Everything about the Great Dane is great. He has a gigantic physique. You will have a tremendous companionship from this mammoth canine member. He possesses unmatched power in the dogdom.
But things started differently for this dog breed. They were actually wild boar hunters with precise ferociousness. But nowadays, you will barely trace out any rude element in him. His mere presence and at best barks are enough to put you out of your comfort zone.
So, those old weapons are not necessary these days. Rather, a Great Dane is more focused on giving plenty of joy to you and your family members.
Great Dane personality:
Unless you are a true troublemaker, you will never have a contention with a Great Dane. he is polite and kind despite his huge size. This is why he is often titled as a gentle giant.
His mild character however does not wash away ingrained protective sense. It arises whenever a situation demands it. He is usually good for kids and other pets. Not to forget, kid friendliness requires rigorous training.
Otherwise, a small push by such a large animal is surely going to bring some calamities. Adult dogs are kind of nonchalant and do not make too much fuss.
So, you are not going to face a giant jumper. However, smaller ones will show you some of their mettle in boisterous activities.
The Great Dane is a bit possessive and does not prefer anyone occupying his place. In spite of having a huge body, he will calmly climb up on your lap. It will be an intolerable nuisance once he becomes adult.
So, from the very beginning, never treat him as a lap dog. A soft heart lies within the Great Dane.
As a result, he is incapable of living outdoors all by himself.
Measure Great Dane smartness:
Great Danes have a ‘working intelligence’ or ‘about average intellect’ which is pretty good to accomplish your goals. He is ranked at the 48th position in the dog intelligence list prepared by Professor Stanley Coren.
By the way, his sweet temperament makes up for smartness shortage. Taking in this dog demands tremendous commitment on your side.
So, you are actually searching for reliability rather than sharp intellect and you know exactly what you are looking for. He is simply the best choice for a family if you can afford his size. Responsibility is the core characteristic defining a Great Dane.
But imparting these lessons requires your efforts and they do not know a thing about it. You teach him a job and he obeys it to the point.
What & how to feed:
Ingesting proper nutrition into your dog is the biggest priority. An adult Great Dane daily eats about 10-12 cups of food. A 120 pound fully grown up dog might need 2507 calories everyday except for an older one.
But this amount varies depending on his age, sex, health and metabolic state. This is more of a rough idea to give you a hint of his requirement. Great Danes are hugely affected by Bloat, a metabolic fatal condition.
So, meals should be frequent and small rather than sticking to an idea of 2-3 meals per day. You should not get him straight into an exercise before or after a meal as well. High quality dog food is especially a mandatory aspect for his wellness.
Muscular-skeletal issues call for it all the more. Give them specially prepared giant breed food. They can do fine with 23% protein and 12% fat in their intake. Beef, chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, dairy items and lamb are excellent sources of proteins.
Barley, cereals, vegetables and oats will give him some plant proteins. But vegetable proteins are not proficient in amino acid which is vital for a dog.
Flaxseed oil, safflower oil, olive oil and fish oil are going to supply the dog with necessary fat. Fat repels an injury by protecting the internal organs by creating a protective layer. Bone and joint strength also derives from it.
Tapioca, brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruits, beetroot, pumpkin and vegetables serve him with carbohydrates and fibers. Carbohydrate provides long term strength. Vegetables should not exceed 1-2% of his total diet.
Escape a few health issues:
Normally, Great Danes are healthy dogs. But there is always scope for some precautionary measures that can prevent a bunch of major mishaps.
For a big dog, hip and elbow dysplasia are quite common and you can easily escape from it with health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). X-rays can detect these diseases at its early stage. Then, you can ask for a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF). It will give you some solace regarding eye issues.
Again, bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus is a vital stomach case that has no apparent medical reason. But it usually happens after a meal followed by physical exercise. Gobbling huge amount of food within a short time is also responsible for it.
Bloat allows little reaction time for treatment before it finishes the dog off. It will mostly lead the dog to surgery table. Cardiac problems, arthritis and hypothyroidism can affect the Dane as well.
Insightful care program:
The Great Dane has a smooth coat and it is short and thick. He sheds a fair amount all over the year. Regular brush will keep his shedding at bay. Use a bristle brush and hound glove for it. A weekly brush will do just fine.
Moreover, 3-4 baths a year are going to maintain his cleanliness. On top of this, you should prepare for two shedding seasons. You will come to know the official definition of profuse shedding due to his tremendous size.
Exercise is an important tool to sedate his temperament. Give him access to an enclosed area so that he can run. His short coat asks for a blanket during the extreme cold of Winter. He should have access to a plenty of fresh water. Brush his teeth twice or thrice per week.
Cleaning the ears are also vital for good health. Inspect into his ears closely and check for any infection or discharge. Moreover, you have to trim the nails at a regular interval. A yearly vet visit for overall health check up is tremendously beneficial for this gentle giant.
Proper exercise method:
Half an hour to one hour of exercise is welcome. But over exercise is no good for the Great Dane. It creates a chance for developing Arthritis. Walking with occasional running spree is excellent exercise for him.
Get him out in the street for a medium paced long walk. He is going to enjoy it. You can also choose a schedule of daily 2-3 short walks. You can put him on an interactive game such as frisbee or fetching.
His growth takes at least two years and an institutionalized exercise schedule will adversely affect his joints and hip during this period. So, you have to wait for him to finish this stage. He is a fantastic jogging partner and awesome swimmer with his long legs. This is a superb scent tracker and is likely to start following a trail at any moment.
As a result, you must get the dog under leash control while outing.
Great Dane training cues:
This large dog needs immediate obedience training. You will feel the importance of it at every step when he grows up into an adult. Imparting them a proper training is however another gigantic effort. You have to show ample patience and positive reinforcement until he learns the tricks by heart. Use of tasty treats is another way out for you.
However, the Great Danes are, most of the time, trying to please you by any means. So, the training period will be much enjoyable. He might require more time than you thought to acquire basic ideas. But this is a willing student who seeks to learn new things everyday.
Moreover, treats will keep him going for a long time. Guard dog training should be an automatic choice for him. He needs to learn the timing and situation when he should activate his guard mode.
Crate training and house training are very basic issues that you have to deal with at the beginning. Basic commands such as ‘sit’, ‘come’, ‘leave’, etc are going to be your controlling weapons for the rest of his life.
Socialize the Dane as early as possible. Introducing with the other dogs, humans and the surrounding area is a fine start. Consistency is the ultimate key to Great Dane training. Rewarding proper behavior will give you a mellow big dog.
Great Dane origin:
The Great Dane does not come from Denmark despite a direct indication from the name. It is a German domestic dog breed. They are known as ‘Deutsche Dogge’ in Germany. The Danes came to the service of German nobles who were very fond of wild boar hunting.
Experts say that Irish Wolfhound, Greyhound and Mastiff breeds were the contributors to Great Dane creation. There is no surprise that this is the national dog of Germany declared in 1876. Their arrival in the USA is somewhat shrouded in mystery as we come to know very little about it.
However, the AKC registered the Great Dane for the first time in 1887.