“When someone says “Great Dane,” the term conjures up a picture of the gangly and troublesome Marmaduke ruining the neighbor’s yard, or Shaggy’s clumsy canine companion in a Scooby Doo mystery, cowering or devouring everything in sight. The most we get from these caricatures are lovable, bumbling giants generally causing mayhem. Does the Great Dane personality live up to its cartoonish hype?
The Great Dane Personality—An Inside Scoop
Matching or surpassing the size of an Irish wolfhound, cut by sleek greyhound lines, and bearing the muscularity of a mastiff…the Great Dane makes an impressive figure. You might assume that large, sturdy frame craves the outdoor life—but the Dane is a bit of a couch potato.
Since these house dogs by nature are huge, you may want an appropriately spacious home. As for property damage, well…let’s face it, some of us were boisterous and destructive as adolescents, right? How upset can we be with our formidable, four-legged friend as they go through a similar phase?
The Great Dane temperament in adolescent years can be marked by wild abandon, their terrible twos (and threes) quite hectic if you don’t have sufficient time to watch and train them. This sense of growing glee can lead to testing limits, jumping and leaping over objects and furniture, and exulting in their rapidly developing bodies. Their height also allows them to counter surf if you leave food out, so you’ll need to be as disciplined as your dog when it comes to keeping house.
Looks are deceiving (in a good way)
Size coupled with all that energy might sound intimidating, but the Great Dane is a lover, not a fighter. One value for a dog devotee: This breed provides an imposing image for home protection while actually being low on aggression.
The Great Dane delivers a protective visual deterrent, while actually being friendly and fantastic with kids. Strangers stay away, but friends and family needn’t be wary. As they grow and grow—often clocking in as the tallest dogs on the planet—make no mistake…hiding within their large and striking stature is a little dog mentality.
Down deep in a Great Dane personality, they just want to be your lapdog—provided your lap can sustain close to 200 pounds! Thanks to their friendly nature, they want to curl up with you, so you can’t have a body bubble with this breed. They want to stand with weighty paws on your shoes, leaning into your body, showing that demonstrative attachment. If you’re easily bowled over or have very tender feet, tread carefully when considering a Great Dane.
Big appetite, small workout
One thing is true: that Scooby Doo hunger isn’t just animated fantasy. This robust breed consumes mass quantities of food, so a Dane lover needs to factor that ongoing budgetary requirement into their plans.
The impetuous Great Dane temperament makes them gobblers, so you’ll need to break up their diet of 7 to 10 cups of food per day into at least two sittings, or they’re prone to serious health problems like bloat. While they require a lot of food and look enormous, these giant dogs have slower metabolisms and don’t require an equally enormous amount of exercise. They’re inherently playful, so interaction is vital to build relationships and reinforce training, but they don’t need the exercise time of smaller dogs.
Great Danes are know for being of average intelligence but they are actually very easy to housebreak and train. They do well in obedience classes and can follow commands such as sit, stay, down, come and heel quite easily. They can also be in agility classes since they were bred to be working dogs. As a breed, the Great Dane temperament includes a strong want to please and so treats and positive reinforcement can work really well while trying to train a Great Dane.”
This was one of many articles we read as we were researching Great Danes after a trainer suggested this breed as a good emotional support animal for Tyler. Living with extreme anxiety and PTSD as a result of abuse in early childhood before we adopted him, his therapist suggested a dog might be just the therapy tool needed to reduce anxiety and bring some relief to the night terrors that haunt him.
We were looking for a large, intimidating looking dog that Tyler could believe would be able to protect him from the birth father he worries will find him and try to kill him, despite all the “logical proof” we present to convince him that he is safe and protected. But we were also looking for a gentle, easy going temperament in that same support animal. A trainer suggested a Great Dane.
Two months ago God led us to Olive.
She was 10 weeks old and 15 pounds when we brought her home.
She is now 18 weeks old and 52 pounds.
Her affect on Tyler and on our home is nothing short of miraculous. She has secured her place in all of our hearts, but especially Tyler’s, as protector, beloved companion, and best friend.
We are finding the article’s description of the breed to be completely on point. She is a couch potato through and through, sleeping for hours a day, only to be overcome with crazy bursts of energy that cause her to race around the room, bouncing from couch to chair in a hilariously comical dance of clumsy steps, flying legs, and flopping ears.
She is over the moon in love with her family and will never sit on the other side of the couch when there is the option of laying across a warm body. She always has to have some part of her touching someone whether it is laying her head on our lap or leaning against our legs as she stands beside us.
She gallops like a filly just learning to run, and is quickly growing to the size of a small horse, doubling her weight every few weeks.
She can now reach the counter and our need to “baby proof” has become more complicated by her growing reach.
The good news is she has proven to be very easy to train. Her innate love for her family and her people pleasing personality has made her the most trainable breed we have ever owned. She is almost done with her basic puppy training class that takes place every Tuesday night and has loved it. She has blossomed with the experience, becoming less nervous and timid with each experience and encounter she is exposed to. She loves her buddies in puppy class and always sleeps well after playing hard with the other puppies for an hour.
Tyler is her Daddy and he is her first choice when she wants to romp and play,
but when it comes to the other fur babies in the house she has eyes only for Ellie, our Bashar. Sweet Ellie has become the adoptive momma to Olive and is incredibly patient with this horse-like puppy that is twice her size who wants to always snuggle.
I’m sure Ellie sometimes tires of the puppy, but she never pushes the puppy away when Olive curls up next to her (or climbs up on her) to sleep.
What a blessing this goofy dog has been!