Professional dog breeders of all types of dogs stick to breeding dogs that fit the exact description of the AKC for the dog.
They should be of the same height and weight, appearance, have the same temperament, and be in the accepted colors and patterns of the coat.
What is a Mini Great Dane?
Some dog breeders will intentionally breed dogs to make a mini version, which can happen when several generations of runts are bred together, from dwarfism or from mixing a purebred of one breed with a purebred of another breed. All of these are considered a designer or hybrid dogs.
The purebred runts being bred together can produce much smaller dogs, but not what most people think of mini size.
When people hear the term mini, they expect the puppy to stay small enough to fit in a pocket or a purse. The Mini Great Dane will never be this small as he started with a giant breed of dog.
Some breeders refer to these puppies as the Mini Great Dane, the Teacup Great Dane, or the Dwarf Great Dane. In all cases of Mini Great Danes, they will be smaller in height than the breeder standard, which is 28 inches tall for females and 30 inches tall for males. If you have a Great Dane that is even one inch shorter, it can be called a Mini Great Dane.
Mini Great Danes From Dwarfism
Dwarfism is a genetic mutation of a gene that can occur in humans and many animal species. It is the genes and their groupings that determine the weight, size, color, and characteristics of a puppy or dog.
Genetic mutations can occur in one parent and be passed down to an offspring before the gene is expressed to pass on a trait to the puppies. The mutations can also have an immediate effect on the puppy who inherits it from a parent dog.
Most all dogs have some genetic mutations, but it isn’t always a big deal. Most of the time, these mutations are not even noticed and they are only found by testing the DNA.
In a Great Dane, achondroplasia can be a genetic mutation that causes the bones not to grow as they should and produce a dog that is smaller than the breed standard is.
This isn’t very common–but it can happen. This is seen more in breeds such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, Dachshunds, and Beagles.
Selectively Breeding Mini Great Danes
Breeders can intentionally choose the smallest Great Danes they can find and breed them together to get even smaller pups. After the process of several litters and the smallest two being bred, the size of the puppies will eventually be even smaller.
Breeding a giant breed of dog’s size down to a smaller size can change many things in the offspring. They may be genetically changed not only to be smaller, but they can introduce a whole host of problems.
In Great Danes, the same is true for breeding a Merle to a Merle, which often causes the puppies to be born deaf, blind, and have many other issues.
Mixed Breeding for Great Danes
The intentional breeding of a Great Dane to a smaller dog creates a hybrid or designer dog in which the puppies will be smaller. Mixed breeds started with the smaller pooches and now have been extended to large and giant breed dogs.
Some of the mixed breeds with Great Danes to obtain smaller puppies include the Labrador Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Pitbull, Weimeraner, and the Boxer, as well as the Poodle.
Mixed breeding like this will make the result of the puppies in the litter smaller, but not that much smaller. Sometimes it only results in being a large to a medium-sized dog or only a few inches shorter than the Great Dane.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
All Great Danes are predisposed to some health issues just by inheriting the traits from their parents or farther back in their bloodlines. The common things are hip dysplasia, bloat, eye, and heart issues and diseases, and hypothyroidism.
Breeders usually screen the parents for these issues and will only breed a dam and a sire if they are free of these health issues. This means that if you want a standard size Great Dane, it will likely be very healthy if the parents were medically screened.
Bloat is caused by overeating when dogs eat too much food at once. It causes gas to build up in the stomach, an extended tummy, and, in most cases, he can die from this condition unless you get him to the vet immediately.
Hip dysplasia often occurs in giant and large breed dogs. It’s a condition when the bones don’t align properly and it can be very painful for a dog.
Cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle disease that results in an enlarged heart which is common in older and larger dogs.
The good news is, if you found a purebred Mini Great Dane with dwarfism, he will be much less likely to have bloat, hip dysplasia, and heart conditions because he is so small and the size and weight of a standard size Great Dane attributes to these conditions.
The bad news is, a purebred Mini Great Dane is a host for many other very serious health conditions because of the gene mutation. These include dwarfism, a much shorter life expectancy, a taurine deficiency, body disfigurements.
Selectively breeding runts to get Mini Great Danes comes with many health issues as well. When runts are produced they often have hypoglycemia, heart defects, liver shunts, and calcium deficiencies, just because of being a runt. These problems can make it very expensive to own a miniature version of any dog.
Risks of A Mini Great Dane
If a Mini Great Dane is a product of selectively breeding the runts to get a smaller dog, it is likely affected by pituitary dwarfism. This is when a dog is born with a deficiency of a growth hormone so it won’t reach its potential height or weight.
As a runt bred with a runt and a litter of runt puppies are born, the puppies face trouble just by being so small. Runts often require special feeding and they also usually have a hard time staying warm enough.
When you adopt a Mini Great Dane of this sort, it means a lot more time, effort, and expense for you.
Pituitary dwarfism means your small pup will be deficient in a growth hormone which can cause even more problems such as undeveloped kidneys, low intelligence, and many more things.
Mini Great Danes have a shorter life span than a standard Great Dane–and the standard Great Dane only lives 7 to 10 years. If you choose a Mini Great Dane, due to all the health issues he can have, he will likely not even live to reach 7 years old.
A lack of taurine, an amino acid that regulates normal heart function and fat digestion, is common in Mini Dogs.
The lack of taurine in a dog’s system can cause it to die at a random time due to dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart disease.
Even more birth defects are found in Mini breeds, including blindness, disfigured legs, deafness, other disfigured body parts, and many more issues as well.
If you decide not to adopt a Mini Great Dane due to all the health issues, expenses, and short lifespan, you can still opt to adopt a standard Great Dane, if you love the breed and have enough space for it. Great Danes are 28 to 32 inches tall and weigh 100 to 200 pounds when they reach maturity.
Other great options exist for purebred dogs to adopt with the same great qualities as a Great Dane for being a protector and guardian of the family, as well as a very loving and affectionate breed of dog–but in a smaller size.
German Shepherds reach a height of 22 to 26 inches tall and a final weight of 49 to 88 pounds. Rottweilers will be between 22 and 27 inches tall with a weight of 77 to 130 pounds when mature. Boxers are only 21 to 25 inches tall and weigh between 55 and 71 pounds.
Prices of Mini Great Dane Puppies
Breeders that intentionally bred down Great Danes to get a miniature version usually say that their puppies are unique and special and often they will charge a lot more for their puppies than an AKC purebred standard size Great Dane.
Professional dog breeders see these types of breeders as unscrupulous and profiteering to intentionally breed a dog that doesn’t fit the standard put forth by the AKC in producing dogs with different traits, such as a mini size.
Mini Great Danes can also arise from these breeders by being inbred, which brings a whole other long list of health problems.
You should now be able to decide if all of the risks of having a Mini Great Dane are worth it and keep in mind this Mini will need a lot of care and have a very short lifespan as well.
You may decide to choose a different breed of dog that is smaller and has the same personality. Whichever you choose from the smaller breeds will make a great family member.