If you’re thinking about getting a Great Dane but wondering if they’re good pets then you’ve come to the right place! Bringing any new member into the family is always an important decision, so you’ll want to make sure that you get this one right.
Great Danes are excellent pets due to their loving nature and friendly personality, however, proper attention to their nutrition, exercise, and grooming is necessary for them to live an optimally healthy and happy life. Their large size does introduce complications that are not present with other smaller pets.
Like many decisions, it’s worth pointing out that this isn’t necessarily a “one size fits all” answer. To help guide you through making the right choice for you, I’ll be breaking this down into a few key criteria.
Pet Evaluation Criteria
Let’s walk through some of the key criteria that you can use to help decide whether or not a Great Dane is the right pet for you!
Ease Of Care
One of the most important factors to consider when bringing any new pet into your home is how much work will be required to allow them to live a happy and healthy life.
This should not be an area where you’re looking to do the bare minimum, but instead, consider what it will take to provide an awesome life for them!
For example, a pet fish requires a lot less work to provide for than a dog. Once their aquarium is established, you’re probably only looking at a few hours per week to feed them and maintain the tank.
In comparison to a dog, you’ll probably spend hours per day entertaining, exercising, and feeding them. Sure, you could spend less. But that wouldn’t be providing an awesome life for your dog…
Another key thing to keep in mind here is that the exercise and entertainment needs will vary with age.
For example, a Great Dane puppy will require more time spent actively exercising and training compared to an adult Great Dane.
You’ll be looking at multiple play sessions throughout the day to help let out their puppy play energy, whereas an older Great Dane may be content with a single long walk each day.
Putting their puppy energy aside, the good news when it comes to Great Danes is that they are a moderate-energy breed. They will need far less exercise compared to more active breeds like Huskies or Australian Shepherds to stay happy and healthy.
This isn’t to say that you can let exercise go by the wayside, just that you will not need to spend hours per day exercising a Great Dane for them to be physically fit and happy.
Note: I cover Great Dane exercise more in-depth in its dedicated article if you’d like to learn more about this topic.
Unlike having a fish for a pet, dogs require various forms of grooming. Regardless of which dog breed you go with, you’ll need to account for time to:
While none of these are time-intensive activities, it’s something that you’ll need to make sure that you keep up with on a regular basis.
Thanks to their short hair, Great Danes have minimal grooming needs when it comes to their coat. A schedule of bathing once per month and brushing once per week works well for many.
Great Danes do not require formal haircuts or trips to the groomer as would be needed for longer-haired breeds to avoid matting.
Brushing can take as little as 5 minutes, with around 15 minutes for a bath if you account for the time to dry them off. Not too bad!
Similarly, other Great Dane grooming activities shouldn’t take too long either.
|Grooming Activity||Time Estimate||Frequency|
|Brush teeth||2 min||Daily|
|Clean ears||5 min||Weekly / Bi-weekly|
|Trim nails||10 min||Weekly / Bi-weekly|
Creating a simple plan to tackle these activities each week or month makes them easier to stay on top of!
One of the most important aspects of caring for a Great Dane is their nutrition!
Not only does this giant breed dog eat a lot, but keeping a close eye on their nutrient balance during their high-growth puppy phase is incredibly important to help avoid growth-related diseases.
In addition to feeding them the right amount, you’ll also need to ensure that you’re feeding your Great Dane high-quality food as well. What all of this means for you as a caretaker is that feeding is most likely going to be a big expense when it comes to caring for a Great Dane compared to that of another pet.
To put a dollar amount on it, you can generally expect to spend between $70 – $100 each month on food alone for an adult Great Dane. This is two to three times the cost of feeding smaller dog breeds, and much more than other pets such as cats or fish.
Friendliness / relationship
As you’ve hopefully already seen, caring for a Great Dane is a commitment. However, when it comes to the relationship that you’ll have with them, they easily make it all worthwhile!
Great Danes are commonly referred to as “gentle giants” for a good reason. Most have a very sweet and loving personality, and they thrive on spending time with their humans.
So much so that you may find that they follow you all around your home just to be close to you!
Fits of the zoomies are also not uncommon, and watching a giant Dane scrambling frantically around can be an entertaining (and sometimes scary) sight.
At the end of the day, Great Danes are fantastic companion pets. So much so that most families don’t look at them simply as a pet, but truly another member of the family.
This is just one of the many reasons why you’ll see such diehard Great Dane fans. They love them so much that they never want to have another dog breed again!
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with other dogs breeds. But once you go Great Dane, you don’t go back 😉
Coincidentally, one of the things that many people love about Great Danes is also potentially one of their downsides.
Their GIANT size!
From taking them in the car somewhere, to finding a spot big enough for their bed inside your home, there are many considerations when it comes to having a Great Dane.
In addition to the general accommodations that you’ll need to figure out, there are more things to consider as well. For example, finding large enough dog beds, collars that fit them, and potentially even dog clothes are all items that can be harder (or at least more expensive) compared to average-sized dogs.
Many people also try to seek out veterinarians who are experienced with Great Danes, but this can also be another area where you run into unexpected challenges.
While certainly not a deal-breaker in most cases, it’s really just something to take into consideration before bringing a Great Dane into your family.
Summarizing It All
When you boil it all down, Great Danes are fantastic
pets family members in my opinion.
However, that doesn’t mean that they still won’t require time and energy on your part to be happy and healthy.
Bringing home any pet requires commitment on your part as the caretaker to make it a good experience, but I’d be lying if I said that a giant breed like a Great Dane isn’t more work.
Their size alone means that you’re going to have to pay attention to more details to make it a great experience for all.
Pro Tip! If you do decide that a Great Dane is right for you, I’d highly recommend taking a look at my book The Great Dane Puppy Handbook. It takes all of the most important details about caring for a Great Dane, and boils it down into one simple, and easy-to-read book for you!