Child hugging young Great Dane dog

Do Great Danes like to cuddle?

Great Danes are known to be the Gentle Giants of the dog world, but do Great Danes like to cuddle? There is something special about the thought of snuggling up to such a large companion but what else should you keep in mind before that snuggle session begins? 

Yes, Great Danes like to cuddle! Great Danes are one of the most emotional and affectionate dog breeds out there. At first sight, you may not think that a dog of such stature would be a cuddly lap dog but they, in fact, can be!  They love people and often show their affection in a variety of ways.

For example, a Great Dane may lean against you for pets, climb up on your lap, snuggle against you on the couch or in bed, or lay a paw right on your knee. Most Great Danes also enjoy a friendly hug from their humans or people friends.

At our home, we call these hugs ‘Pugs’ which is short for “Pet Hugs.” A gentle hug with a furry friend (or two) mixed in 🙂

How to know when a Great Dane wants to cuddle

Now before you go snuggling up to every Great Dane you see, keep in mind that every dog is different. They each have their own temperament and behavior patterns. These patterns come from their line of breeding, how they were raised, and their treatment from others.

Here are some signs you may want to limit the snuggles and give your Great Dane some space.

  • For starters, they may shake, tuck their tail, or hang their head if you approach for a hug.
  • They may also be vocal by growling or pulsing their upper lip when you approach.
  • And the final, most obvious sign is they try to physically getaway or even snap at you.

If any of these behaviors are seen, it’s best to not crowd your Great Dane and allow them to show affection when they are ready.

Just like humans, we are not always in the mood for cuddles. Give your pup space if they show any of these signs of distress. They still love you but may just need some time apart.

If you rule out any of the behavior patterns above, and you do have one of the many lovey-dovey Danes there are still some items you may need to watch out for.

For starters, Great Danes are …

Large!

They are heavy and if they crawl onto your lap you may find it hard to breathe or move! While this might seem funny, it could become an issue if you have young children or anyone elderly in the house or visiting.

Training will come in handy if you don’t want your Dane to snuggle on your bed or the couch. They can learn that it is only appropriate when you are on the floor or on a particular piece of furniture.

The Chief Great Dane of this site, Gus, is as friendly as Great Danes come! However, she is more likely to snuggle up for attention on the floor or receive big hugs than to crawl onto your lap.

And don’t even think about putting your feet near her dog bed!

Gus decided that she wanted to snuggle on the couch

However, recently she walked up to me, hopped up on the couch, and placed her front paws over my lap and her head on my shoulder. I relished in the coziness, while my wife reluctantly took a picture and spent the rest of the week jealous that I got all the rare snuggles from her 😉

All I can say is that you need to cherish these moments if you have a more independent Great Dane!

Why it’s important to show your Great Dane affection

Now that we established that Great Danes do like to cuddle, let’s focus on the top 5 reasons you should cuddle or show affection to your Dane!

Reason #1 – It’s a relationship builder

There is nothing more therapeutic than interacting with your dog. Reports have shown that snuggling up with your Great Dane can release an increase in oxytocin, also known as the “Cuddle Hormone.”

This hormone is secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland in the brain and can strengthen your relationship with your pup. By taking this time to comfort and show affection, you are quite literally building the bond of friendship and partnership.

Reason #2 – Cuddling reduces anxiety

Dogs have long been thought of as tools for therapy. Petting or cuddling your Great Dane can help reduce anxiety not only for you but for your dog as well.

If you’re having a long stressful day, snuggle on up with your pet and take some deep breaths. Great Danes are notorious for having separation anxiety when their favorite humans are gone for too long. You can help your Great Dane by giving lots of attention when you return home!

For some additional tips on preventing anxiety, make sure to take a look at our article on the topic here.

Reason #3 – Your Great Dane needs it!

Great Danes need physical touch and social interaction to thrive. They do not handle it well when they feel alone, isolated, or neglected.

And quite frankly, I don’t blame them! Would you…?

Cuddling and bonding with your Great Dane helps them be the happy, well-adjusted dog your family needs. Not only will this allow them to live a happier life, but having a stronger bond with your dog will also make them easier to train. In fact, this eager-to-please nature is one reason why many Great Danes are able to be trained without the need for treats as rewards.

Reason #4 – Who doesn’t love a giant hug?!

Let’s be real for a minute – from the moment you decided to bring home a Great Dane you had visions of hugging your gentle giant!

There is nothing better than giving your Dane a hug and having them hang their heavy head on your shoulder or laying their drooling lips right on your lap. You don’t care if you get all slobbery, the hug just feels so good!

Now while this can feel amazing, it isn’t something that you want them doing to every person they meet. This should be reserved for special circumstances, and in which, they know the person very well. You certainly do not want your giant dog jumping up to hug a child or elderly person and injuring them.

Reason #5 – Do it while you can

This is a sad but unfortunate item to have to bring up, but our Great Danes won’t be with us forever. As a whole, the breed only lives 7-10 years. While medicine, nutrition, and breeding practices are improving to help lengthen their life expectancy, it’s still far shorter than we want.

Take every opportunity you have to love, cherish, and show these amazing dogs just how much you love them. They won’t be with you forever, so take advantage of these times to show them affection while you still can.

The Final Snug

To recap – yes, your Great Dane will appreciate receiving affection from you as well as others.

However, you know your Great Dane’s personality better than anyone else. Pay attention to the signs they are giving you and listen to them.

Don’t overcrowd your Dane but allow them to feel comfortable approaching you if they need a good snuggle session. A good snuggle with your Great Dane can be therapeutic for both you and your fur baby.

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