Are Great Danes Good Apartment Dogs?


Few dogs are as famous as the most famous of crime-fighting canines, Scooby-Doo. The greatest Great Dane of them all has to contend with quite a bit, monsters and ghosts to splitting Scooby Snacks with Shaggy to squeezing in the back of The Mystery Machine. 

For as cramped as it must be in the back of the gang’s van, however, Scooby’s never had to deal with the close confines of apartment living, which brings us to a real mystery that needs solving – are Great Danes good apartment dogs?

Great Danes are very good apartment dogs. Despite being a very large breed, they are low-energy dogs with a gentle and affectionate temperament which makes them perfect for apartment life.

But before anything else, it is important to consider some things to make sure your Great Dane can have a healthy and happy life when living in an apartment.

Apartments Pet Policy

Before you get too far ahead of yourself, you’ll need to make sure that it’s okay to have a Great Dane in the apartment in question in the first place. 

Many apartments have rules banning dogs outright, while others ban “large dogs” – and Great Danes certainly qualify as such. Take the time to call the apartment complex and ensure that you have the green light to bring your Great Dane before you worry about training them to live in an apartment.

The Right Temperament

Great Dane in an apartment

One of the most important questions to ask when determining whether a dog is cut out for apartment living is what their temperament is like. 

Shih-Tzus are small enough that you’d be able to fit dozens into an apartment complex with ease. Obviously unadvisable though that plan is, however, a Shih-Tzu owner will tell you that even one of those loveable little furballs can be enough of a diva about their living quarters, apartments or otherwise.

Thankfully, when it comes to Great Danes, “diva” is the last thing that comes to mind. For such big dogs, they’re quite low maintenance from a temperament standpoint. What’s more, unlike other dogs, they’re not likely to tear your room apart or throw a temper tantrum.

On Size, Space and Great Danes

Great Dane in an apartment

This is bound to be the most significant sticking point that comes to mind when you think about whether or not your Great Dane is apartment-friendly. 

Given what massive dogs Great Danes are, it’s only natural to worry that they might feel a bit cramped in the confines of an apartment.

Thankfully, while this is certainly something you’ll want to think about, apartments are far from an automatic “No” for Great Danes. As stated, they’re low maintenance dogs, and as we’ll see later, they’re surprisingly well suited to apartment living in other ways.

That leaves size to contend with. There are several special size considerations to account for when acclimatizing a Great Dane to an apartment, such as:

  • The great amount of space your Great Dane can take up even by standing in the hallway
  • The potential for Great Danes to accidentally knock over pictures, vases, and other furnishings with their long powerful tales
  • The loudness of your Great Dane’s bark

Size isn’t the only factor you’ll want to take into consideration. After all, you might have a large apartment, but still not have any space for your pet. That’s why you’ll want to make sure that, even with a large apartment, you have enough area set aside for your four-legged friend.

That said, you don’t need a penthouse to comfortably house a Great Dane. After all, Great Danes are an especially affectionate breed, so if you’re fine sharing a room with them, they’ll be more than happy to oblige. 

Just make sure that, however you divvy up the interior, there’s enough space for both of you without you tripping over one another.

A Walk in the Park

Another factor you’ll want to consider is how much of an outdoor dog your four-legged friend is, and how that’s going to work when they’re confined to an indoor environment for most of the day. Big hunting dogs need a lot of room and are used to roaming outside.

You may love your Alaskan Husky or Greyhound, but chances are they won’t do well being cooped up all day. You might love your Cocker Spaniel, but these dogs tend to be hyper, and keeping them inside all day may only lead to trouble and unhappiness for both of you.

With that in mind, you might reasonably expect the same to hold true for as large of a dog breed as Great Danes.

However, you would be at least partially mistaken.

It’s certainly true that Great Danes are big dogs that require a lot of space. At the same time, however, as described above, there are ways to make the limited space offered by an apartment plenty for your pooch.

What’s more, while your Great Dane is bound to be active while you’re playing with them, in the whole they’re quite docile dogs. 

Unlike those hyperactive spaniels, Great Danes love to simply chill and lounge about with you. As such, with the right training, they should be right at home with the relaxed indoor life required by apartment living.

As with all dog breeds, though, it is vital that your Great Dane gets a proper amount of exercise. That being said, while big dogs like Greyhounds and hunting dogs like Beagles are bursting with energy, and Great Danes are far more lowkey and low-drama dogs. You won’t have to worry about them pining to be let out quite as much as those other breeds.

That said, that doesn’t mean that you can overlook Great Danes’ need for a good walk. 

It is essential for any dog breed to get regular walks, doubly so if they’re going to be kept inside for most of the day. 

Because you probably won’t have any backyard area to go along with your apartment, you’ll thus need to make sure you walk your dog in the park or somewhere similar on average once a day.

Start Training Them Early

Great Dane Puppy

One way to make sure that your Great Dane is apartment-friendly is to train them at an early age. If you get a Great Dane at a young age, the sooner you can start to train them to be apartment-friendly, the better.

Crate Training

One crucial step to take in this regard is crate training. 

On the one hand, create training helps to provide your Great Dane with a space where he can feel safe and rest. It even helps to make him less likely to manifest separation anxiety by having a place where he feels protected and confident.

On the other hand, as we’ll touch on later, the last thing you want when keeping a Great Dane in an apartment is for them to have “accidents”. For this, crate training can be an excellent tool for potty training

You’ll thus want to start crate training them early on, like so:

  • Make sure that you train them in an area which is well ventilated
  • Make sure that your Great Dane puppy is not exposed to direct sunlight or excessive heat in the course of their crate training
  • Make sure that your dog is not completely isolated
  • Place a treat in the crate to entice your dog to enter
  • Do not force them into the crate
  • Let your dog take its time entering and getting settled in the crate
  • Give them more treats every time they stay in the crate for the whole duration of the training

In addition, you’ll want to make sure that you buy a crate that’s not only big enough today, but will remain so tomorrow. 

Remember, Great Danes can grow up to be more than 200 pounds, so keep that in mind when buying a crate and selecting an apartment.

Potty Problems

Every dog needs to be housebroken. This would be true for your Great Dane even if you were living in the most spacious of mansions.

However, living in an apartment means that you are accountable for what happens to the flooring or carpeting – and given how large their bladders are, all it takes is a couple of “accidents” for your Great Dane to really “spoil” an interior or hallway. 

Your landlord will be none too pleased if this happens. Even if you had previously secured an okay to bring your dog over, a couple accidents like these may make them reconsider. Naturally, you don’t want that to happen.

That’s why it is of the utmost importance to make sure your Great Dane dog is fully potty trained by the time you move into your new apartment.

Toying with Training Success

It is also greatly important to make sure that your Great Dane has enough toys to play with. The same way idle hands are the devil’s playthings, a bored Great Dane’s paws are a recipe for apartment-wrecking accidents and disasters.

Besides, you don’t want to see your big buddy feeling bored and sad, do you?

Toys are thus a must for both apartment living, as well as any training time for your dog. You also always want to make sure that any toys you give your Great Dane are sturdy enough not to go to pieces in their massive jaws or paws.

Great Dane-Proofing Your Apartment

Great Danes Apartment Dogs

Lest you suffer any of the potential catastrophes, you want to make sure that you Great Dane-proof your apartment well ahead of time.

For one thing, you’ll want to remember that Great Danes are massive, and they can reach and knock over things which are inaccessible for almost any other dog breed. 

Even if you think you know how to puppy-proof a room, you’ll want to double check to make sure that you’re preparing things with a tall, potentially 200 pound dog in mind.

Walls and countertops are both perfect examples of this. You may think that hanging a picture or clock on the wall means those items are safe. You may think that taking food out of the oven and placing it on the countertop means it’s safe.

You would be wrong.

Great Danes are massive, and when they stand on their hind legs or jump, they can reach several feet in the air. You thus need to plan and dog-proof your apartment for a dog that can reach at least as high as a person.

In particular, you need to pay very close attention to where you place breakables and foodstuffs. For as relaxed and friendly as Great Danes are, they are nevertheless massive enough that they can easily shatter breakables and antiques merely by brushing up against them. 

This isn’t misbehavior, it’s merely an accident, and one you’ll want to preempt and thus prevent.

When dogs smell food, their first instinct is to go get it, and Great Danes have a far easier time doing so than those little Shih-Tzus. 

You thus need to make sure your great Dane is trained well enough to resist, and to place food high up enough that it’ll be safe even if that training lapses.

Socializing Your Great Dane

Great Dane socializing

As we’ve said time and again by this point, Great Danes are absolute sweethearts. That’s one of the great appeals of owning them in the first place. Great Danes love to socialize, and as their owner, you should want them to be able to do so.

That said, you can’t just let your Great Dane go around socializing without laying down some ground rules first.

For one thing, for as friendly as Great Danes are, not everyone’s first reaction is bound to be friendly back. 

Some people and even more animals may be initially frightened by a large dog suddenly bounding towards them. You thus want to train your Great Dane to be patient and not jump all over or rush towards strangers.

You’ll be living in a populated apartment complex, so you need to make sure your Great Dane is okay with strangers. Thankfully, this is one of the reasons why Great Danes can be good apartment dogs. Their friendly, relaxed, drama-free behavior makes them ideal for settling down in populated spaces.

Final Thoughts

Great Danes’ relaxed attitude and friendly manner make them ideal big dogs for the apartment lifestyle

If you can plan for and prevent accidents as possible while dealing with the size issue, living in an apartment with a Great Dane can be a cozy experience indeed.