Great Dane

The Great Dane’s size attracts attention and offers instant protection — no one will guess what a sweetheart he is on the inside.

Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Great Dane has a short, thick, smooth coat. It sheds moderately — in other words, more than you might think — but requires little grooming. Brush the Dane weekly with a rubber hound mitt or soft bristle brush to keep the hair and skin healthy. In spring and fall, he will have a heavy shed, known as “blowing out” the coat and will need to be brushed more frequently during that time to get rid of all the loose hair.
Bathe the Dane as you desire or only when he gets dirty. With the gentle dog shampoos available now, you can bathe a Dane weekly if you want without harming his coat.
The rest is basic care. Trim the toenails every few weeks. Long nails can get caught on things and tear off. That’s really painful, and it will bleed a lot. Brush the teeth frequently for good dental health. To prevent ear infections, keep the ears dry and clean, using a cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian.
Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear down the toenails naturally.

Exercise Tips

Great Danes may seem sedate, but they require dailyexerciseappropriate to their age. A brisk walk two or three times a day can be enough. They can make good companions on jogs or hikes, but you must wait until the dog is 2 years old to avoid damage to growing joints. Because of the risk of bloat, avoid rigorous exercise around mealtimes. Danes tend to follow their nose wherever a scent takes them, so they should always be kept on a leash and only allowed loose in areas secured with a tall fence. Many Great Danes enjoy participating inagility,obedience,tracking events, weight pulls, and sports such as flyball.
With this said, puppies only need to be given a small amount of daily exercise because their joints and bones are still developing. Putting too much pressure on their joints could see dogs developing painful joint problems later on in their lives.

Feeding Tips

A good, healthy diet with an aim at providing a healthy coat should be provided. Meats, including poultry – remember, this is a bird-seeker – and other cuts like beef and lamb can be provided to provide protein, nutrition, and flavor to many meals.
If you get a Great Dane puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it’s important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy’s diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don’t develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it’s best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It’s best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it’s good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements.
Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Like many large breeds, Saint Bernard can experience bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach distends and twists. The causes of bloat aren’t fully understood, but experts agree that multiple, small meals per day and preventing vigorous exercise around mealtimes may help reduce the chances of it happening.

Health Tips

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
The average life expectancy of the Great Dane is from 7 to 10 years. Many breeders and owners consider a surgery called a prophylactic gastropexy (“preventative tack”) that can help prevent some of the more serious aspects of GDV. Other health issues that can affect the breed include eye and cardiac diseases, hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis, andhip dysplasia. Aresponsible breederwill screen breedingstock for conditions that can affect the breed.


The Great Dane requires a dominant but not overly harsh trainer. It must be trained early not to pull on the leash, because it grows to a very large size. Obedience training when young is highly recommended for the Great Dane.
And Great Danes can be very athletic. The breed makes excellent runners and can be trained athletically, but in general, its easy-going temperament makes it responsive to training that involves other people. Great Danes can be trained to be receptive to visitors and will usually not require a lot of training to curb aggressiveness.
Puppies should be properly socialized to develop the amiable, outgoing personality that is characteristic of the breed. They’re successful in performance and companion events such as earthdog, barn hunt, obedience, and agility.


The ancestors of the Great Dane include British mastiffs and possibly wolfhounds, brought to Europe, first by the Romans and later by German aristocrats seeking to improve their hunting dogs. Despite its name, the Great Dane is a German breed.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, German forests were filled with game, and hunting wild boar with dogs was a favorite pastime of German nobility. Each lord kept large numbers of boarhounds, which they carefully bred to improve their size, power, and endurance. When the game in the forests began to dwindle, the large breeding kennels disappeared but the Great Dane continued to be a favorite with German aristocrats.
In 1876 the Great Dane was named the national dog of Germany, but he came to be appreciated in other countries as well, including the United States. Today, the Great Dane ranks 17th among the breeds registered by the American Kennel Club, up from 28th in 2000. With his gentle nature and giant stature, it’s no wonder that many people love this interesting dog.