Great Dane Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Great Dane Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

There is no dog more worthy of the name “the Apollo of Dogs” than the Great Dane. However, this gentle giant has no links to Denmark at all. Instead, they originated in Germany over 400 years ago. Initially bred to hunt deer or wild boar and serve as estate guards, the Great Dane’s modern purpose is companionship. 

The Great Dane was developed from a cross between the Irish Wolfhound and the Old English Mastiff and is also known as the German Mastiff, Deutsche Dogge, Dane, and Apollo of Dogs. The Great Dane is an easy-going and social breed known to be patient with children and highly devoted to their families. This large breed matures slowly and needs no more than moderate exercising. They should not be over-exercised during their early years to prevent bone and joint issues later.

Although the Great Dane is a generally healthy breed, they are predisposed to many health problems. Unfortunately, like other large and giant breeds, Great Danes have only an average lifespan of seven to 10 years. Female Danes have 10 to 15 puppies per litter once a year.

The Great Dane’s enormous appearance has intimidated intruders from ancient Roman times until now. Suspicious of strangers, the wrinkled, often sad-looking Great Dane is calm and sweet among loved ones. They are majestic, powerful guardians of their owners and their property. The Great Dane falls in the giant breed category, with an average weight of 160 pounds for males and 115 pounds for females and an average height of 32 inches at the withers for males and 30 inches for females.

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Great Danes?

Of course, the Great Dane’s most prominent physical trait is its massive size. Danes are the American Kennel Club’s tallest dog and among the largest overall. Their long, floppy ears are just begging for a rub, and those droopy jowls definitely need a nuzzle. But there is a distinct elegance coupled with their massive weight and height. Great Danes possess a regal air of elegance. While they’re well-muscled dogs, they’re also dignified with unexpected mischievous humor.

More of the Great Dane breed’s traits and characteristics are listed in the table below.

Great Dane Dog Breed Features

Great Dane Dog Breed information


Males 30 to 32 inches

Females 28 to 30 inches


Male 140 to 175 pounds

Female 110 to 140 pounds

Relation with family

Loyal, Affectionate, Guardian, Reserved, Mellow, Relaxed, Quiet, Strong-willed

Relation with children

Playful and lovable

Relation with other dogs

Good but territorial

Shedding level

Low except during shedding seasons

Drooling level


Coat type 

Dense, smooth

Coat length

Short, no longer than 1”

Coat grooming frequency

Weekly Brushing

Openness/Relation with strangers


Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



7 -10 years 

How Does the Great Dane Interact with Family?

Great Danes are very affectionate and protective of their family. Once you integrate the dog into your house, they will be loyal and loving. They’re also usually good with kids as long as they know they are part of the family.

With the Great Dane’s giant head, droopy look, skin folds, and massive build, most people would undoubtedly think this Gentle Giant is unsuitable as a family companion and pet. However, this judgment appears far from the truth as the Apollo of Dogs have proved themselves valuable and great family companions for several decades. 

The confident Dane is not just a gentle giant; it’s protective of its family and suspicious of strangers. The Great Dane needs an experienced and firm owner who can command his respect without being physically or verbally abusive. 

Great Danes are so endearing that some would tend to become clingy. They love to receive attention from their favorite humans. If they are not getting any, expect these canines to jump on the sofa or do anything quirky until you get the attention they crave. If Apollo wants to sit on your lap, you’ll soon learn there’s no stopping him.

Danes form extraordinary bonds with their human families. Some develop a “velcro-dependency,” which means it needs to be close to you every minute of the day – not just close, but touching. Once that happens, your Gentle Giant will likely develop separation anxiety. Therefore, Great Danes do best in homes where one family member remains behind when others go to work, school, etc.

Admittedly, Great Danes require a bit of effort, early socialization, are more expensive to maintain, and there is an occasional knick-knack knocked off the table. But look at everything you gain in return: a loyal friend, a childhood companion, a bold-sounding watchdog, and a coat that is super-easy to groom. If you’d like to “go big or go home” with a giant dog, the Great Dane just might be the choice for you.

However, before choosing a Dane as a canine companion, take note of the breed’s tendency to drool excessively and the owner’s need always to have a towel ready to wipe away drool.

How Does the Great Dane Interact with Other Dogs?

Great Danes are typically okay with other dogs and cats, but there is no guarantee. Like humans don’t get on with everybody, the Apollo of Dogs may encounter other dogs that trigger aggressive reactions. Mastiff owners can play it safe and choose a second dog of the opposite sex, and there are more chances of aggressive reactions between two dogs of the same gender.

Early socialization can prevent dog fights and, at the same time, teach Danes to live peacefully with cats and other small pets. Even if they get on with other pets, their size may be a threat during playtime with smaller pets. Their loyalty and territorial traits could lead to jealousy when Great Danes have to share the attention of their human families with other dogs. 

Food guarding, also sometimes called resource guarding or possession aggression, is relatively normal behavior in Great Danes. Animals developed this behavior because, in nature, if they weren’t born with a solid drive to protect their food, they likely wouldn’t survive.

How are Great Danes with Older People?

Great Danes are okay with older people; however, their size could put the senior people at risk. Despite their size, these Gentle Giants remain puppies until they are fully grown, only around age three to four. As long as they are still puppies, Danes continue with youthful jumping, playing, and other unruly behavior. Regardless of how strong the bond between an older person and the Apollo of Dogs is, there will be injury risks. The massive dog’s boisterous play could knock older, fragile people down. 

How are Great Danes with Children?

Great Danes are good with kids—especially older ones, and their sheer size means they need supervision around babies and toddlers. Great Danes love to “lean,” which is a sign of affection or a request for attention. Still, you can imagine the result when a Great Dane decides to lean into a small child affectionately. Another issue is the Great Dane’s enthusiastic tail. It can be quite a force when the dog is excited or happy.

How are Great Danes with Neighbors or Guests?

Great Dane puppies must learn to distinguish between neighbors and strangers who might pose threats from a young age. It is essential to socialize your Dane with as many people as possible. This will help them grow up to be confident, friendly adult dogs. Enroll in a puppy socialization class if possible. 

Of course, if you’re there, your Great Dane will accept anyone you introduce. But they won’t be welcoming right away; instead, staying reserved with strangers and acquaintances until they no longer deem them threats. Your Gentle Giant will soon accept neighbors or guests as family members if there is frequent interaction.

What are the Physical Traits of the Great Dane?

The Great Dane is a tall, lean, athletic, muscular, elegant-looking canine. They can stand between 76 and 32 inches high and weigh from 110 and 175 pounds, depending on whether it is a male or female. The large head is long and narrow, and the medium-sized floppy ears can be left natural or they can be cropped. The tail is long and held low. The coat is short and smooth and can be in several colors, such as fawn, black, or brindle. The Great Dane’s physical traits are summarized in the table below: 


Trait information




Males 140 to 175 Pounds

Females 110 to 140 Pounds


Male 30 to 32 Inches

Female 28 to 30 Inches

Skull/ Head

Skull – Narrow, long, and nearly flat, with parallel sides.

Head – Proportionate to the size of the dog, long, rectangular, narrow 


Almond-shaped and dark, except in harlequins and merles, where blue or other colors are possible.


Medium-sized, triangular in shape Set well above the cheekbones. May be cropped or uncropped


In profile, the muzzle is long, equal in length to the skull, and deep


Usually black, but Blue Great Dane noses are dark blue, while harlequins and merles may have spotted noses. 


Complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.

Exercise Needs



7 to 10 years


Dense, short

Coat color

Black, black and white, blue, brindle (subtle tiger stripes), fawn, harlequin (white with black patches), mantle (black with white patches), merle (mottled patches of color) and white.


Thick at the base, fairly long, and tapering to the tip. It usually hangs low or curls slightly at the end.


Strong and well angulated

How to Feed a Great Dane?

Your Great Dane’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your Gentle Giant’s diet on a giant breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always good to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Dane grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Dane from the table; all it does is add weight; instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

Despite the Gentle Giant’s massive size, it is an agile, athletic breed that needs food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

Your Great Dane’s daily food portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and of course, the brand and formula of food it eats. Feed your Great Dane food formulated for a giant breed with recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand developed for all life stages.

The Great Dane’s daily cups of food should be spread over 2 to 3 meals per day. Feeding the Apollo of Dogs several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat, a condition prevalent in Great Danes. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

An example of premium food specially formulated for your Gentle Giant, and its benefits are listed below:

The best dog food for Great Danes is Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food.

Make your best bud’s mealtime nutritious and delicious with Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food. It stays away from those questionable legume ingredients such as peas, lentils, and chickpeas. Instead, there’s just complete, wholesome nutrition. For example, this food has not one but two high-quality protein sources, chicken and lamb, that fortify the large dog formula with extra glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to nourish your Great Dane’s joints. This food is also rich in amino acids that aid the Great Dane’s sensitive digestion.

The chondroitin and glucosamine give your Great Dane’s joints the support they desperately need. Taurine is good for the heart, and amino acids and probiotics are excellent for digestion and immunity. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is ideal for giant breeds with high physical demands.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the 19 formulas in the Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food range.

  • The protein-rich formula features chicken, lamb, salmon, and chicken as the first ingredient.
  • Contains a blend of 15 superfoods, including coconut, chia, kale, and blueberries.
  • The recipe is specially designed for large breed adult dogs using only high-quality, real ingredients to provide complete and balanced nutrition.
  • Ingredients are sourced from trusted farmers and rigorously tested for quality and food safety.
  • Contains no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors, chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, and soy protein-free.

When Great Danes are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is crafted with everything giant dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Great Dane Puppy Eat? 

The Great Dane is a Giant breed whose puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a large breed dog like the Great Dane. It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Great Dane puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Great Dane puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for large-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Great Danes should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are Great Danes with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that a Great Dane should Take?

Great Danes can be affected by several genetic health problems. Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these diseases, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible.

The Great Dane Club of America, which is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States, participates in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Program. Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. You can check CHIC’s website to see if a breeder’s dogs have these certifications.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. Checks by the dog’s vet are not a substitute for genetic health testing.

For potential Great Dane puppy buyers, CHIC certification is a good indicator that the breeder responsibly factors good health into their selection criteria. The breed-specific list below represents the basic health screening recommendations but it is not all-encompassing. There may be other health screening tests appropriate for this breed. And, there may be other health concerns for which there is no commonly accepted screening protocol available.

The Great Dane Club of America recommends the following health screens

  • Elbows and shoulders OFA Xrays
  • Hips OFA Xrays or Penn HIP
  • Echo Cardiogram Exam by a board-certified cardiologist

Optional Tests:

  • OFA Patellar Luxation
  • OFA yearly evaluation from an approved laboratory for autoimmune thyroiditis
  • Regular eye examination by a board-certified ACVO Ophthalmologist

Additional General Health Check, including Heart, Vaccines, Musculoskeletal, Dental, Fleas, and Worms.

What are the Common Health Problems of Great Danes?

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Great Dane is predisposed to multiple health conditions, of which many might never happen. Below is a list of the most prevalent conditions Great Danes develop. However, even healthy Danes should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

    • Hip dysplasia is a deformation that occurs and develops as Great Dane puppies grow. It is caused by loose joints that prevent the ball part of one bone from sliding smoothly in the socket of the other joint bone. Instead, it grinds and rubs in the joint, causing painful wear and tear damage as the Dane ages. Although this condition typically affects older dogs, precautions are essential from puppyhood by ensuring the Gentle Giant’s diet supports strong joints and bones.
    • Elbow dysplasia happens when the growth of the elbow is disturbed. A condition called elbow dysplasia may ensue. While this condition is generally inherited, other factors, such as nutrition and exercise, also play a role in its development. Most dogs will display symptoms before the age of one – though some may not show any signs until several years old.
    • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD)  is an orthopedic developmental disorder that can cause limping, pain, and swelling of a dog’s joints. It can be seen in rapidly growing large breed and giant breed dogs, such as Great Danes, Weimaraners, Labrador Retrievers, and Standard Poodles.
    • Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of thyroid hormone. Signs of this condition can include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to other skin diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes. Your vet can conduct a blood screening test annually to screen for it. Treatment is replacement hormones given in the form of a pill.
  • Cancer: Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer): Generally affecting large and giant breeds, osteosarcoma is aggressive bone cancer. 
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Gastric Torsion – often known as ‘bloat’, is a life-threatening disorder that happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas and becomes twisted.  To protect your pup from GDV, feed your dog smaller meals throughout the day and wait an hour before and after mealtimes before exercising. 
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease associated with the heart. Reputable breeders will screen their dogs for this disease and will not breed dogs that have it.
  • Wobbler’s Syndrome: Suspected to be an inherited condition in large and giant breeds. Affected dogs suffer from spinal cord compression caused by cervical vertebral instability or from a malformed spinal canal.
  • Demodectic mange (also known as red mange, follicular mange, or puppy mange) is a skin disease, generally of young dogs, caused by the mite Demodex canis.
  • Fold dermatitis Involves all those loose skin on the Great Dane can be a detriment if your dog gets fold dermatitis in those folds. This is essentially an infection that exists in the pocket between folds of skin, the perfect place for bacteria to grow. Make sure to clean and dry your Mastiff thoroughly and regularly to avoid fold dermatitis.

You can minimize the chances of serious health concerns in a Great Dane by purchasing a  puppy from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices and screening for common diseases and conditions.

What is the Exercise Need of a Great Dane?

The Great Dane breed needs about 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise. This can include a mix of walks and playtime in a fenced yard. As adults, Great Danes enjoy long hikes, but you’ll want to wait until they’re 2 years old to avoid injury to their growing joints. You might also find them to be an excellent jogging partner; they can be pretty speedy. Another great way to bond with your adult dog is through dog sports. Danes are good at agility, obedience, tracking, and even flyball.

Despite enjoying long walks and the occasional case of the “zoomies,” their energy levels are fairly low. Doggy play dates or trips to a dog park are great for mental and physical exercise, but many Danes are happy to spend the rest of the day just chilling at home.

What are the nutritional needs of Great Danes?

The nutritional needs of a Great Dane include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the Dane are listed below.

  • Protein: Great Danes need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for Gentle Giant’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Great Dane’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Great Danes need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Great Dane sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, that too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Great Dane puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit the aging Apollo of Dogs by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Great Dane.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Great Danes are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Great Dane’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Great Danes.

What is the Shedding Level of Great Danes?

For the Great Dane, shedding isn’t too big of an issue, except during shedding seasons, typically during spring and fall. However, because he is so large, even though he doesn’t shed a lot, it still amounts to more than you might expect.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Great Danes?

Great Danes have thick, short coats that typically need no more than weekly brushing. Danes need to bathe routinely, usually once or twice a month. While some people prefer to crop their Dane’s ears, the practice is becoming less common and is banned in some countries. Great Danes with natural (floppy) ears should have routine ear checks and cleanings.

 Make nail trimming a part of the grooming process every two to three weeks to prevent tearing or splitting. Oral hygiene is as essential. Brushing your Gentle Giant’s teeth twice or three times a week will prevent tooth decay and hold gum disease at bay. Regular brushing will stop breath odor and stinky drool.

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of skin infections.
  • Grooming promotes a healthy and shiny coat.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after grooming regularly.
  • While grooming, you can check the skin folds for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your Apolo of the Dogs.

Your dog should be calm during grooming. Short walks before the grooming session will calm your Gentle Giant, thus ensuring they remain still during the grooming process. You can also give your Dane their favorite treat to munch on while grooming them. Grooming must be enjoyable and stress-free for you and your Great Dane. Starting in puppyhood will ease the process when your Apollo reaches full size.

What is the Drooling Level of Great Danes?

As a Great Dane owner, you should expect to find trails of drool everywhere your Gentle Giant goes. It’ll be most pronounced any time they eat, drink, get warm, get excited, or do pretty much anything. Basically, they drool most of the time.

However, drooling is a natural process, and although Gentle Giants drool all the time, the primary triggers of drooling are listed below, which, in Apollo of Dogs, will increase its drooling levels.

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva.
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. 
  • Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets.
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who do not like traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. Stress makes dogs pant and breathe with their mouths open, thus causing drooling.
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Sexual excitement, like when a male Dane spots a female in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.

What is the Coat Type of the Great Dane?

The Great Dane’s coat is short, close, and thick with a smooth, glossy appearance.

What is the Coat Length of the Great Dane?  

The Great Dane has a short coat no longer than one inch. 

Great Danes’ coats can be any of the colors listed below.

Brindle: Strong black stripes in a chevron pattern on a yellow gold background.

Fawn: Yellow gold with a black mask.

Blue: Pure steel blue

Black: Glossy black.

Harlequin: Black torn patches irregularly and well distributed over a white background.

Mantle: A solid black blanket extending over the body and skull with the following white markings.

Merle: A pale gray to dark gray base color, with black torn patches.

What are the Social Traits of the Great Dane Breed?

The social traits of the Great Dane are affection, playfulness, friendliness, and possessive nature. The Apollo of Dogs is intelligent and learns fast, but they can be bored with long training sessions. Although Great Danes are fun-loving, these Gentle Giants are sensitive creatures.  They notice mood changes in their loved ones and will show concern when you are sad or depressed. To lighten you up when you are not in a happy mood, your our furry giant will follow you around, lean against you, and use those soulful eyes to get you to smile and be happy. When you react, your Dane will cuddle and dish out wet kisses, all accompanied by a lot of tail wagging.

 Other social traits of Great Danes include the following:

  • Elderly-friendly: Great Danes love interaction with their family, from children to grandparents. However, they are highly energetic and may exhaust the seniors if playtime sessions last long. In addition, the Apollo of Dogs enjoy playing rough and can easily hurt the elderly hence constant supervision is vital. An overexcited Maltese jumping up onto anybody is acceptable, but the same is not true for Danes.
  • Children-friendly: Great Danes enjoy running around or chasing after children. However, young children are too fragile to be part of the boisterous play when Apollo of Dogs are involved. Gentle Giants could unintentionally hurt small children. Older children would be safer playmates for these giant dogs. However, regardless of whether there are small kids in the family, Great Danes should be properly socialized.
  • Family-friendly: Having this wonderful breed around will help improve your family’s overall health. His constant display of affection causes your body to release the hormone called “oxytocin,” also known as the “good mood hormone.” Having your Dane around, the warm and fuzzy feelings you’ll feel are linked to decreasing stress and anxiety levels.
  • Pet-friendly: Great Danes can get along great with cats and other animals, especially if they’re raised with them. However, their massive size poses dangers to smaller pets because the Apollo of Dogs could unintentionally hurt them even in play.
  • Cautious with strangers: Great Danes tend to be suspicious of strangers. They will show their suspicion by barking whenever they see an unfamiliar person. Their strong bond with family makes them aloof towards strangers, but you can reduce this through training on proper socialization behavior. Taking your Dane with you whenever you visit other people’s houses also helps in lowering their aggression towards strangers. Your Dane will learn to interact with new people and become less suspicious of strangers. 
  • Cautious with new dogs: Great Danes often show aggressive behavior towards other animals, especially those of the same sex. However, their aggression is seldom the reaction to feeling threatened but jealousy instead. Adequate socialization can avoid aggression.

How Do Great Danes Interact with Strangers?

Great Danes are not friendly toward strangers. The Deutsche Dogge is wise enough to identify who is a threat and who isn’t. If your kids got home earlier than you did, you don’t have to be worried about their safety, more so if the dog has been intensively trained to guard. 

Is the Great Dane Playful?

Great Danes are very playful with older children, adults, and even senior citizens and make excellent family dogs. However, for the giant-sized Apollo of Dogs, the size of very young children may seem like playthings instead of tiny humans, and Great Danes love to play with toys. Therefore, homes with young children and the Apollo of Dogs should have separate areas to keep them until the children are older.

Are Great Danes Protective?

There is no breed quite as loyal as the Gentle Giant. They are a loving and protective breed, and they become entirely devoted to their family and have strong protective instincts. It means that they will always be wary of strangers and may not be over the moon when meeting other dogs.

The Great Dane is known to have a strong history as a protector. He was widely used as a guard dog who would constantly patrol properties and estates in the past. His intimidating image can easily scare away anyone who would think about trespassing on the territory.

What is the Adaptability Level of Great Danes?

Great Danes are highly adaptable. Even if relocating from a farm or a ranch to an apartment in the city, they will quickly adapt if they are not separated from their human families. They would even live happily in an apartment; however, it would have to be spacious enough for such a massive canine companion.

Gentle Giants don’t need a lot of exercise, and as long as they can go for a daily walk outdoors, apartment living would not be a problem. However, this would only be true if the Gentle Giant is all grown up. A boisterous Great Dane puppy can be like a bull in a China shop in small spaces.

What are the Personality Traits of Great Danes?

Originally bred to hunt ferocious boar in Germany, this colossal canine evolved into an utterly sweet-tempered dog deserving of its ‘Gentle Giant’ nickname. Great Danes will charm just about anyone with their noble carriage and affectionate natures, even those at first intimidated by their size. 

They love taking walks and playing off-leash in open, fenced-in backyards. Great Danes are courageous and dependable, but they also have some lap dog traits, like a desire to be near you whenever you are home. Their sheer magnitude requires a close eye to prevent accidents, such as knocking over home decorations or pint-sized family members.

Can Great Danes be Aggressive?

Even though they are large dogs with a lot of presence, Great Danes are not aggressive or dangerous. They can be wary of strangers, and proper socialization and training can help them be more comfortable around new people.

Gentle Giants may seem like a calm and lazy breed, but they always know what’s going on around them, even if it doesn’t seem that way. They will be ready at a moment’s notice if they feel that you are under threat. They aren’t usually aggressive, as their large size and deep bark usually are enough to scare any sensible criminal away, but they will show aggression if the threat persists.

Can Great Danes be Dangerous?

The Great Dane’s love can manifest in several ways. One of these is his undying loyalty to guarantee that everyone is safe. Your Apollo of Dogs won’t hesitate to protect you from intruders. Even though a Dane is not the fastest mover, it’s guaranteed that he’ll persist in being unmovable, especially when it comes to defending you, and that could be dangerous.

Do Great Danes Ever Attack?

Great Danes are more standoffish than aggressive with people they don’t know. If they weren’t properly socialized as pups, they could be aggressive towards other dogs. But for the most part, Gentle Giants stand their ground and won’t go on the offensive unless clearly provoked or they sense immediate danger to themselves or their family

Can Great Danes Kill Humans?

Yes, Great Danes can kill humans, although it is unlikely. Any dog breed can kill a human. Everything from a Chihuahua to a Great Dane can kill if under the right circumstances. One bite from even the tiniest dog in an artery or another critical place on the body can cause a person to bleed out in minutes. Likewise, a bite from even the largest, strongest dog could cause minimal to no damage.

Gentle Giants are exceptionally protective of their human families, but certain circumstances could drive any dog to attack violently. Provocation and maltreatment are known causes of dog attacks that turn out to be fatal.

Do Great Danes cope with being left alone?

The Apollo of Dogs does not do very well when left alone. The Great Dane feels happy to be around his family and would show great sadness if he’s left alone without anything to do. While the general rule is that dogs shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours, Great Danes are prone to separation anxiety. They may react adversely to being alone, even for one hour. A play session or a brisk walk may tire your Dane enough to let him sleep while you’re out for an hour or two.

Can I Leave my Great Dane at Home?

Great Danes tend to be big babies who do not tolerate being left alone well, and they prefer to be at home with one of their human companions present. Many Gentle Giants tend to favor one family member. When that person has to run an errand, the Apollo of Dogs might become anxious. However, he will likely be okay if another family member remains at home. But that doesn’t mean your Gentle Giant’s facial expression won’t be even more somber than usual while you’re gone.

Can Great Danes be left alone for 8 hours?

Gentle Giants need company, and they do not enjoy spending time alone for many hours and may develop separation anxiety. Don’t get a Great Dane if you must leave him on his own for hours. You can, however, leave your Dane alone for short periods, ideally with some of its favorite dog toys or puzzle toys to keep him occupied. Leaving your Dane alone for more than four hours is not recommended. If there is no other way, getting a dog walker or a sitter for a part of the day may prevent separation anxiety.

How to Train a Great Dane?

When it comes to their intelligence, you’ll find that your Great Dane is very smart, but you might also notice a stubborn streak once you dive into training. And that stubborn streak often needs a pup parent with experience. But if you’re a first-time pup parent who is confident and calm, you, too, can have a well-mannered Great Dane.

Great Danes tend to pick up basic obedience commands—sit, stay, down, come—quite quickly if you start when they’re puppies. So don’t put off training. It’s also physically easier to train them while they’re puppies, and they’re easier to manage than when they’re fully grown and weigh as much or more than you.

Positive reinforcement training is the best type of training for Great Danes. Use your pup’s favorite treats, toys and lots of praise as motivation and reward for any job well done?

Don’t forget about your Great Dane’s social skills! While they’re puppies, start introducing them to new people and other dogs. Take them on walks and enroll them in puppy school, a great way to learn the basics and meet new friends.

In their late “teenage” period, many young Great Danes experience a brief stage of fearfulness, so you’ll want to help them through this by making a positive experience out of visits with people and other animals. A great way to do this is to reserve special treats for when you’re out and about and reward them as they interact with new people. Your Great Dane may never be a social butterfly; some may prefer the company of their families over social situations, and that’s OK, too. It just means they’re saving all their love for you.

How Frequently does a Great Dane Bark?

Great Danes dogs are calm, naturally protective, intelligent, and loving. And although the Apollo of Dogs isn’t known to bark incessantly, they can get quite loud and aggressive if they detect impending danger. Gentle Giants can sometimes come off as shy, aloof, or reserved, but they aren’t naturally aggressive dogs. 

They have a deep, powerful bark that can be intimidating to visitors, but this is a case where the bark is really worse than the bite. Most dogs have different-sounding barks for different purposes, and after all, that is the only way canines can have their say.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Great Danes hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Dane barks to alert you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, the Apollo of Dogs may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger.  
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, when your Dane feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Great Dane uses arousal barking to show its frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Great Dane is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

Continuous, seemingly senseless barking might call for a visit to the vet to check for possible medical reasons.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Great Dane?

Don’t forget to exercise their minds, too. The need for mental stimulation of a Great Dane is essential as it lowers the risks of destructive behaviors resulting from boredom. The Apollo of Dogs is smart and learns fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. The playful and intelligent nature of Apollo of Dogs further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Gentle Giant, and some of them are listed below.

  • Play with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games, to engage their sharp minds.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Great Danes who are five years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety.
  • Frequent accidents.
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands.
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns.
  • Low interest in physical activities.
  • Poor social skills.

Ongoing mental stimulation can limit the cognitive decline in older Danes.

What are the Breed Standards of Great Dane?

Great Danes are massive dogs with regal bearings—often referred to as the Apollo of dogs. Powerful and well-muscled, they are agile for their large size, with a graceful, loping gait. Their eyes are dark and intelligent, and they have friendly, spirited natures.

Great Danes originated in Germany, where their ancestors were bred to have the size, strength, and courage to hunt fierce wild boars. These ancient ‘Boar Hounds’ date back to the 1300s. Today’s Great Dane is thought to have derived from a mix of ‘Boar Hounds,’ Irish Wolf Hounds, Old English Mastiffs, and Greyhounds.

Some of the breed standards of Great Danes are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Great Dane Breed Information 


Black, black and white, blue, brindle (subtle tiger stripes), fawn, harlequin (white with black patches), mantle (black with white patches), merle (mottled patches of color), and white.


Great Danes are very large, classified as a Giant breed

Eye Color 

Eyes are medium in size, almond-shaped, tight, and dark brown. A slightly lighter shade of brown is acceptable, but not preferred, in the blue Danes. In Harlequins and Merles, the eyes should be dark, but blue eye(s), and eyes of different colors are permitted.


Males 140 to 175 Pounds

Females 110 to 140 Pound


Male 30 to 32 Inches

Female 28 to 30 Inches

Average lifespan 

7 to 10 years

What is the General Information about Great Dane?

The Great Dane’s name is the English translation of the breed name in French: grand Danois, meaning big Danish, but there is no known reason for the Denmark connection. Denmark did not feature in the origin or development of the Great Dane. Their roots are in Germany, and the finest specimens of Great Danes were bred and financed by German financiers.

The Great Dane breed is ancient and believed to have been cultivated as a distinct type for over 400 years. This breed had a half-dozen names used for centuries. The French called them Dogue Allemand, German Mastiff in Germany, and Mastiff in England. The word dog means the same as dogue or dogo in Latin languages and dogge in Germanic languages. All refer to a giant dog with a massive head for hunting and fighting.

The earliest written description of a dog resembling the Great Dane may be found in Chinese literature dating as far back as 1121 BC, according to a 1929 article by Dr. G. Ciaburri in a Great Dane Club of Italy publication. The Dane was developed as a Boarhound by the Germans.

Where to Buy or Adopt a Great Dane?

A purebred Great Dane’s price can range between $1,000 and $6,000. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues, but puppies can cost as much as $10,000 from top breeders. If you want to bring a Great Dane home, you should not rush; the best never comes easy.

The only “purebreds” readily available upon request are typically not the real thing and are likely bred on puppy farms. The more realistic way is to put your name on a waiting list, and while you’re waiting, learn as much as you can about this loveable puppy dog in a giant dog’s body.

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or make irrational promises to promote the dogs. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Great Dane puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making the Dane a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these puppies, and you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Great Dane puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. The Great Dane is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Gentle Giant owners in touch with reputable breeders.

  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club of Great Britain (UK)
  • American Kennel Club Market Place
  •  Great Dane Club of America (GDCA)
  • AKC Great Dane Breeders
  • Great Dane Worldwide Portal
  • Deutsche Doggen Club
  • Europetnet
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • Pacific Coast Harlequins Murrieta, Californi
  • Daynakin Great Danes LLC Ferndale, Washington
  • Woodson Ridge Danes Abbeville, Mississippi
  • Pink Star Danes Lakeville, New York
  • Calyso Danes Deland, Florida

If you manage to track down Great Dane breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Great Dane puppies are often peppy and playful, and all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

You might find a Great Dane puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, but not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Great Danes may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Great Dane is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Great Danes?

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Great Dane can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder, then your first stop should be the Great Dane Club of America Rescue Website where Dane rescue centers in all states are listed. Rescuing a Great Dane is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Great Dane mix.

The adoption fee for a Great Dane from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $300 and $400. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vetted before adoption

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Great Danes or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs to reach out to for guidance.

  • Great Dane Angels – Ontario Canada
  • Rescue – Great Dane Club of Canada
  • National Great Dane Rescue UK (NGDR)
  • Great Dane Club of America Rescue
  • Great Dane Rescue, Inc. Michigan (Multistate & Ontario Canada)
  • Great Dane Rescue of Ohio
  • Great Dane Rescue of North Texas
  • Rocky Mountain Great Dane Rescue
  • Great Dane Rescue of South Carolina

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Great Dane rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Danes online through reliable websites such as

  • AnimalShelter 

Wherever you acquire your Great Dane, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter, or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what to consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. 

In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from understand your rights and recourses. Puppy or adult, take your Great Dane to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Dane mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues. If you want to adopt a mixed breed Great Dane, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested.

Great Dane mixes adopted from shelters may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through evaluations; even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home.

Below is a list of several Great Dane mixes.

  • Great Dane & Pitbull mix = Great Danebull
  • Great Dane & Chihuahua mix = Chi Dane-Dane
  • Great Dane & Labrador Retriever mix = Labradane
  • Great Dane & Siberian Husky mix = Great Danesky
  • Great Dane & German Shepherd mix = Great Shepherd or Dane Shepherd
  • Great Dane & Doberman mix = Doberdane

What is the History of the Great Dane?

The ancestors of the Great Dane include British mastiffs and possibly wolfhounds, brought to Europe, first by the Romans and later by German aristocrats seeking to improve their hunting dogs. Despite its name, the Great Dane is a German breed. During the 15th and 16th centuries, German forests were filled with game. Hunting wild boars with dogs was a favorite pastime of German nobility. Each lord kept large numbers of boarhounds, which they carefully bred to improve their size, power, and endurance.

When the game in the forests began to dwindle, the large breeding kennels disappeared. Still, the Great Dane continued to be a favorite with German aristocrats. Great Danes were exhibited at the first German dog show in 1863. The first Danes were imported into the United States not long after that. Great Danes are popular family companions in this country for people who admire their regal appearance and affectionate personalities.

The Great Dane was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887, and theUnited Kennel Club in 1923.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Great Danes?

The prices of Great Danes range between $1,000 and $6,000. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the status of the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, the pedigree, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price could be $300 to $500, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Great Dane and extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Great Dane and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down to about $2,100 a year.  

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $850. The most regular sources of annual expenses for dogs similar to the Great Dane are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely not affect the maintenance costs of Great Danes because they don’t need regular professional grooming to trim and bathe the Gentle Giant.

How to Name a Great Dane?

Choosing a name for your Great Dane involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Gentle Giant’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters. Great Danes respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Dane pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Dane will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds. 

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Great Dane. Below is a list of suggestions of names inspired by your Gentle Giant’s ancestors and famous owners. 

Great Dane Breed Names

Great Dane Boy Names

Inspired by his famous cartoon character and its origins.

Great Dane Girl Names

Inspired by her size and regal air of elegance


From the cartoon franchise of the same name, first launched the series in 1969


Really tall biblical tower 


Scooby Doo’s cousin in the cartoon


The biggest desert in the world


Scooby Doo’s nephew in the cartoon


Daughter of Zeus and goddess of love in Greek mythology


The Greek and Roman god of sunlight, prophecy, music, and poetry


Russian name meaning “princess”


A Titan in Greek mythology known for holding the earth on his shoulders


From the famous tall tower in Paris


A Biblical character known for being gigantic


Female warriors in Norse mythology

What are the Different Types of Great Danes?

There is only one type of Great Dane, but they are often known by their coat colors. There are just a handful of dog breeds that come in a spectrum of colors and patterns, and Great Danes are one such breed. The AKC has recognized seven colors of the Great Dane.

Below is a list of recognized coat colors.

  • The Glossy Black -Typically, a black Great Dane has a glossy and silky black coat. When the AKC says black, they mean pure black.
  • The Striking Blue – Blue Danes look a lot like Weimaraners. They flaunt a grayish-blue coat that shines brightly in the sunlight. 
  • The Classic Fawn – Of all the different colors of the Great Dane, fawn happens to be the most dominant coat color.
  • The Beautiful Brindle – Brindle Great Danes are known for their colorful stripes. Spread across the tall and slender bodies of a Great Dane, the brindle color pattern comes in diverse shades and hues, such as fawn, black, gray, and red.
  • The Dainty Harlequin – Adorning the perfect monochrome combination of colors, the Harlequin Great Dane has a pure white coat with random and asymmetric splashes of black marks across its slim and muscular body.
  • The Mighty Mantle – Mantle Great Danes are the exact opposite of Harlequins with a black base coat. While Harlequin coats are dainty, petite, and more lady-like, Mantle coats seem to show off a more macho and masculine look.
  • The Refreshing Merle – Merle Great Danes have a darker base than the Harlequin’s white base, Mantle’s black base, and Brindle’s fawn base color. Merle Great Danes have a darker base and it’s normally gray in color. Merle Danes have coats that are often characterized by black and white markings. These markings invariably merge into one another, lending a dark gray tinge to their coats.

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Great Dane?

Great Danes may not be too difficult to find, but purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Dane at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are so popular. However, As wonderful of a dog as the Great Dane may be, they aren’t for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to the Great Danes:

Below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • Mastiff – Mastiffs are roughly the same size as Great Danes and are just as easy to train.
  • Doberman Pinscher – Doberman Pinschers are a good deal smaller than Great Danes and are a more athletic breed. know more about Doberman Pinschers Social life care & diet information.
  • Bullmastiff – Bullmastiffs are slightly smaller than Great Danes and equally affectionate family dogs.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.