Hi, my name’s Irena and I have three lovely dogs. They are all mixed breeds as I rescued them from the streets of Chania in Crete where I live.
There are a lot of strays here on Crete so it’s not difficult to adopt an animal or three! However, today I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of Great Danes.
They are wonderful dogs to have as pets and it is not for nothing that they are called gentle giants.
They might be big but they are very good-natured. If you have children, don’t worry as they love to play and are very affectionate.
The Great Dane is a German breed known for its size. The dog which holds the record for being the tallest Great Dane is Zeus who measured 44 inches from his paws to his shoulders.
Unfortunately, he died at just 5 years old. He had his own Facebook page and I followed him. It was always fun to see what he had been up to.
Great Danes are short-haired. They have strong muscled bodies and adult males weigh around 120 pounds while females weigh around 100 pounds.
They can even exceed these weights. You can tell the difference between males and females easily as the males have a larger frame and heavier bone structure.
They have floppy, triangular ears. These used to be cropped when the dogs were used in hunting as accidents could happen during the hunt.
It is still common to crop the ears in the US, but in certain countries in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, cropping is banned or controlled.
In my opinion, there is no need to crop as it is a very painful process for the dogs.
Great Danes usually get on with other dogs and with other animals like cats.
They generally aren’t aggressive nor do they have a natural prey drive despite being used in hunting in the past. They are loving dogs and with training can become the ideal family pet.
However, let’s dive into the purpose of this article, the Great Dane pros and cons!
Pros of Great Danes
Owning a Great Dane comes with both pros and cons, but personally, I think that the pros outweigh the cons.
1) They are Easygoing
The first pro is that Great Danes are easygoing dogs despite their size. They fit right in with a family although older children are probably a better fit.
Your Great Dane won’t hurt smaller children intentionally, but they are so big that perhaps they could fall on a child while playing.
They will form strong bonds with children which will teach them how they should relate to dogs.
2) They Can make Good Guard Dogs
On the other hand, with the right training they can be excellent guard dogs while still being loving towards their family.
It does, however, need an experienced large breed owner to teach the dog how to guard and protect the home while still being friendly with their owners.
Great Danes were originally bred to hunt wild boar and to guard property so it is not against their nature to be guard dogs.
Their bark alone is intimidating so that could deter intruders straight away. I also have a dog who loves to bark and I’m sure he too would stop burglars. At least I hope so.
3) They can Live Alongside Other Pets
Great Danes can live side-by-side with other pets, but it is a good idea to let them socialize from an early age with other dogs in the family and any different animals you have.
Great Danes get so big that if you introduced a fully grown Great Dane to a cat the cat could become scared and strike out, causing all sorts of problems.
4) They are Easy to Groom
It is very easy to groom a Great Dane. Their coats are short and smooth. They only really need to be brushed once a week with a soft bristle brush.
If you want, you can also wash them once a week. There are lots of gentle dog shampoos on the market so they shouldn’t suffer from any skin irritations after being washed.
5) They are Easy to Train
Training is easy with Great Danes because they are so gentle and laid-back. They learn very quickly, but because they are sensitive they don’t need to be trained aggressively.
Reward good behavior with a treat and don’t punish them harshly if they don’t obey.
They are very attuned to the moods of their handlers so they will pick up if you are not happy with them and it may, therefore, be more difficult to train them.
Because they are so big it is better that they are trained to walk on a leash although they can be let off in an off-leash park.
If you have a fenced-in yard all the better as they can get extra exercise out there on their own or playing games with the family.
6) They Can be Kept in Apartments
This brings up the question of whether or not they can be kept in apartments.
Personally, I think that it is perfectly viable despite their size as long as they get taken out for long walks and perhaps have some time in an off-leash park.
So if you only have a small house or an apartment, don’t give up on your dream of owning a Great Dane.
Cons of Great Danes
1) They Have a Short Lifespan
Probably the biggest con of owning a Great Dane is that they have a short lifespan.
Larger dogs generally don’t live as long as smaller dogs and you will have to be prepared to accept that your Great Danes are only going to reach between 6 and 9 years of age.
It is always difficult knowing that you are probably going to live a lot longer than your pets, but if you accept this you should probably have a good few years of companionship with your Great Danes.
2) They can Have Serious Health Issues
It is also important to know that Great Danes are susceptible to some serious health issues. The number 1 cause of death for Great Danes is cancer, in particular, lymphoma.
They can also get heart disease and bone and joint problems. When your Great Danes are puppies, don’t over-exercise them too much as this can cause joint problems.
They can also suffer from allergies and you may need to visit the vet to get remedies.
3) They are Prone to Getting Bloat
In addition, because they have a deep chest and are large, they are also prone to getting bloat which can be fatal.
Bloat occurs when the stomach twists and fills with air and gas and the dog can die within hours. It is essential to take your dog to the vet if you suspect bloat.
Symptoms include a swollen stomach which is sensitive if you touch it and increased salivation. To help prevent bloat do what I do and that is feed your dogs two or three times a day rather than just once.
If you just feed them once a day they will get hungry and will gulp their food down. When they do this they also take in lots of air and this can cause bloat.
Slow feeder bowls are a good idea as they significantly slow down the speed at which your dogs eat.
Another thing to do to stop bloat is to let your dog rest for at least 40 minutes after eating. Don’t take them out for a walk directly after their meal.
4) They Need to be Trained
You do need to give your Great Danes life-long training to stop them from becoming shy or on the other hand territorial.
You don’t want a dog the size of a Great Dane to be unruly. Yes, they are generally gentle beasts, but they still need to know the rules of the household.
If you would like help training your great dane check out this article.
5) They can Cost a Lot of Keep
Another con is the financial aspect of raising a Great Dane. They are going to eat a lot more than for example a Yorkshire Terrier, so the food bills will be high.
In addition, they are going to need higher doses of the drugs they require and things like flea treatments which will cost more.
6) They Shed
I have said that Great Danes have short coats, but they do still shed. Because of the size of the dogs, you will still notice that there are a lot of hairs about. Be prepared to sweep or vacuum after them.
Great Dane Pros and Cons: Final Thoughts
I hope you have enjoyed reading about Great Danes. To summarize, they are large gentle beasts which make great family pets although they can also be taught to be watchdogs.
They get on with other animals and children. They need plenty of exercise, but can still be kept in an apartment if they have long walks every day.
The main disadvantage of owning Great Danes is that they don’t live that long. You have to prepare yourself to have them for a short time, but the love they will give you makes it worthwhile.
It may be distressing for your children to lose their pets so early, but it will teach them about life and death.
Anyway, if you are anything like me you will get another dog. You never forget the dog you have lost, but I think that there is always enough room in your heart to give love to another animal.
Another disadvantage is financial. The bigger the dog you have the more it will cost you, but if it works for you financially go for it as you will be getting a loving and loyal pet.