“You need a saddle for that ‘horse’.” “He is BIG.” “How much food does he eat?” “I didn’t know they allowed horses in our neighborhood.” “His head is the size of my dog!” Trust me I’ve heard them all when it comes to having a Great Dane. You only truly understand what a Dane can be like when you’ve owned one. Great Danes are known as gentle giants, but their personality is so much more. I actually wasn’t a huge dog person until I met my hubby, if you can believe that, but these gentle giants kinda grow on ya.
When my hubby and I first started dating he introduced me to his dog, Diego. It was the first I had seen a Great Dane. I wondered aloud why in the world would you want a dog that big and living in your house. Fast forward to a few years after we were married, a coworker of mine told me about Dane puppies for sale. Naturally we went to check them out. We came home with our first Dane puppy, Dora.
Its has been over 10 years since getting our first puppy. We’ve had multiple Danes and even started fostering Dane puppies. Fostering has been an emotional roller coaster ride, but it has been worth it. I love seeing puppies adopted to families that will love them and keep them off the streets.
Fostering Great Dane Puppies
The one question I am always asked is, “How do you not fall in love with them and keep them?” We do fall in love, but as I tell my children we are here to show them what love feels like, to help them become strong again, and send them onto their new furever family. My kids have a hard time when it is time for the puppy to leave, but we always ask them first before accepting another foster.
The last puppy we fostered was Theodore Roosevelt aka Teddy. We lost Dora to cancer 2 years earlier. I was not ready for and did not want to keep any of the 6 puppies we had fostered over the past year. Teddy had a different idea tho. He adopted us. It started when we picked him up. Naturally when we get new puppies they come to and attach to me. This wasn’t the case for Teddy. I called him and he ran straight to my son. That was my first warning.
Like I said they usually attach to me especially since I am home with them majority of the day. Not so with Teddy. He would sleep all day and run to my son whenever he would get home from school. Andrew spent most of his afternoons laying on the floor while Teddy slept on him. Teddy was my son’s shadow. You always saw the 2 together. So naturally, we had to keep Teddy.
Even though I wasn’t emotionally ready for Teddy, he has been the perfect dog for us. He continues to help me get over the loss of our first Dane. He is a great dog for our kids and a fabulous running partner. I am grateful he adopted us.
Question & Answer:
While I was thinking about this article, I thought it would be fun to answer some of the typical questions we get asked.
1. How much food do they eat?
Obviously this one depends on the personality of the dog. Teddy eats 2-3 times a day, but he is still a puppy. We go through a 40 lb bag in about 3 weeks. Lola on the other hand eats once a day. She is 4 years old and goes through a 40 lb bag in about 4-5 weeks.
2. Do they sleep alot?
From our experience Danes are like big cats. They lounge and sleep all day. They have more energy when they are puppies, but for the most part they sleep 16-18 hours a day.
3. Do they make good family pets?
They make amazing family pets. Great Danes are known as gentle giants. All of the Danes we’ve had have been great with our kids. They are moderately playful, affectionate and good with children. They will guard their home. Danes generally get along with other animals, particularly if raised with them, but some individuals in the breed can be aggressive with dogs they do not know.
4. Do they make good running partners?
Out of the 3 danes, we’ve owned I have run with 2 of them. They are great running partners as long as that is their personality. I also like to run with them because of their size. I feel like no one will mess with me when I have a 120+ lb dog next to me.
5. How much do they weigh?
Females range from about 99 – 130 lbs. Our Lola is 130 and a bit sluggish. She needs to lose some weight. Males range from about 120 – 200 lbs. Teddy is 15 months old and is currently 124 lbs. He is still growing. Most Danes reach stop growing taller about 1 1/2 – 2 years old.
6. How long do they live?
Great Danes lifespan is 6 -10 years. Like all big dogs, they are prone to hip dysplasia and bloat. According to google, “They also have several inherited heart diseases, like dilated cardiomyopathy. Their life span is usually only 6-8 years, and only 17% will even make it to 10 years old.”
7. Where can I get one?
There are certified breeders throughout the country. You can contact your local Great Dane Society to get references on breeders. There is a Facebook group for here in San Antonio. If you’d like it , let me know.
My suggestion is going to your local Great Dane Rescue. There are so many puppies that are given up by their owners or breeders who are abusing their permits. Teddy was 16 weeks old when he was found on the streets and put into a kill shelter. He was malnourished, young, and scared. He used to hide behind his big ears. It breaks my heart to hear the stories of these dogs. If you live in South Texas, check out the San Antonio Great Dane Rescue. They are amazing. The owner Joellen has a 6th sense about placing dogs with families.
8. Do you have any crazy stories about your Danes?
Yes, I have so many. This one is about Dora and Lola. Dora was always very protective of us and our neighbors. She would love to sit out in the front yard and just watch what was going on. One day our neighbor left her back door open and was taking a nap on her couch. She woke up to Dora in her face checking on her. Ha! Anyways, one day our pest control was spraying the house. Lola has figured out how to open doors. Our back door happened to be unlocked that day. Well, the pest guy was out back spraying. Both dogs are at the back door barking. Lola opens the door, and Dora steps out. You can image what this guy is thinking. He bolts and gets out of there. Because of this, we are only allowed to have someone spray when we are home.
As I said before Lola has figured out how to open doors. She loves to get into the pantry and garbage when we are gone. We have tried putting chairs in front of the door, child proof locks, etc. None of that has helped. Now we have a lock on the pantry door. Every time we leave, we look that door. She will check it too. If we forget to lock it she is in the pantry and the garbage.
My last story is about Teddy. He LOVES to snuggle. When we were just fostering him, I would let him sleep in bed with us and cuddle him all night. I felt like he needed extra love from hiding behind those ears. Well, 100 lbs later, we are still snuggling. Luckily he snuggles with my son more than me, but he will drape his head and neck across your body and sleep. He is the biggest bed hog and knows it. He won’t move even if you try to shove him.
Are you a dog person or a cat person?
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