The Great Dane is a regal, giant dog breed revered for its imposing stature and gentle temperament. These affectionate giants make loyal companions and dependable watchdogs despite their intimidating size. While large, Great Danes are elegant and graceful dogs that carry themselves with dignity indoors. Their space and exercise needs can pose challenges, but these good-natured dogs reward their owners with steadfast devotion.

Height: 30-32 inches

Rank: 16

Weight: 120-200 lb

Life Span: 7-10 Years



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Great Danes are among the world’s tallest dog breeds. Males stand 30-32 inches tall at the shoulder while females are 28-30 inches tall. Their muscular, square-proportioned bodies weigh 120-200 pounds. Great Danes have a long, rectangular head with a flat skull and pronounced stop. Their muzzle is long and ends in a large black nose. Almond-shaped eyes are medium to dark brown. The high-set, triangular ears fold back close to the head. Great Danes have a strong, galloping gait.

Coat and Colors

The short, dense coat of the Great Dane comes in several colors like fawn, black, blue, mantle, harlequin, and brindle. These giant dogs are average shedders that require weekly brushing. Bathing is only needed a few times yearly.

Personality Traits

Despite their imposing presence, Great Danes are docile, devoted dogs known for their dependable natures. They are friendly with their family including children but cautious around strangers. While not excessively active indoors, Great Danes need daily exercise and room to stretch out. They should be closely supervised with small children due to their massive size. Socialization and obedience training are highly recommended for these gentle giants.


The Great Dane has an independent mind of its own, but is intelligent and eager to please. They respond very well to patient, positive training methods.

Activity Level

Great Danes have moderate exercise needs. They enjoy brisk daily walks and occasional sprints in a safe area. Access to a yard is ideal, but these giant dogs can adapt to apartment living with proper exercise.


Despite their imposing presence, the Great Dane is an easygoing, affectionate dog that thrives as a family companion. They are playful, patient, and gentle by nature, especially with children. Reserved with strangers, Great Danes make excellent watchdogs.

Care and Maintenance


Great Danes need at least 20-30 minutes of exercise daily. Moderate walks and play sessions in a secure area will satisfy their exercise requirements. Access to a spacious, fenced yard provides a good outlet for this breed.


The short coat of the Great Dane requires minimal grooming. Use a rubber brush weekly to remove loose hair and distribute skin oils. Check and clean ears regularly. Trim nails as needed.


Great Danes respond very well to consistent, reward-based training. Early socialization and obedience classes are highly beneficial in bringing out their best qualities. House training may be challenging with puppies due to their large size. Crate training aids the process.

Health Concerns

Potential health issues seen in Great Danes include gastric torsion, cardiomyopathy, joint dysplasia, and bone cancer. Reputable breeders screen for health conditions. Proper nutrition, exercise and regular vet visits are essential. Average lifespan is 7-10 years.


  • Great Danes cannot give birth naturally due to their large size and must deliver by cesarean section.
  • Great Danes make an excellent choice for experienced dog owners thanks to their loyal and gentle nature.
  • Great Danes thrive as indoor dogs and do not tolerate temperature extremes well due to their short coat.
  • The average lifespan of a Great Dane is short due to health issues like bloat and cardiomyopathy.
  • Due to their large size, Great Danes require strong leash training and manners.
  • The Great Dane originated in Germany where they were bred as hunting dogs and dog fighters.


The Great Dane originated in Germany and was bred to hunt large game like wild boar. Their roots can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Tibetan Mastiffs. German nobles admired the breed’s imposing stature and refined appearance. Great Danes came to Britain and America in the late 1800s and quickly gained popularity. They were accepted by the AKC in 1887.

Is a Great Dane the Right Dog For You?


  • Gentle, dependable nature
  • Devoted family companion
  • Minimal grooming needs
  • Intelligent and trainable

Potential Cons

  • Require significant space
  • Prone to health problems
  • Short lifespan of 7-10 years
  • Large food consumption

Best Homes

Great Danes thrive in homes with ample room both indoors and outdoors. Families able to provide enough exercise do best with this breed. Their patient, amiable temperament allows them to succeed in households with children and other pets. Great Dane owners must be prepared for their extensive space and veterinary needs. When properly socialized and cared for, the Great Dane is a wonderful addition to most families. Their sweet, loyal nature makes up for their short lifespans.