Discover the compelling reasons why Great Danes are considered the best among dog breeds, from their noble demeanor to their unwavering loyalty. This article explores the unique qualities that endear these gentle giants to their owners!
1. They Love Having a Relaxing Afternoon with You
When you see the stature, strength, and pure athleticism a Great Dane possesses, you immediately think of how active and outgoing they must be. And while their athleticism is impressive, you can count just as heavily on them wanting to spend a day lounging around the house with you.
If you’re excited for a Sunday on the couch in front of the TV, your Great Dane is just as excited. They have an adorable softer side that their owners will come to know and love.
This makes them a surprisingly good companion for apartment dwellers. As long as you can get them out for regular walks and playtime to meet their exercise needs, they will happily live in a smaller dwelling with you.
They enjoy their downtime and getting to cuddle up next to you or find their favorite
Over time, the hunting element was slowly bred out of these dogs since it was no longer a crucial function. People used to own Great Danes for hunting.
But they have evolved into family pets, show dogs, and companions for those who simply want a giant, loving animal.
2. They’re Great with Kids
If you want your child to grow up with a best friend who will also be their biggest protector and play pal, you can count on a Great Dane to handle all of that.
Their personalities are inherently gentle, tolerant, and protective. This makes them an ideal match for children of any age.
Some of their other traits include being outgoing, friendly, and nonaggressive. So if you have a toddler prone to pulling a tail from time to time, these gentle giants will not get aggressive towards them.
They have a lot of patience and understand you are their family, and that includes the little munchkin trying to mount him/her like a horse.
While they are kind and loving, they are still massive animals. So this doesn’t mean you should let your small infants around them unsupervised.
This precaution is simply because they sometimes forget just how big they are. A big, lovable Great Dane can easily accidentally injure someone simply due to their size.
Because they grow to be so large, it is also important to teach them to be careful as puppies. As they begin to grow, but still have their puppy energy and rambunctiousness, they will be equally as clumsy as they are adorable.
So make sure they are trained young and understand commands so you can help them navigate their size.
3. Fierce Loyalty to You and Protecting Your Home
While they may be gentle with you, your family, and friends, don’t be fooled by their usually calm and affectionate demeanor. If someone threatens you or your home, you can count on seeing a whole new side to these guardians.
Their loyalty begins at a young age and they will show you allegiance their whole lives. They understand you are family and they are forever grateful for those extra belly rubs, or the treat you sneak them in between meals. They understand that this is their home, and they are the protectors of it.
The other side of this is the fact that they look very intimidating. When an intruder sees a dog that is taller than they are, standing on its hind legs, with muscles flexing as they growl a warning, there is a good chance that a person may head for the hills before even entering.
They thrive on the bond between them and their families. So, when they think something or someone is in danger, they will act swiftly. Aside from protecting the home, their loyalty will also be on display in smaller moments.
For example – when you are sad and they come to sit by your side, or if you are sick and they stare at you with concerned eyes.
There was an interesting article published in Psychology Today that speaks to this point about all dogs and how they view their owners. Great Danes, specifically, take on a lot of responsibility for your mood.
The breeding that makes them affectionate and caring translates to loyalty to the humans that care for them.
4. They Are Surprisingly Athletic!
Great Danes possess a perfect mix; they will happily take three naps with you on your day off, but they will also happily go play outside and dazzle you with their athletic prowess.
Great Danes were originally bred as hunters. Although their traits have evolved over the years to make them into the gentle giants we know today, they still possess many of their original attributes.
They are impressively strong, with muscles you can see through their short coats, and they are capable of blistering speed. While they may no longer be out in the woods hunting daily, they will happily hunt down a ball thrown out in the yard, or a bone you purposefully hid for them to find.
With such a strong, athletic dog you would also assume they are great swimmers. While some do enjoy a paddle out in the water, it is not their natural inclination to love the water, as some other breeds do.
Their strong upper bodies allow them to be good swimmers, but it is not typically a skill that they will inherently know.
Your Great Dane could potentially become a moderately good swimmer as long as they like the water and are properly trained. But for the most part, your Dane will probably be happier running along a shoreline, jumping into some shallow water, and right back out.
For more details, take a look at my dedicated article on Great Dane swimming.
5. Intelligent Dogs Who Love to Please and Be Trained
Here is that loyalty trait popping back up again. This time, it manifests itself into a well-trained pup. With their hunting dog background, they needed to understand and adhere to many commands.
It was their job to listen, obey, and execute commands from their owners. The modern-day Great Dane is still just as amenable to learning commands.
They are not typically ranked as one of the highest on the list of smartest dog breeds, but they are still intelligent and eager to please. So that combination makes for an easy dog to train.
Their instinctive intelligence is really what makes them smart dogs. This means they will understand commands just fine. But their real intelligence comes from instinct and understanding.
In fact, many Great Dane owners will be the first to admit that sometimes their Dane is a little too smart. They have a keen understanding of how things work and also how to make things work to their advantage.
This can be a great attribute for a dog who always wants to please you. But it also makes for an adorably curious troublemaker.
6. Easy Grooming and Maintenance for Their Coats
The Dane’s smooth, slick coat doesn’t require an extensive amount of attention. Their sheer size will still result in some obstacles along the way, but overall their grooming needs are minimal.
The coat itself doesn’t shed much, which is a huge win for Dane owners because their size could make for a very furry household if they shed more.
You should still brush your Dane weekly with either a medium-bristle brush, a hound glove, or a rubber grooming mitt. This will help keep the coat clean and healthy and will help reduce some of the already limited shedding.
For more information about controlling shedding, make sure to take a look at my article here.
As with any dog breed, you want to make sure their nails are being trimmed regularly (click here for tips on trimming) to prevent any pain or issues while walking and running from nails that have gotten too long.
And before you worry about how on earth, you’re going to get a 170-pound Great Dane into your bathtub; I’ll alleviate your concerns. Danes don’t need to be bathed very frequently.
They are a low-odor breed, and their skin and fur will both stay healthy mostly on their own. So they only need an occasional bath, unless they muddy themselves up somewhere, of course.
Grooming and Health Tip:
Overbathing Great Dances can have an adverse effect and strip essential oils from the dog’s coat. So while you think you may be keeping your dog extra clean by forcing them into the tub every week, you could be harming their skin.
7. They’re Brave and Fearless
We know they’re brave when it comes to protecting the homestead, but their bravery doesn’t stop there. If you like to get out into the wilderness for some adventure or to explore a new hiking trail, a Great Dane will make for a perfect adventure buddy.
Their instinctual intelligence aids them in situations such as these, so they thrive on new and exciting experiences. Rather than being timid or scared of a challenging trail, they will embrace it and appreciate the stimulation.
They will also appreciate a long nap on the couch with you after you have conquered your latest venture.
Their courage, mixed with their calm demeanor, makes for a very well-balanced dog. They will not cower in fear overmuch, but they also will not be aggressive towards a smaller dog who may very much be cowering at the pure stature of the Dane.
A Great Dane was once given two Blue Cross Medals
Juliana was a Great Dane that is said to have defused a bomb by peeing on it in 1941 during the Blitz. A bomb came through the roof of her owner’s house, and she took matters into her own hands. Years later, she helped alert and direct people out of her owner’s shoe shop after a fire broke out. She was given Blue Cross Medals for both occasions.
8. They Make Great Service and Therapy Dogs
Their companionship with their beloved humans is undeniable. But that loyalty and adoration mixed with their strength and intelligence make them a perfect candidate for work as a service or therapy dog.
They are sturdy, strong, and levelheaded so they can serve a multitude of purposes for those who need assistance in their home or work. Anyone with mobility problems will find great comfort in a dog this tall and sturdy, as they will be able to help them access certain areas and get around their home.
While any dog will help to bring a smile to someone’s face who needs it; the Great Dane possesses the perfect elements to not only cheer someone up but also be able to truly assist them in a variety of ways.
Make sure to also take a look at my article on Great Dane service dogs if this is of particular interest to you.
“I’ve always had this feeling that all dogs are really therapy dogs.”― Meg Donohue, Dog Crazy: A Novel of Love Lost and Found
9. They Love Making New Friends
It’s as if Great Danes truly understand their size and stature and want to make up for it by loving everyone, to not scaring them off. They have a big dopey face that warms your heart and invites you to come to say hello.
Their loving eyes make you feel comfortable around them, no matter how big they are.
They are very friendly and will welcome new houseguests as if they know that you invited them, so they must be okay. Just as they will welcome those new visitors into their homes, they will also welcome a quick “Good boy!” or “Good girl!” and a chin scratch from a stranger on the street.
Socialization and affection from others is a big part of this big dog. They thrive on situations with lots of people who will play with them and give them attention.
This breed needs that attention as much as they need playtime with you, their owner.
They grow faster than you can believe!
With proper nutrition and exercise, your Great Dane will shoot up to heights and weights you couldn’t have imagined within a short period of time. On average, Danes will be around or over 100 pounds by the time they are one.
Getting a Great Dane
The Great Dane has many attributes that overlap each other in ways that balance them out and make them ideal in many different situations and home living arrangements.
Their versatility makes them easy dogs to own, while their big, loving eyes and affectionate personalities make them easy to love.
If you are looking to adopt one of these gentle giants, there are organizations geared directly towards Great Danes, such as Great Dane Rescue. You can also easily find them through other shelters and organizations by searching for them specifically.
Whether you’re looking for a loving companion, fearless protector, athletic adventure buddy, service animal, or a gentle giant to watch TV on the couch with–Great Danes will fit the bill 😉
If you’re still on the edge and want to also take a look at the negative aspects of having a Great Dane, then you should consider taking a look at my article here.