8 Things to Consider Before Owning a Great Dane

As most of you know, I am over-the-moon in love with my Great Dane, Penny. What you might not know is that 92.7% of everyone who sees her says, “I’VE ALWAYS WANTED A GREAT DANE!!”

Which brings me to this post.

A shocking thing I’ve come to learn is that so many Great Danes are abandoned because their owners didn’t know what they were getting into (cue: weeping)

SO, if you think you want a Great Dane, here are some things to consider.*


1. Size Matters: Obviously, Danes are ginormous dogs. On average, male Danes measure anywhere from 32″ – 36″ at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 140 – 180 pounds. Females, on average, stand between 28″ and 32″ at the shoulder and weigh around 110 – 140 pounds. While it may look neat, you really need to consider if owning a dog that big is right for you.

baby penny

2. You’re ready for a financial investment: Great Danes are not inexpensive dogs to own. From vet bills to foods costs, you need to be ready to shell out a pretty penny for your Great Dane. Penny eats 8 cups of food per day, and we’ve yet to have a vet visit under $150. FYI: Big things (beds, collars, toys, etc.) cost more than “average sized” things.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 6.01.12 PM3. The struggle Slobber is real: Holy shit. If you’re a neat freak or extremely attached to your clean wood floors, just go with another breed. So. much. drool. 

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 6.00.17 PM

4. If personal space is your thing: Go with another breed. I didn’t know the true meaning of velcro until we got Penny. I absolutely love this about Great Danes, but most people don’t realize that these giants are actually fierce lap dogs ;)


5. Great Dane? More like, Great Diva: Penny is the biggest diva I’ve ever met. When I read that Danes are “strong willed” I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the truth. Then, we got Penny. She moans if you try to get her to move and she doesn’t want to. She groans if you move and she doesn’t want to you. Danes do what Danes want to do. (Proof)Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 6.00.25 PM6. Separation anxiety: Danes are not dogs you can leave alone for 10 hours a day. Most Danes are prone to separation anxiety, and can become destructive and depressed when left alone for too long. (Velcro, remember? ;) )

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 6.35.19 PM

7. Training, training, training: If you do not want to invest your time and money into training, a Great Dane might not be the best breed for you. It’s not realistic to think you can have a dog this size and not have them obey you. A Great Dane pulling on the leash is quite terrifying. A Great Dane chewing on your couch is quite devastating. A Great Dane jumping on you when you walk in the door is quite painful. You get the picture…you need to be in charge. (We owe so much to the fantastic people at 2 Speak Dog!)

2 speak dog

8. You’re ready for your heart to explode with love: Yes, Penny is expensive. She’s going to be freakin’ huge. She’s slobbery. She’s needy. She’s more work than smaller dog might be.

But, in my experience, she’s worth all of that and more. She’s a gentle giant. She’s a love bug. She’s  funny. She’s fantastic. Penny has easily become the third member of our family and I love her tremendously!


*I am not a dog expert, duh. This is just my experience. There is so much information out there about owning Great Danes – please do your research before owning this breed!




  1. says

    This is an awesome article for anyone wanting a Great Dane but also good for anyone thinking about getting a dog! I wish we had researched Beagle before getting our Gemma. I mean I love her to bits but hard work! She pulls so much on a lead – can’t even begin to imagine how Penny would be!

  2. says

    I LOVE PENNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I also love this post. I feel like you wrote it in a way that was fun an accessible but still cautionary. Dogs are a HUGE commitment. They’re pretty much the best thing ever, but it’s hard to know what you’re getting into if you’re a first-time dog owner and you’re simply wooed by the cute face of a puppy. I think vizslas are amazing dogs, but whenever people ask me about owning one, I react similarly to the way you wrote this post. Vizslas are amazing but you HAVE to be ready to give them so much attention and exercise… basically take your expectations and triple it. Like danes, vizslas are Velcro dogs which I think is the best thing ever, but if you’re not into smothering and having a dog follow you into the bathroom to watch you pee, another breed might be a better fit. :) P.S. That last pic of you and Penny melts my heart!

      • Jessica says

        Hi Colleen,
        Penny is absolutely adorable. I have not seen a great dane with her coloring… typically a harlequin is black and white and she looks almost like a blue harlequin. Do you mind emailing me back the name of her breed and if possible the information to her breeder?


  3. says

    I love this post (especially all the pictures!) I also think this needs to be shared, like, everywhere. It makes me so sad to see rescues that are just FULL of young dogs because people can’t handle them once they are past cute little puppy phase.

    Side note: I was running yesterday and coming up behind a lady that was training her great dane to sit and stay. I remember thinking that her training that dog not to chase after me when I ran by was probably going to save her a lot of scrapes and bruises! It was also the cutest thing ever.

  4. says

    This is such a great post – so informative! We have a pug, and can definitely relate to the separation anxiety thing…he hates being left alone. We did do some research on them before we got Atticus, so it helped us to know what to expect.

  5. says

    Love this… I don’t have a great dane… I have a… well, I don’t know what he is other than awesome but this is great for anyone looking to own a dog. I think people get wrapped up in the cuteness factor and forget that it comes with a lot of work and responsibility [while also huge hugs, kisses, and moments of deep belly laughter]. :)

  6. says

    Big dogs are seriously the best! I feel like I could have written this exact same post about my newfoundland, though I’d have to add #9 about the fur, so much fur!!

  7. Katie says

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been looking into various types of dog breads and this was helpful. Also, Penny is beautiful!

  8. says

    We’ve always said that if we get a dog it will be either a Great Dane or Golden Retriever. One reason we haven’t is cost. We want to make sure we have the time, are financially stable and ability to care for a dog. It isn’t like a houseplant and god knows we are not ready for any babies.

  9. Jamie says

    Great insight and some of it it true for any dog. They require not just financial investments but also investments of time,etc. I love my dog to pieces and would get another in a heartbeat but I also know the commitment it takes and will not do it until I can be all in…..:)

  10. Colette says

    Holy shit – 8 cups of food a day? EIGHT?!? My little guy eats 3/4 a cup a day. The huge 50lb bags take us months to get through.

  11. Sarah says

    Not only do I love your Penny posts (I pet her through my screen-sorry), but this was informative as well. While I have experience with “bigger” dogs, sounds like Great Danes are different (but sooooo cute).

    Just curious, can you run with her? I love running with my dogs (80lb boxer/rottie mix and the slightly plump 30lb puggle) and want this in any future doggies we may welcome into our family.

  12. Rachel says

    Hi Collen!! Penny is absolutely adorable :) Did you guys rescue her or buy her from a breeder? If the later, I would encourage you to consider breed-specific rescue groups in the future for Danes or whatever breed you might be looking for. 4 million animals will be euthanized this year alone for lack of good homes and buying from breeders perpetuates this needless suffering and euthanasia of healthy animals. I’m happy to answer any questions, just some food for thought!!

  13. Margaret says

    Not to be dreary, but you forgot to mention heartbreak in a shorter time since their life expectancy is shorter. You try to prep yourself, but it hurts much more when they leave you since they have such HUGE personalities. You have to be one of the people who believe it’s better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all…..

  14. says

    I think anyone considering a Great Dane should read this. Actually, on my street alone, there are two different homes that own Great Danes. I should be all, ‘You should check out this blog post!’ I definitely couldn’t do it, so at least I know this and didn’t just rush out and get a dog not knowing the responsibilities (oh wait, that’s exactly what my neighbors did!)

  15. says

    She is beautiful!
    This is a great post. Both my boyfriend and I would like a dog but not until one of us is able to stay at home during the day. It upsets me when dogs are left in crates for 15+ hours a day because their owners are both out at work.
    My boyfriend has always wanted a bigger dog but realistically, I know a smaller terrier-sized dog would suit us a lot better for all the reasons you mentioned above!


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