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Great Dane Pros and Cons: Is This Gentle Giant For You?

Written By: Sharon Waddington

Last Updated:

When exploring the Great Dane’s pros and cons, it’s important to recognize that these gentle giants are known for their loving nature and make excellent companions. But it’s crucial to weigh the various advantages and downsides of this breed carefully before making your final decision.

Great Danes’ biggest pros are that they are extremely kind, gentle, easy to please, intelligent, and family-friendly. They’re generally appropriate for all households, including couples and families. On the disadvantage, they’re expensive, require a lot of exercise and training, and have health issues.

There are several attributes of Great Dane to consider, and this article will discuss them in great detail. Keep reading to discover if this friendly giant breed is right for you!

A Great Dane Staring at its owner

Great Dane: The Good & The Bad

The Great Dane originated in Germany and is descended from hunting dogs to pursue deer and wild boar. Along with the Irish Wolfhound, it is one of the two largest dog breeds in the world.

Great Danes are always called gentle giants because of their amazing personalities that appeal to everyone. However, they aren’t meant for everyone. If you’re considering bringing home a Great Dane, it’s essential to know its pros and cons.

Reasons to get a Great DaneReasons not to get a Great Dane
Great Danes are kind and gentleGreat Danes get lonely quickly
They are easy to pleaseThese big breeds are expensive
Great Danes are intelligentThey have a lot of drooling and shedding
They’re family friendly Great Danes require a lot of exercise
They are happy to live anywhereGreat Danes are too powerful for some people
They can be difficult to manage in the first two years
Small kids aren’t always safe with Great Danes
Great Danes are prone to severe health issues
Great Danes always attract attention

So, it’s easier now to understand if they’re for you. However, it’s recommended to get into detail about each aspect so you can make a careful decision.

Advantages of Owning a Great Dane

It might seem that the larger the dog, the kinder and more gentle it is. While that might not be true for all large breeds, it certainly is true for Great Danes. They’re also intelligent, great for families, and easygoing.

Let’s look more at the benefits of having a Great Dane.

They Are Kind and Gentle

Great Danes are some of the kindest, most gentle dogs imaginable. People may assume they’re scary or aggressive due to their large size, but these giant goofballs want to give love and be loved.

Not only are they kind and gentle with their owners and families, but they’re also generally friendly toward strangers. Having guests over shouldn’t be an issue, and you may even notice your Great Dane cozying up to people they’ve just met.

Their gentle nature makes them a perfect breed for those looking for a loyal companion.

Gentle Great Dane standing by the seaside

They Are Easy To Please

If you’re looking for a dog that’s easy to please, a Great Dane should be at the top of your list. These easygoing pooches are happy to lie around all day on the couch but equally happy to go for a walk in the park.

As you may know, there are plenty of breeds that have very specific needs (i.e., the need to be active for most of the day, like the mighty German Shepherd), but a Great Dane will generally be happy to relax at home for most of the day so that you can work and do other activities.

On the other hand, if you want to bring your Great Dane out on a walk or go on an adventure somewhere new, it will be more than happy and excited to join you.

They Are Intelligent

Those looking for an intelligent dog will be happy to adopt a Great Dane because this delightful breed is highly intelligent and perceptive. As a result, you can train your Great Dane rather easily as long as you start as soon as possible.

According to a study by Taylor & Francis Online, training is imperative in the development of puppies because it teaches them the appropriate behavioral skills they need to become well-behaved adults. 

Training is also a good way to let a Great Dane know its role within the household (i.e., that it is not the leader of the home). You can achieve these promising results easily by using positive reinforcement and reward-based training

Within no time, your Great Dane should be highly obedient.

They’re Family-Friendly

Having young children can limit the number of appropriate breeds to choose from. Thankfully, you don’t need to scratch a Great Dane off your list if you have little tots running around because this is a family-friendly breed and is one of their top pros.

They’re extremely kind and loyal, and once trained and socialized properly from an early age, a Great Dane is safe to be around children and even play with them, supervised, of course.

Want to double-confirm? Here’s a video compilation of Great Dane with babies:

While Great Danes are generally safe, some breeds, like Pitbulls, are not a good choice for young families. To learn more about Pitbulls, check out this article that discusses 7 Pitbull behavior problems.

They Are Happy To Live Anywhere

Despite its monstrous size, a Great Dane will be happy and comfortable in almost any living arrangement. A Great Dane will thrive whether you have a tiny one-bedroom apartment or a large house.

Many people assume that apartments are completely inappropriate for such large dogs, but you’ll find that a Great Dane is often happy to sleep on the couch without causing trouble.

Of course, it’s still important to regularly bring your pet out for exercise and toilet breaks, especially if living in a small apartment. Also, a Great Dane might be slightly too big if you are already tight on space in your home. 

Once your Great Dane has a place to sleep and go for a toilet break, it will be happy to live anywhere.

Disadvantages of Owning a Great Dane

As great as Great Danes seem to be, they can also be challenging to have in your home. Before adopting one, you’ll want to consider the following cons to decide whether to adopt one.

They Can Get Lonely Quickly

One of the cons of Great Danes is that they can often be prone to issues like separation anxiety, which occurs when separated from their owners. It’s especially common in puppies and untrained adults.

You’ll notice quickly if your Great Dane has separation anxiety because it will begin to bark and whine as you leave home. When you return later, furniture might be ripped apart and items destroyed.

Some dogs may even avoid eating due to separation anxiety, so it’s a condition you want to control before it gets out of hand.

Warning! Allowing your Great Dane’s separation anxiety to worsen will soon consume your life and affect your plans.

One of the best ways to train a Great Dane puppy not to get lonely is to give it a toy or treat right when you leave, which should keep it distracted. Over time, your pooch should get used to being alone, so patience is key.

Lonely Great Dane suffering from separation anxiety

They Can Be Expensive

If you’re interested in buying a Great Dane, you’ll need to spend at least $1,000, and that’s just the beginning. Unfortunately, these dogs are expensive to keep because of food and medical needs.

Due to the large size of a Great Dane will need more food than the average dog. 

Without enough food, these giants can experience weight loss and other serious health issues. According to a study, dietary deficiencies in dogs can ultimately lead to different skeletal diseases, which you certainly want to avoid.

Many pet owners spend up to $100 monthly on dog food. On top of that, Great Danes often have health issues that require vet visits and insurance. You’ll also need to purchase large dog beds, cages if necessary, and other items, which can be costly.

These expenses quickly add up, so make sure you can afford to care for a Great Dane before taking the plunge.

They Have Lots of Drooling and Shedding

Like many other large breeds, Great Danes are heavy droolers, mainly due to the shape of their mouths. 

For some, this can be off-putting because it requires a fair amount of wiping and cleaning. You’ll need to wipe puddles of drool frequently, so keep that in mind if you’re considering getting a Great Dane.

In addition to drooling, Great Danes tend to shed throughout the year, meaning their hairs commonly get caught in clothes, furniture, and everything else.

If you’d rather have a dog that doesn’t shed much, consider going with a less-shedding breed, such as a Poodle.

They Require a Lot Of Exercise

When considering the main Great Dane pros and cons, consider their exercise requirements. 

As they are relatively active and need to burn much energy, Great Danes must receive at least 1-2 hours of physical activity daily. Some may need more than this, especially in the first two years when energy levels are extremely high.

Although they’re often happy to lie on the couch and be lazy, daily exercise is also important for Great Dane’s health and well-being.

If you won’t be able to accommodate these exercise requirements, a Great Dane is not the right choice. 

Great Dane in the outdoors happily running and exploring

They Are Too Powerful for Some People

All you need to do is look at a Great Dane to realize how big, strong, and heavy they are. As you can imagine, they can be difficult to control due to their strength, which can be problematic for many dog owners. 

One of the most important things you can do is train your Great Dane before it grows to its full size.

If a Great Dane is not leash trained properly, walking becomes a nightmare due to the strong force. Even some strong adult humans can have trouble controlling a Great Dane, so keep that in mind if you don’t have a lot of body strength.

They Can Be Difficult To Manage In the First Two Years

For many Great Dane owners, the first two years are the most challenging due to how hyper and big the dogs are.

Up until the two-year mark, Great Danes are still considered puppies. Usually, when you think of a puppy, you think of a tiny dog that’s easy to pick up and control. However, Great Dane puppies grow quickly, so even when fully grown, they’re still considered puppies and have a lot of energy to burn.

As you can imagine, puppies have more energy than adult dogs, so a fully-grown Great Dane might be too much to handle for some people.

Small Children Are Not Always Safe

Earlier, I mentioned that Great Danes are excellent family pets, and that’s because they are. Still, small children are not necessarily always safe around them, so you must always remain cautious.

The lack of safety is not because of aggression. Rather, it’s due to this breed’s sheer size and weight.

For example, a Great Dane could accidentally fall or step on a small child, resulting in an injury. Be careful if you have young kids, and always supervise them around Great Danes.

Another possible danger, which may sound odd, is a Great Dane’s tail. It might seem strange, but their tails are powerful when wagging and can easily injure a child or adult if they’re too close.

Great Dane along with the owner standing on grass with tail lifted

They Are Prone To Severe Health Issues

Unfortunately, Great Danes are prone to health issues, making their average lifespan shorter than other breeds. Of all the possible health issues a Great Dane can face, bloat is the most common.

Dog bloat may not sound threatening, but it can be fatal if not treated quickly. When humans bloat, our stomachs feel full and gassy, but that’s usually as bad as it gets. When a dog experiences bloat (GDV), the stomach fills with air and gets twisted.

Feeding a dog more than once per day can help prevent bloat as the meals are spread out more. Still, it’s a big issue that Great Danes face, so you should be aware of it before adopting one.

Other health issues affecting Great Danes include ear problems and hip dysplasia.

They Receive Lots of Attention

Great Danes will always attract attention, and it’s hard to say whether it’s a pro or a con. Initially, it might seem like a pro, but many owners quickly get sick of it.

If you don’t like getting stopped regularly and hearing people jokingly comparing your dog to a horse, a Great Dane might not be the best choice!


Can Great Danes coexist well with other pets?

Yes! Great Danes are known for their gentle and friendly nature, making them excellent companions for other pets. Their calm demeanor and patient temperament allow them to coexist harmoniously with various animals, including cats, small dogs, and even smaller pets like rabbits or guinea pigs.

Do Great Danes require special grooming?

Great Danes do require special grooming due to their unique coat characteristics. Despite their short hair, they have a dense undercoat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting and keep the skin healthy.

Additionally, their large size makes it important to regularly trim their nails and clean their ears to avoid any discomfort or potential infections. Professional grooming every few months is also recommended to maintain their overall cleanliness and appearance.

Is a Great Dane For You?

You should get a Great Dane if you’re looking for a giant but gentle dog that always remains loyal. Great Danes are easy to please and enjoy lying around just as much as they like adventures, so you should be able to give them a nice balance.

You should not get a Great Dane if budget or excessive drooling is of concern. Additionally, these dogs can be difficult to control if not trained properly due to their strength. Only adopt a Great Dane if you can stay committed to the training process.

Photo of author

Sharon Waddington

Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs.