Great Dane – The Complete Breed Guide

Great Dane

Welcome to our guide to the Great Dane.

The website aims to ask questions to breeders, vets and experienced owners to get the answers to your most frequently asked questions about the Great Dane breed of dog.

You can also help too!

If you can answer any of the questions below, then please add your comments to the box at the bottom of the page or you can email us at

We would love to feature your dog and publish any photos or pictures of your Great Dane you would like to email us.

Are you looking to buy a Great Dane – then see our list of Great Dane breeders.

Great Dane Owner Interview

On this page, we feature an interview with Melissa Gieni, the owner of Lucy the Great Dane.

Can you tell us who you are and where you live?

I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada. We have a very changeable climate, from 30 degrees celcius in the summer, to -40 degrees celcius in the winter. She owns many coats as the winters are brutal, but still needs her daily walks! I live with my husband, a cat named George, and until recently, 2 Great Danes named Lucy and Duke. Duke died unexpectedly at 4.5 yrs old of Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

How long have you owned a Great Dane?

We got Lucy at 6 weeks of age over 5 years ago.

Great Dane

Lucy the Great Dane – Photo by Lucy Great Dane, Facebook


Where did you buy her from?

She was from a BYB that did not want her as her tail was broken!

From your experience what makes this breed so special?

As Lucy was always a very happy, loved people dog from the get go, I worked with her to become a St. John’s Ambulance Certified Therapy Dog! She is a “big” hit with all the patients. Her temperament is perfect as although she loves people, she has the attitude, “I like you, but not so much that I will be all over you!” Take me or leave me, no big deal!!

What type of personality/temperament do they have?

The best! Super laid back, but always up for a walk! She spends most of her day observing the world from the sofa, or our bed! She has a great dane bark, so the house is safe from intruders. She is good with other dogs, however, some dogs take offense to her size and speak up loudly! She loves her cat, but if she sees a bunny, watch out! They still have high prey drives and will put the chase on anything!

I believe the Great Dane is quite a popular dog on social media/Internet these days, can you tell us how this started?

Great Dane

Lucy the Great Dane – Photo by Lucy Great Dane, Facebook

It’s their immense size and super laid back attitude. Their love for their owners is as big as their hearts!

What are your feeding routines, such as how often and what types of food do you feed the Great Dane?

Lucy self feeds, meaning we keep food in her dish at all times. Both her food and water are kept outside, as they are known to drool! We have a heated water dish so it is fresh and unfrozen all year! They eat a lot when they are growing, but as a mature lady, she eats around 4-6 cups of high quality kibble a day, supplemented with treats of course! We have had a patient who made sure she had a McDonalds Cheeseburger ready for her visit. How could I say no!

Have you encountered any health issues?

Yes, as stated, her brother passed away at 4.5 yrs from a heart attack. The breed is known for Bloat, so no activity after eating! They grow tremendously fast so hips, legs etc are always an issue for the breed as well. The life span of a Great Dane can be a deterrent as well. 7-9 years is never enough. However, most danes that are fed and cared for well, are living into the 11 to 12-year range.

Obviously grooming is another major aspect of owning a Great Dane, can you offer any tips, advice and popular accessories for your Great Dane?

Truthfully, grooming is easy for this breed. A good rub with a soft bristle brush will take the dead hairs off, as short haired, not too many in my food!

Thanks Melissa for this wonderful interview and for sharing with us some photos of Lucy. If you want to find out more, you can visit this page:

Great Dane

Lucy and Duke, the Great Danes – Photo by Lucy Great Dane, Facebook

Why Choose a Great Dane?

What type of owners buy a Great Dane?

What in your opinion are the best things about the Great Dane breed?

Why do you think the Great Dane is special?

What are your favourite things about the Great Dane?

Are you glad you choose to buy a Great Dane and not another breed?

How would you describe the Great Dane temperament?

What advice might you give to people thinking about whether they should buy a Great Dane over other breeds?

History & Origins

What are the history and origins of the Great Dane?

About The Breed

What colors of Great Dane are most popular?

What does the Great Dane look like?

What are the pros/cons of the Great Dane breed?

What can a new owner expect in terms of differences between the Great Dane and other breeds?

Do they attract a lot of interest and curiosity from the public?

What type of typical personality does the Great Dane have?

Is it possible to describe a fairly typical Great Dane?

What is the breed standard/description for the Great Dane?

Were there particular colors people preferred and that maybe you focused on?

Are there any downsides to owning a Great Dane that prospective owners should be aware of?

Is the Great Dane breed of dog suitable for first-time dog owners?

Some breeds can be described as greedy and prone to weight issues, would this apply to the Great Dane?

What are the key differences when compared to other breeds?

Is the Great Dane breed suitable for a person or family that are out at work all day?

Some owners seek a breed suitable for barking and offering a guard dog role – how does the Great Dane match up to that role?

Are there myths about the Great Dane – in other words do new potential owners come to you with misconceptions about this breed?

We asked a number of breeders in the UK and America what essential advice they would give to new owners of Great Dane puppies and this is what they said:

What types of questions do you get once owners get their Great Dane home?

Can you tell us something most owners would not know – tips, secrets etc from your years of experience?

What is the typical temperament of a Great Dane, so people know what to expect from their new pet?

When fully grown how much on average does a Great Dane weigh?

When the Great Dane is full grown in size what is the maximum height and length expected to be?

Is the Great Dane ever crossed or mixed with other breeds of dog?

Does the Great Dane smell or drool a lot?

Do you have a Great Dane growth chart?

What breed group does the Great Dane come under?

What type of coat do they have?

Can they swim?

What does the movement of the tail show, does it mean they are trying to ‘talk to us’ or give us some message?


Are there some types of people that you can suggest the Great Dane is not suitable for, perhaps families?

How is the Great Dane with children?

Do you think the Great Dane is suitable for families with young children?

How does the Great Dane get along with other (existing) pets and do you have any tips or advice for new Great Dane owners in terms of successful integration?

Is it better to buy one Great Dane or two?

Should prospective new owners be aware of any differences between males and females?

Would the Great Dane be suitable as a guard dog?

Can I leave my Great Dane during the day while I go to work?


What is the expected average lifespan of the Great Dane?

In terms of life expectancy, how long on average would the Great Dane breed live to?

Food & Diet

Do you have any special feeding routines or diet?

Do you have any feeding advice or brands that you prefer?

How to handle the Great Dane puppy to start off – how much food, what type, how often?

What feeding routines and types of food/supplements do you recommend?

What to buy in terms of equipment? Bowls etc

Do owners need to consider supplements for their Great Dane?

How about for older dogs?

Buying – How Much Do They Cost?

How much did your Great Dane cost to buy?

Can you offer advice to people looking to buy a Great Dane and how much should they spend?

What advice would you offer new Great Dane owners?

What types of people are buying the Great Dane and why?

Where can I buy Great Dane rescue dogs or find a Great Dane for adoption? Please note that buying or searching for a ‘cheap’ Great Dane can be false economy as they may have health issues that cost you far more in the long-term – always buy from a good and responsible breeder!

Do I need public liability insurance or a license?


How would you describe the Great Dane puppy to potential new owners?

What types of owners are best suited to owning a Great Dane?

What colors and sizes are most popular?

Are there things new owners do that perhaps frustrate you?

What can people expect when they become a new owner?

What inspired you to become a breeder and did you start with the Great Dane?

As a Great Dane breed expert, are there any ‘essential’ tips you would like to share with new owners?

Are there specific times of the year that you breed?

Choosing a puppy from a litter, what advice could you offer potential new owners in terms of selecting ‘the one’?

How long does it take to housetrain/potty train a Great Dane?

When can you take them out in public and how do you handle them around other dogs?

Will they run off – when is it safe to let them off the lead?

We invite you to email us your Great Dane’s pictures, in particular we are looking for photos showing Great Dane puppies at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 weeks old as well as early pictures such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 months old to a year old.

Do they have any nicknames or does the Great Dane have popular names?

If my Great Dane is pregnant what might the litter size be?

Could the Great Dane be dangerous around young children?

Problem Behaviors

How do you deal with a problem barker – any tips and advice to new owners?

How do you prevent a Great Dane biting?

How do you prevent a Great Dane chewing?

How do you stop a Great Dane jumping up?

Does the Great Dane have an issue with excessive digging?

Why does my Great Dane keep growling and barking?

Is there a reason my Great Dane dog is often scratching excessively?

Do they suffer from separation anxiety and how can I prevent this?


In comparison perhaps to other breeds what can you say about the Great Dane and their exercise needs and do you have any tips or advice for new Great Dane owners?

As a breeder of the Great Dane , do you prefer a collar or harness?

As an expert of the Great Dane breed do you prefer a standard leash or retractable?

Can you offer any dog walking tips for Great Dane owners?

Playtime & Tricks

What games and toys can you recommend for the Great Dane?

Are there toys you suggest avoiding?

How intelligent is the Great Dane compared to other dog breeds?

How much can they understand?


Do you have any special grooming routines or tips and advice for new Great Dane owners?

How much time is involved?

What accessories are required to be purchased for grooming a Great Dane?

Any advice/tips you can give concerning maintenance of nails?

How much do Great Dane shed and how do I maintain their hair and how often?

How can I prevent or cure ear infections?

Do you have any tips for eye care?

Is the Great Dane a hypoallergenic breed?


Any advice/tips you can give concerning cleaning and bathing your Great Dane?

Can you offer new Great Dane owners advice concerning fleas and maybe products you use in treatment and prevention?


What advice and tips could you offer to owners who might wish to follow your path in showing the Great Dane?

What started your interest in showing the Great Dane?

If a new owner perhaps wanted to meet other owners or find out more – perhaps they have an interest in joining a local club or maybe they wonder how they can start showing their Great Dane – where would they begin?

Can you offer any advice to others who may be wondering if they can also start showing?

How would an owner know they have a show-quality Great Dane and how would they start off?

Can you give away any of your secrets?!

Is showing very expensive and why do you think people like to do it?

What do judges look for in a winner?


What inspired you to become a breeder and did you start with the Great Dane?

What official organisations are there for the new Great Dane owner and what benefits or services do they provide?

In buying a Great Dane, can you offer advice and tips to new owners?

How did you go from being an owner to getting into breeding?

Do you think the breed’s popularity has increased, decreased or remains the same?

How did you progress to becoming a breeder and why focus on breeding the Great Dane out of all the breeds you could have chosen?

What do you think makes the Great Dane special to you?

Are there things that you see owners doing that frustrate you?

As a breed expert, are there any ‘essential’ tips you would like to share with new owners?


In comparison perhaps to other breeds what is it like to train a Great Dane and do you have any tips or advice for new Great Dane owners?

How should new owners approach bringing a new Great Dane home, any advice and tips you can give?

Should I allow my Great Dane to sleep in my bed or elsewhere in the house?

Do you recommend crate training and how long does this take?

Should my Great Dane sleep in a kennel or crate?


Health is always a major concern when buying a dog, do you have any advice for new Great Dane owners to be aware of in particular?

Are there any health-related tips you can give to owners?

What sort of health issues should owners be on the lookout for?

What is the recommended schedule for vaccinations for your Great Dane?

Can you offer any advice on how to treat and prevent worms?

What type of health issues can a Great Dane have and how do you deal with preventing these?

Why does my Great Dane have diarrhea?

Do they suffer from itchy and sensitive skin and if so why?

Why is my Great Dane vomiting and do I go to the vets?

When should I take my Great Dane for vaccinations and which ones do they need and how often?

How often will my Great Dane be in heat?

Should I consider getting my Great Dane spayed or neutered and when and how much does this cost and what are the benefits?

My Great Dane is limping, what should I do and should I go to a veterinarian surgeon?

Do they suffer from allergies?

Why is my Great Dane not eating?

How much does it cost to insure my Great Dane?

What healthcare issues or diseases might be excluded from companies that provide Great Dane dog health insurance?

Old Age

What age would you class as an ‘older or senior’ Great Dane?

Do you notice any changes in their behaviour?

What changes in food and diet would you suggest making for an older Great Dane?

Do you feed any supplements to an older Great Dane – or anything else which helps them as they age?

Are there any health issues particular to a senior Great Dane dog?

Do you have any advice for owners of an older/senior Great Dane or tips you can pass on?

Here is an interesting video on the Great Dane.


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