Is a Great Dane Right for You?
Although the Great Dane has an imposing appearance, it is among the most friendly of dog breeds. Despite their size they are often considered lap dogs because of their enjoyment of physical affection. Great Danes are not prone to aggressive tendencies or having strong prey drives.
The Great Dane is one of the tallest dogs among the canine species. There is no maximum height requirement for a Great Dane, and the largest known individual, Zeus, stood 44 inches tall at the shoulder. At minimum, males should weigh 110 lbs and stand 30 – 31 inches tall at the shoulder, while females should weigh a minimum of 110 lbs and stand 28 – 30 inches tall.
Great Danes are gentle giants and are known for getting along well with other pets of all species, including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and even hamsters and guinea pigs.
Similarly, Great Danes make wonderful companions for children due to their low prey-drive and patient nature.
Due to their large size it is important for a Great Dane to partake in basic obedience. A Great Dane that does not have good house manners can be a hazard to others, particularly children and the elderly. A Great Dane should be properly socialized from a young age in order to prevent fearful behavior of new stimuli.
Pound for pound, Great Danes consume less food than a small dog, due to a drastically reduced metabolism. However, because the Great Dane weighs in excess of 110 lbs, these dogs still require a lot of food! The American Kennel Club recommends that an adult male Great Dane receive between 8 and 14 cups of food per day!
Like all dog breeds, Great Danes require regular exercise. However, the Great Dane should not be over-exercised in order to protect bones, joints, and heart. Great Danes grow incredibly fast, so care should be taken to ensure they do not play and exercise too much as puppies.
Despite their size, Great Danes do not require a lot of living space. This breed does equally well in urban and rural areas. In fact, Great Danes are commonly named one of the top breeds for apartment living!
Common Behavioral Problems
Great Danes are known for their stubborn and lazy personalities, so training them can be difficult. They can be rowdy and rambunctious when young, and have a tendency to flop all of their weight onto the legs and feet of humans.
Unfortunately, Great Danes have one of the shortest life spans among dog breeds, typically living 6 – 8 years. Their large size predisposes them to early aging and heart defects. They are also highly likely to develop gastric dilation volvulus (bloat), with up to 25% of the breed being affected. Like all giant breeds, Great Danes are also prone to hip dysplasia. However, with proper nutrition, exercise, and preventative care, Great Danes can outlive their life expectancy and reach at least 10 years of age.
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