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Are Great Dane Puppies Clumsy?

Great Danes are one of the world’s most recognizable dog breeds but are they always that regal and statuesque looking? Or do they also go through an awkward clumsy phase before maturing into their impressive adult selves?

Yes, Great Danes can be very clumsy during their high-growth puppy phases. Because their bodies grow so rapidly, it takes them time to re-learn coordinated movements, therefore increasing their clumsiness. This period will be most pronounced through their first year of life.

While this clumsiness can be cute at times, it’s always something to be keep an eye on. Their potential for accidents around the house, or even potentially injuring themselves, are higher at this point in time more than any other.

Keeping them active by going on walks or to play at the park will help their bodies re-learn these coordinated movements each time they hit a new growth phase.

Do Great Danes Become Less Clumsy as They Grow?

Generally speaking, most Great Danes lose their clumsy puppy tendencies once they reach adult size. Because their growth will occur in waves as puppies, they will need to learn how to adjust after each spurt.

It’s quite literally a new balancing act for them to learn after each of these rapid changes πŸ˜‰ However, after adjusting to each growth spurt, they re-lean the coordinate movements that had temporarily gotten away from them.

Funny enough, as a result of such rapid growth – many Great Danes also fail to realize just how big they are! Bumping into walls, counters, people, etc… is extremely common.

You may even see them sneaking under coffee tables and other areas that they used to easily fit, only to realize the struggle of then getting out.

Another common issue is when they’re running around at the park and take a tumble when trying to stop to fast or turn too quickly. While this is sometimes funny to watch, try to avoid letting them get too crazy as they could also hurt themselves.

Smaller dogs are far more nimble at this age, and your Dane will be tempted to try and keep up.

You may also find that this becomes an issue when training them to come (recall). Once they start to learn the command they get so excited to sprint back to you at full speed, only to realize that they can’t stop in time and slam into your legs.

While they don’t intend to, this is absolutely a recipe for injury for you and them.

However, as they get older, they will become more aware of their size and shape, and these issues eventually go away (or occur very infrequently at least).

The majority of their skeletal growth will complete in the 12 to 18-month range, after which their bodies will begin filling out with additional muscle mass.

That’s a good time frame to expect some of their past clumsiness to at least recede.

Additional Great Danes Characteristics

In addition to their puppy clumsiness, Great Danes also have certain characteristics that characterize the breed.

While these displays are sometimes just displays of affection, they can also be a means of communication.

A few that immediately come to mind are:

  • Sitting on People
  • Leaning
  • Cuddling
  • Activity

Each one of the mentioned characteristics tries to convey a different message to its owner. We will discuss these characteristics below in more detail.

Sitting on People

As already mentioned, Great Danes see themselves smaller than they actually are. In a funny way, many even think of themselves as lap dogs.

That is why when they want to show affection to their favorite human beings, they sit on them. While it may sometimes be inconvenient to be sat on by such a large dog, know that this is one way in which they show their affection to you.

Under certain circumstances, Great Danes sitting on you can also be defensive postures. They may be setting themselves up very close to you in an attempt to provide you protection, or if they want protection themselves.

Keep in mind that because this behavior can be very circumstantial, you need to judge each display in according to its setting.


Great Danes lean also as a sign of affection but a different type of affection.

When they are leaning they are not trying to be a β€œlap-dog” for their owner and let them enjoy petting them, but they are trying to show their affection as they are currently safe and thankful, and they want to give or catch someone or something’s attention.

Leaning is different than sitting on someone for Great Danes. One is playful; the other one is appreciative in away. For more information about leaning, make sure to take a look at our dedicated article on the topic here.


After the last two sections, it shouldn’t come as a large surprise that many Great Danes are cuddlers as well!

From cuddling and snuggling on the couch to the bed, they just quite simply love being around people. In particular, their family members with whom they feel closest too.

While they may accidentally smush you a bit at times, you’ve got to appreciate these wonderful Daney displays of affection! I can assure you that your friends and family members are jealous πŸ˜‰

For more information about Great Dane cuddling, make sure to take a look at our dedicated article on the topic here.


Great Danes go through rapid physical changes. These rapid physical changes, as we have covered so far, can cause a certain degree of clumsiness.

The more active these types of dogs get the higher the risk of injury they are taking. That is why it is normal to see a Great Dane be more of a potato couch, rather than go for a long run!

Actually, long runs can be extremely hurtful during their time as a puppy. They can cause severe joint and bone injuries that the dog may not recover from and limit its activities forever.

To prevent these types of injuries it is recommended to play around with the dog to get him the exercise it needs, but not to a point of exhaustion. That is the best way to handle a Great Dane and minimize the risk of potential injuries.

Are Great Danes Loving Dogs?

Great Danes are very friendly, gentle, loving dogs. Interesting enough, they were historically used for boar hunting. As such, they are very intuned and can sense danger and be protective when need be.

This protective display can extend to not only their human family members but also over other dogs that they view to be part of the pack. While this type of pack mentality is inherent, it’s something that can be easily remediated through training and socialization.

Clearly – having your 100+ pound dog lunging at a stranger isn’t acceptable. So take the time to properly socialize your Great Dane at a young age and train them.

Expose them to a wide variety of situations, people, and everyday events so that they learn to become more comfortable with new or changing situations.

Why Would You Pick a Great Dane?

There are so many reasons that make Great Danes fantastic pets! Not only are they wonderful with families, but they are also a low-maintenance breed.

From exercise to grooming, they’re much easier to cope with compared to certain breeds with long hair and high-energy.

Their primary needs really focus on just being able to spend time with their families. While food and water will always be a necessity, the thing that they crave more than anything is human interaction. If that’s not the sign of an amazing dog breed, then I’m not sure what is!

While they may be large in size, they are truly incredible and sweet animals. They are adorable, loving dogs that only want to please those around them. They earned the nickname “gentle giants” for a good reason!

For more info, make sure to read my article on the 15 things I didn’t know until I owned a Great Dane.

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