Deciding whether to get a Great Dane is a significant choice that hinges on understanding their unique needs and characteristics. This article provides essential insights to help you determine if a Great Dane is the right fit for your lifestyle and home.
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Things To Consider When Getting A Great Dane
The choice to get a Great Dane is a very personal one, so while there isn’t an easy way to say “yes” or “no” here, we can take a look at the criteria that you can use to help make this decision.
When in doubt, you should always take more time to think about it.
Turning back is not easy, and it’s also unfair to the dog. Great Danes are extremely social dogs and will quickly become attached to their owners.
They will love you more than you realize, and removing them from a home is quite literally a heartbreaking experience.
Great Dane Size
While their large size may seem obvious, it’s often underestimated by new owners. An 8-week-old Great Dane puppy may start out weighing around 20 pounds but they will quickly grow much larger.
Many owners are caught off guard by just how fast and how large they get. What you need to ask yourself, is are you prepared to train and live with a dog that’s over 100 pounds?
Adult female Great Danes weigh between 110-140 pounds on average, while adult male Great Danes weigh between 140-170 pounds on average. These are clearly large dogs!
This large size means a number of things for you:
#1 – Home Size
You will need adequate space inside your home for your Great Dane. This means having plenty of room for their large bed or crate, as well as space to lounge with you and walk around.
If you’re living in an apartment or condo, you’ll want to make sure that your Great Dane isn’t over the approved size limits on the restricted breed list. Note that these size limits are for your adult Great Dane, not a puppy.
Thankfully, Great Danes are not a high-energy breed, but they still need space to move about freely. This includes following you from room to room to see what you’re up to 😉
You’ll also need to consider all of the things that a Great Dane can reach once they’re fully grown. They will be able to reach almost anything on your counters and tables, so special consideration will have to be taken to dog-proof your home.
For more information about living with Great Danes in apartments and other smaller living spaces, make sure to take a look at our dedicated article here.
Question to Ask Yourself: Do I have space inside my home to accommodate a Great Dane?
#2 – Training & Socialization Must Be Prioritized
Regardless of how big or strong you are, an adult Great Dane is a strong and powerful dog! Having an unruly, untrained Great Dane is simply not an option.
To avoid hurting them or yourself, you will need to begin obedience training with them from an early age. How soon you might ask?
The sooner the better!
Obedience training should be performed on a daily basis for a minimum of several months, ideally one full year. This will ensure that your Great Dane masters basic commands such as sit, come (recall), down, and walk well on a leash.
You should also plan to spend a significant amount of time socializing your Great Dane from a young age. This involves exposing them to a variety of people and situations to ensure that they are well-adjusted as adults.
For more details about how to train your Great Dane, make sure to take a look at our resources linked below.
Question to Ask Yourself: Can I commit to spending at least 15 minutes training my Great Dane every day for the first 3-6 months?
#3 – Transportation
Last but not least, you should also take into consideration how you’re going to transport your Great Dane when they’re fully grown.
Your small convertible may be a blast now, but trying to cram a full-grown Great Dane into it won’t be easy (or safe).
If they can’t fit in your car, how will you take them to the veterinarian or the park?
Should you get a Great Dane, you’ll soon discover the joy that comes with having one and want to bring it everywhere. So make sure that you’ve got a plan in place for how you will (safely) accomplish this.
Great Dane Cost
While owning any dog will certainly result in added expenses, owners of giant breeds like Great Danes can expect to have higher costs.
Let’s walk through each of the major cost categories to better understand their expected amounts.
#1 – Great Dane Breeder and Adoption Fees
Purchasing a Great Dane from a quality breeder alone will probably cost between $1,800 to $3,000. While these fees certainly are not cheap, they are often an indicator of the care and precision that breeders take to carefully breed dogs of high quality.
This lessens the chances of medical issues down the right and often produces dogs of better temperament.
This is not to say that you cannot get a “good” Great Dane by adopting one from a shelter. Just that they are likely the result of an accidental litter or backyard breeder who may not have bred the dogs under ideal circumstances.
While adoption costs are likely lower, in the hundreds of dollars, they also come with a higher potential for issues down the road
Regardless of which route you take, I can assure you that these amounts are just the tip of the iceberg!
#2 – Great Dane Food Costs
As this giant dog grows, they will eat, and eat, and eat more! If you’re not prepared for it, you could quite literally be eaten out of the house and home.
While the cost of feeding a Great Dane varies depending on the quality of food, the average for many adults is $100 per month ($1,200 per year).
In addition to food, it’s also likely that you will spend money on treats as well. Whether they’re used for obedience training or to simply reward good behavior, it’s very sensible to spend money on good treats.
You can find our full list of recommended treats here.
#3 – Great Dane Veterinary Costs
In addition to these food costs, you’ll also have ongoing veterinary care expenses. Annual checkups, heartworm prevention, and flick and tick medicine are just a few of the items that you can expect to pay for on an annual basis.
Like food, veterinary care costs vary wildly depending on where you live. However, you could easily expect to spend $500 per year on these basic medical expenses for even a healthy Great Dane.
Keep in mind that this number could quickly balloon into the thousands of dollars if your Great Dane experiences a medical issue. For this reason, many Great Dane owners choose to proactively purchase pet insurance.
In our testing, we found that pet insurance for Great Danes costs approximately $70 per month ($840 per year). For more details on this topic, make sure to take a look at our dedicated article on Great Dane pet insurance.
In addition to caring for a sick or injured Great Dane, you should also expect to spend several hundred dollars having your dog spayed or neutered. While these surgeries are a one-time cost, it’s something that many owners forget to account for.
#4 – Miscellaneous Great Dane Costs
In addition to the aforementioned adoption, food, and vet costs, there will be many other things that you spend money on throughout the year for your Great Dane.
A few of the most commonly purchased items include:
- Dog toys
- Poop bags
- Obedience classes
- Raised feeders
- ear wipes
- Nail clippers
- Dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste
Worse yet, many of these items are things that you won’t buy just once but many times!
Great Danes grow fast and will outgrow collars and beds, or simply consume things through daily use like poop bags and
Many owners find themselves spending anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars per year on these items.
While you certainly have control over how much you spend on these items and how often you purchase them, they are without a doubt a cost to consider.
Let’s assume that even budget-conscious owners will spend around $250 per year in this category.
Question to Ask Yourself: Can I afford to spend at least $2,000 per year in basic costs for my Great Dane? If they were to get sick or hurt, can I afford to pay several thousand dollars out of pocket or the added monthly cost of pet insurance?
Why you should get a Great Dane?
To be clear – there are many positive reasons why you should get a Great Dane.
However, I chose to start off with the negative considerations because these are often overlooked by enthusiastic prospective owners.
If you were able to say yes to all of the questions that I previously brought up, then you’re well on your way to saying “YES!” to a Great Dane.
Beyond the reasons why getting a Great Dane may not be the best fit, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might want to get a Great Dane.
Reason #1 – Companionship
If you’re looking for a canine best friend, then Great Danes are an excellent breed for you! They fiercely love their human family members and want to spend all of their time around you.
In fact, they will follow you from room to room around your home just to be around you!
This is also why I previously mentioned the fact about having a vehicle large enough to transport them as they will gladly accompany you on every outing!
Despite their large size, Great Danes are also great for families. They will quickly develop a special bond with each and every family member and are often great watchdogs for children.
Reason #2 – Minimal Grooming
Compared to longer-haired breeds, for example, a Cocker Spaniel, Great Danes have minimal grooming requirements. Thanks to their short hair, they shed a low to moderate amount and do not require special hair grooming.
Most can get by with a bath once per month and a quick weekly brushing to keep them smelling good and reduce shedding.
While not exclusive to Great Danes, you can also expect basic grooming habits to include:
Reason #3 – Their Personality
Great Danes are known as “gentle giants” for a good reason! They are quite simply the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet.
Once you’ve felt the love and affection of a Great Dane you’ll be sold forever 🙂 They only want to love and be loved and will go out of their way to make you feel better.
To share a personal story, after a trip to Mexico several years ago I had the unfortunate luck to catch a virus that kept me in bed for almost two weeks. Our Great Dane (Gus), spent almost the entire time lying beside my bed watching over me!
Aside from eating and relieving herself outside, she hardly left my side. While medically speaking it probably didn’t speed up my recovery, it sure did make me feel better that she was so concerned and didn’t want to leave me alone.
While these are just three of the reasons why you should get a Great Dane, the list is quite long! In fact, we put together an entire article on the topic of why you should get a Great Dane if you’re not already convinced.
What does owning a Great Dane say about you?
Owning a Great Dane can say a lot about a person, but the one that I think stands out the most is that you’re not afraid to accept a challenge.
While the love and reward of owning a Great Dane is immense, it doesn’t come without effort. There is time, money, and lots of work that goes into working through the challenges of owning this giant breed.
But by saying yes, you’re accepting the challenge and willing to put in the work to reap the reward.
Owning a Great Dane also says that you’re a leader!
Unlike smaller dog breeds, you will have no choice but to step up and take action. The risk of your dog injuring themselves or others in many situations is simply too high not to!
Last but not least, if you’re willing to put in all of this work into owning a Great Dane, then I think that says you have a big heart. You know how much you’ll love these dogs and are willing to make sacrifices to make it happen.
Are Great Danes expensive to keep?
As I previously alluded to, Great Danes are far from “inexpensive” dogs to keep. Their food costs alone are several times higher than that of smaller dog breeds!
Unfortunately, Great Danes also have a higher rate of occurrence for health issues such as:
While there’s never a guarantee that your Great Dane will or will not develop one of these conditions, it’s worth being aware of.
Between food, ordinary veterinary care, and other expenses throughout the year, the average owners can expect to spend about $2,000 per year.
However, this does not include one-time costs such as a spay or neuter, unexpected medical bills, or boarding costs.
Due to the cost of food alone, Great Danes are a more expensive dog breed to keep compared to small and medium-sized breeds.
Conclusion on the Daney Decision
Making the decision to bring a Great Dane into your home should never feel rushed. Take your time and evaluate all of the criteria before moving ahead.
Remember that a “no” today does not have to be a no forever. I can simply mean “not now”.
While it can be tough at times, the best things are always worth waiting for!
With that, here’s a nifty little decision flowchart that I came up with just for fun 😉