The Great Dane is a large dog, not just in size but also in temperament.
They’re often described as “gentle giants” because of their sweet and loving demeanor with people they know well. However, they can be wary of strangers or other animals.
But are Great Danes good with kids?
YES! Great Danes are one of the most gentle and sweet breed you will find. This giant breed is calm, with a self-confident demeanor, and obedient. They love to play with children and are very patient.
Great Danes are one of the few dogs that love being around children. Their gentle, calm demeanor makes them great with older kids that know how to handle them. They are not your typical “kid” dog but are very kid-friendly.
The Great Dane can be a good dog for families with kids, but there are many factors to consider before bringing one into your home.
Pros of Great Danes for Families With Kids
While many dogs are not suited to families, especially those with young children, the Great Dane has proven itself to be a breed that is both affectionate and gentle.
The Great Dane is a big dog, but they are still friendly. People often call the Great Dane one of the “gentlest giants”.
They have a sweet temperament and make good pets for families that live close together.
The breed’s physical build also works in its favor by discouraging anyone from picking on it (or any other dog for that matter!).
If you are considering adding a new family member to your household, this will make an excellent dog because of its loyal, loving, and protective nature toward humans.
Cons of Great Danes for Families With Kids
While the Great Dane is considered a gentle giant, this does not mean they are built for families with young children.
Despite what some people think, Great Danes are not well suited to families with young children. This is mainly due to their large size and weight – anything over 100 pounds can be dangerous for a child.
A young child is prone to accidentally being knocked over by the dog or getting stepped on.
While this alone may not seem like reason enough, when you factor in the viciousness of an attacking dog, it becomes more realistic that your child could get seriously hurt.
The last thing you want is a situation where your dog unintentionally hurts a little kid because he was trying to protect himself from being harmed by your tiny human!
It is important to raise them slowly and give them lots of time (as well as patience!) in order to develop their personalities before involving children in the equation.
Once you are confident that your Great Dane has been appropriately raised, few dogs are better suited for families with little ones running around!
How a Family With Children Can Prepare for a Great Dane
While you are not likely to find many dogs that are better suited than the Great Dane for families with kids, there are still plenty of steps that can be taken to ensure that your dog will grow up alongside your children.
1. Be sure to socialize and raise your Great Dane properly
It is essential to take the time necessary to help them adjust slowly and develop at a comfortable pace, so they are ready for any eventualities or changes in their environment later on down the road.
As long as they are shown lots of love, affection, and attention during this process, your Great Dane will be on their way to becoming someone you are sure to love.
2. Take them to puppy school
As with any new addition to your family, one of the first things that must be done is getting some obedience training!
This goes for both dogs and kids, so you must choose an accredited trainer.
A training program can help mold your Great Dane into becoming not only a loving family companion but also someone your children are going to respect and admire.
3. Be firm but kind
The key is being assertive without taking advantage of either the dog or your children – especially at first!
While giving it lots of love, affection and attention are all good ideas, this should only be done after your authority has been established.
If you are a dog owner yourself, then being firm will not be an issue for you – especially if they are showing any bad behavior in front of the kids!
4. Take them daily on walks together
Regular trips outside are essential to keep your Great Dane happy and healthy and provide them with some much-needed exercise.
However, it is also important that it becomes something which you do regularly with the whole family – including your kids!
By taking this trip out as a group, everyone will benefit from the experience, whether getting some fresh air or having an opportunity to work on bonding with your dog and getting to know each other better.
They are also excellent opportunities to ask your kids if they are having any difficulties with their new family member and discuss any issues coming up!
5. Give them plenty of room to roam around in the backyard.
Great Danes are not small dogs by any means, so you must provide them with a place where they can stretch out whenever necessary.
Usually, this will be the backyard – which you are sure to need plenty of space for anyway (especially if you are raising a few Great Danes!).
Whether they are running around on their own or playing fetch with your children, the more room for activity, the better!
In addition, taking frequent trips outside is essential to keep their minds occupied, providing them with a great alternative to getting into trouble in the house.
6. Teach your children how to act around Great Danes
While teaching your children is a vital part of training the dog, it is just as important that they learn about what they can and cannot do to ensure that their new family member grows up happy!
This should include:
- What are good things to feed them
- How are kids supposed to play with them
- What are appropriate games that are safe for the dog
- What are some games that are not appropriate
That said, one of the most important things of all is that your children are taught how they are supposed to approach and interact with their new family member!
This includes allowing them to come over for a pat and teaching them that it is inappropriate to pull ears or tails or even jump on top of the dog during regular playtime.
7. Familiarize yourself with vet costs
While Great Danes are generally very healthy dogs, there will still be times when vet visits are needed.
And depending on where you live, these can be surprisingly expensive!
So before you take the plunge and buy your new dog, be sure to do some research on local vets to get an idea of their cost structure as well as what is considered normal visits compared to more serious ones.
Be sure to talk with a few different vets if you run into any issues that are not clear-cut, especially if it is something you are unfamiliar with!
Considerations When Introducing a Great Dane to Your Family
Giant dogs are popular pets, but their size can make them intimidating.
Kids are more likely to become frightened of large breed dogs and may back away hastily, which can scare or excite the dog in unpredictable ways.
You should know how your Great Dane will react if approached by children before introducing it into a household with a small child.
While most dogs are very tolerant of their young pet owner, there are instances wherein they have been injured accidentally while roughhousing or playing with other animals.
There are even cases wherein smaller breeds are injured while playing with the dog.
If you plan to have children in the near future, it would be best to be familiar with the Great Dane temperament before bringing it into close contact with your child.
Great Dane Puppies for Families With Kids
For families looking to adopt a puppy, Great Danes are one of the better options.
Due to their naturally calm dispositions and affectionate nature – as well as being leashed trained from an early age – a Great Dane puppy is an ideal candidate for households with kids.
That said, some things should be kept in mind when welcoming a new dog:
It is important that your family fully understand what they are getting themselves into by adopting a dog – especially if you adopt a Great Dane.
If you are hoping to take your dog for long walks in the park or are planning on using it as a guard dog, that should not be a reason to adopt this dog breed.
They are pretty sensitive and are better suited for families who are more interested in spending time with their pets in the house or backyard.
Because Great Danes are such large dogs, extra care must be taken when feeding them – especially if other animals live within close proximity at home.
Your pet will require two cups of dog food per day – one cup in the morning and another at night.
You must get high-quality canned foods so that the dog can maintain a healthy weight while not causing trouble for other pets in the household.
While most breeds are susceptible to certain hereditary diseases, Great Danes are especially vulnerable to bloat (also known as gastric dilatation and volvulus or GDV).
Bloat occurs when food fills up the stomach rapidly, which can cause it to twist and even result in death.
To reduce the chances of this from happening, you should consider feeding your dog at intervals throughout the day while also avoiding exercise for 1-2 hours after it eats.
You may also want to purchase a rubber ball that can be filled with food, are easier to pass around, and are relatively safer for the dog.
Activity and Exercise
Great Danes are not very energetic dogs, leading many to believe that they are lazy or unsuitable for families mistakenly.
This is because they are tall and big but mostly muscle (which does not require a lot of energy).
In actuality, Great Danes are highly affectionate and playful when given sufficient exercise.
These dogs are even bred for hunting bear and boar – so do not be deceived into thinking you can leave it alone at home without providing any activity on your part!
As far as exercise is concerned, daily walks will suffice if kept to a minimum duration – roughly 15-20 minutes.
However, remember that over-exercising may lead to bone problems in the dog, which are painful and irreversible.
Great Danes are not very fond of cold weather – like all dogs – so it would be best if your pet can live comfortably with you at home.
The Great Dane breed is notorious for suffering from heatstroke during hot weather. They cannot cool themselves down efficiently; therefore, it is best to keep them inside during the summer months.
If you plan to bring your Great Dane dog out with you when visiting public places or parks for exercise, make sure that the temperature outside is cool enough for the dog (preferably under 80 degrees Fahrenheit).
Great Dane Rescues Are Very Popular Among Families With Kids
If you are going through traditional channels to find an appropriate dog for your family, then several rescue centers specialize in taking care of Great Danes.
Most families are able to choose from a wide selection of dogs that are already trained and are thus ready for adoption.
By adopting a Great Dane from one of these non-profit organizations, you will be saving a life while also doing something good for your family.
The organization will also provide some valuable resources, including referrals for veterinarians (which may also be able to provide some discounts for families on a tight budget).
If you are considering adopting a dog but are still unsure of which breed would be best for your family, it is worth researching all the available options.
One of the things that you should keep in mind when choosing is its breed-specific health problems, energy levels, and how much time they will require from you and other members of the household.
That said, if you are planning to have kids, owning a Great Dane is an excellent option as a family dog.
Most dogs are naturally wary of children – although they can sometimes get playful around them – Great Danes are very gentle and tolerant of younger family members.
They are also easy to train, are graceful on their feet, and extremely playful, making them great companions for children.