Many people think of large breeds as being high-maintenance. These are, after all, big dogs, and associating the breed with a lot of maintenance is an easy assumption. However, as with all dogs, the size only tells part of the story.
Are Great Danes high-maintenance?
A short answer to this is no, although you will need to practice responsible pet ownership to keep your dog healthy and content. Read on to learn more about areas where this breed requires regular care.
Great Danes and Maintenance: the True Story
Great Danes are often considered one of the most low-maintenance breeds, despite their size. What does this mean for prospective owners thinking about care needs?
Can Great Danes Spend Time Outside With Minimal Supervision?
Although these dogs do need to be allowed indoors for better socialization, these gentle giants can safely spend time in the backyard without constant supervision. The breed is big enough to deter most would-be intruders, human or animal.
Leaving these dogs in the backyard when you’ll be in and out of the house is usually safe if the weather is good and your yard has a decent fence. However, leaving your dog out all night is not a good idea for the dog’s safety or mental well-being.
Because Great Danes are often friendlier to strangers than some other breeds, they are common targets for thieves.
Some of the reasons dogs are often stolen include:
- Attempt to re-sell, possibly with false papers
- Using for breeding
- Dog-fighting as “bait dogs”
- Sold to research labs by “bunchers”
- Abusing or torturing
The best way to protect a Great Dane from theft is to have the dog live indoors with the family. These dogs enjoy the outdoor time more when accompanied by their family. If your dog’s outside for minutes at a time, there’s less chance of theft.
Will Great Danes Get Along With People or Most Other Dogs?
Most Great Danes have reliably friendly dispositions toward people and other animals. Despite having an imposing build, these dogs are not the fierce attack dogs that some may see them as. This breed has a background as a hunting dog.
These dogs initially tracked bears and boars in Germany, often with at least one other dog. Because these dogs usually hunted with others, getting along with other dogs was necessary. To this day, most Danes will accept other dogs as part of their pack.
Danes are willing to demand and give a lot of affection to their family members. If you’re not petting your dog, don’t be surprised if your pet starts nuzzling you.
Although these dogs have origins as hunters, they are also very effective at guarding their families.
These dogs will not back down quickly when they encounter a threat. Training your dog well will help ensure that their guarding doesn’t get out of hand, leading to bites or other injuries to people and animals.
Are Great Danes Easy to Train?
Because of their friendliness, you won’t need to allocate as many resources to training as you would with some other breeds.
The biggest concern you are likely to have is if you have young children. Although affectionate, they can knock kids over easily.
Unless you have older children or teens, your children should not be left unsupervised with these dogs. Ordinary play for these dogs can result in kids getting hurt easily. Kids of all ages also need to learn not to annoy or tease dogs of any breed.
Great Danes respond positively and quickly to positive reinforcement-based training. One thing that owners need to avoid is using harsh commands or corrections. These dogs are very sensitive, and rough treatment may lead to aggression.
One of the most important things to remember is that these dogs are willing to please, making everything from crate training to obedience classes easy. Socialization and training work best from a young age because these dogs grow so quickly.
Obedience classes from the time a puppy is old enough are essential. In addition to classes, once your puppy has had recommended shots, taking the pup to dog parks and other pet-friendly locations is an excellent idea to get used to other dogs.
The more new people and dogs a puppy interacts with, the better. Although a dog can learn to adapt to new faces past puppyhood, this process is easier when they are younger. An adult dog improperly socialized might be needlessly reactive.
Will a Great Dane Require a Lot of Exercises?
A few daily play sessions or walks are usually sufficient for these dogs. Daily exercise should ideally last about half an hour to an hour for adults. Once your dog has gotten their workout in, they are usually ready for some time on the couch.
Running and jogging are activities that adult dogs usually love. However, this breed should not be involved in a lot of running before reaching two years. Before the dogs turn two, they have growing bones and joints that running can stress.
One thing that many find surprising about this breed is that they gravitate more towards being couch potatoes than high-energy. Danes are more playful than energetic at heart. A yard is necessary for exercise but does not need to be huge.
An exception to these dogs having a lower energy level is when they are puppies. Great Dane puppies tend to have bursts of energy when they run and jump a lot. A lot of outdoor playtime in a yard with a sturdy fence helps rein in most of this behavior.
How Much Grooming Do Great Danes Require?
Great Danes seldom require more coat grooming care than a weekly brushing and polishing. These dogs have smooth short coats, and there are no longhaired variations in this breed. Soft bristle brushes usually do the best job of dead hair removal.
Occasional bathing with shampoo that conditions the coat properly will help keep your Dane as clean as possible. Bathing every two to three months is usually suitable for most. Extra bathing after getting into the mud or messy substances is a good idea.
These dogs’ nails should be kept relatively short to help maintain balance and traction when walking. Usually, trimming your dog’s nails monthly will keep them at an appropriate length. High-quality groomer-style clippers help minimize painful cuts.
Keeping your dog’s teeth clean helps prevent dental disease that can lead to other health problems. Usually, you’ll need to clean your dog’s teeth weekly. A toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs will help provide the best cleaning.
Another regular grooming task you’ll need to consider is cleaning your dog’s ears every week. The safest way to clean your dog’s ears is with a canine ear cleaner and cotton ball. You’ll want to avoid getting the cotton directly into the ear canals.
Do Great Danes Health Health Issues That Require a Lot of Care?
Great Danes are generally healthy, although their lifespan is shorter because of their size. Eight to ten years is a typical lifespan, although some dogs of this breed live as few as six or seven years. Breeding and lifestyle make the biggest differences.
Maintaining a healthy weight is essential because overweight Danes will not usually live as long as dogs of a healthy weight. If your dog has a visible waistline and you can just barely feel the ribs, your dog is a healthy weight.
If your dog is over or under an ideal weight, your veterinarian will be able to help you decide what type of diet is best. Prescription diets can quickly address these types of issues. An important step is avoiding table scraps or other treats.
These dogs are susceptible to a bone disease known as Panosteitis because of their size. Shifting bones are the main cause of pain and inflammation.
Although most orthopedic issues are treatable, dog owners do well to prevent these issues whenever possible. Healthy dogs with better mobility have a higher quality of life overall. You’ll enjoy more quality time with a healthier, happier dog.
A healthy diet, appropriate physical activity, and regular vet visits will prevent many conditions often affecting these dogs. Although every condition is not preventable, taking steps that could prevent diseases never hurts.
Do Great Danes Eat a Lot?
Many prospective owners are pleasantly surprised to learn that Great Danes don’t eat a lot relative to their size. Most dogs of this breed consume 8-12 cups of food daily. These requirements put Danes on the same level as slightly smaller, high-energy breeds.
Although 8-12 cups is a typical food amount, your dog’s weight, age, and gender may also play a role. Puppies, young dogs, and pregnant or nursing females usually eat the most food. Spayed or neutered dogs eat less because of slower metabolism.
Food designed for large breeds will give Danes optimal nutrition. One of the most significant advantages of large-breed food is that the ingredients help prevent orthopedic issues. Any steps that help increase dogs’ health are worth the effort.