Are you thinking about adopting a Great Dane?  Great Dane’s make wonderful companions, every Great Dane is different – but for the most part they are giant, humorous  sensitive dogs who just want to be near you!

Did you know that Great Danes were originally bred in Germany to hunt boars? Their coat colors can vary from Fawn, Brindle, Black, Blue Harlequin, Mantle and Merle. Below are some frequent questions we hear about adopting, if you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, please contact us and we’ll add it to the list.


Q) Isn’t it better to get a puppy so I know what I’m getting?

Actually, the opposite is true. All our available Danes have been living with a foster family in their home environment. While the Dane is in foster care it is exposed to other dogs, other animals, children, and socialized with many different people and environments. Our foster families do a great job exposing the Great Dane to different potential “triggers” so that we know what the Danes behaviors are like in different environments and situations. Puppies love everyone, every where, all the time. It is not until the Dane hits sexual maturity that they may start to show behavioral problems. We can only predict what a puppy’s behaviors will be, we can more accurately predict what Dane you will have forever.


Q) Doesn’t a Great Dane eat a TON of food?

Of course, just like people, every dog is different.  On average, if you are feeding your Dane a high quality food after the age of two he really shouldn’t be eating anymore than your average sized Labrador or Golden Retriever. Just another reason to adopt an available Dane that is two years of age or older!


Q) I don’t have a big back yard, is it a good idea for me to adopt a Great Dane?

Most Great Dane’s are pretty laid back.  A large yard is always appreciated, but not a requirement.  Exercise however, is always a requirement.  If you don’t have a yard for your Dane, make sure to take him or her on regular walks for potty breaks and exercise.


Q) Why is an obedience class recommended for my adult Dane?

Obedience class is not for the Dane, it’s for you! Taking your newly adopted Dane to obedience classes will help you establish that you are the pack leader, and help create a bond between you and your new Dane. Many times during obedience classes you will learn things about your Danes behaviors and what you can do to coach them through behaviors you do not want them to have. Even if your adopted Great Dane is well behaved, that doesn’t mean that you do not need to establish boundaries and have time to get to know each other. Training is great mental exercise for you and the dog. Also being in a class setting with other people and dogs can trigger a dog to show behaviors you did not know they had. What better place to discover these behaviors than in a class with other owners and a professional handler!


Q) I have a big dog kennel and a nice dog house outside, is that a good place for me to keep my Dane?

Nope.  Great Dane’s are not outside dogs, especially not in Florida.  Danes do not have a subcutaneous fat layer or skin and fur that can handle extreme hot and cold weather. Danes are people dogs, and they must feel like part of the family. Many Danes can develop behavioral and mental disorders from being secluded from people, kept on a chain, in an outdoor kennel, garage, or separated area for long periods of time. It is expected, when you adopt from Southwest Great Dane Rescue, that your Great Dane will be a part of your family, allowed in the house and have a comfortable place to eat and sleep.


Q) Do I need a dog bed for my Great Dane? They seem really big!

Great Danes are big dogs, and their dog beds are bigger! You should try to provide a comfortable sleep surface for your Great Dane. Great Danes can weigh anywhere between 90 – 160lbs.  When heavy dogs lay on the ground, this can cause pain in the hips and elbows, potentially causing arthritis problems.  A Great Dane bed should be at least 4″ thick to keep them off of hard surfaces.


Q) I want a non-dominant, non-aggressive Dane, so I should get a female, right?

We wish it was that easy to determine aggression and dominance issues! Both male and female Great Danes can be mellow and calm or hyper and dominant. These behaviors are learned and allowed by owners. Any dog can have an aggression trigger or show signs of dominance. You as an owner must recognize the signs and work with a professional and the dog to help them overcome their behaviors. Because our dogs have been living with their foster families, behavioral issues, if any exist, are often identified early.  To learn what dog is best for you, simply let our rescue know what kinds of traits you do or don’t want in a dog and we will determine the best match for your situation.


Q) Do I need a fence for my Great Dane?

Probably, but just know the consequences of your dog not staying in the yard. Rescues commonly will run because they are a stray, because they are looking for home, or because they can. Having a dog hit by a car, get hurt, hurt another person or animal, be stolen, taken in by a horrible person, or euthanized by animal control are just a couple of consequence that you should think about before letting your Dane off leash.  Why take the chance? Make sure you keep your dog on a leash, or in a fenced yard with supervision to ensure the best level of safety for your Dane.


Q) Will an adult rescue bond with me and my family?

Typically from the minute the rescue dog finds their forever home they will bond. You have to remember this Dane could have been taken from home to home, abused, neglected, or dropped off at a shelter. Maybe he came from a great home, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel hurt and sad that he no longer has a family. And you have given this Dane a happy, safe home filled with love. You give him a family, and maybe other animals to play with. He gets toys, a bed, food and water. Really, why wouldn’t this dog bond with you?


Q) I heard Great Danes are really good with kids, is this true?

Every dog is different. There is no such thing as one breed of dog being great with children. Any dog can dislike children, any dog can love children. Great Danes may not recognize small children as humans, and certainly not as pack leaders.  Maybe the Great Dane is great with children; that doesn’t mean that he cannot knock your child down the stairs by accident. Having any animal in a home with children is a risk and you should always supervise interactions between children and animals..


Q) The dog I am interested in is very well behaved and his foster family says he is very obedient and housebroken – will I need to do any training?

Probably.  Training and obedience are not one time objectives.  Training is an ongoing behavior you should engage your dog in, they can forget stuff too! Different environments, situations and “triggers” can cause different behaviors in all dogs. It is important as an owner to always be looking for signs of aggression, or behaviors that you do not want your dog to have. When you recognize these behaviors make sure you are looking at all the details around the event. Then seek a professional’s help and guidance to coach your dog through these unwanted behaviors.


Make sure you check out our adoption process and what you should know about Great Danes pages, then, if you think a Great Dane is the right dog for you, please fill out our application.