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Great Dane Facts
Great Dane factsGeneral Great Dane Facts & Stats 


The average life span of a Great Dane is 9 years, although some have lived into their early teens.

The average litter size is 8, although some litters can be in the double digits.

One of the most interesting facts about Great Danes is that in the U.S. they are classified as a large dog breed but in the U.K. they are in the Giant class.

Great Danes are the 17th most registered dog breed in the United States.

Males will grow to be 135-170 pounds and a height between 33-36 inches from floor to shoulder.

Females will grow to be 110-145 pounds and a height between 30-34 inches from floor to shoulder.

Puppies are born at a weight of 1-2 lbs.

By week 8, most pups will be between 15-30 pounds.


The Great Dane, often thought of as the largest of all dog breeds is actually the 2nd! Mastiffs are generally heavier and the Wolf Hound is generally taller…However one Great Dane fact is that this is one BIG dog!

The largest Great Dane on record was named Gibson…He was 42.2 inches from floor to shoulder and stood over 7 feet when on his hind legs!

In general, males will grow to a height of 32 to 40 inches (at the shoulder) and females will be a bit smaller at 28 to 34 inches (at the shoulder).

European Great Danes are usually a bit heavier than the American bred dogs.

In the U.S., a males can reach 160 pounds (73 kg) and a female 135 pounds (61 kg).

Females often mature faster than males.  On average a Great Dane’s puppyhood lasts 1 and ½ to 2 years.   You may see a calming down of hyper puppy activity as early as 1 year.

Full height is reached by 2 years and full weight is reached by 3 years.


Acknowledged a German breed, the Great Dane is believed to be a descendant of the Molossus hounds of Roman times.  These were dogs that hunted wild boar, baited bulls and acted as bodyguards...but there is little of this aggression apparent int he present day breed that we know today.


Most Great Danes
are fawn (a light beige), brindle (a striping of black and brown), black, blue (a black with a blue tint that can often only be noticed outside in bright sunlight) and Harlequin (pure white with lots of black patches).  There is also a Merle that is not recognized by the AKC…. It is a grey background with black spots.  It is not recognized because breeding Merle Great Danes can cause deafness and/or blindness in the resulting puppies.

A Great Dane may have color in a pattern that is called Boston… this is a dark body base with a white chest and/or neck. … This is also called Mantle by some.

Eyes are always medium sized and dark. 


Merles should not be bred, as they can produce deaf or blind litters. Also,  2 Harlequins should not be bred together as they can produce pure white dogs who are deaf.


Due to the very short hair of the coat, brushing is easy.  One should do so about 1 time per week.  Baths should be 1 time every 3 to 4 weeks unless the dog is very dirty. If the weather outside is above 68° F, one can offer an outdoors bath, however the dog should then have a towel placed over him or her and brought inside to warm up and dry up.

It is a Great Dane fact that they shed minimally and normal brushings should take care of any loose hairs.

Using a rubber grooming mitt works well, as it will remove any dead hairs and keep the coat healthy.


Even though they are very large, they are not outside dogs. They do best when living indoors where they can have interaction with their human family members.

Studies have shown that is a fact about Great Danes that if they are tied outside for any long periods of time, they will have behavioral issues.

As you may have guessed, they eat quite a bit. Sadly, this leads to owners giving away their adult dogs because they did not think about this fact when they had a smaller pup.

Puppies can eat as much as 8 cups of food a day. 

This breed needs to be fed more than 1 time a day, even when they are adult dogs. Therefore, Great Dane puppies should be fed 4 times a day and adults should be fed at least 2 times a day.

Behavior and Temperament

They are very loyal and show extreme love toward their owners.

They have a very low level of natural aggression.

Most likely due to their extreme need for love, they often lean against people to have physical contact.  In fact, most will move as the owner moves… If you take a step to the side, they will remain leaning on you, stepping in time with your steps! 
Because of the habit of many of them to lean on people, there may be issues with Great Danes and young children who cannot handle the weight of the dog.

They have large tails and become easily excited….This means that one must be careful of the tail, that will whip around quickly in a flash when the dog is happy.

They are intelligent, although some give the breed a bad rap in regard to intellect.

In general, they do not handle change very well.  For this reason, owners are encouraged to not move furniture around and it is very important to always leave food, water and toys in the same places.


They need only about 20 minutes of walking per day, minimum.  Most are better behaved and happier if they are walked for 3-4 miles per day or are given a large area to run around in (supervised, since behavioral issues can appear if they are left alone for too long of a time).

Puppies should be walked, never run, until they are at least 18 months old, as it can lead to medical issues.


The life span of a Great Dane is not short due to health issues, but more because of the size of the dog.  However, the 2 most common ailments seen are hip dysplasia (a dislocation of the hip socket and joint) and bloat (a condition when the stomach twists, often after eating too much or too quickly). Bloat can be prevented, in part, by giving smaller more frequent meals throughout the day and/or by using bowls that are specifically made to cause a dog to eat slower.

Those who do live to the 8 or 9 year mark also often have heart issues and stiff joints.

In the News

A Great Dane named Scooby and his owner saved a young 14 year old girl from a would-be attacker in Chicago. After a man lunged at the girl, Scooby and his owner ran cornered him until the police arrived.

A Great Dane named Sadie is credited with saving the life of his neighbor, an 89 year old man who had slipped on ice on his driveway and had been outside in freezing cold weather for over an hour. When being taken outside by his owner, this Great Dane stared at the entrance of the driveway and barked, refusing to move. When his owner walked him down to investigate, it was then that the elderly man was spotted. His clothes were actually frozen into the ground and his hip had been broken.  Thanks to Sadie, the man made a full recovery.

A Great Dane named Hank saved his owner's live during an attack of domestic abuse. His owner, a woman living in Missouri was being hit with a hammer during the attack. The Great Dane saved her by lying on top of her to block the blows. He suffered broken ribs and a broken hip. This act of bravery caused the local battered woman's shelter to change their rules to allow dogs as well as owners, and the woman then agreed to go there for safety.

A Great Dane named Clyde is credited with saving his owners life after he relentlessly tugged on his sleeping owner to rouse him, as the house became engulfed in flames from an electrical fire. Both owner and dog escaped unharmed, barely being missed by a collapsing ceiling.

In Connecticut, a Great Dane named Teddy, saved a child's life when the boy became stuck in waist deep snow. Marks in the snow showed that the dog tried to paw the boy out. When that was not sucessful, the Great Dane ran to a house and made noises at the front door. A man answered and saw that the Dane's dog tag read "Sweetbriar Farms" a location 5 miles away. As he was on his way to return the dog, he came across the boy. After being pulled out of the snow, the boy recovered from both exhaustion and exposure.



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