I have raised and bred Great Danes for over thirty years and consider myself to be an expert on the breed. If you have ever read the cartoon strip "Marmaduke," I can assure you that it is not a work of fiction, in all his quirky comedic style; he is truly a Great Dane. The rewards and drawbacks of Great Dane ownership are as diverse as each individual dog itself.
Here are some characteristics that are unique to the Great Dane breed: Each and every Great Dane is truly an exceptional individual with his or her own distinct traits. They are known as "gentle giants" and this nickname could not be more accurate. Generally, it can be said that Great Danes are remarkably loyal towards their masters. They mostly show a preference towards one particular member of their household, but they love everyone and will protect their family. .
Before you run out and get one to protect your home, be advised that because of their temperament, they do not make suitable guard dogs. They are just too sweet and even tempered. Most people would not dream of breaking into a home with a Great Dane on the premises anyway. It is also extremely difficult, if not impossible, to keep Great Danes off of the furniture; it just cannot be done in some instances. If they do not actually get up on the furniture, they will literally back up and sit on your couch, chair, bed, even your lap, but it is quite comical to watch. They get along good with other pets as well as children. When raised with children the Great Dane will be very protective of them.
In addition to the Great Danes characteristics there are also some drawbacks to owning a Great Dane: These drawbacks differ from dog to dog. The major downside is that Great Danes have the shortest life span of all breeds. You can hope for around 7-10 years with this breed. They suffer with heart problems at an early age and are prone to gastric torsion, also known as "bloat.