Great Dane


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Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

7 to 10 years


Extra Large

Maintenance Level:


Shed Level:




Coat Color:

Blue Ribbon

Best For

Great Danes are regal, gentle giants with a calm temperament and moderate exercise needs. They make wonderful family companions, and the amount of love they have to give is as big as they are. They're ideal for pet parents seeking pet who's as affectionate as they are, well, huge.

Great Dane Traits

Great Dane Temperament

Don’t be fooled by the breed’s large size and assume this dog has an intimidating personality to match. Great Danes are, in fact, loyal and kind with happy personalities and they desire to always be near their people. Great Danes prefer to keep you in their line of sight, and you can forget about eating alone or cooking a meal by yourself ever again!

Great Danes can sometimes come off as shy, aloof or reserved. Socializing your Great Dane puppy at an early age will help them become more comfortable around new people and other dogs. They have a deep, powerful bark that can be intimidating to visitors, but this is a case where the bark is really worse than the bite.

The Great Dane was originally bred to be a hunting dog. Today, they mainly fill the role of “lovable family member.” And don’t be surprised if your Great Dane attempts to be a lap dog—the results can be hilarious.

How to Care for a Great Dane

Great Danes have minimal grooming needs, which will give you time to focus on training them to ensure they grow up to be happy and well-mannered dogs. These giant pups do have some common health issues and are somewhat more expensive to maintain simply because of their enormous size. (Everything’s more expensive when you weigh more than some adults!)

Great Dane Health

Great Danes have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years, and they are prone to a number of health issues. But that’s a lot of years to fill your life with the love of a Great Dane. Be sure to get a copy of the parent dogs’ health screenings from your breeder. If you’re adopting your dog, get a copy of the vet wellness check. It’s important to be aware of these issues—an informed pup parent can help their dog enjoy a full life.

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): DCM is an often-inherited heart condition that can affect Great Danes. The heart enlarges, resulting in thin and weakened heart muscles that can lead to heart failure.
  • Bloat: More formally known as gastric dilatation volvulus or GDV, this life-threatening stomach condition is more common in large breeds with deep chests, like the Great Dane. With GDV, the dog’s stomach rotates and becomes twisted in the abdomen; signs include a distended belly, pacing with confusion, inability to get comfortable and dry-heaving/retching. To help avoid this condition, feed your dog smaller meals and use a slow feeder to keep them from gobbling down their food too quickly. Keep their food bowls on the ground (don’t elevate them) and don’t exercise one hour before or after meals. Contact your vet immediately if you think your dog is suffering from GDV.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition where the hip joint isn’t formed properly and causes lameness and pain. Fortunately, there are multiple therapies and treatment solutions available, including weight reduction, exercise restriction, physical therapy and medications.
  • Wobbler Syndrome: Wobblers is a neurologic condition in dogs, especially those with large heads and necks like Great Danes. This is painful and can lead to wobbly walking. There may be a nutrition component so be sure to ask your vet about a high quality, large breed puppy food and when to transition to adult food.
  • Degenerative Lumbosacral Stenosis: A form of degenerative myelopathy (DM), this spinal condition causes lower back pain that can progress to an inability to stand. Obesity can exacerbate the issue so discuss with your vet how to keep your pet lean and happy.

Great Dane History

Once upon a time, the powerful Great Dane was a working dog with an important job. The breed descends from ancient mastiff-type dogs, and even though you might assume the modern-day Great Dane came from Denmark, its origin is found in Germany. Nobody seems to know why the breed’s name refers to Denmark. It’s just one of the great canine mysteries of our time.

In the 1800s, the forebears of the Great Dane were used for hunting fierce and aggressive wild boars. They were also used as watchdogs, another occupation that requires important qualities like bravery and strength. The AKC recognized the Great Dane in 1887, and the Great Dane Club of America was established in 1889 and has operated under its current name since 1891.

In the course of its history, the Great Dane has earned nicknames (“the Gentle Giant,” the “Apollo of dogs”) and inspired fictional Great Danes (Scooby-Doo, Marmaduke and Astro, to name a few). Today, the Great Dane is among the most popular of the AKC-recognized breeds in the US.

So, where is the best place to find Great Dane puppies? You can find a list of reputable breeders on the American Kennel Club’s website. What’s the average Great Dane price? Depending on the breeder, expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for a pup. But for that, you usually get a dog who’s been screened for health and temperament issues, and they might even come with pedigree papers. You can also reach out to Great Dane rescue organizations to adopt a Great Dane, keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter, or search Chewy’s database of adoptable dogs in your area.


Are Great Danes hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately no, Great Danes aren’t hypoallergenic; they shed year-round and allergy sufferers may react to the Great Dane’s hair and dander.

What were Great Danes bred for?

Great Danes were originally used as guard dogs and to hunt wild boar in Germany. These tasks required immense bravery and strength; breeders later focused on developing the dog’s good disposition and loyalty that are so intrinsic to the breed today.

Are Great Danes good with kids?

Great Danes are good with kids—especially older ones. Their sheer size means they need to be supervised around babies and toddlers. Great Danes love to “lean,” which is a sign of affection or a request for attention, but you can imagine the result when a Great Dane decides to affectionately lean into a small child. Also an issue: the Great Dane’s enthusiastic tail, which can be quite a force when the dog is excited or happy.

What are the most popular Great Dane names?

The most popular Great Dane names are often associated with the breed’s large size and strength: Hulk, Duke, Brutus, Goliath, Samson, King, Apollo, Moose and Zeus. Names for female Great Danes sometimes highlight the breed’s regal demeanor: Duchess, Baroness, Athena or Olympia. Many Great Danes have popular names that aren’t breed-specific, like Max, Luna or Stella. Fun names for Great Danes include Marmaduke, Scooby-Doo and Astro. Get more dog names here.

What are the most common Great Dane mixes?

The most common Great Dane mixes are:

Note: These are not purebred dogs but mixed breeds.


Top Takeaways

Admittedly, Great Danes require a bit of effort—early socialization, more expensive to maintain and the occasional knick-knack knocked off the table. But look at everything you gain in return: a loyal friend, a childhood companion, a bold-sounding watchdog, and a coat that is super-easy to groom. If you’d like to “go big or go home” with a giant dog, the Great Dane just might be the choice for you.

Expert input provided by veterinarian Dr. Neil O’Sullivan and certified dog trainer Steven Tallas, CDTK, of Venture Dog Training.

Breed characteristic ratings provided by veterinarian Dr. Sarah J. Wooten, DVM, CVJ, a veterinarian at Sheep Draw Veterinary Hospital in Greeley, Colorado; dog trainer and behavior consultant Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CDBC, owner of The Sophisticated Dog, LLC, in Los Angeles; and certified animal behavior consultant Amy Shojai, CABC, in Sherman, Texas.

The health content was medically reviewed by Chewy vets.

Search for Adoptable Great Danes Near You

Top Great Dane Names

These are the top Great Dane names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!

Female Names

  • Luna
  • Willow
  • Athena
  • Bella
  • Stella
  • Harley
  • Daisy
  • Lucy
  • Nova
  • Sadie

Male Names

  • Duke
  • Moose
  • Zeus
  • Apollo
  • Thor
  • Hank
  • Odin
  • Diesel
  • Loki
  • Max