Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Is a Great Dane a Good Family Dog? (Breed Facts & Characteristics)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

blue Great Dane out for a walk with its owner

Is a Great Dane a Good Family Dog? (Breed Facts & Characteristics)

A giant among the canines, the Great Dane is an elegant breed known for its massive size and height. Due to their size, Great Danes can be very intimidating by their appearance, especially for children. But despite their towering build, Great Danes are very good family dogs because of their loyal, affectionate and gentle personalities.

But just like all dogs, there are many things to consider before adopting a Great Dane of your own. Here, we look at different factors to consider when living with a Great Dane!


Origins of The Great Dane

Made popular in pop culture by the fictional cartoon character, Scooby Doo, the Great Dane originated from Germany, and is loved by dog enthusiasts around the world. Great Danes fall under the working group, and are considered dependable family dogs.


Great Great Dane of black
Image By: Dulova Olga, Shutterstock

Great Danes are called “gentle giants” for a reason—they are HUGE. As one of the largest dog breeds in existence, Great Danes fall under the giant dog category. Fully grown Great Danes can reach a size of 28 to 32 inches, with males even reaching 34 inches in height. They can also weigh around 100 to 140 pounds when they reach adult age.

Just because Great Danes are huge does not mean you need an enormous house to accommodate this gentle giant living with you. Great Danes are generally calm and will thrive in most households. But you will still need to provide enough space for them to move around without knocking anything over! If you decide to adopt a Great Dance, make sure you have just enough room for your big fur baby to move around comfortably!

Grooming and Shedding

If you have household members that are susceptible to allergies, then the Great Dane may not be the best option. Great Danes may have short and flat fur coats, but they are considered heavy shedders, especially during the spring and fall seasons. They are also droolers, and the dander in their saliva can also cause allergic reactions.

Great Danes’ coats need no more than basic grooming. Brushing their coat once a week is enough to keep their fur coat nice and healthy. Baths are recommended around once or twice a month as well. Great Danes’ ears and nails must be regularly cleaned and groomed, as they have naturally floppy ears.

At the same time, many allergy sufferers are known to live with Great Danes with little to no problems, as long as their dogs are properly groomed, and certain precautions are taken. It is recommended to keep your house clean by regularly sweeping or vacuuming due to Great Danes’ heavy shedding.

Personality and Temperament

female great dane
Image By: velora, Shutterstock

Going back to the nickname of “gentle giant”, Great Danes are calm, affectionate, and gentle dogs that do well in the house and in public! Great Danes enjoy lounging around the house and can even pass as giant lap dogs with their family members. They are loyal and protective to their families, and even do well with children and other pets in multi-pet households!

Compared to other dog breeds with high energy levels, Great Danes are gentle and enjoy children’s company—whether directly playing with them or simply spectating.  When in the company of children, they are generally more tolerable of children’s roughhousing and make great playmates. But like any other dog, it is important to keep an eye out, as they are still large dogs and may unintentionally knock small children over. They can also snap if pushed to their limits, so it is important to teach children how to properly interact with them as well.

Great Danes also make excellent guard dogs due to their size, and are naturally protective of their loved ones. When properly socialized and trained, Great Danes are easily one of the most loyal and dependable dogs for any household!


Great Danes often do not realize how big they are, making obedience training and proper socialization very important. Luckily, Great Danes are generally easy to train with proper reinforcement and rewards. They can easily learn how to interact with children, strangers, and even other pets through socialization. They will also have to learn boundaries and proper house training to avoid knocking over things in the house and possibly hurting young children.

Being larger in size and considered average in intelligence, Great Danes can be a little difficulty to train for first-time owners. Professional dog training can be considered to ensure your Great Dane makes the perfect house dog for you and your family. They are very good indoor dogs and prefer being in the company of their family rather than alone outside. This makes house training very important for homes with Great Danes!

Lifespan and Health

Great Danes by the sea
Image By: Paul Brennan, Pixabay

Your dog’s lifespan must be taken into consideration when adopting a family dog, as dealing with the loss of a pet can be difficult, especially for a child. Great Danes, like most giant dogs, have a lifespan of about 7 to 10 years. Compared to other family dogs, Great Danes have shorter life spans, which should be considered before adopting one, especially if you have young children.

Great Danes are also susceptible to multiple health complications. They are susceptible to a condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus, or “bloat” for short. This is caused by the twisting of the stomach due to the build up of gas. Like other larger breeds of dog, they are also at risk of other conditions, such as arthritis, elbow hygroma, dilated cardiomyopathy, and Wobbler Syndrome.

Because of this, Great Danes’ diet and frequency of meals must be strictly controlled to prevent bloat and other high-risk conditions. Like all dogs, a healthy and balanced diet along with exercise can help prolong a Great Dane’s lifespan, and increase their quality of life.

Exercise Requirements

As puppies, Great Danes are (not so) little balls of energy. They love to move and play! But due to their immature anatomy, it is recommended that you prevent them from excessive jumping and running as their bones are still developing.

As adults, Great Danes are generally calm and laid-back, but still require routine exercises, such as daily walks and playtime to keep them healthy and in shape. Proper exercise also helps in keeping your dog’s nails trimmed, as well as prolonging their quality of life.



Yes, Great Danes are great family dogs that are excellent for households both with or without children. Their charming and affectionate personalities work well with children, strangers, and even other pets! When properly trained and socialized, Great Danes are considered one of the most loyal and dependable dogs you and your family can ever have for a pet.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Guy J. Sagi, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.