watch for limping, difficulty standing, or lack of flexibility as signs.

Great Dane Temperament

Great Dane Temperament
When considering a Great Dane, you’ll be happy to know they generally have wonderful temperaments, especially around children.

Their gentle nature and desire to please makes them very kid-friendly.

Great Danes also tend to get along extremely well with other household pets, though proper socialization is still advised.

With Kids

After battling hip dysplasia, you’d expect Great Danes to be standoffish with rambunctious kids.

Yet, they’re incredibly sweet and gentle around children.

Despite their giant size, Great Danes love playful interactions with kids.

Their friendly traits shine through as they bond over activities under your supervision.

Take safety precautions, but know that Great Danes remain one of the most child-friendly breeds.

Other Dogs

The majority of Great Danes get along wonderfully with other dogs when properly socialized, although their sheer size demands extra supervision around tiny breeds.

Introduce pups to canine companions early to nurture interspecies bonds.

Socializing pups prevents wariness and facilitates playdate dynamics.

With time and positive interactions, great danes and small dogs can form diplomatic relations.

However, responsible supervision remains key – their size difference makes injury a risk during rambunctious play.

Set boundaries for friendly interactions.

Finding a Great Dane Breeder

Finding a Great Dane Breeder
When choosing a Great Dane breeder, you’ll want to locate one who health screens their breeding dogs to avoid issues like hip dysplasia.

A responsible breeder will have:

  • A good reputation
  • Perform genetic testing
  • Provide health guarantees
  • Give you access to the puppies’ parental history
  • Be transparent about their breeding practices

Here are some things to look for in a quality Great Dane breeder:

Criteria Green Flags Red Flags
Reputation Well-respected in Great Dane community, happy past customers Unable to provide references, negative online reviews
Genetic Testing Tests breeding dogs for common issues No genetic testing
Health Guarantees Guarantees health of pups, will take back sick dogs No health guarantee provided
Parental History Provides info on parents, grandparents, medical history Reluctant to share background on parents
Breeding Practices Breeds after 1-2 litters; breeds for health and temperament Constant litters; breeds dogs too young or too often

Locating an ethical, responsible Great Dane breeder is crucial to finding a happy, healthy gentle giant that will be a beloved member of your family.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Unfortunately, promoting certain colors or markings can lead to irresponsible breeding practices.

Instead of fixating on cosmetic traits, focus on finding a Great Dane from a responsible breeder who health tests their dogs.

This will help ensure you get a happy, healthy companion.

Can great danes adapt to apartment living if sufficiently exercised?

You’ll struggle to meet their needs in tight quarters.

Though gentle, Danes need ample daily exercise. Seek ground-level spaces offering access to sizeable yards, or resign yourself to long walks.

Their stature demands room to stretch out. Compromising on space risks joint issues down the line.

Better to postpone adopting until you have the proper facilities.

Are great danes good pets for elderly owners or first-time dog owners?

Unfortunately, Great Danes may not be the best choice for elderly or first-time owners.

Their large size and high activity needs require an owner able to provide adequate exercise, training, and healthcare.

Consider easier companion breeds better suited for novice owners.

Do I need to trim or cut my great dane’s nails regularly?

Yes, you’ll need to regularly trim your Great Dane’s nails.

Their nails grow quickly and can become painfully long and prone to cracking or splitting if left untrimmed.

Use sharp clippers designed for large dogs, taking care not to cut the quick.

Proper nail care keeps your Dane comfortable and prevents damage to your floors.

What common human foods or household items are dangerous for great danes?

Avoid giving your Great Dane:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onion/garlic
  • Xylitol gum/candy
  • Alcohol
  • Avocados
  • Fatty meats

These can cause poisoning or pancreatitis.

Stick to quality dog food and treats made specifically for large breeds.

Monitor your home and yard for dangerous items your curious Dane could swallow.


Like Atlas shouldering the celestial spheres, the Great Dane’s towering frame bears the weight of outsized responsibility.

As their steadfast companion, your loyalty must match their gentle spirit.

With attentive care and training, their affection ripens into an unbreakable bond until their last thundering steps fade into cherished memory.

When nurtured properly, this magnificent friend will guard your home and melt your heart for their all-too-brief lifespan.

Training a Great Dane requires patience, but the rewards of their companionship are beyond measure.

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.