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How Long Do Great Danes Live? Can You Extend The Life Of The Gentle Giant?

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The Great Dane is a large dog breed originating from Germany. Descending from hunting dogs from the Middle Ages, he was used for hunting wild boar and deer. At one point, this gentle giant served as the guardian of German nobility. How long do Great Danes live? Now that is a question many owners ask.

As one of the two largest dog breeds in the world, alongside the Irish Wolfhound, they suffer from similar health issues. Size, in this case, is a problem.

Get To Know The Breed

Bred of working dog breeds developed some 400 years ago in Germany, Great Danes were used for boar hunting. The breed is typically a swift, alert dog praised for its courage, friendliness, and dependability.

The canine has a massive square-jawed head and body lines that give an elegant appearance impression. Speaking of its coat, it comes in different colors, ranging from black, fawn, brindle, blue-gray, harlequin, and mantle.

The fan and brindle dogs have a black mask. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Great Dane is the tallest dog in the world, standing between 28 and 32 inches.

The name comes from the French word for Big Danish, “Grand Danois”. The fun part is that there is no reason to associate the dog with Denmark. In Germany, it was called Deutsche Dogge, translating to German Mastiff for a long time.

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Why Get A Great Dane?

Dog lovers and pet parents who want an XL cuddle companion should always look at the Great Dane dog breed. This gentle giant is famously one of the best apartment large breed dogs. Despite its size, the large dog breed is a lovable couch potato. He is ready to curl up in the bed at any given moment.

The only problem is drooling. But that comes with the size. The bigger issue is the health and life expectancy. Great Danes do not live a long life. Their size makes it a problem for living a long and prosperous life.

But that doesn’t mean these large dogs do not deserve a great life and a happy life. While they will not live long, it is your job as a Great Dane owner to make sure your Great Dane puppy feels loved for the years he has been on this planet.

What Is The Great Dane’s Life Expectancy?

Now let’s talk about how long Great Danes live. The average lifespan of this giant breed dog is between 7 and 10 years. That is quite shorter compared to most purebred dogs, which average 11.9 years.

Mixed breeds are healthier, which is why breeders have tried to mix the Great Dane with other dogs.

The American Kennel Club says that most purebred dogs live between 8 and 15 years. You can say that the Great Dane has one of the shortest lifespans in the canine world.

And there is no difference in lifespan between a male Great Dane and female Great Danes. Males might be more susceptible to issues because of their larger size.

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Why Do They Don’t Live As Long?

Every dog is different, but on average, Great Danes live up to eight years. In most of the animal kingdom, bigger often means better. For example, some large whales can live up to 200 years. Well, the same logic doesn’t translate to the canine world.

So far, there is no scientific explanation for why this logic doesn’t translate to dogs. One theory, however, suggests it has something to do with how they age. Different breeds and sizes age differently. Large breeds, for example, tend to age biologically quicker than smaller dogs.

This makes them more susceptible to developing cancer and more at risk of age-related diseases.

But more importantly, because of their size, their body has to work harder to keep them going. This leads to their organs wearing out quicker than compared to other, smaller dogs.

Factors That Influence Great Dane’s Lifespan

We mentioned size as the big reason why Great Danes do not live as long. But there are other factors as well. Genetics plays a large role. But let’s talk about all the factors that contribute to the lifespan of your Great Dane puppy. It is all about the health issues that follow and plague this breed. Here is a quick look at those potential risks.

  • Gastric dilatation volvulus, commonly called bloat, is the most common cause of death in Great Danes. The disease can obstruct the blood supply from the stomach to the heart and cause the stomach lining to rupture. Wrenching, drooling, and abdominal pain are the early symptoms
  • Osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer, causes painful tumors to form and destroy bones. Lameness and swelling are the early symptoms of this condition
  • A common problem with Great Danes is hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid that is unable to produce enough hormones. The result is your canine’s vital functions slow down. You can notice lethargy, weight gain, and changes in coat as a result
  • Last, but not least, because of their size, these large dogs are prone to joint diseases. Their joints develop more slowly and support more weight, meaning they can suffer from arthritis and hip dysplasia

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What Can You Do?

No, a Great Dane will never live as long as a Chihuahua. But you can do something to extend your furry friend’s lifespan. Here are some ideas.

  • Choose a healthy puppy, from a responsible breeder who has earned the AKC breeder of Merit. Ask breeders whether they run recommended health screening by the AKC
  • Consider spraying or neutering, as most studies show that sprayed and neutered dogs live longer
  • Keep up with dental cleanings
  • Keep your dog active, but go easy on those joints. Great Danes are not hiking and jogging partners
  • Get regular veterinary checkups, at least once per year to ensure your dog is up-to-date with vaccinations and check for possible issues
  • Feed your dog a healthy diet with high-quality dog food, featuring whole protein as a source in the first ingredient
  • Divide the food intake into several small meals per day, reducing the risk of bloat
  • Protect their joints with supplements like omega-3 fish oil, glucosamine supplements, and natural anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, black pepper, and mussels

Who Is The Longest-Living Great Dane Ever?

Here is an interesting fact. According to the Guinness World Record, a dog named Freddy is the oldest living Great Dane in 2023. He is a little over 8 years old.

Plenty of Danes have lived beyond 8 years. The unofficial record holder is Maggi Mae, reaching an astonishing age of 16 years. But that is not a luxury most Great Dane dogs enjoy.

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