IS A GREAT DANE FOR YOU?
DO YOUR RESEARCH
We feel strongly that prospective Dane owners should spend time researching Great Danes before making an ownership commitment. Education is very important to make sure this is the breed for you before you buy! It is also very important to us to know you are making the correct choice and will be happy with your decision.
The Dane is a short-haired breed, and therefore requires little in the way of coat care. Most do well with weekly brushing (more often during periods of heavy shedding), and bathing as needed. The Dane also requires ear cleaning, dental care, and toenail trimming like any other breed.
The Great Dane is unfortunately not a long-lived breed. Their lifespan is generally 7-10 years. Longevity can be promoted by breeding healthy individuals (whose ancestors were long-lived), and by practising good health management. But, even though the Dane is not long-lived, Dane lovers would agree that they'd rather have eight years with these dogs than twenty with another breed.
CARE AND TRAINING
Danes need a moderate amount of exercise. A long walk each day seems to suit most Danes nicely. Of course, Danes can also be trained to participate in very athletic activities, such as competition obedience, tracking, agility and fly-ball. Because of their size, an un-trained Dane can be a very serious hazard. Dane puppies should be started in a puppy training and socialisation class at about three months of age. At that stage, they are very impressionable, and a relatively manageable size. For their own safety, and for the safety of their owners (and others), all Danes should be taught not to bite (even in play), and not to jump up on people (unless invited). They should also learn (at a minimum) the five basic obedience commands: heel, sit, down, stay, and come. Danes are a very sensitive breed, and (for the best results) should be taught using motivational/inductive methods.
THINGS TO BE AWARE OF
Because a 25 pound eight-week-old male puppy will generally grow to about six times that weight, special consideration needs to be given before acquiring a puppy. Dogs are abandoned every day because their owners didn't realize that their cute little puppy would grow up to be a very large dog with real needs. Therefore, anyone considering a Dane as a pet (puppy or adult), should first spend time with adults of the breed, and then ask themselves the following questions:
Will I be able to provide enough food for a giant breed dog? They eat about three to six cups of high quality dog food twice each day.
Can I afford the other expenses involved with owning a dog of this size? Medication, crates, bedding, equipment, supplies, toys, etc., all cost more for a giant breed dog.
Am I prepared to provide a Dane with the companionship and exercise he requires?
Am I able, and willing, to provide positive and consistent training, beginning as soon as my Dane enters my home?
If after considering all of these questions, you are still determined to add a Great Dane to your family, then do consider adopting a homeless dog from a rescue organization. Danes of both sexes, and all colors and ages, are often available for adoption. If you must have a puppy, then screen breeders very carefully before buying. Make sure that any puppy that you consider, has been bred and reared to have a correct temperament. An aggressive Great Dane can be a very dangerous dog, and a crippled or chronically sick Dane can be more of a burden than a pleasure. Remember that your decision to acquire a Dane, is a decision that will affect you (and your Dane) for a lifetime.
"There is nothing like a Dane!" is often heard from fanciers of this breed. And while size alone makes him unique, the Great Dane's personality is the quality that most find so appealing. The Dane is a "people dog" - a sensitive and affectionate companion. They can be elegant and dignified one moment, and then playful and silly the next.
They were originally developed in Germany to hunt wild boar. And although they are no longer used for that purpose, they should still possess the confidence that made them suitable for that work. Because of their temperament, and the fact that they are generally clean and quiet, they make ideal inside-the-house pets. They do not make good "yard" dogs, because when segregated from human companionship, they can become very unruly and destructive.
Puppy buyers should always be sure to see at least the dam of the litter (and the sire if possible). Puppy temperament is influenced by both heredity (from sire, dam, and other ancestors), and by environment (which is greatly influenced by the dam, and the breeder's rearing practices). Anyone buying a puppy should ensure that the dam does have a temperament that conforms to the breed standard, and that the breeder is raising the puppies properly (in the house as part of the family), and is providing adequate socialization and early training.