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.

Why Does My Great Dane Lean on Me? 5 Typical Reasons

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

black great dane dog cuddling with owner

Why Does My Great Dane Lean on Me? 5 Typical Reasons

Due to their size and strength, Great Danes are known both as “Apollo Dogs” and as “Gentle Giants.” When they stand tall and erect, they strike a majestic and imposing stance that sets them apart from most other breeds of dogs. Although big and strong, they have hearts of gold—with calm and loving personalities. Great Danes see themselves as part of your family and, if brought up correctly, will be devoted to their humans.

Spend any time around Great Danes, and sooner or later, you will notice that they have a habit of pressing against their owners or other people; the first time it happens, you might think that the dog, being such a large hound, simply hasn’t noticed you there and has decided to occupy the space where you happen to be. However, in reality, the Great Dane is very conscious of you and has actively chosen to put their weight on you.

Read on to find out the five reasons why a Great Dane might place their considerable weight against you.


The 5 Typical Reasons Why Your Great Dane Leans on You

1. Display of Affection, Love, and Loyalty

Great Danes are known for their love of cuddling and snuggling with their owners, but usually, this means you have to be lying or sitting down before they can show their love for you. So, what’s a dog to do when you and they are both standing and the mood to cuddle you strikes them? Well, they haven’t got arms to put around you, so the next best thing is to get close and settle in. In addition to demonstrating affection for you, they need to trust you deeply.

By leaning on your leg or thigh, they are counting on you to reciprocate and to hold them up. Displaying the deep connection they feel is a typical reason for Great Danes to prop some of their significant mass against you.

man with his great dane dog by the pond
Image Credit: Dmussman, Shutterstock

2. Hunger

If you have a Great Dane, then you know that not only are they giants in size but also in appetite! Great Danes need to be fed more often than other dogs; a minimum of twice a day and ideally three times a day—these smaller amounts are best for Great Danes, who can suffer from bloat. If your Great Dane is pushing up against you, it may remind you that you’ve forgotten the time, and it’s been a while—too long, in their stomach’s opinion—since you last fed them.

3. For Warmth

Generally, the larger an animal or person is, the better they are at conserving heat. But in a dog’s case, this is complicated by their shape and type of hair. Great Danes have long, tall legs, slim bodies, and short hair: this is not the best combination for staying warm on cold days. So, if you and your dog are outside and the wind is biting deep, you might find that big loveable hound is leaning into you to try and share your body warmth.

Pay attention and note whether your dog is shivering as well. A quick rigorous rub and energetic run back towards warmth might tide them over until you get back indoors. If you find your dog is getting cold indoors, you may have to consider turning the heating up for them or creating somewhere warm for them to lie down. If, however, you find your dog getting cold regularly, then you should consider getting them a warm coat to wear on long walks or cold days at home.

woman and her black great dane dog sitting on a grassy field
Image By: ButtermilkgirlVirginia, Shutterstock

4. Tiredness

Great Danes are known for their exceptional stamina, and they can often be seen out and about on long walks. But even the most energetic of Great Danes will eventually tire: when this happens, it’s not uncommon for these gentle giants to rest against you and relax. Having more recently been bred as companion dogs, Great Danes require lots of attention from their owners, and they may use leaning as a way to show that they need a break. When your dog starts to show signs of tiredness, it’s wise to provide them with the opportunity to rest so they can continue enjoying their walks or playtime with renewed energy. Your Great Dane will likely look forward to long days of exercise and fun, but once they start exhibiting signs of fatigue, it’s crucial that you give them the time they need to rest up.

5. Comfort and Security

An expression of love and affection is not the only reason a Great Dane might lean in, it may be because they feel scared and need comfort and security from their beloved fur parents!  When small dogs are afraid, they can usually run away and hide, but Great Danes are often the bulkiest thing in the room, and there is nowhere for them to go.

So, when a Great Dane feels anxious or afraid, they will use you as their security by shifting their weight onto you to provide themself with the sense of relief and safety that they seek. It might look like your hound is trying to get attention from you, but really, they’re seeking the reassurance that you will stay close by when they’re feeling scared or overwhelmed. Huddling against you also provides physical contact, which is known to reduce stress levels significantly in dogs.

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


Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if your Great Dane is pushing itself on you, it could be for one of many reasons. From expressing love to feeling vulnerable or getting comfortable—your dog has ways of letting you know what they need without saying a word. So, the next time your pooch rests their weight against you, take note of the situation. After all, they’re relying on you for their security and comfort. Rejoice in the fact that your furry friend loves and trusts you enough to lean on you!

Featured Image Credit: Roger costa morera, 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.