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Healthy Dogs

Great Dane 101- Dog Breed Info

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By Josh Loposer
WebMD Feature from

Dog Breed:

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Great Dane


Great Danes are "known for being strong yet elegant, with a friendly, energetic personality," according to the American Kennel Club's breed standard. The Great Dane Club of America describes the Great Dane's ideal temperament as "spirited, courageous, always friendly and dependable, and never timid or aggressive. Jeanette Coval of Great Dane Rescue, Inc.  agrees that the breed is generally very affectionate and loyal, describing Great Danes as "very owner-oriented dogs."


Despite the Great Dane's enormous size, the AKC states that "Their short coats require minimal grooming." The breed standard calls for a coat that's "short, thick and clean with a smooth glossy appearance." According to the GDCA, "The coat lies flat. Trimming of stray hairs is acceptable," should you plan to show your Dane.

Common Health Issues:

Health issues for Great Danes include: "Bloat, osteosarcoma, Wobbler's Disease, heart issues, autoimmune issues, cherry eye and HOD (hypertrophic osteodystrophy or swollen joints)," Coval tells Paw Nation. In addition, the GDCA lists cataracts, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism as other common Great Dane ailments.

Training Tips:

Due to size and strength of this breed, Coval strongly recommends basic obedience training. "Consistent expectations and reinforcement of training is needed and appreciated by your dog," she explains. However, don't get too stern, says Coval, explaining that Great Danes "get their feelings hurt easily." The GDCA also emphasizes the importance of obedience training. "Puppy kindergarten classes are recommended, beginning at about 3 to 6 months of age."

Best Animal/Owner Match:

According to the GDCA, "Great Danes do not do well in kennel situations or where they are exclusively outdoor dogs." This is in part because of their need for human companionship, as well as the fact that their thin coat doesn't provide them enough warmth in cold climates. The GDCA also stresses the increased costs that come with owning such a very large dog, which include: "proper food, veterinary care, supplies, training classes, and a fenced yard."

What Great Dane Owners Say:

Paw Nation Facebook friend DNea Smith of Byron, Ga. says of her pup, "I have a 4-month-old Dane and am totally in love with the breed! They're amazing, so lovable and so very, very funny to watch. [They have] super personalities, and [are] just a joy to share a life with."


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