When you’re thinking about getting a Great Dane there are all sorts of tips, tricks, and warnings that you may hear or read about. From their large size and appetites, to drool and laziness, these are just some of the items that you may come across.
However, as with many circumstances, there are many more things that you will come to learn about Great Danes that extend far beyond the more obvious stereotypes. The good news for you is that they’re not all bad 😉
#1 – Sinks become drinking fountains
Great Danes are known for their size, but it’s not until they bring their Dane home that many owners realize how they use their size to wet their whistles!
In addition to being large, many Great Danes are voracious drinkers. While you may have gotten them a lovely raised feeder (check out our list here if you haven’t) to elevate their water bowl, they’ll be looking for more than one way to get their fluids.
Naturally, this phenomena doesn’t really set in until they’ve reached their full size. However, don’t be surprised if your growing (or grown) Great Dane figures out that the sink faucet is a never-ending supply of fresh and tasty water.
Some sneaky Danes even learn how to turn the water on and off on their own to squelch their thirst!
#2 – Your furniture choices will be re-considered
Just like their size, Great Danes are affectionately known as one of the world’s laziest breeds. They simply love to hang out, lounge, and nap with their humans. Fortunately for you, but unfortunately for your furniture, much of this will occur on your couches and sofas.
Sure – you can try to train them to not be on the furniture, but it’s only a matter of time before the learn the luxury that is human furniture. And once they try it out, they’re never going back!
Once this happens, you will quickly notice that your wonderful cloth sofas and couches will quickly get funkyyy. You can try to spare them with covers and different cleaning supplies, but it’s going to be a lost cause.
In our household, we’ve made the decision to only go with leather furniture going forward. It may be more expensive up front, but it clearly holds up better in the long run.
#3 – One is NOT enough!
As a catchy commercial already said “once you pop the fun don’t stop!”.
When it comes to Great Danes, this has never been more true. You may think that a single 100-200 pound dog is more than enough, but I assure you it is not! In fact, I’ll take it a step further and GUARANTEE that once you have one Great Dane, you’re going to want another!
But the madness doesn’t end there…
Get two, and you’ll start thinking about how to find a way to get three! Luckily enough, these lovable giants are about as healthy an addiction that I can think of 😉
#4 – They’re scared of the weirdest things
They may be giant dogs, but they can also be giant scaredy cats! The simplest of things that they find inside your home, in your yard, or on walks can scare the living daylights out of Great Danes.
As an example, here are a few of the things that used to scare Gus:
- the dark
- garbage bags
- yard decorations
- people wearing hats
- stepping off the sidewalk (onto asphalt)
- yoga balls
Funny enough, some of these things still scare her today. Whip out a yoga ball to tackle an ab workout at home and she’ll be out of the room faster than you can blink!
The good news is that with practice you can help them to overcome these fears. But until you own a Great Dane and experience it for yourself, there’s no telling what yours might be afraid of!
#5 – Slobber control methods will be implemented
Sure, everyone talks Great Danes and their drool. However, what most fail to convey is the lengths that you’ll need to go to keep your home sanitary.
Why you might ask?
Well, because if you don’t, you’re going to find drool residue quite literally everywhere! On the floor near their bowls, on the walls, cabinets, mirrors, tv screens, and even ceilings!
When a Great Dane shakes their head after having drank a lot of water or have slobbery drool built up, it’s going to land EVERYWHERE.
- To start with, you’ll begin by placing your dogs bowls on a tiled surface or mat to catch the worst of it.
- After that, you’ll start strategically placing hand towels in the near vicinity and common rooms to wipe their faces dry.
- Last but not least, you’ll consider buying stock in P&G after seeing how many magic erasers (link to Amazon) you use to clean the walls!
- Oh, and don’t forget about wiping down those mirrors and tv screens because will somehow all be within the drool spray zone as well.
#6 – The flatulence is real
Enough about drool, let’s talk about the other end of things. That’s right – their rear end!
Great Danes take farts to a whole new level. You’ll soon see that trips up and down the stairs turn into a serenade of farts that you would never have believed possible.
And the flatulence doesn’t stop there!
These adorable giants will fart to their heart’s content while they sleep. I’m not sure if it’s the supreme level of relaxation, or if they were simply holding them in while they were awake out of shame, but the sleep farts are undeniable.
These are can be even more deadly if you let your Great Dane sleep in your bed. The Dutch oven has nothin on the German oven!
For more information about caring for your Great Dane, make sure to take a look at my book “The Great Dane Puppy Handbook“!
The Great Dane Puppy Handbook takes all of the need-to-know Great Dane info and packages it together into a single, concise resource. Save yourself time, money, and frustration by avoiding the most common mistakes made by Great Dane owners!
#7 – You will never pee alone again
I don’t mean for this to come across in a creepy manner, it’s actually quite adorable, but you’ll never pee alone again at home once you own a Great Dane. I have yet to figure out why, but they simply just love heading into the bathroom with you!
My wife affectionately refers to this behavior as Gus simply wanting her “potty pets”. I’m leaning towards the idea that they consider it payback for having watched them do their own business so many times.
In either event, where there’s no harm there’s no foul. But I rarely hear others talk about the fact that Great Danes not only shadow you around your home but specifically into the bathroom without fail!
Unless of course, they think it’s bath time, then it’s an entirely different story 😉
#8 – Hello, crazy Dane lady (or man)
Society is quick to pile on the crazy cat lady, but don’t think that you’re exempt as a dog owner. In fact, I’d argue that Great Dane owners are even more crazy about their pets!
Seriously – how many other pet owners literally re-arranging their entire lifestyle to support a giant, human-sized dog? Not many, that’s who!
Furthermore, you’ll find that your conversations with family people at work, and even complete strangers often morph into ones about your Great Dane. It’s not that you intend for it to happen, but that you can’t help it!
Why you might ask? Look onto the next item to get some insight here…
#9 – You will love them more than you realize
Don’t get me wrong, any good pet owner will love their pet. But their’s just something special about the love that you will feel for your giant furry friend!
Be it their massive size yet gentle affection, or kind hearts and knowing eyes, a Great Dane just knows how to give their owners what they need. This results in an unbreakable bond between Great Dane and owner that makes them loved beyond belief.
Like any pet (or human for that matter), they will certainly have their bad moments. But largely speaking, they are fantastic all-around animals that bring so much joy into our lives.
#10 – Tails are a force to be reckoned with
If you’ve ever spent time around an excited Great Dane then you know just how true this is! Their tails are long, strong, and just the right height to crack you right in the kneecap! Not to mention a few other sensitive areas as well…
Thanks to this occurrence, it’s not uncommon for Great Danes to experience cases of “happy tail“. While the name sounds positive, it’s not a good thing.
This occurs when they spend too much time wagging their tails in the close proximity of hard walls, table legs, etc… The repeated impact can cause the ends of their tails to split open and bleed and can be difficult to fully heal.
Some Danes never experience an injury due to their “happy tails”, whereas others experience it often enough that they are forced to have their tails docked to avoid infection.
Whether it’s you or them taking the damage, tails are clearly a force to be reckoned with!
Of course, a wagging tail is just the sign of a happy dog, so it’s going to be a tough habit to discourage. The more important thing is to simply be aware of the potential for them to damage their own tails, or accidentally inflict some pain on you.
#11 – Rain is not their friend
It could be their short hair or their strange fear of things, but in either event, many Great Danes do not like the rain. Contrary to their love of drinking water, they are not fans when it comes to water falling from the sky.
While it’s certainly not the end of the world, this can become an issue when you need them to go potty outside. In her younger years, Gus would hover on the edge of the porch and refuse to go potty in the rain.
I would either have to toss on a raincoat to coax her out there with me or simply let her wait for it until she had to go.
Naturally, you can’t leave them out there indefinitely, especially if it’s cold as well. But if I knew that she had to go, I’m not beyond letting her wait for 5-10 minutes to realize that this was the time to go.
#12 – They are talkers!
While this trait doesn’t apply to every single Great Dane, there are a significant number of them who like to talk!
Not barkers necessarily, more so the varied communicative type of sound making.
Funny low barks, quirky play growls, and all kinds of sounds that you wouldn’t expect from a dog can come from your Great Dane.
In addition to their displays of affection, play talking is just one more way that they’ll fit into your family.
#13 – The public spectacle
If you’re the shy type or in a rush to do something, then you may not want to take your Great Dane out in public. Not because they will behave poorly, but because you’ll probably be stopped a half dozen types by complete strangers asking about your dog!
Many people are drawn to a Great Dane’s sheer size and elegance and can’t help but stop to engage with you about them.
Personally, this doesn’t bother me, but what surprises me the most is how many people don’t realize that my dog is a Great Dane. They’re simply so interested in the dog that they can’t help but stop and find out more about them.
A good number of other people stop because they, friends, or family members, used to have Great Danes and they want to stop to reminisce about these times.
I don’t mind these stories, many of them are very heartwarming. However, it’s something to keep in mind this style of public spectacle is likely to occur for you should you choose to own a Great Dane.
In addition to letting my Great Dane get some well-deserved attention, I like to think of this as an opportunity to be a good steward for the breed. Spreading more information about the breed should only help down the road.
#14 – Dane socialites
While I was quick to point out the number of strangers who will stop to ask me about my Great Dane in public, it’s also worth pointing out that Great Dane owners do this as well.
In fact, it’s a rare occasion that I’ll see another Dane in public and not stop to chat with their owner for a few minutes!
Owning a Great Dane is like being part of a secret club. Well, not so secret since you’re walking around with one of the world’s largest dogs but you get my point.
When you see another member of the club, it’s hard to not stop and ask about their dog, where they got them, and maybe even what parks they go to so your Danes can play together!
While it sounds cheesy, this is a fantastic way to meet other (also) great people.
#15 – Oldie but a goodie!
In my opinion, there are some dogs who are only cute as puppies while others remain adorable for their entire life.
However, most dogs who pull off the latter do so by basically looking like a puppy for their entire life (I’m looking at you Pomeranians!).
By comparison, an old Great Dane (10+ years) looks very different from their young puppy selves. I could just be biased, but I find them to be absolutely adorable all the way from birth up until their last days.
I can’t help but want to go up and pet an old grizzled Dane with their white muzzles 🙂
Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list of everything that an owner will learn after getting their own Great Dane.
However, I hope that you found it to be more insightful than the obvious things that most people bring up about owning a Great Dane.
If you’d like more information about how to best care for your Great Dane, then please consider taking a look at my book “The Great Dane Puppy Handbook“. In it, I cover everything from A-Z about giving your Great Dane their best life!
The Great Dane Puppy Handbook takes all of the need-to-know Great Dane info and packages it together into a single, concise resource. Save yourself time, money, and frustration by avoiding the most common mistakes made by Great Dane owners!
If you’re a Great Dane owner and have your own favorite to add to the list, please go ahead and leave a comment about it below. Share the knowledge!
31 thoughts on “15 Things I didn’t Know Until I Owned A Great Dane!”
I have a cross Dane.
But im in need of help not only is she scared of every think in out out of house .
She has now started sleeping on my head at night and i dont no why or how to stop her
We are on our fourth gd! Currently have two – blue harlequin – Zeus, and a black gd, Odin!
To add to your very-accurate list:
They love to sit on your lap and lean against you!
They believe they are lap dogs!
They have the most fabulous personalities – they look right into your eyes as if they are looking into your soul!
They are enormous, but you forget how big they really are until you have a play date with other dogs.
They have awesome “polar bear” noses❤️
Glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Oh their adorable noses, that’s another good one 😉
I have a male fawn 40″ at the shoulder and has cropped ears. I adopted him. He looks exactly like Marmaduke. I still get asked what kind of a dog he is which surprises me. People are either drawn to him like a magnet or they give him a wide berth. The horse comments get old really quick. I love the wrinkled forehead look and those sighs.
Yep all that and more. ❤️❤️ I’d never have another type of dog
We rescued Tiny from a home. She is an amazing dog and full of quirks. If only we could speed up the recall process. You are correct I want more although my furniture and bed may disagree.
One thing there are certain dog breeds she DOES NOT like.
Haha always the case! Out of curiosity, which dog breeds does she not like?
I swear my GD Mimi thought there was an escape hatch in the bathroom. I could never go alone, and she’d have to back out as she was too big to turn around. Still makes me smile when I think of it. Mine was scared of little dogs. Like an elephant and a mouse… I think she was worried she’d step on them. She was so gentle with my toddler, always by her side. Danes are the best dog breed.
Well me & my husband are getting our 1st Great Dane. We have owned other large dogs before like Malamutes & hybrids. Which I love dearly but wanted a change. I can’t wait to share our story, more on here. So excited.
I have 3 Danes (Blue, Fawn, Black) Yes, you can’t just have one! Things they are afraid of:
Balloons, Bicycles, Umbrellas
They do drink from the faucets and have taken over all the furniture, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They love to cuddle and snuggle.
Thank you for that. My favourite friend and her great dane are coming to stay, l’m a bit nervous around new dogs so glad to hear how gentle they are.
Not surprised to read they follow their owners to the bathroom, scent is such an important indicator of health and all sorts of other things for dogs, so it makes sense they follow their pack while they “scent mark” in the bathroom. 🙂
I love their goofy strut when my GD Hectic, a fawnequin
, picks up a stick or coconut on the beach. Also the sideway looks he gives with that big cheeky smile.
I have a black male Dane by the name of Grayson. He is 135 pounds of love in an over abundance! He’s a momma’s boy. If I leave the room, he will stand behind the door and whine Hubby & I swear he’s saying mom. We often wake up to hear him yawning mom in the morning. He jumps like a mule deer when somebody walks past our 6ft privacy fence just so he can see them. Everyone in our neighborhood loves to walk by the house & see him standing with his front paws on top of the deck railing. It’s as if he’s “The King “ of the neighborhood. Grayson does not like metallic sounds or the vacuum. With satellite dishes for ears, I often wonder how loud things really do sound to him. You’re spot on with the slobber but I feel like it’s worth the effort when I see him curl all 134 pounds up into a small ball to fit on one cushion on a 3 cushion couch.
Mine does come with me when I go to the bathroom and cries if i don’t let him in. We also have to hands the entire time.
I love all the variations of colors gds are born with. Smoke monster is my first gd and I chose the runt of the litter. I figure even a small Dane is still great in size. Smoke has black fur but her skin is a very light blue. This gives her a different color as the day passes or an overcast sky. When the sun is at high noon see has a glossy shimmer of silver but inside she’s black. In the early morning sun rise she blueish. And at dawn she’s a deep purple but if it’s a bit over cast the purple color is grape. and all the variations of colors looks like a high gloss paint job.
I own a 2 year old pure bred great fane that’s a marliquin. He’s mainly black white but has gray under belly hes 125lbs and amazing. He stretch farts a ton and won’t leave my side . hes okay alone 2 to 6 hours but if I got stuff to do 4 to 8 hours I leave him.in massive crate. He does day care a lot and hes my first animal. Never thought id fall.in love with a dane but when wifes at work he bringd me great joy and loves car rides
I’m on my second Dane , both have been black. Spirit is also afraid of leaves, in addition to the other items you listed.
My Danes have also let me know when it’s time to go to bed. In other words they are tired of laying on the sofa and now want to go upstairs and stretch out in bed.
My dane is definitely scared of tape measures not sure I’ve met one thats not and boxes not a huge fan of bags or back packs either also has a type of dogs she isn’t fond of any pit type just has to be told she’s the boss not sure where that comes from but we have been working on that
I am currently on Great Dane number 11. I got my first one in 1976 and have had 1, 2, or 3 at one time. There is just something mystical about a Dane that is hard to explain to people. Dane owners understand this.
In 2 weeks, (Valentine’s Day) my first Dane puppy will be ready for pick-up. I’m so excited & nervous at the same time! I have been reading every article that I can find on raising & preparing for a Great Dane. I have been married for 44 years and we have only owned miniature Weiner dogs, so this will be a big adjustment, but I’m so looking forward to getting him. We have named him Samson, which I think will be a good name for him considering that he was the largest of his litter of 10 and his father weighs 200lbs. Any tips & advise is greatly welcomed! Wish us luck everyone! Lol.
I was so fortunate to have had 2 Great Danes growing up. They were among lots of other wonderful dogs and pets. We loved them all…but…there is just something amazingly special about the bond that I’ve had with my family’s two and now my own family’s one! We rescued our pure bread, “Norman” or Norm! He’s 200lb. of pure authentic love❤️
Won’t have another breed. Danes are the best. I have my 4th and 5th right now. Bailey is 9 and beside some of the other things listed she’s afraid of any thing new. I recently bought a hope chest. She didn’t see us put it in the bedroom, later that day she went to lay down and started raising the roof. You would have thought someone broke in. Once I went in got her to quiet down and touched it got her to smell it, she now ignores it. But make sure she sees you put new planters on the deck, or the Christmas tree. Then there is Barnum, everyone’s friend, and a big hit as a therapy dog at the nursing homes, until COVID hit. Can’t wait for my next one.
I have an adorable 5 yo Dane, Dexter and a new puppy, Gus who is coming home in a few weeks. Love the article – the rain is so true, dexter will refuse to go outside! And as for the bathroom he is quite taken to not only following me in there, but also sitting his behind on my lap when I’m in there as well! He is scared of busses (we come to a standstill on walks till they’ve passed) and curtains being closed… can’t imagine life without Danes!
It’s crazy how large they are and yet they believe their not. We had a rescue Dane, Dixie and she destroyed so many doors getting herself inside from thunder. Oh, and fireworks! She even went through the screen window! She would hear the sound and be in the house in like two seconds flat. But screens and doors can be replaced, your bond with your Dane can not. When I got diagnosed with PTSD and rarely left the comfort of my neighborhood, Dixie became very attached to me. She monitored my anxiety and would sit on my lab or lay over me if she sensed it. And on a funny note, if I was fishing on the dock and a strom or rain was coming she would come get me and whine until I got inside. She’s now passed on but I still talk about her often. And miss her big butt in my lap when I needed it.
Don’t worry he will train you we have 3 now one 7yrs one is 15 weeks and the other is 10 weeks we have had 7 other danes all with their own personalities all easy to train just have fun good luck
I can’t imagine having a different breed, ever! I have wanted a great Dane for my entire life, and I finally got one almost 2 years ago (She will be two in September and I’ve had her since November 2019). I want another one so bad, but I’m forcing myself to wait a little bit longer until Athena’s rambunctiousness calms down just a little bit more. She is everything and more that I thought she would be, and I truly never thought I would fall in love with a “dog” (we all know our GD’s are human) as deeply as I have my sweet girl. I just wish I was able to take her for walks and out in public. She just does not like other dogs at all. I’ve had three different one-on-one trainers work with her and she just won’t have it. I’m not sure if it’s because she didn’t get enough socialization when she was younger due to covid or what. Whatever the reason is I still wouldn’t trade her for anything and I fall more in love with her everyday! Oh, mine is afraid of the little canister that we have hung in the tree to catch flies, along with all of the other things everyone else is mentioned. She is absolutely perfect for me 🙂
We have a PyreDane (GD & Great Pyrenees mix) named Cara. Her father was a black “tuxedo” GD dumped outside a GP breeder’s ranch. She takes after her dad. She will be smaller than a purebred GD but, we hope this leads to a longer lifespan.
The one thing we’ve learned from other GD parents is the goofy playfulness. Seems it never goes away.
Luckily we have a “big sister” for Cara. A Pyrador (GP & Lab) named Isabelle. At 7 months, Cara is now taller than Isabelle & can hold her own when playing. We look forward to how much more she’ll grow.
She has determined, hooman furniture is softer & preferable. Teaching her sister the same.
I have a 16-month-old Merle Dane named Diego. He is such a goof ball and SO funny. He brings my family laughter EVERY SINGLE DAY. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical when I first got him. Diego got so big so fast! He’s 150 pounds and was the runt of the litter. I have been injured by him a few times because of his size and strength. I know he didn’t mean it. He thinks he’s only two pounds. 😂 It is so true about the bathroom thing. He LOVES getting in to the bathtub but HATES taking baths. Diego does not have a problem letting you know he’s upset because you won’t let him eat everything he sees. 😂 We also have a huskie that is two. Loki and Diego are BFFs and you never see one without the other. It is so adorable! My entire house may be covered in slobs but I can’t imagine my life without this amazing being. Diego is my son and I love him SO much. Danes rock!!!!! ❤❤❤❤
This article is spot on!!! Everything is so true. I dog sit for a Great Dane who is such an incredible dog and I love him dearly. I have never been around one before and now I can’t help but to want one of my own. Truly wonderful dogs ❤️
We have 3….Buster (blue), Charlie (black) and Boomer is a harlequin. They are definitely a handful as they are ages 1-1/2, 2 and 11 months old. 175 lbs, 165 lbs and 195 lbs. 100 lbs of dog food a week. Boomer knows how to get the ice from the ice maker, open door knobs and turn the water on. They are hysterical together!!!
They love to jump, give kisses and hugs. I have two who are brother and sister. They wear me out but are so sweet and special. One is more ornery and high maintenance and the other is the complete opposite.