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Are Great Danes Strong?

Are Great Danes Strong

“Hercules, Hercules” may not be the first words that come to mind when you think of a Great Dane, but I know from experience that they are a very strong breed! While large in size, their leanness often disguises their true physical strength.

Great Danes are amongst the strongest dog breeds in the world. However, breeds such as the Tibetan Mastiff, Newfoundland, and Saint Bernard are generally considered to be stronger than Great Danes.

That being said, their strength and size have their advantages and disadvantages. Keep reading to learn more about a Great Dane’s strength, and how it can come in handy!

Historical reasons for Great Dane’s strength

The Great Dane is a giant breed dog bred around four hundred years ago and has been known as the Apollo of Dogs. Great Danes descend from sighthound-mastiff-like dogs bred by German nobility to protect country estates and hunt wild boar. 

The breed that we are most familiar with today was developed in the 1800s. However, their history seems to date back much further into Egyptian times, with drawings resembling this beautiful breed found on Egyptian monuments dating as far back as 3,000 B.C.

In 1880, the Germans banned the name “Great Dane” and called the breed “Deutsche Dogge,” which means German mastiff; however, the breed continues to be called Great Dane in English-speaking countries worldwide.

Great Danes range in height from 30 inches to 38 to 44 inches tall! They may not be the largest dog breed globally, but they are the tallest. A Great Dane can weigh anywhere from one hundred pounds up to one fifty to two hundred in some cases.

three large dogs

What are the strongest dog breeds?

Given their giant size, it should come as no surprise that Great Danes are amongst the strongest dog breeds! However, just as with people, there is always variation from dog to dog and there will certainly be outliers.

In addition to falling into the top 10 of most lists for the strongest dog breeds, other breeds that are also commonly mentioned in the strongest lists include:

  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Kangal
  • Saint Bernard
  • Siberian Husky
  • Rottweiler
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Newfoundland
  • German Shepherd

One obvious fact that stands out is that these are all large dog breeds. Clearly, the bigger the dog, the greater its absolute strength tends to be.

However, one could argue that this list of strongest breeds could change greatly if accounting for weight. A theoretical “pound for pound” strongest dog breed if you will 😉

Why do you need a Strong Great Dane?

When you think of a therapy pet, perhaps a Great Dane is not the first breed to mind. However, their gentle disposition, paired with their ability to help individuals with mobility needs, make them one of the best breeds for the job!

Being the biggest dog comes with its advantages. Great Danes can easily push open a door and even help pull a wheelchair up a ramp.

Many Great Danes can serve as mobility service animals, providing physical support for people who need help walking or need stability when moving around.

Their tall height also makes it easy for them to reach things and fetch them to you. Plus, given their disposition to please, there is no task too big for this gentle giant!

Girl in Park Training Dog

Who is stronger, a human or dog?

Strength to weight ratio wise, humans are actually stronger than dogs. In fact, humans are stronger than most animals when the strength to weight ratio is considered!

While this is generally true for the average dog, it doesn’t necessarily play out when considering giant breeds like Great Danes. Breeds like Danes and Mastiffs carry a greater proportion of muscle compared to other breeds, and that coupled with their large size can make them a handful to deal with if it came down to it!

When compared to humans, a Great Dane has more in common with us than you would think. Great Danes and people have all the same bone structure and bones in the same location. A person’s elbow is made up of the humerus, radius, and ulna, just like in your Great Dane.

Muscles are also the exact same. Strains and sprains are commonly seen in people and are also commonly seen in active Great Danes.

How hard can a Great Dane bite?

A Great Dane has a bite force of 238 PSI (pounds per square inch), compared to a mastiff’s 541 PSI bite force and a pit bull’s bite force of 235 PSI.

A small or teacup dog’s bite force can range from under 75 PSI to over 700 PSI. All domesticated dogs were descended from Wolves and had an average bite force of 406 PSI.

A human bite force pales in comparison with only 162 PSI.

Final thoughts on Great Dane strength

Great Danes are a massive yet dignified breed, full of strength and elegance.

Their bodies are well-muscled, and they have the strength and tolerance for pushing and pulling heavy objects and provide support as service animals for people with mobility needs.

A Great Dane can power through most circumstances and is an incredibly gentle and good-natured enormous pet.

The Oxford Dictionary defines strength as the quality or state of being physically strong and defines being strong as having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks.

Based on these definitions, I can confidently tell you that a Great Dane is a strong breed, but nothing is as strong as the heart of this gentle giant!

1 thought on “Are Great Danes Strong?”

  1. So true !
    I have seen my girl go bezerk when she’s faced with strange people/dogs “guarding? “
    And, then, after I hightail us away (with high value food bits – circling, backsteps, etc) she’s still “en guarde” but at a lower arousal level.


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