Well, take for instance the name of this site. It is inspired by the countless times every Great Dane owner hears a stranger call out "Do you have a saddle for that thing?" Great Danes are big dogs, ranging anywhere from 110lbs - 200lbs and standing anywhere from 28 inches to 36 inches at the shoulder. I like to refer to them as the Clydesdale of the dog world. Hank, our Merle male Great Dane looks down at me when he jumps onto my shoulders and I am 6' tall. It is for this reason that you must be willing to put in extra time to train your Great Dane. Any unruly dog can be a nuisance but a 160lb unruly dog can be plain dangerous. DYHAS HIGHLY RECOMMENDS that if you plan on getting a Dane puppy you take it to obedience class and work hard on its training. Doing so will pay dividends when they become larger, trust us. Or, you can opt for a rescue Dane which has probably already been trained by the staff or previous owner.
So BEFORE rushing off to buy a Great Dane ask yourself:
Are you ready to handle a dog this big. Working with rescues I can't begin to tell you the amount of Great Danes without homes for the simple excuse given of "He/She got to big". It is very sad that the dog is put into this situation, given that Danes become very attached to their families, to be given up to a rescue or sold because they got "too big". Common sense needs to prevail here... Great Danes GET BIG. If you don't feel you can handle the size DONT GET A GREAT DANE!! Do yourself and the dog a favor and look for a different breed. When the novelty of a cute puppy wears off and the Dane starts to get bigger and bigger, you need to be prepared to take on the responsibility that comes with it.
You may need to make SACRIFICES:
I have not had a coffee table in 12 years. The fact is when you have a big dog you may need to make changes to your living environment and life in general to accommodate it. Do you have an automobile that can accommodate such a large dog? Do you have expensive knick-knacks on a low shelf? Do you leave food laying around? You need to consider all of these things when owning such a big dog. A Great Dane can clear off a coffee table, glasses, dishes and magazines with a single swipe of its tail. You will need to make changes to things in your house...If the dog breaks something or get something he shouldn't, its most likely owner error, not the dogs fault. Be forewarned.
Here is a little sample of just how large Great Danes can be. This is Hank, pestering mom for a drink
Here is a small time line of just how fast a Great Dane Puppy can grow in a few weeks.
Great Danes make excellent family dogs and are incredibly gentle with children. The caveat to that is when a Great Dane is still young, generally up until 2 years of age. Young Danes have quite a bit of energy and can get quite rambunctious, both indoors and out. Small children may get knocked down or even hurt when this happens, though one must remember, a young Dane is still a puppy and does not understand his size. This is also why we highly recommend obedience training with young Danes. Inevitably though when a Dane reaches maturity (usually between 2-3 years) you will see a drastic slow down in their energy. They will still play of course but are usually much more comfortable with their size and on average are very gentle. Many times, they will become very attached to the young ones in the house and make excellent Stuarts for young children.
THAT BEING SAID:
While Danes can most certainly be gentle with children one cannot say the same about children being gentle with Danes. You absolutely must make a child understand that a Dane is not a horse. They are not to be ridden. They are not to be abused in any way. A dog, Great Dane or other, is still an animal. If you hurt it, it will protest. There have been many instances where children have been bitten or growled at because they attempt to climb on top of a Great Dane. The dog should not be faulted for this, and it should be used as a teaching opportunity for the child. The summary of the story is children MUST BE SUPERVISED when interacting with the dog until a mutual understanding of what is acceptable and what is not is established. This is true for any dog. It should also be noted that a bite from a dog due to neglect actions of a child does not make the dog "viscous". There is a difference between a dog striking out because it has been physically hurt, and an aggressive dog that will bite out of fear.