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Are Great Danes Good Apartment Dogs?

Are Great Danes Good Apartment Dogs

Do you prefer having large dogs, but you live in an apartment? Maybe you presume you can only own small or Toy breeds.

However, some large dogs do better in apartments than active terriers and other high-energy small or medium-sized canids.

Specifically, Great Danes can adapt well to apartments. But how are Great Danes good apartment dogs?

A Great Dane can make a good apartment dog despite its size. Danes are among the largest dogs of the canine world and certainly the tallest, but their calm, steady disposition and relatively low exercise requirements make them more suited to city and apartment living than many people expect.

Although a Great Dane can be quite happy in an apartment, she requires sufficient space to move and turn around. Finally, local and company restrictions may not allow a Great Dane to live in certain residential units.

What are obstacles to Great Dane living in an apartment?

Although Great Danes can be good apartment dogs, you need to consider a few crucial elements.


Great Danes make good apartment dogs if they have enough space to accommodate their huge size. They will take up a large amount of room to turn around and lie down.

Great Danes usually range from 28 to 34 inches tall at the shoulders and range from 100 to 200 pounds.

Although Irish Wolfhounds are on average taller, the tallest recorded canids were Great Danes Freddy and Zeus that reached 40 and 44 inches in height respectively.

Perhaps more relative is the Great Dane’s body length, which is between 36 and 43 inches from the withers to the hips. And then you must account for the 20-inch tail which is tapered but powerful.

Although Danes are not vigorous tail-waggers, they can accidentally knock knick-knacks over on lower furniture or in cluttered apartments.

Laws, Regulations, and Restrictions

Size restrictions are not new for apartments and condominiums when it comes to dogs.

The common perception, and for good reason, is that large dogs are more destructive than small ones.

However, with the rash of breed-specific legislation against vicious or dangerous dogs, Great Danes are often prohibited by management properties for multiple reasons.

  • Size
  • Guard dog
  • Intimidation factor
  • Reputation as a dangerous dog

Although you may be able to get around apartment restrictions by appealing to a sympathetic landlord or conducting a personality test on your dog, sometimes you must contend with local bans.

As hard as it is to believe, Danes are banned by seemingly random countries, states, or cities. Many times, it has nothing to do with how many human attacks they have engaged in but rather how much potential damage they can cause.

However, one of the more common reasons for apartment restrictions on Great Danes is an insurance company or underwriter policy.

If an insurance contractor blacklists a breed, the apartment complex it serves must also prohibit the dog or become uninsured.

Insurance companies ban dogs for a variety of reasons, but they mainly focus on statistical risks. Dog bites are common claims, and Great Danes can cause tremendous damage if they choose to attack.

  • Knock-down injuries
  • Bite force – 238 PSI to 669 PSI; depends on the intent
  • Property destruction
  • Injuries to other pets – can be lethal to small dogs and cats if they attack

As to why Your Great Dane ended up on a banned breed list, to begin with, there are several arguments outside of size considerations.

Great Danes are often lumped with Mastiffs which are grouped as Bully breeds. Bullies, of course, include the highly maligned Pit Bull.

Danes have a historical lineage that links them with ancient Molossers, so they are related to Mastiffs, Bullmastiffs, and Rottweilers.

Insurance companies and locales rarely take into account that Great Danes have distinctly different personalities than many Mastiffs.

Are Great Danes ever dangerous?

Danes are usually banned with little justification. Breed-specific legislation is ineffective because it fails to address the individual.

Great Danes that lack socialization, responsible breeding practices, or training can very well be inappropriate for apartment living. These dogs are shy, timid, or aggressive, with even fearful dogs being prone to unprovoked snapping and biting.

Untrained dogs have little impulse control and can jump on people, lunge at other dogs, resist leash walking, and chase children and other pets. Some lines of Danes are naturally skittish, a potentially dangerous quality in such a large dog.

Where can you live with a Great Dane?

Since living space is an essential life decision, you must determine whether you can own a Great Dane where you want to live. DO you need to formulate your living space around your dog?

The list for Great Dane-friendly apartments is sure to be much shorter than those units with restrictions against the breed. Read blacklists of your current residence or the place you want to move to before you acquire a puppy.

Exuberance of Youth

Like any other pup, a young Great Dane is rambunctious and potentially destructive in an apartment environment.

While a Dane pup does not cause much chaos when it arrives at your home at eight to twelve weeks, it will become huge rapidly.

Amidst your early training, your Dane will have plenty of pent-up energy and too little discipline. Therefore, you can argue that Great Dane adolescents, especially, do not make good apartment dogs.

Danes can go through their youthful enthusiasm and zest up to 36 months of age. You can work through this phase with plenty of mental stimulation and frequent outings, although you will have to limit exercises while your puppy is still growing.

After a year and a half, you can engage in numerous activities to ensure your pup is calm and restful inside your home.

  • Advanced obedience
  • Luring or coursing
  • Dog park – running and playing with other dogs; make sure your puppy is fully vaccinated and well-socialized
  • Fetch
  • Jogging


A Great Dane has a short flat coat, but it sheds moderately the entire year. You may notice an increase in dog hair around the home during the spring months.

Fur tends to be more noticeable in smaller spaces such as apartments. Brushing your dog regularly and using a vacuum consistently will minimize shedding as a deterrent for coexisting with your dog in an apartment.

Be mindful that your Dane will prefer to be on the furniture

Why are Great Danes good apartment dogs?

Despite public and property management concerns, there are more than a few reasons Great Danes make good apartment dogs.

Companion Dogs at Heart

Danes came inside homes even during their early history. Bred specifically to hunt wild boars, Great Danes frequently came inside at night.

As hog populations diminished, these large hunting dogs found more use as guardians of estates. Nobles favored them as loyal pets and afforded them the luxuries of indoor living.

Furthermore, Danes were highly socialized accompaniments to horse-drawn carriages during the 17th century.

In the 1880s, the Dane became more available to people outside of the upper class and a common sight in the cities.

Great Danes retained their reputation as ferocious guarding dogs into the early 1900s, but breeders systematically selected for more companionable personality traits.

Stable and Trustworthy Temperament

A Great Dane should have confidence that befits its size. Its approach to life should be steady, easygoing, and level-headed.

Once she passes puppyhood, your Dane will become more self-aware with careful movements and a gentle personality. Your dog’s friendly disposition is vital for your walks along the city streets or for the bustle of your complex.

Great Danes are devoted and affectionate with their family, and a limited version of that may carry over to your closest neighbors. While many are reserved, your Dane should not be prone to growling, persistent barking, or lunging at unfamiliar people.

Socialization will contribute to your dog’s acceptance of the comings and goings of residents and stable nature in the face of constant change.

Watchdog Qualities

There are still three distinct personality types for Great Danes depending on the family line.

  • Skittish, timid – do your research so you can avoid these lines
  • Protective – this is a dog that is moderately suspicious of strangers and alert to suspicious occurrences; not a guarding type to the extent of a GSD or Doberman but will protect under the right circumstances
  • Friendly – like everyone

Most Great Danes are friendly and slightly protective. Many are initially aloof with strangers.

Their qualities make Danes fabulous watchdogs as they have a loud and formidable alarm bark but are rarely aggressive towards people. Their size and appearance make them effective deterrents to burglars and home invaders.

You should refrain from developing your Great Dane’s guarding instincts through professional or other training if you want a suitable apartment dog. You do not wish to increase your liability in an oft-overpopulated and highly variable environment.

Great Danes fit into apartment living because they are typically quiet dogs. If you leave your Dane alone too often, she can develop a bad habit of excessive barking.

Bored Great Danes will also become destructive in your apartment, chewing up and digging through rugs, furniture, and bedding.

Low Exercise Requirements

Compared to other large working breeds, Great Danes have low activity levels and intensity. This translates to a surprisingly low exercise requirement.

You can usually satisfy your Dane with two 20- to 30-minute walks a day and a weekly outing or two where she can stretch her legs.

While a dog park may seem the obvious answer to give your dog some strenuous exercise, you can also take her hiking. She can accompany you on a horseback ride as long as she is properly socialized, and the weather is not too hot.

Mental stimulation is an important addition to your walks and can involve food puzzles, training, and interactive games.


These two Great Danes show why this breed makes a good apartment dog. You can see how laidback and easygoing they are, showing significantly less activity than the other two breeds.

The residence in the video is likely not an apartment, but this is a good illustration of how Great Danes typically act indoors.