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Are Great Danes Aggressive Dogs? Breed Traits & Determining Factors

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

Are Great Danes Aggressive Dogs? Breed Traits & Determining Factors

While dogs are the most popular pet in America, and many consider them “man’s best friend,” a few breeds can be aggressive, which can be concerning to homeowners and people with children when choosing a new pet. Since the Great Dane is large and intimidating, many people worry that it can be aggressive.

Fortunately, Great Danes are not usually aggressive, but keep reading while we explain what might cause them to be and list several other facts you might not know to help you better understand these massive canines.

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Is the Great Dane Aggressive?

No. Great Danes can be suspicious of strangers with a strong loyalty towards their owners, making them a great choice as guard dogs. They are playful and friendly dogs that most people describe as easygoing. That said, dogs, like people, have unique personalities, and occasionally a dog might have a mean streak, especially if it had a hard life before you brought it home.

Great dane dog in beautiful landscape
Image Credit: Al_Er, Shutterstock

What Can Cause Bad Behavior in Great Danes?

  • Unethical breeders can create dogs with a bad temper, so it is important to research any breeders you intend to use to learn about their history to ensure their goal is to create healthy and friendly dogs.
  • Uncaring breeders can create unhealthy dogs, and a dog that doesn’t feel well is more likely to lash out at its environment, so again, due diligence when choosing a breeder is extremely important.
  • A bad experience with people or other animals while still in the litter is likely to affect its lifelong personality.
  • Malnutrition can make a dog feel hungry or sick, resulting in more aggressive behavior.
  • Poor socialization with people and other animals, especially when the Great Dane is still a puppy, can contribute to bad behavior.
  • Many owners train their dogs to be more aggressive toward strangers to be better watchdogs, but it can lead to more generally aggressive behavior toward everyone, especially when it isn’t getting its way.

Do Great Danes Make Good Family Pets?

Yes. If you get your Great Dane when it is still a puppy and let it spend lots of time with children and other pets, it will grow to be a wonderful addition to the family. Many people describe them as gentle giants that are friendly toward the people they know.

It’s also loyal and fiercely protective of its owner, which is likely why many people worry that it is aggressive. However, it calms down quickly and moves on once it determines something isn’t a threat.

Great Dane getting and giving love and hugs to its human owner
Image By: Victoria Rak, Shutterstock

How Can I Prevent Aggressive Behavior from my Great Dane?

  • Plenty of socialization with people and other animals when your pet is still a puppy will help it be friendlier as an adult.
  • Purchase your dog from a reputable breeder with a long history of animals and people you can contact to learn about their experience. Good breeders will be happy to show off their past work, while bad breeders will try to hide it.
  • Take your dog to receive behavioral training while it is still a puppy. Training can help ensure the dog won’t become aggressive and make it easier to manage, which is a huge bonus for dogs this size.
  • Avoid taking the “alpha-dog” approach when your pet is misbehaving. For example, yelling or acting aggressively toward your pet is more likely to bring out aggressive behavior in your pet.
  • Get your dog spayed or neutered. A dog in heat is more likely to act aggressively, and not getting it fixed can also lead to health problems later in life.
  • Take your Great Dane to the vet regularly to ensure it doesn’t have any health problems that might cause it to act aggressively.

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Great Dane

Does the Great Dane swim?

The Great Dane is a good swimmer to take to the local lake or river. It enjoys chasing after floating objects and will get excited about taking trips to the water in the summer.


When will the Great Dane stop growing?

The Great Dane will usually finish growing by the time it is 2 years old. A full-sized dog is taller than most people when it stands on its hind legs and can weigh as much as 200 pounds.


Is the Great Dane hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, the Great Dane is not hypoallergenic and can trigger reactions in people sensitive to pet dander. However, the short coat might cause fewer reactions than other dog breeds.


How fast can a Great Dane run?

The Great Dane has a top speed of more than 30 miles per hour.


How much do Great Dane puppies cost?

The cost of your Great Dane can vary considerably depending on the breeder you choose, your location, and whether or not you intend to breed the dog when it gets older. However, most people should expect to spend at least $1,500 for a healthy Great Dane puppy.

a great dane dog lying outdoor
Image By: Emma Forsyth 88, Shutterstock

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Summary

Great Danes are not an aggressive dog breed, and most people describe them as gentle giants with a laid-back temperament. They make an excellent addition to any family and will get along well with children and other pets as long as you let them spend plenty of time together while still a puppy. They are loyal and protective of their owners, so they can bark loudly at strangers but will quickly settle down when they determine the intruder is not a threat.

Taking the dog for behavioral training when it is still a puppy can help make it less likely to become aggressive while helping to make it easier to control.


Featured Image Credit: Dulova Olga, Shutterstock

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