One of the first questions that many prospective owners may wonder is just how much a Great Dane cost! As a special giant breed, it’s not unreasonable to think that they might be more expensive than more common breeds like Labs or Golden Retrievers.
A Great Dane purchased from a quality breeder costs between $1,700 – $3,000. They charge a higher price due to the extreme emphasis placed on the care of breeding to avoid health issues, as well as after-birth care. By comparison, Great Danes adopted from a shelter often cost between $300 – $400.
While these numbers represent the average amount that you can expect to pay for a Great Dane, these costs are really only the tip of the iceberg! From veterinary care, food, bedding, and toys, this is just the beginning of what you can expect to pay to support a Great Dane.
Given the breed’s disposition to health issues such as dysplasia, bloat, and more, understanding the potential total cost of owning a Great Dane is very important to consider.
Great Dane Cost Breakdown
Okay, if I didn’t scare you off, and you still want a Great Dane, congratulations! You’ve chosen wisely! You’re going to love your new Great Dane puppy 🙂
Now the question becomes, do you want to buy your pup from a breeder or adopt him or her from a shelter or rescue center?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but I’ll try to untangle some of those factors here and make your decision a little easier.
There are some truly wonderful breeders out there who do amazing things for the dog world. But if you want a papered dog, it will cost you considerably more…
While you can’t be 100% sure of the dog’s health and temperament, there is some comfort to be had by knowing your dog’s lineage and having as much information as possible.
That said, keep in mind that there is a difference between “show quality,” and “pet quality,”. The price varies between the two as well.
The initial price range for a non-shelter purebred Great Dane pup could be anywhere from $800 – $3,000. This price range is impacted by your paper preference, as well as the dog’s lineage.
However, those selling Great Dane puppies near the bottom of this range are less likely to have taken a careful or ethical approach to breeding and care.
Quality breeders charge more, and often fall in the range of $1,700 – $3,000. They charge a higher price due to the extreme emphasis placed on the care of breeding, as well as care after birth.
Note: This Great Dane puppy cost range was found by surveying 81 reputable breeders in late 2019.
If you still want a purebred Great Dane, but can’t afford to pay registered prices, you may consider a non-registered or “backyard,” breeder.
The key here is to do your homework. Lucky for you, we wrote an entire article here on the topic of find a good breeder 😉
If they are members of a reputable organization such as the American Kennel Club it can go a long way toward their credibility, but it also adds cost. There are many “backyard” breeders out there who simply love the breed and care about promoting it.
In these cases, a couple of indicators of quality are a stringent screening process for potential buyers, and transparency and openness.
Depending on your location, you may be able to find a rescue shelter or adoption agency with the perfect Great Dane for you. The Great Dane Club of America also has a listing of their rescue committee members by state that you can contact for recommendations.
I want to be clear here, the vast majority of dogs that you will find at a shelter or rescue will be the sweetest dogs you will ever meet. That said, there are occasionally dogs that are given to shelters because they seem to be incompatible with certain situations.
If you aren’t up for working with your dog on behavior issues, you may want to reconsider getting anydog, but, of course, there are exceptions. Parents with small children, for instance, might be forgiven for wanting to make sure they get a dog that doesn’t have a propensity for nipping.
In any case, adoption fees, on the whole, will be the less expensive alternative to breeders. It will depend on your location, but you should expect to pay anywhere from $300-$400 for a purebred puppy under 6 months.
The price can also drop (or rise) depending on the age and pedigree of the dog.
The real risk with adoption comes down to a higher risk for health issues as you’re unable to trace the dog’s lineage for previous occurrences.
Breeder Screening Process
If a breeder has you answer questions about the environment in which you plan to keep your dog, the family dynamic, other pets, etc, it can indicate that they’re interested in making sure their animals are cared for.
Another thing to consider is whether or not the breeder will allow you to see the mother and visit your puppy before you bring him or her home. If they don’t want to let you do either of these things – proceed with caution.
There are a number of vaccines your pup will need when you’re just starting out. DHLPP should usually run between $25-$50 depending on your location.
Bortadella will run $12-$35, Rabies (1 yr.) will cost between $9-$40 while multiple other fecal, heartworm, and flea treatments can cost $10-100 each.
All told, depending on the area and the vet, you should expect to budget between $125-$480 on vaccinations and preventative treatments.
While many Humane Society locations and other low-cost clinics offer affordable spay and neuter services, you should expect the fees for your Great Dane to be a little on the higher end of the spectrum due to their size and weight.
A neuter operation will typically cost between $125-$400 for a Great Dane. Spaying costs a bit more because it’s a more complex surgery. You can expect to pay between $200-$600 for a spaying operation.
Of course, if you yourself fall in love with Great Danes and want to breed them yourself, you can opt for not spaying or neutering. If you choose to do this, however, PLEASE be responsible!
If your male gets loose and impregnates another dog, that’s a litter of puppies potentially destined for euthanasia.
Similarly, if your female were to get loose and pregnant by an anonymous male, you’re stuck with a litter of mixed puppies that aren’t worth what you would have been hoping for with purebred Dane pups.
And let’s not forget about complications with the litter. Giving birth is a traumatic experience, and unfortunately, neither the mother’s nor the litter’s safety is guaranteed.
If you’re purchasing your Great Dane with the intent of breeding him or her, please ensure that your dog does not have the opportunity for unauthorized breeding.
Also, discuss your intent to breed up-front with the breeder to avoid complications down the road.
A routine office visit at the vet will typically cost between $20-$75. This means it is not expensive to get your dog into the vet at least once a year.
During the puppy stages, when vaccinations are needed, you may need to go a little more frequently than that. On the whole, a visit every year is worth your dog’s weight in gold! And we all know that’s a fair amount of weight when it comes to a Great Dane 😉
Anyone who’s lost a pup too soon because of a sudden illness that could have been prevented could be preaching with me on this one.
Here are some common veterinary costs associated with Great Dane ownership: antibiotics can cost anywhere from $10-$200. Ear Infection, between $15-$75. X-rays run $50-$200.
Here’s the real needle, though: Bloat/torsion/GDV surgery could cost between one and five thousand dollars!
The upside is that a surgical procedure known as a gastropexy can be performed to reduce the chance of occurrence. Gastropexies typically cost around $500 but can be less when performed in conjunction with another surgery such as a neuter or spay.
Suddenly that $20-$75 yearly visit isn’t sounding too bad, huh?
Other major concerns are hip dysplasia and cardiomyopathy. Hip dysplasia can be easily detected during those preventative vet visits about which I was just preaching.
The advantage, there, of course, is that if you catch it early, you can start treating it early! Ideally preventing an expensive surgery down the road. This saves both you and your dog a lot of heart (and rear-end) ache in the long run.
With cardiomyopathy the Great Dane’s heart is just too big. No really, it’s enlarged and it’s not a good thing. It’s very dangerous, but can usually be treated with medication. The downside is that the meds will cost between $500-$1,500 a month.
Health concerns are clearly a big ordeal as are the medical bills that can come along with them. For this reason, we highly recommend researching pet insurance (see our article here) and other available options to ensure that you’re able to pay for these bills if they do arise.
Okay, so remember all of those horrible medical conditions I outlined above? What if I told you that just like your yearly vet checkup, spending a little extra on food can help your chances of preventing those conditions?
Just like humans, consuming higher quality food will lead to fewer health issues later in life.
A dog will grow very rapidly, no matter what breed. For Great Danes, that means adding a LOT of bone and muscle mass in a very short amount of time. This is the source of a great many of the hip dysplasia and other joint problems found in Great Danes.
Feeding your dog quality food that is specifically designed to meet their growth needs. This will give them a better chance of avoiding joint problems. Our article on exactly how much to feed your growing Great Dane puppy can be found here.
So, it’s probably going to cost you around $70-$100 per month for food if you want to do it right.
We recommend using online services such as chewy.com. They not only give you the benefit of good prices and a wide selection, but also the convenience of scheduled auto-ships. We have used Chewy for years and have thoroughly enjoyed their consistent shipping schedule and fair prices.
Okay, I’m not gonna lie, this is my favorite part. Getting your new pooch set up with all of the comforts a four-legged friendo deserves is fun!
So make sure to leave some room in your budget for it. Make sure to start out with an assortment of plush, hard, and chew toys to better understand what they enjoy.
Food and water dishes will run as low as $10 and as expensive as you want. I’m sure somewhere Tiffany and Co. make a $45,000 dog dish – but for the rest of us, you shouldn’t need to spend more than double digits.
Crates & Bedding
While there are cheaper options available, our recommended crates are built to last a lifetime. These will save you money in the long-run, with the cost ranging from $150 – $300.
Bedding – well, you can go crazy here! The good news is that decent bedding can be found under one hundred dollars. However, you can also choose to splurge and pamper your pooch with extravagant beds as well We’ve got a list of a few recommended ones here.
Boarding and Other Miscellaneous Costs
There is some conflicting information out there when it comes to boarding costs for giant breeds. Most often the final cost will be most dependent on your location and type of boarding service you select.
While the size of your dog may play a factor in some places, it’s usually not the primary one. If you put your Dane in a five-star luxury pet resort, you can expect to fork over big bucks!
For the average pet daycare center, around $25-$50 per night of boarding seems to be the norm. Daycare runs cheaper and will often cost around 50%-60% of overnight boarding.
Just as with choosing a breeder, you’re going to want to go out and meet with your potential pet-sitters, too. Pay close attention to the environment and the overall health of the other animals. Lastly, make sure that your dog gets along with the overall vibe of the place.
Other initial costs to consider included licensing, which can run anywhere from $9-$30, depending on your location. Should you choose to partake in a formal obedience training class, they typically cost around $200-$500 for an 8-week course.
So How Much Does a Great Dane Cost Again?
Between the adoption/purchase fees, veterinary care, food, and other pet supplies the costs quickly add up. To account for early life costs such as a spay or neuter, our estimate is for a Great Dane’s first two years of life.
Repeat costs such as vaccinations and food were accounted for to help provide a more accurate estimate. Also, note that regional cost of living differences create large ranges in cost and as such is reflected in the range. The decision to adopt versus purchases from a breeder is also a large factor in the gap.
I estimate that the average cost of a healthy Great Dane in their first two years will fall between $3,000 – $10,000. Keep in mind that this does not account for additional health issues that could arise such as dysplasia or GDV.
It also does not include fees for daycare or boarding, as family’s needs for these services will vary widely.
Also, keep in mind that the cost of food, veterinary care, and replacing items like toys or beds will be ongoing throughout the remainder of your Great Dane’s life.
Once again, our recommendation is to look into pet insurance to put your mind at rest when it comes to paying for the more expensive medical issues. We’ve got a dedicated article on the topic of Great Dane-specific pet insurance with sample quotes located here.
To borrow from an old credit-card commercial cliche, though, the years of absolute joy your new Great Dane will bring you: