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Are Great Danes Good Family Dogs? Benefits and Downsides

Are Great Danes Good Family Dogs

Have you been wondering how well Great Danes do in a family setting? Do you have young children and want to be sure that this extra-large pup will get along with your little ones? If you have been wondering how Great Danes do with kids, you’re in the right place!

When it comes to Great Danes and kids, you will be pleased to know that these gentle giants make amazing family dogs!

As a moderately playful breed with a relaxed temperament, these affectionate pups can do very well with children. They are also quite protective of their homes.

However, you will need to train and socialize your Great Dane with kids from a young age. That way, your dog will have a deep instinct for behaving gently with little ones.

Great Danes and Children: Everything to Know as a Dog Owner

Nothing can quite compare to the bond between a child and a dog. Dogs teach children a range of important skills such as compassion, patience, empathy, diligence, and responsibility.

Not to mention, dogs and kids can have a lot of fun together! However, for kids and dogs to get along safely and happily, a few factors must be considered.

Matching a Dog Breed to Your Family

For one thing, not all children and dog breeds are well suited to interact with one another. Some dog breeds are known to do poorly with children.

Even in the best-case scenarios, these breeds are a difficult match. Examples of difficult dogs for families with young kids to own include the Akita, Australian Shepherd, Chihuahua, and English Toy Spaniel.

Since you know that these breeds don’t get along well with young children, why make things harder than they have to be? With that in mind, if you want a dog for your family and you have children, it makes sense to choose a breed that is naturally inclined to do well with kids. This brings us to the Great Dane.

The Great Dane is known for having a sweet and affectionate temperament. These dogs can do very well with kids in a family unit! Still, before you go out and adopt a Great Dane puppy for your kids, there are some important things to know.

Are Great Danes Good with Children, and Why?

The Great Dane is the type of dog breed that can naturally blend in wonderfully in a family setting. So, if this is a dog breed that you are interested in bringing into your home, you definitely have a high chance of harmonious success.

Great Danes are naturally protective and have what is known as adaptive intelligence. This means that they can easily adjust to the setting in which they are raised. As such, adopting a Great Dane puppy is a wonderful way to ensure that your dog will get along well with your children.

In many cases, fully grown Great Danes from animal shelters and rescues do well with children by nature.

Since Great Danes are naturally calm and protective, they are usually careful around smaller beings. Great Danes are known for being very gentle dogs.

Why Great Danes and Children are a Good Match

  • Great Danes are naturally protective
  • Great Danes are gentle by nature
  • Great Danes enjoy petting and attention
  • Great Danes have moderate to low energy in a home
  • Great Danes are playful but in moderation

Considerations Before Bringing This Dog Into Your Family

Though Great Danes inherently do well around children, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when bringing a dog into your home. Each dog is unique and will have its own distinctive personality traits.

For instance, if a Great Dane was raised by another household and had consistently negative experiences with children, that particular dog might not do well with kids.

Additionally, even the gentlest and sweetest dogs must be supervised when they interact with very young children. Little kids simply cannot understand that they are hurting or agitating a dog. Young children often are incapable of reading warning signs from dogs of any breed.

What to Watch Out for and Consider

  • Be careful if you adopt a Great Dane that is not used to being around children.
  • Supervise young children around all dogs for safety purposes.
  • Teach your children how to interact appropriately with dogs.
  • If possible, adopt a Great Dane puppy and raise it with your family.
  • If you prefer to rescue a Great Dane, be sure the dog has been socialized properly with children.

Great Danes with Older Kids

If you have children ages seven or older, you can probably get just about any dog breed. Children older than seven years are usually able to understand how to interact appropriately with a dog. Older children can pick up on warning signals if a dog is feeling frustrated or upset.

That’s not to say that a seven-year-old child should automatically be left alone with a new dog. Still, after everyone understands how to interact appropriately with one another, an older child shouldn’t have any issues following rules and guidelines around their family dog.

If you adopt a Great Dane and have older children, be sure to make the introduction process a positive one. Teach your dog boundaries around your children. Talk with your children and teach them to interact safely around a large dog.

Adopting a Great Dane from a rescue should not be an issue if your children are seven or older. Just be sure that the Great Dane you are adopting does not have past fear or aggression issues with children.

Chances are, a Great Dane will be happy in your household and get along well with everyone in the family. If you adopt a Great Dane puppy and raise it with your older kids, all the better!

Your children will learn responsibility and have the chance to form a special bond with a canine companion.

Great Danes with Toddlers

Great Danes are one of the few breeds that do surprisingly well with toddlers. Great Danes are naturally gentle and are remarkably careful around children ages two to six years old.

With that in mind, you should avoid leaving your Great Dane unsupervised with children ages six or younger until you have high confidence in the safety of the situation.

Even then, bear in mind that accidents can happen, and it only takes one simple mistake for someone to get hurt.

Obviously, you will have to use your best judgment in these scenarios. If you have young children, it may be wise to adopt a puppy at around eight weeks old and raise it to behave appropriately with your family.

That way, your dog will have a chance to grow up and adapt to the behaviors of your children. In a situation where you have a toddler, your puppy will learn and develop more quickly than your toddler will.

Great Danes and Babies

Perhaps, you are expecting to have a baby soon and already have an adult Great Dane as part of your family. Or, maybe you have a young baby and feel that it is time to adopt a dog to complete your family.

In either scenario, you must never leave a baby unsupervised with a dog. This is true no matter how wonderful that dog might be.

Even the gentlest and most loving dog could accidentally hurt a baby. If you are bringing a new baby home and already have a Great Dane, there are many things you can do to ensure that any dog and new baby introductions go smoothly.

Great Dane History, Temperament, and Breeding

Understanding the history and temperament of the Great Dane breed can help you more easily decide if this is the right option for your family.

The Great Dane is a giant breed that is German in origin, not Danis. This breed is thought to have originated at least 400 years ago.

Great Danes are considered to be gentle and affectionate. They are moderately playful and good with all family members.

They generally get along well with other animals, too. Great Danes are considered easy to train, although some people feel they can develop stubborn tendencies.

Traits of the Great Dane

  • Moderately playful and calm
  • Developed in Germany for hunting and guarding
  • Known to be good with families
  • This is one of the tallest dog breeds

About The Personality and Energy of the Great Dane

It is easy to see why a family with children would consider getting a Great Dane. Not only are these dogs notable in their size and appearance, but they also have a playful and goofy side.

These dogs can calmly relax on the couch or enjoy an exciting game of fetch in the yard. The Great Dane has an eager-to-please personality with a calm and stable temperament.

Training a Great Dane to Do Well with Children: What to Know

Most people who own a Great Dane will tell you that these dogs do wonderfully with children. For the most part, they are gentle giants.

However, if you want to bring a Great Dane into your family, there are some things that you will need to do to ensure that your dog and children are capable of getting along safely and harmoniously with one another.

With kids and dogs, training goes both ways. Make sure your dog feels safe and comfortable around your children. Many of the problems that people have with dogs and children involve dogs that are fearful or aggressive.

Great Danes are not naturally aggressive dogs in a family setting. However, as with any breed, they will react negatively if handled inappropriately.


  • Give your dog a safe place to get away from children and relax.
  • Teach your children to behave appropriately around dogs.
  • Watch for signs of fear or aggression like warning growls, averted eyes, or teeth showing.
  • Help your children learn to read dog body language.
  • Train your Great Dane to be gentle around kids by reinforcing calm gentle behaviors with treats and praise.


  • Don’t ignore warning signs. If your dog is uncomfortable, make sure to give them space and remove children from the situation. Then, address the problem behavior with appropriate training methods.

Should I Get a Great Dane for My Family?

Do you feel like the Great Dane might be the perfect dog for your family? Here are some helpful Great Dane pros and cons to consider about this extra large and beautiful breed.

Benefits of Great Danes for Families

  • These dogs are easygoing and known to be people pleasers.
  • Great Danes can be protective and watchful
  • Great Danes tend to do well with other pets.
  • Great Danes are easy to groom and do not shed much.
  • Most Great Danes are easy to train and eager to learn.

Downsides of Great Danes for Families

  • Great Danes tend to have shorter life spans than other dog breeds.
  • Great Danes are known to suffer from various health issues.
  • Great Danes must be trained properly from a young age due to their large size.
  • As an extra-large dog breed, Great Danes can be expensive to own.

Putting it All Together: Final Thoughts About Great Danes and Children

In summary, Great Danes are large dogs known to be gentle in nature. They can make wonderful family pets and watchdogs, as long as they are trained and socialized.

Your children must be educated on how to behave appropriately around a large dog. It is very important to teach your children how to recognize canine body language and behave safely around animals in general.

Additionally, Great Danes have short life spans. This can be an issue if you are not prepared to discuss tough topics like death with your kids in the next decades. Most purebred Great Danes only live for about nine years.

Finally, remember that each dog will have a unique personality. How a dog is raised from puppyhood will impact its ability to get along in a family as much as breeding will.

Great Danes do very well in most family situations. A dog’s training and upbringing will have a huge impact on how well things go.