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by Jill Swedlow
The first thing you need to know about Great Danes is what would seem the most obvious: They are big.
Even so, I am still amazed at how many times I've heard new owners of a Great Dane say, "I never realized how big he would get!" Averaging 125 pounds for females and 150 pounds for males, the Great Dane is a dog that can knock you over. However, their size can be the very trait that makes you a fan of the breed. The Dane is a noble-looking dog, muscular yet graceful, and is bound to attract attention when you go for walks.
The Great Dane: Know What You're Getting Into!
You need to know what you're doing when you decide to welcome a Great Dane into your family, because dogs of this breed can take over your life. I tell folks who are interested in my dogs the negative aspects of the breed first, and then if they're still interested, we move ahead.
Is a Great Dane a Good Dog Breed for You?
Understanding a few facts about the breed can help you make an educated decision about whether to bring a Great Dane into your life. Consider the following:
The breed has a short life span.
Most do not live beyond seven or eight years.
Large veterinary bills are a possibility.
Although some might have no trouble their whole lives, Great Danes are prone to more health issues than other breeds, including heart problems, cataracts, Addison's disease, autoimmune deficiencies, orthopedic problems and -- most common and deadly of all -- bloat. We strongly suggest that dogs undergo a preventative gastropexy to prevent bloat, a swelling and twisting of the stomach, which is common in deep-chested dogs.
You'll have a large food bill.
Growing puppies can consume up to 12 cups of dry food a day, and adults eat an average of three to four cups per meal twice a day.
Obedience training is a must.
Such a large dog can easily overpower you, so you need to be sure that you're the alpha in the home.
Danes need some exercise
But they're not a high-energy dog breed.
Great Danes are not an independent breed.
They're not aloof, and they like to be included in family activities.
I truly love my Great Danes and could not imagine life without them. If you can provide the right home, they steal your heart. I love their sweet and gentle personalities and their sense of humor. It's pretty funny when something that large thinks it's a lap dog! I'm a horse person, and I think the size is part of why I've loved them since I first saw one.
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