Basic Information About Great Danes:

  • Great Danes are classified as extra large dogs, often referred to as "Gentle Giants."
  • Males, on average, stand as tall as 32" to 36" at the shoulder and can weigh anywhere from 140 to 180 pounds.
  • Females typically stand as tall as 28" to 33" at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 110 to 140 pounds.
  • Great Danes do not usually reach full maturity until they are 18 to 24 months of age.
  • Great Danes have a short lifespan of about 8 to 10 years. If taken care of properly, their lifespan may rise.
  • The cost of owning a Great Dane is larger than the cost of owning a smaller breed, see below.

Nutrition

As you could guess, the bigger the natural size of an animal the more food they will have to eat. On average, male Great Danes eat anywhere from 7 to 10 cups of dog food daily depending on their individual size. Female Great Danes eat slightly less ranging from 6 to 8 cups of dog food daily. Also, it is advised that you split their recommended daily amount of food in to two meals to prevent bloating. For more information, see "Great Dane Health" below this block.

Vetting

Veterinarian cost are larger for Great Danes than your typical dog breed. The general rule is the bigger the dog, the bigger the cost will be. Most medications, heart-worm preventative, flea control, etc., are sold based on the weight of the dog. The more the dog weighs, the more of the medication you will need and the more expensive it will be. In addition, surgery, x-rays, and other medical services will cost more.

Boarding

If you have noticed a theme, depending on the size of your dog, the cost of boarding will rise with larger breeds. The cost of owning a Dane is a factor you must consider before adopting one.

Grooming

Great Danes have very short hair and need minimal grooming. Typically, a good brushing once or twice a week during the winter is sufficient for most Danes; however, during the warmer months you may need to brush them daily as they shed more during this time. When grooming your Dane, it should take no longer than 20 minutes. Fortunately, Great Danes do not require much bathing; it is recommended that you bathe them once a month, though. Also, wiping down dirty paws is something you might have to get use to owning any dog breed.

Overall

The cost of owning a Great Dane is a factor you must consider before adopting one.

Great Dane Health

  • Like all pure-bred dogs, Danes are susceptible to a variety of health problems. With a proper medical routine, though, health problems can be easily maintained. A major problem among Great Danes is bloating (or gastric torsion), a life-threatening condition in which air gets trapped in the stomach and/or intestines and the stomach (or intestines) can turn on its axis. Symptoms of bloating include a swollen abdomen, retching (without being able to actually vomit), restlessness, excessive salivation, and a painful abdomen. If you see any of these symptoms in your Great Dane, get them to a vet immediately. A surgical procedure, called gastropexy, can prevent bloating in 99 percent of cases. However, this procedure is expensive since it can be anywhere from $400 to $600. 
  • A health problem among older Great Danes is cardiomyopathy, it is a form of heart disease. Cardiomyopathy can be treated with medication; however, it is a life-threatening disease if left untreated. Therefore, checking for cardiomyopathy in older Great Danes is crucial. Exercise intolerance is a symptom of cardiomyopathy. 
  • Osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, is another life-threatening disease. Almost all dogs who develop bone cancer will die within a year. Bone cancer symptoms include limping and a painful lump felt on a bone (usually an extremity). Treatment for bone cancer includes radiation, amputation, and possibly chemotherapy. In addition, there is exciting new research using the drug Fosamex that shows promising results against bone cancer. You may wish to visit the website "Irish Wolfhound Club of America's Osteosarcoma Study" to learn more http://www.iwclubofamerica.org/health_studies.htm. While this study deals with Irish Wolfhounds, the results will apply to Great Danes as well. 
  • Hypothyroidism is a disorder that seems to affect females more than males. In this disorder, the thyroid does not secrete enough hormones. The symptoms include dull coats, weight gain, and dry, flaky skin. This disease is easily treated with medication and should not effect the dog's ability to live a long, normal life
  • Wobbler's Syndrome and Von Willebrand's Disease (VWD) are both fairly rare. Wobbler's Syndrome is a lesion in the neck which affects the dog's ability to walk in which it makes the dog seem "wobbly" (hence its name). Wobbler's Syndrome can be treated surgically, although surgery is expensive and often does not help. Acupuncture can help the dog more comfortably and prolong his or her life. In addition, some exciting new alternative treatments, such as gold bead implantation, are on the horizon. VWD is a rare blood disorder that sometimes effects Great Danes and is similar to hemophilia in humans. As with hemophilia, VWD can be controlled but may require vast changes in the dog's normal routines. In addition, blood transfusions may be necessary for VWD.
  • Hip dysplasia is a disease common in many large and giant breed dogs. To oversimplify, it occurs when the hip joint doesn't fit well in the socket. Symptoms include painful hips and limping. Today, with medication and surgery, dogs with hip dysplasia can be treated and dysplastic dogs are no longer routinely put to sleep. 
  • Epilepsy (seizure disorder) can occur in Great Danes. This disease is characterized by grand mal or petit mal seizures. The grand mal seizures can be quite frightening to observe, though they usually are not life-threatening (they just look that way!). Petit mal seizures may look only like the dog "spaces" or "blanks" out. Seizures can also be caused by toxins, electric shock, and damage to the kidney and/or liver. If your dog has a seizure, take him or her to the vet immediately to determine its cause. If your dog has a seizure, make sure that your other pets are away from the dog having the seizure. On top of this, make sure you stay clear of the dog's head and mouth or you may be accidentally bitten. Be very careful until you know your dog's reaction is over and he/she is out of the seizure, some dogs can become aggressive when coming out of a seizure. The dog does NOT recognize you or his/her surroundings, they are frightened and confused so they may try to bite you out of fear and confusion. So, be careful about approaching your dog until you are certain they are no longer in the state of a seizure. Once the dog has "come out of" the seizure, his or her personality will return to normal.

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