If you’re considering getting a Great Dane then you may wonder if they’re better as inside or outside dogs. Certain breeds are better suited to stay indoors, while others prefer the freedom of the great outdoors. Whether that be to explore or exercise, some just don’t like being cooped up inside.
So, are Great Danes inside or outside dogs? While Great Danes can do fine inside or outside, they are much better suited as indoor dogs. Their short hair and giant body’s are not well suited to extreme temperatures. Furthermore, they crave human attention and won’t do well being left alone outside for extended periods.
In addition to their social needs, there are additional reasons why it make sense to not to leave your Great Dane outside for too long.
Great Danes are better as inside dogs
As a general statement, Great Danes can survive indoors or outdoors. However, they are very socially dependent animals and won’t do well being left alone outside. They will most likely want to be where ever you or the other members of the family are.
Even when the weather is favorable, they can get anxious when left alone outdoors for long periods. The company of another canine can help, but generally they want to have a person around as well. When left alone for too long, many will develop anxiety and could potentially be destructive or try to escape.
Digging, tearing up gardens, and jumping fences are all possible outcomes. At a bare minimum, you’ll find assorted items destroyed in the backyard. As a worse case scenario, you’ll be searching the neighborhood for your escaped dog. It takes a very high and strong fence to hold back a determined Great Dane.
This isn’t to say that they can’t spend some time outside, just that they shouldn’t be left alone for long periods. They will happily accompany you outside while you’re doing chores, relieve themselves, or run off some energy. Case of the zoomies anyone? 😉
They may enjoy lounging in the sun for short periods, but you’ll soon find them panting and drooling to come back inside.
The other key consideration for the time they spend outside will of course be the weather conditions. Thanks to their short hair they don’t do well in cold conditions for too long. Putting them in a dog sweater or other insulated covering is only a temporary fix.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, hot conditions can be equally problematic. Great Danes can overheat quickly and experience medical issues such as heat exhaustion. They will need shade and plenty of cool water in order to spend longer periods outside in hot weather. For more details about caring for a Great Dane in hot weather, take a look at our dedicated article here.
Can Great Danes be outside during the winter?
No, Great Danes can not stay outside for extended periods in cold weather. They have short hair that provides very little insulation against cold temperatures. They are generally comfortable in the same temperature range as a human. If you’d be cold outside without a jacket, your Great Dane will be as well.
Unlike other breeds, Great Danes only have a single coat. For example, Huskies have a double coat that provides additional insulation in cold weather. Their outer coat protects them from moisture, while the inner coat provides insulation. I bring this up to point out that not all dogs can stay outside. Huskies and other breeds have unique coats that help them stay warm in cold weather.
It’s still fine for them to go outside to relieve themselves or get some exercise. They just can’t stay outside for hours at a time. Not only will they get very cold, but there’s a risk of frostbite to their exposed ears and paws.
You can choose to put them in a dog sweater or other external coating for extra insulation if it’s especially cold and you want to take them for a walk or run. If they will be playing in the snow, you may even consider getting them a pair of dog boots to cover up their paws.
How do Great Danes get their exercise if they’re inside?
The good news for you is that Great Danes are a low to moderate energy breed. Most are content with a few strolls outside each day or a long casual walk. Walks are my personal favorite, but a good game of fetch is hard to beat when you’re short on time. Unless you’ve got an MLB-caliber arm, you may have a hard time throwing a ball far enough. The Chuckit dog ball launcher is the PERFECT solution. Click here to see it on Amazon.com.
Taking them to play at the dog park is another good option. They’ll burn off tons of energy and probably want to sleep for hours afterwards.
You should avoid forced running or hard play while they’re still in their puppy phase. They experience such rapid growth in their first eighteen months that forced running at an early age can risk orthopedic issues later in life. For older Great Danes, start with shorter distances for runs and then slowly work your way up. For more details on running with your Great Dane, take a look at our article here.
Our Great Dane (Gus) sleeps for the majority of 2-3 days following a visit to doggy daycare. If that’s not the sign of a low-energy dog, then I’m not sure what is!
Will a Great Dane destroy my house?
Just because a Great Dane spends much of their time indoors doesn’t mean that they will destroy your house. While their short hair doesn’t provide much insulation, it also means it won’t cause a mess to clean up inside.
Compared to dog’s with long thick fur, Great Danes shed far less. With an occasional bath and weekly brushing routine, you can prevent as much as 90% of their shedding. For more details on this coat care routine and our favorite brush, take a look at this article.
Aside from their shedding, a Great Dane will need to be house-trained like any other dog. Thanks to their large bladders, most Great Danes don’t have issues peeing inside the house. This isn’t to say that accidents won’t happen, just that they shouldn’t be common.
Crate training is a great way to potty train your Great Dane, and create a dedicated space for them inside the house. This is the equivalent to a child’s room. It’s their specific space where they feel safe and can go to rest or relax.
During their early days, a crate is also a good place to keep them out of trouble until they’ve been fully house-trained. Providing them with a good assortment of toys or chews will also go a long way in keeping them entertained. A bored puppy is never a good thing inside the home! They will find their way into every nook and crevice, and chews the strangest of things.
Do Great Danes require a lot of space inside?
Surprisingly, no. Even with their large frames, Great Danes do not take up a lot of space inside the house. They will really appreciate a good bed to lounge on, but otherwise are very calm.
In fact, I’d highly recommend that you get them a good bed. Not only will it help save your couches, but will help prevent future orthopedic issues. For more information on the best beds that we recommend for Great Danes, take a look at this article.
In most cases, you’ll find that they simply like to curl up in the corner of the room where you’re at. Remember, it’s not being inside that they like so much – it’s YOU! Don’t be surprised if they choose to follow you around from room to room. You may even find them sitting in the middle of two room trying to keep an eye on you and another family member at the same time 🙂
Thanks to their low(er) energy, you won’t find them running around like mad animals. If for some reason you do, take that as a sign that you’ve severely neglected their walks or trips outside!