Breed Spotlight: Great Dane

4 min read
Jun 10, 2022

Great Dane Quick Stats


7 – 10 years


110 – 200 lbs


28 – 32 inches




loving, steadfast, good with children

Common Health Problems:

bloat, hip dysplasia, cardiomyopathy, Wobbler syndrome

Great Danes: How Do I Look?

Regal, elegant, and strong, Great Danes cut a striking figure amongst their canine cousins. This “Apollo of dogs” stands up to 32 inches at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 200 pounds, most of that muscle.3

Coat Type and Colors

Great Danes have a smooth, short coat, typically dark in color and sometimes with a patchy “harlequin” pattern.


Great Danes have high-set, medium-sized ears. They typically rest folded forward close to the cheek.

Shedding and Grooming

Although Great Danes don’t shed frequently, the size of the dog means you can still get a large volume of stray fur. Daily brushing during shedding season is recommended; for the rest of the year, a weekly grooming with a medium-bristle brush should suffice.

Drooling Level

Great Danes are frequent droolers, so have a ready supply of towels!

Great Dane Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Might Say:

If you’re looking for a steadfast and loyal companion, I’m your pooch. Strong and silent (unless I feel like my family is in danger), I love long walks on a (long) leash, and am always down to cuddle. (If there isn’t room, we can make some.) Got kids? I love them. Fun fact: I’m not actually Danish!


The Great Dane’s origin was as a hunter of wild boar; however, the ferocity associated with this hunting behavior has diminished completely throughout the years. The Great Dane personality is the embodiment of the “gentle giant,” laid-back despite their size. They are extremely eager to please their family. Great Danes can be very demanding of attention and tends to nudge those they want attention from. Don’t be surprised if your Great Dane attempts to be your lapdog while you watch television.

Exercise Needs

Despite their reserved personalities, Great Danes have lots of energy. They need to be walked at least twice a day and often enjoy hikes once they’re old enough (around 2 years old). Their impressive size and power mean you’ll need a strong hand and a sturdy leash when taking them out.

Good With Other Pets?

Because Great Danes are personable by nature, they take quickly to social settings and enjoy contact and affection from humans and animals alike.


Training is strongly recommended for Great Danes. Their size and strength make them a formidable foe when unruly. Early socialization is key.

Good with Kids?

Great Danes love to play and are extremely good with children, patient enough to endure their fumbling antics.

Barking Level

Great Danes rarely bark, but have a loyal and protective streak that can be brought out by strangers. The size of a Great Dane is often enough to deter would-be intruders.

Great Danes: A History

Despite the name, Great Danes have no affiliation with Denmark. A descendant of English mastiffs and Irish wolfhounds, these dependable giants were first bred by the Germans during the Middle Ages. Their strength and size were favored by nobility, who used these dogs to hunt wild boar, deer, and even bears.

In the 18th century, the Great Dane was imported to England, where it became a dog of luxury. For a time, they were known as “German boarhounds.” However, rising tensions between Germany and the rest of Europe led the dog to be renamed to grand danois, or “Great Dane.”

Common Great Dane Mixes

  • Great Danebull: Great Dane pitbull mix
  • Labradane: Great Dane lab mix
  • Daniff: Great Dane Mastiff mix
  • Dane Shepherd: Great Dane German shepherd mix

6 Great Dane Health Problems

  • Bloat
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cardiomyopathy: a heart disease that progresses over time, leading to heart failure.
  • Allergies
  • Osteosarcoma: most common type of bone tumor found in dogs. Large breeds are particularly at risk.
  • Wobbler syndrome4

Protect your Pets

Even the healthiest of pups can come with unexpected vet costs. Pet insurance can help keep your dog and your bank account happy.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Great Danes

As a purebred, Great Danes are more prone to some potentially costly health issues than others. If you’re considering adopting a Great Dane, or have already made one part of your family, here’s what you should look out for.


Bloat is the most common deadly illness found in Great Danes. Bloat is a life-threatening condition which needs to be examined by a veterinarian immediately. Bloat may occur if your dog eats too quickly or drinks large amounts of water at a time. An excess of air becomes trapped in the stomach, causing blood to pool in the hind legs and abdomen. Severe cases cut off blood to the spleen and pancreas, causing the spleen to produce toxic hormones. Vets will typically recommend surgery to treat bloat.  A MetLife dog insurance policy may help cover the cost of diagnosis or treatment for bloat.1,2

Hip Dysplasia

This genetic disease can cause the ball-and-socket joint of a dog’s hips to become separated. Hip dysplasia most commonly affects senior dogs and can be recognized by a reluctance to climb stairs, muscle loss, and/or apparent lameness in the hindquarters. Surgery is often required to fix hip dysplasia. In the most extreme cases, your Great Dane may require a total hip replacement.

Wobbler Syndrome

Great Danes and other large dogs may develop Wobbler syndrome when the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots become compressed. Typically, Wobbler syndrome is usually diagnosed before the dog turns 3 years old. Although the exact cause remains unknown, symptoms include an uncoordinated gait in the hind limbs that may progress to the forelimbs. Great Danes suffering from Wobbler syndrome may also have severe neck pain and acute weakness that hinders walking. Treatment may involve NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce inflammation and pressure on the spinal cord. If surgery is required, vets will fuse unstable segments of the cervical spine.

For more information on how pet insurance can help your Great Dane, check out our guide on How Pet Insurance Works. And remember, signing up for dog insurance while your Great Dane is a puppy is smart as it can ensure your dog has coverage before something becomes a pre-existing condition.

Protect your Great Dane with Pet Insurance

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

2Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

3“Great Dane Dog Breed Information - American Kennel Club,” The American Kennel Club

4”Wobbler Syndrome,” Ronaldo C. da Costa DMV, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine