Help me make up my mind.... ever own a Great Dane?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by tnchickenut, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. tnchickenut

    tnchickenut It's all about the Dels!

    Jan 24, 2010
    Englewood, TN
    So I have been offered a Great Dane pup of my choice out of a litter. I don't know if I should take them up on the offer or not. I have two boxers, a rescued jack russell, one indoor rescued cat, and many outdoor "barn cats".

    Tell me about their energy level, their smarts, are they usually likely to chase (chickens, cats, small dog) critters? I have read online a bit about them, but you know how websites are... all repeating themselves about "energetic and protective" ok.... so are they hyper? or just playful? (again, I have boxers... I like energy, but not spaz like a dalmation for example) Protective like growls at the mailman or protective as in snaps at visitors?

  2. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have had 3 great danes. They can be wonderful dogs if trained properly. As for the mailman, they can be a protective breed and if they decide something or someone is dangerous, you can't always get them to change their minds - you see as guarding dogs, they were bred to be able to make their own judgement if need be. I had one G Dane that respected me, but here and there if she disliked someone, no one could tell her any different.... 99% of people she always liked. However, one time 2 men came to my house to repair something, they were about the same age, build, etc... She liked the first one, but after examining the second I saw her lip curl and teeth show and I remove d her because I knew she would probably go after him. Amusingly the man's co-worker turned to the man my dog didn't like and said: "Man, what did you do? Dogs know things! You must have done something!!" (LOL) (Another time I am positive she saved my life from a very strange man... and no, she didn't stop to ask me if he was a weirdo and if it was okay to go after him. LOL)

    I noticed you already have a more energetic breed - great danes have an overall lower energy level (after puppyhood is over - 2 yrs of puppyhood), the great dane may be annoyed by the more hyper dog unless it's a lot older. They are a very trainable dog, but they will test you to see if you are in charge or not. They can be very stubborn, but are fiercely loyal... GDanes take the safety of their loved ones, especially children very seriously... The down size is that the size of GDanes makes them prone to hurting themselves, sometimes others (especially small children) accidentally. They suffer from a lot of health problems and reach old age at an early age. They have a long puppyhood, very brief period of young adulthood then several years of age and decline. On average they die pretty young, sometimes as early as 7 or 8. They tend to get arthritis, and can need daily medication in that case, and they need good beds with a lot of cushioning. Consider a twin bed or a sofa just for your G Dane.... Don't leave out things on low tables, or the tail will sweep it off.... Having a great dane is almost a totally different lifestyle... everything is bigger, your dog is bigger - one of mine was 165 pounds and outweighed me by 30 pounds. I had to make sure gates, doors, cars, kennels, bowls, beds, balls (choking hazards) were all appropriate and they cost more for big dogs, and sometimes you have to order things in big sizes rather than getting them at the store.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  3. SillyChicken

    SillyChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 12, 2010
    Danes can be more expensive because they eat more. Medical costs are higher. They have higher tendencies to get bloat and other ailments that are very expensive to treat.

    I've wanted a dane for forever.. but I'm a little "vet bill" shy right now (just forked over $2400 to the vet to fix my dogs leg).

    A good dane, should be protective. and you should be prepared to provide proper ob training and socialization.
  4. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2010
    Working at a vet clinic has given me great insight to which breeds of dogs I would consider if I decided to replenish my dog herd. One thing that has really stuck with me is, if your dog CANNOT walk, are YOU able to carry it where it needs to go? So, I'll stick with my under 50 pounders LOL!!
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    That's a good thought. Our dane was very dehydrated when we took him in to his final vet visit. They re-hydrated him with a couple liters over the next 24 hours. I felt so resentful later when we had to use the tractor to carry his body to his grave...........not that that much fluid would have mattered, but I was just thinking he could have been 10 lbs lighter. It really sucked.

    So..........we've only had one Dane, and I don't want another although my husband does. We got ours at 5 weeks when momma abruptly weaned them. I remember his activity level being pretty low compaired to other puppies I've had----border collies, mixed breed large dogs---and my mom remarked all he did while he was a pup was eat and sleep.

    He was physically pretty uncoordinated. He never figured out how to jump into the bed of the truck. He was never what I'd call a high energy dog, more moderate to low. He was 4 when we put him down.

    Temperment---he never met a stranger. I don't think he barked at anyone in a threatening fashion his entire life. Not so much for a guard dog.

    He'd chase a cat if it'd run from him, but most of my cats just look at the dogs like "so, what's your problem? I'm not going anywhere".

    He was never interested in my chickens, and they free ranged when we had him. I also has a great farm dog, a shepherd mix, who may have "taught" him to leave the birds alone, I don't know. But I never taught the shepherd to leave the birds alone, he just always did.

    He was not the brightest dog in the world. We referred to him as the Dorkfish...........ever see that Bill Engvall skit?

    One thing I noticed about him and my current dog I think is a Dane mix.........they're not overly concerned with my good opinion. Border collies and labs live for praise and my attention, when you're mad at them they just can't do enough to appease you. Pharoah (the Dane) and Blaze (the mix) are both more of a "well, if you're ******, I'll go do something else and check with you later".

    So there ya go. A very small sample, but it's all hands on!
  6. tnchickenut

    tnchickenut It's all about the Dels!

    Jan 24, 2010
    Englewood, TN
    Thank you all.

    I think I have opted against it. Your comments have helped. I knew they were more to feed, obviously, and they were also prone to medical issues... but I think with my current dogs and their given ages and temperments, it wouldn't be fair to them to have a dog that stuck to my hip. That is their place. Also, I would be settling because of oppertunity to get one free, rather than make sure the dog is for me and my house.

    and donrae... that willingness to please is something I love about my boxers. Not sure I could handle a 150+ lbs cat. LMAO!!! And I'm sorry about yours... we had a 125lbs German Shepard as a family dog and a few years go my father had to put her down for her own good. Dad had to barrow a bobcat to get her moved and it was a little bit upsetting. So I understand. It kinda haunts you.

    Like I said, I'm sure they are great dogs in some ways, but right now for what I have and what I want... I don't think they fit the bill right. If I get another dog I SHOULD get a LGD that can live with chickens anyways. But you know how it is... you see a cute puppy and get told you can have it and you have a hard time saying no.

    Thanks for all the help in making me see the reality. ;)
  7. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Well, it sounds like you've already decided, but I'll throw my 2 cents in anyway.

    Great Dane is not the breed I'd get just because someone was offering it. It's the dog you get when you've had lots of exposure to them and you still love them. It sounds like you're no stranger to dogs and raising them, but a Dane is just different from most other breeds. In many ways, they are great dogs...great big comforting lovey doves. But have you ever seen an angry Dane? Even one that just gives a tiny growl is terrifying, and I'm not scared of dogs. I tend to think that all big dogs are just fun and games, but a tiny negative peep out of a Dane will definitely scare a person to death.

    Not only that, but do you know how much they drool? I used to work as a trainer at PetSmart, so we used food rewards, and man, whenever the family with the Dane came in, there were just ropes of drool hanging from his jowls. I LOVE dogs, but this was just disgusting to me. I can't deal with a drooling dog.

    And how big is your house? Great Danes have an undocked tail (not that I'm against that) and large breeds with long tails like that who are kept indoors tend to bash their tails on the walls so much that they can develop bloody sores that won't heal and get infected. Living in close quarters causes adult dog tail amputations annually, and that surgery is no joke. It's one thing to amputate a tiny puppy tail that hasn't had all its nerve endings developed yet (yes, I know many people are vehemently opposed to this, and I know it definitely hurts the puppies), but it's quite another to have to amputate a huge, fully developed tail with all the nerve endings. I've known two dogs that had to have this surgery for this reason, and one was a Great Dane mix who lived in a small 1200 square foot house. His owner came home every day for months wondering where the painted blood marks on the wall were coming from. She searched and searched him but couldn't find the tiny cuts that were bleeding profusely. She finally took him to the vet and what do you know? Tail has to be amputated, because he won't stop wagging and the house isn't getting any bigger.

    I don't mean to be down on Danes, because I generally don't think there's a bad breed out there. You just have to be the right person in the right circumstances: large house, need for property protection, plenty of time to exercise them, plenty of experience training a strong-willed dog, not averse to drool or massive poops, plenty of spare money to feed lots of food.
  8. tnchickenut

    tnchickenut It's all about the Dels!

    Jan 24, 2010
    Englewood, TN

    Yeah, I had made up my mind and found another home for not just the one pup, but all three there were for the owner of the pups just to get the pressure off me. LOL!

    I think you are right and glad you put this up... it will be searchable for anyone to read and could serve a purpose in the future. I have boxers and originally wanted them undocked because of the humanitarian views, but I did some research and found exactly what you are describing... it is for their best interest. So, my boxers are docked, and I'm thankful for it now.

    As for drooling... I don't mind a little, my boxers do when they get going and excited... but excessive drool might be something hard to deal with. Then again, I really still love Mastiffs.

    But part of my reason for turning any dog down right now is that I'm working towards a goal of a new home and really should wait until I'm in a new home to get a new dog... that would help determine WHAT new dog I get. ;)
  9. MissusC

    MissusC Causaruckus Homestead

    Late to the discussion, but I've had two danes and my current dane/anatolian/mastiff/who knows mutt.

    Big game changers for me:

    Vet bills: meds for dogs are weight based. One example of this was when we had giardia and the vet wanted to treat all the animals (2 cats and the dog), the meds for the cats were $20 or so, the dog's were over $200. Sometimes this works in our favor as he can take people meds (his arthritis meds are $5 a month at costco), but not often.

    Drool: I have had one dane that drooled and one that didn't. Neither of them showed any inclination toward/against drooling as puppies. It was something that showed up as they got older. The current mutt drools worse than anything I have ever known. But we love him anyway and keep drool towels in every room.

    I have never had the tail sore issue, but I can tell you that the tail is at the perfect height to whack Mr C in the manly parts. [​IMG]

    Space: My dog doesn't require a lot of space, he really is a couch potato and lays around most of the time. The place where you need space is where they lay down. He takes up most of our living room floor. Also, custom dog beds are expensive.

    We actually ended up with the current mutt after meeting a bunch of dogs at a dane rescue. We didn't "click" with any of the danes there, but we did with this crazy doofus. So, we got him instead.

    I applaud you for waiting until you have a home. It's hard to reassure a landlord that your 200 lb dog won't cause problems. I waited until I owned a home again too and even though it was hard, I am glad I waited.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'd forgotten all about that! It was a definate issue, as the dog was always sooo happy to see my honey [​IMG]. Our current dogs are a little shorter so not so much an issue.

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