Dog Breed

Great Dane

Primary image of Great Dane dog breed
Full Name
Great Dane
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Life Span
7 - 10 years
110 - 190 pounds

The giant of the dog world- although calm and friendly, they are intimidating just from their pure size alone. Some believe Egyptian carvings from 3,000 BC depict the Great Dane and that it was known as both a dog of royalty and a fierce hunting companion who could take on wild boar and other animals. Although the Great Dane is still an imposing dog, it is much calmer and suited as a family dog. In fact, even though it has hunting roots, it is no longer known as an ideal hunting dog. Unfortunately, Great Danes have many potential health issues and have one of the lowest life spans of all dog breeds.

Bred For
Hunting & holding boars, Guardian
Family Considerations
Child Friendly

Is the Great Dane good with children? Nearly all dogs enjoy playing with small children, but some can play too rough, or be a bit careless. In some cases dogs can get jealous of small children, or try and "herd" them due to their natural instincts.

Stranger Friendly

Is the Great Dane friendly with strangers? Getting a dog that is friendly with people really depends on what your lifestyle is. Dogs who are more cautious with strangers oftentimes make good guard dogs, which can be a great fit for some owners. If you are social, live in the city, or frequently have guests over, you may want to consider getting a stranger friendly dog.

Dog Friendly

Is the Great Dane friendly with other dogs? Of course this is particularly important if you already have another dog at home. However, it's an important factor to consider as well if you plan on frequently going to the dog park. Otherwise, even a dog who is not automatically friendly with other dogs can be an excellent fit, as they can still be affectionate with their human family.

Likes to Cuddle

Does the Great Dane like to cuddle? All dogs want love, but they have different boundaries when it comes to physical affection. If you plan on frequently having a dog on your lap or pushed up against you, then you should consider whether this breed enjoys that.


Does the Great Dane like to play? All puppies are playful, but as adults certain dogs are more playful. If you have children, or otherwise want to keep your dog active with plenty of play, there are plenty of options of breeds who will be happy to play all day.

Service Dog Ability

Does the Great Dane make a good service dog? When looking to train a service dog it's important to consider how they were historically bred, and if their personality makes a good fit. A service dog must be smart, patient, and obsessed with pleasing their owner. Working dogs are a good fits since service dog 'work' gives them a feeling of accomplishment from doing a job.

Overall Ease of Breed
Ease for Novice

Is the Great Dane good for first time owners? Dogs that are good for first time owners are ones who are easy to train, and are eager to please their owner. Very large dogs, or dogs with very high energy may also not be the best for first time owners since it adds a layer of complexity.

Training Potential

How well can the Great Dane be trained? This rating is about the training potential of the Great Dane. Dogs with high training potential oftentimes are good service dogs, police dogs, and dog show competition dogs. This does not necessarily mean they are the easiest to train, since many will be very intelligent and demanding.

Amount of Shedding

Does the Great Dane shed a lot?

Ease of Grooming

Is the Great Dane easy to groom?

Exercise Need

Does the Great Dane need a lot of exercise?


How smart is the Great Dane?

Amount of Barking

How much does the Great Dane bark? Does the Great Dane bark too much? It depends on your lifestyle, and where you live. Dogs use barking to communicate, keep guard, and alert. A strong bark can be a good characteristic for guard dogs, or flock guardian dogs who need to be vocal.In apartment living you should consider getting a dog who is less vocal.

Guard Dog Ability

Is the Great Dane a good guard dog?

Tolerates Being Alone

Is the Great Dane good at staying alone? Is the Great Dane independent?

Home and Environment Considerations
Good for Apartment Living

Is the Great Dane a good apartment dog? Can the Great Dane live in an apartment without becoming frustrated or destructive? Typically people immediately consider the size of the dog, but energy level and historical habitat are also factors.


How big is the Great Dane?

Tolerates Heat

How much does the Great Dane tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Great Dane?

Tolerates Cold

How much does the Great Dane tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Great Dane?

Potential to Run Away

Does the Great Dane try to run away? Some dogs have natural wanderlust and are escape artists... they will do everything to get out and explore.

Physical Characteristics
General Health

Is the Great Dane a healthy dog? The general health of a Great Dane should be measured not just by how many years they live, but how often they have health issues during their lives. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.

Energy Level

How energetic is the Great Dane? Is the Great Dane too energetic for your lifestyle?

Amount of Drooling

How much does the Great Dane drool?

Prey Drive

Does the Great Dane have a large prey drive? Does the Great Dane like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals? Prey drive can be bothersome at the park, but really an issue at home if you have small animals, since this comes as a natural instinct for dogs with high prey drive, to chase cats, birds, etc.


Is the Great Dane atheltic? Is the Great Dane fast and strong?

Breed Variations

The Great Dane is a purebred dog that belongs to the Mastiff sub group, which falls under the larger Working dog breed group.
Working group: Working dogs encompass a wide range of different breeds- but they all were bred to assist people, so they are used to working hard. It is important for them to feel they have a "job" as their roles traditionally have varied from rescuing people to pulling sleds. Because of their large size and intensity, they may be a handful for first time dog owners. On the other side, they can be trained well, so any owner who can exercise and dedicate to training their working dog, will be well rewarded. A common misconception may be that the working dog's jobs are only in physically challenging jobs; actually working dogs can also make excellent service dogs, since they are also kind and attentive to their owners.
Mastiff sub-group: Masttiff breeds are the world's ancient and giant breed. They are thought to have originated from from Tibet and China, although there is evidence that they have been throughout Europe- the Roman Empire and Greece for thousands of years as well. They were used as big game hunters and noble guard dogs. Mastiffs are not particularly high endurance or energy, but quiet intense in short bursts, which is perfect for protection and property protection. Through the years the mastiff has become more friendly and suitable for families, and their calm and composed temperament can actually be more suitable for a house (or even apartment) than it may seem.

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