When someone says “Great Dane,” the term conjures up a picture of Shaggy’s clumsy canine companion in a Scooby Doo mystery, cowering or devouring everything in sight. The most we get from these caricatures are lovable, bumbling giants generally causing mayhem. Does the Great Dane personality live up to its cartoonish hype?
Matching or surpassing the size of an Irish wolfhound, cut by sleek greyhound lines, and bearing the muscularity of a mastiff…the Great Dane makes an impressive figure. You might assume that large, sturdy frame craves the outdoor life—but the Dane is a bit of a couch potato.
Since these house dogs by nature are huge, you may want an appropriately spacious home. As for property damage, well…let’s face it, some of us were boisterous and destructive as adolescents, right? How upset can we be with our formidable, four-legged friend as they go through a similar phase?
The Great Dane temperament in adolescent years can be marked by wild abandon, their terrible twos (and threes) quite hectic if you don’t have sufficient time to watch and train them. This sense of growing glee can lead to testing limits, jumping and leaping over objects and furniture, and exulting in their rapidly developing bodies. Their height also allows them to counter surf if you leave food out, so you’ll need to be as disciplined as your dog when it comes to keeping house.
Size coupled with all that energy might sound intimidating, but the Great Dane is a lover, not a fighter. One value for a dog devotee: This breed provides an imposing image for home protection while actually being low on aggression.
The Great Dane delivers a protective visual deterrent, while actually being friendly and fantastic with kids. Strangers stay away, but friends and family needn’t be wary. As they grow and grow—often clocking in as the tallest dogs on the planet—make no mistake…hiding within their large and striking stature is a little dog mentality.
Down deep in a Great Dane personality, they just want to be your lapdog—provided your lap can sustain close to 90kg (200lbs)! Thanks to their friendly nature, they want to curl up with you, so you can’t have a body bubble with this breed. They want to stand with weighty paws on your shoes, leaning into your body, showing that demonstrative attachment. If you’re easily bowled over or have very tender feet, tread carefully when considering a Great Dane.
One thing is true: that Scooby Doo hunger isn’t just animated fantasy. This robust breed consumes mass quantities of food, so a Dane lover needs to factor that ongoing budgetary requirement into their plans.
The impetuous Great Dane temperament makes them gobblers, so you’ll need to break up their diet of 7 to 10 cups of food per day into at least two sittings, or they’re prone to serious health problems like bloat. While they require a lot of food and look enormous, these giant dogs have slower metabolisms and don’t require an equally enormous amount of exercise. They’re inherently playful, so interaction is vital to build relationships and reinforce training, but they don’t need the exercise time of smaller dogs.
A Great Dane personality will thrive if they’re well loved and live as an indoor pet in a happy home. If the house is empty too long they may suffer separation anxiety, becoming incessant barkers (and potentially bothering the neighbours). Left to his own doggie devices, a neglected Dane might become mischievous so make sure you have a loving pet sitter on hand to give them all the cuddles, exercise and attention they deserve while you’re gone.
Provided you have adequate room, sufficient wallet for food costs, and your priceless porcelain situated on very high shelves, this gentle giant might just be your breed. With six sleek coat colours and variations in between, it’s no wonder many call this the “Apollo” of dogs. Named for the Greek god of unparalleled beauty, with a lineage traced back to the Romans, this statuesque watchdog guards the gate and captures the hearts of dog lovers, ancient and future.