Owning a Dane

Great Danes are a wonderful breed, but far too many people get them without doing appropriate reseach. If you ask any Great Dane rescue, you will find out the vast majority of Danes are released because the home didn't realize the care, cost and training requirements these giants need. Anyone who desires to obtain a Dane needs to do more research than read a book or visit a site. Most books will tell you Danes can live in apartments and don't need much exercise--but they forget to point out that Dane puppies can be VERY active (and destructive) and generally don't "settle" until 18 months or so. Whether purchasing from a breeder or adopting from a rescue, breed research should include the following: meeting Danes "up close and personal" in several different settings, including homes, shows and out and about. Talk to long-term, experienced breeders and owners and LISTEN to what they have to say. Volunteer time to a local rescue to foster a few Danes--this will give you valuable insight on the breed. And, if you are purchasing from a breeder, be sure you've done your research to make sure you are dealing with a GOOD breeder. While many Danes "play well with others", some certainly do not. They are not a pack dog (like a Beagle) and sometimes can be dog aggressive. Many are not suited for play in dog parks. (Now, before someone gets upset, please remember my experience is with MANY dogs over the years as both a breeder, an owner, an a involved rescue person.) I did not rate the breed high for health--Danes have their fair share of health issues. More information on problems can be found at the Great Dane Club of America site www.gdca.org. I also did not rate them high with small kids simply because many first time owners with small kids do not have the skills to properly train the dog AND the puppy. Of course, that will vary with the individual family. However, I generally do not recommend the breed to a new Dane family with very small kids unless the primary caretaker is fully aware of what raising small kids and a Dane puppy entails. Danes are expensive to raise. Just general day-to-day stuff is more expensive simply because of the size, never mind if you run into serious problems. I highly recommend pet insurance. As for watchdog/guarddog: I feel a Dane with proper temperament should "sound off" when a stranger approaches the property but should use good judgement and be accepting when introduced properly. With other household pets: If the Dane is raised with a smaller dog or cat or even bunny, most likely there will be no problem. However, some Danes have high prey drive and may chase other small animals that do not reside in the home. As for temperament, I would like to stress a Dane should NEVER be shy, timid, fearful or aggressive. While youngsters may go through a timid stage when growing, it should never be to the point they might bite or snap. NEVER CHOOSE A PUPPY, WHO WHILE IN THE LITTER, IS SHY AND STANDOFFISH. Read "How To Raise A Puppy You Can Live With". This is a great breed--they are like adding a family member. They are an inside breed who wants to be with their owner. They offer a measure of protection with tons of affection. There is no other breed like them, and for the household who has properly researched the breed, can be a joy to own. However, for the household who just likes the idea of owning a Dane without the proper research--ownership can be a nightmare. This is not a breed to obtain just on a whim. If I've sounded negative, please understand that I feel very strongly people need to do adequate research before getting a Dane.


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