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Great Dane Lifespan: What To Expect

Great Dane Lifespan: What To Expect

The Great Dane’s lifespan is directly related to its massive size and body weight. Compared to smaller breeds, larger dogs do not get so old. Anyone who thinks about purchasing a Great Dane has to cope with a relatively low life expectancy.

The Great Dane, also known as the German Mastiff or Deutsche Dogge, has evolved from a boarhound to a beloved species recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Today, they are not only popular here in the United States, but in Europe as well. 

Although the breed originated in Germany, it has a worldwide following. The dog’s beauty was enhanced by the legacy of the parent breeds, the English Mastiff and the Irish Wolfhound. In a crowd, you’ll undoubtedly notice a Great Dane!

However, this dog breed is more than its size. They make wonderful protectors and guard dogs. They are amazing family dogs that love their owners deeply and could make the perfect pet. That is, assuming one minor flaw is overlooked: the short lifespan.

Great Dane lifespan 

Great Danes are large dogs, so you’d assume they’d have a long life expectancy. Regrettably, this is not the case! A Great Dane’s normal lifespan is eight to ten years, but some canines have lived to be twelve years old, and others die at the age of 5. 

Great Danes, like all huge and giant breeds, are susceptible to a number of major health issues that shorten their lifespan. Bloat dilated cardiomyopathy, and hip dysplasia is among the disorders that Great Danes are more likely to suffer. As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, scientists believe that larger canines age considerably more quickly than smaller dogs. As a result, a Great Dane’s average lifespan is eight to ten years.

Great Danes are one of the shortest-living dog breeds, according to various scientific studies, with a median lifespan of eight years. However, there are numerous reports of Great Danes living to be 15 years old, but there is little evidence to support these claims. While eight years may seem short, keep in mind that Great Danes can live to be quite elderly. Even if this occurs, Great Danes have a much shorter life expectancy than most other breeds.

Female Great Danes live longer than males, particularly if they have been spayed. There is no definitive answer as to why women live longer. Female Great Danes, on the other hand, are smaller than males, which could be one of the causes contributing to their longer lifespan.

Why is the life expectancy of the Great Dane so low?

The most common reasons are aimed at their size. After all, the Great Dane is the largest breed of dog in the world and is one of the four-legged giants with a stick size of over 80 cm. The dogs need up to one year for their mental maturity and development. In this range, they go through all their growth.

Some of the breed representatives suffer genetically from breed-typical diseases. If these are detected too late, a disease can have a life-shortening effect. In addition, the bitches have a lower life expectancy than the males.

Health Issues with Great Danes

Like many other dog breeds, Great Danes are prone to various health issues. The main issue is that these health hazards can shorten or even kill your dog’s life span. The following are some of the health risks and issues that can limit the life span of your Great Dane:


The risk of bloat in Great Danes is very high. The stomach twists in such a way that the blood flow to the gut is cut off. This is an extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening illness. This is excruciatingly painful for a dog and can be fatal if left untreated. 

In general, dogs who have had bloat before are more likely to develop it again. Your veterinarian would most likely propose a tacking operation if your Great Dane develops this condition. The goal of this procedure is to reduce future risks and avoid stomach torsion.

In Great Danes, a stomach tuck is frequently indicated to reduce bloat. During this procedure, a veterinarian will permanently sew your dog’s stomach to the abdominal walls, preventing further bloat. If you have a Great Dane who is prone to bloating, consult your veterinarian and learn about the causes and symptoms of this ailment.

Remember, prevention and quick intervention are critical, and your dog’s life could be saved!

Joint and Bone problems

Great Danes are prone to joint and bone problems such as arthritis and hip dysplasia due to their massive size.

Both of these diseases worsen over time, causing the joint to deteriorate slowly. Bone illnesses are excruciatingly painful, and they may compel you to make difficult choices about your dog’s quality of life. Most large breeds, including Great Danes, should take joint supplements including glucosamine and chondroitin to prevent bone diseases.

These compounds aid in the formation and maintenance of cartilage, as well as the reduction of pain and increased mobility. If your Great Dane has already been diagnosed with bone disease, your veterinarian will most likely offer joint supplements as part of his or her treatment plan.

Because Great Danes are prone to major joint problems, most vets advise supplementing once they have stopped growing. And, because joint pain may be debilitating in so many ways, consult your veterinarian about giving your Great Dane joint supplements as a prophylactic measure.

Cardiomyopathy with Dilated Chambers

Great Danes are one breed that regularly suffers from dilated cardiomyopathy, a cardiac ailment. The heart becomes enlarged as a result of this illness, and the blood supply is harmed. This can all lead to heart failure.

Unfortunately, dilated cardiomyopathy is an incurable and progressive disease that will eventually lead to cardiac failure. The majority of the time, affected dogs do not show any signs of cardiac disease until it is too late.

Because the Great Dane dog is one of the breeds most usually affected by this disease, you should familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms. Keep in mind that no genetic test exists to help diagnose affected Great Danes at this time.


Thyroid problems in Great Dane dogs are also a possibility. This condition develops when the thyroid gland ceases to function correctly and is unable to produce enough of the hormone thyroxine. The thyroid gland controls the growth and development of Great Danes and plays a crucial part in metabolic rate regulation.

Hypothyroidism affects the majority of Great Danes between the ages of two and six. Affected dogs will begin to gain weight without displaying any changes in appetite or meal size.

Synthetic hormones are used to treat hypothyroidism and should be given to your dog for the rest of his life. While it may appear to be a bother, with correct treatment, this illness can be readily handled.

How Can You Increase The Life Expectancy Of Your Great Dane dog?

Dog owners can do a lot to ensure a long life. However, you are powerless with genetic diseases. When buying puppies, it makes sense to attach importance to the health certificates of recognized VDH breeders in order to rule out undetected defects.

A Great Dane’s normal lifespan is eight to ten years, but you, as the owner, have a lot of control over how long your dog lives. While you can’t modify your dog’s genetics, you can influence a lot of other factors.

Exercise, a healthy diet, and regular veterinary visits are just a few of the things that can help your dog live longer. Here are a few things you can do as an owner to help your Great Dane live longer:

Select a reputable breeder 

If you want to see your Great Dane grow up, you must purchase him from a reliable breeder. A responsible breeder will give health certifications for both parents and puppies, demonstrating the health of his lines.

Look for a breeder who tests their dogs for genetic disorders like hip dysplasia, eye difficulties, and heart disease. A Great Dane with no genetic disorders has a better chance of living longer than one with inherited diseases.

If you acquire a Great Dane from a rescue group, on the other hand, you may not know much about your dog’s past. You can, however, take your adoptee to a veterinarian for a comprehensive checkup and even a genetic problem screening.

Providing a Balanced Diet

Another thing you can do to extend your dog’s life is to choose the best dog food for a Great Dane. Your dog’s nutritional needs should be met throughout his life, but especially during puppyhood.

Great Dane puppies grow quite quickly due to their size. Like all other large breeds, your puppy will require particular nourishment to ensure optimum growth and development.

In gigantic breed dogs, a bad diet can cause excessive growth and musculoskeletal disorders including hip dysplasia.

Even when your Great Dane reaches adulthood and becomes a senior dog, feeding a balanced and healthy diet should remain a top focus.

To avoid weight gain, you should pay close attention to how much food your dog consumes. Obesity is a major issue for many dogs, and it can lead to a variety of additional health problems for your Great Dane.

Making sure your gentle giant is eating breed- and age-appropriate dog food will help him stay healthy. At the same time, you’ll increase your dog’s chances of living to a ripe old age.

Preventing Disease

Great Danes are susceptible to a variety of diseases, but certain preventative actions can dramatically reduce those risks.

Bloating can be avoided by eating numerous smaller meals throughout the day rather than one large meal. A slow-feeding dish can be a beneficial investment because it decreases the risk of stomach bloat. Early detection and diagnosis of a health problem gives your dog a better chance of recovery in most circumstances.

Regular veterinary checks ensure that any health issues are detected early on and that treatment can begin. Also, don’t forget to get your Dane vaccinated on a regular basis.

And, while it may seem inconsequential at the time, any changes in your dog’s behavior, food habits, or activity levels should be reported to your veterinarian.

All of these symptoms could indicate an illness that could jeopardize your dog’s health if not caught early.

Physical Activity on a Regular Basis

Although Great Danes aren’t particularly lively or active dogs, they nevertheless require regular exercise to be healthy and fit. You may create a physical activity regimen for your Great Dane that includes daily walks and playtime.

Don’t force your Dane puppy to undertake any extreme activity, such as running or jumping, because these dogs are prone to bone problems.

These kind of exercises might put additional strain on your dog’s joints, exacerbating any existing problems. Instead, choose for light and easy activities like a brisk walk or a tug-of-war game.

The correct handling of the older dog

Basically, dog owners themselves recognize when their Great Dane becomes a senior. At this stage, develop a sensitivity for unusual changes in movement, eating behavior or fur. For example, if you notice a recurring lameness or if you feel a nodules under your skin, you should make an appointment with the veterinarian early.

There is also no guarantee of a long life with the VDH breeder. Nevertheless, you play it safe that your puppy was born and raised in a controlled environment.

The probability of undetected diseases and hereditary diseases increases if the dog does not bring a pedigree. After all, the VDH breeders of the Great Danes are encouraged to test the animals before mating and throwing.

What happens when my dog dies?

At some point, unfortunately, your Great Dane has to cross the rainbow bridge!

That is always difficult. For many, the Great Dane is a full family member and the death of the beloved animal is a serious blow.

Since only a few four-legged friends are allowed to die naturally and, for example, fall asleep forever in their dog bed, many owners have to take the difficult walk to the veterinary practice.

The dog remains in practice and is later picked up by the carcass disposal. The animals that died in practice are then usually burned for disease protection reasons.

Especially in larger veterinary clinics, it is sometimes asked whether the dead dog can be used as a practice object for research purposes or for students.

For many dog owners, the first two variants are out of the question and the beloved four-legged friend is taken home and buried in the home garden. For most owners, this is the most dignified and personal way to say goodbye.

If you don’t have a garden, you can also have your dog buried in an animal cemetery. There is usually the choice between an urn grave (after cremation) or a normal grave with coffin. If you like, you can also take your dog’s ashes home or sprinkle them in a beautiful place.

Final Thoughts 

Unfortunately, Great Danes do not live as long as other dog breeds. However, there are some things you can do to assist your Great Dane to avoid certain ailments and live as long as possible!

Consider yourself fortunate if you get to spend more than 10 years with your Great Dane, who has an average lifespan of 7 to 10 years. Unexpected catastrophes occur from time to time, taking our beloved Great Danes from us far sooner than we imagined.

Bloat, heart difficulties, knee problems, and cancer are all diseases that have no age restriction and can strike at any time.

You can do a lot more than you think to keep your dog happy and healthy. The dog will feel cherished and valued if the owner involves his Great Dane in regular activities. It will also provide him with a dose of his daily activity need.

On the other hand, such joint activities provide the ideal opportunity for you and your dog to bond.

Great Danes are bright dogs who pick up on cues quickly, especially when it comes to their owner’s attention and care. The Great Dane is generous, but all he seeks in return is love. You must constantly express your love for your dog if you want him to adore you.

These are excellent beginnings, but a Great Dane requires more to live a healthy life. The dog requires a portion of healthy and balanced food, as well as regular vet visits and exercise.

However, there is one factor that has a significant impact on their lifespan: reproducing. There’s no way the puppy’s story will finish well if it starts off the wrong way.

My name is Katy and I am 27. I love to travel and you would be surprised how good I am at karaoke. 🙂 Passionate dog lover and a "mother" to a beautiful toy puddle named Zara. I work as a volunteer in a local shelter and I am a veterinary assistant helping our four-legged friends every day.