The Great Dane is literally hard to miss, and it’s easy to understand why. These dogs are, simply put, huge.
Known as the gentle giant of the canine world, the Great Dane is one of the largest dog breeds out there. It’s categorized in the giant breed family along with dogs like the Mastiff, Great Pyrenees, and Saint Bernard.
Some might assume that because of this dog’s significant height and weight, they’re not great dogs for families with children. But are Great Danes good with kids, or not?
You may be surprised to learn that the Great Dane is generally very good with children — despite their large size, these dogs tend to get along well with kids and make great family pets. Of course, every dog is a unique individual, and a Great Dane needs proper socialization and training to live in harmony with all its human family members.
Are you thinking of adopting a Great Dane? Wondering how they’ll get along with your kids? Read on to learn more about the Great Dane dog’s size, temperament, trainability, shedding, and health.
What is the first and most obvious consideration you should make when asking yourself, “Are Great Danes good with kids?” This dog breed’s large size. There’s no question that the Great Dane falls into the “giant” category. But just how big do these pups get?
According to the American Kennel Club, female adult Great Danes can stand up to 30 inches high and weigh between 110 and 140 pounds. Males are even larger, standing up to 32 inches in height and clocking in at a whopping 140 to 175 pounds.
Just because a dog is big, of course, doesn’t mean they aren’t good with kids. And the Great Dane is proof of that. Still, size is something to consider — large dogs can easily knock over a small child without meaning to, especially if the dog is excited or gets the zoomies. If you have a toddler or even slightly older kids, you’ll want to keep an eye out to make sure your Great Dane doesn’t accidentally bowl them over or sit on them.
Why are Great Danes good with kids? In large part because of their calm, even-keeled personalities. These dogs are truly gentle giants — they tend to be reserved pets who are quite content to play lap dog on the couch with their family members (even if they don’t really fit.)
Some high-energy dog breeds can be unpredictable around young children, but the Great Dane is generally very calm around kids unless it feels pushed beyond its limits. This is why it’s essential to teach your children how to interact with dogs safely and respectfully.
Great Danes also make great guard dogs, both because of their size and because they’re very loyal to their families. Your Great Dane will probably act as a watchdog and alert you of any activity they deem suspicious.
Note that while Great Danes usually get along well with other pets, they can have a jealous streak — proper socialization and training will be essential if you have other dogs in the home.
Great Danes are generally considered easy to train. They can be somewhat stubborn, and they don’t tend to react well to harsh training methods like shock collars. But when you rely on tried-and-true obedience training methods that use positive reinforcement, you’ll see good results.
You’ll want to teach your Great Dane about boundaries, especially if you have young kids, since these dogs can sometimes forget about their own large size. For instance, train your Dane not to run in the house, and teach them not to approach unfamiliar young children or strangers in public unless you give the go-ahead.
For some Great Dane owners, this big dog’s size alone makes training more difficult than it would be for, say, a Chihuahua. First-time Great Dane owners might want to consider professional dog training to make sure their pet turns into an excellent family dog.
Are Great Danes good with kids who have pet allergies? Probably not. The Great Dane is a moderate to heavy shedder, so kids (or adults) who are allergic to pet dander are likely to have a reaction.
The Great Dane is not hypoallergenic and probably isn’t the best dog for those with severe allergies. And because the specific protein in dander that causes reactions is also found in dog saliva, the Great Dane might not be a great choice — the breed is known for its drooling.
With all that being said, plenty of allergy sufferers live in harmony with Great Danes. You’ll just need to take a few extra precautions. Whether it’s air filters, allergy medication, or regular cleaning and vacuuming, keep allergens under control to prevent reactions.
Remember to brush your Great Dane regularly to contain loose and dead hair, and use Native Pet’s Omega Oil to boost Fido’s skin and fur health, minimize shedding, and alleviate itchy skin.
Lifespan and Health
Your pet’s lifespan and health are important factors to consider when adopting a dog, too. And if you have young children who may not fully understand illness or death, you’ll want to think about how to approach it. That’s because the Great Dane, unfortunately, doesn’t have a very long lifespan. Like most giant dogs, this breed has a lifespan of about 7 to 10 years or less.
In terms of specific health issues, the Great Dane is susceptible to a condition called bloat, which involves a buildup of gas in the stomach that can cause the stomach to twist. Without quick treatment, it can be life-threatening for large dogs like the Great Dane. Watch your dog closely when they eat — don’t let them gulp down their dog food, as this can contribute to gas buildup, and feed them two or three small meals per day instead of one large meal.
Musculoskeletal health problems like arthritis and hip dysplasia are also common among large breeds like the Great Dane, especially as they age. Visit your veterinarian regularly to have your Dane checked out, and try giving them Native Pet’s Relief Chicken Chews which can help alleviate joint pain and improve mobility.
The Verdict: Are Great Danes Good With Kids?
It’s easy to rush to judgment and assume that a dog as big as a Great Dane wouldn’t be a good fit with kids of a young age. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Are Great Danes good with kids, and are Great Danes good family dogs? Almost always, yes. They have a relatively low energy level and a high tolerance for young kids, even rambunctious ones.
Like any dog, the Great Dane needs to be properly socialized and trained so they know how to behave around children. And kids need to be taught from an early age how to treat a dog with respect. But the Great Dane’s easy-going temperament and good trainability make it easy.
Remember that this breed is a moderate to heavy shedder, so think about how prepared you are to keep all that hair under control if you or your kids have allergies to pet dander. And keep in mind that the Great Dane doesn’t have a very long lifespan compared to their small-dog counterparts, so you’ll want to make sure your children are prepared for that.
To read more about your dog’s health and wellness needs, visit the Native Pet blog.