Great Dane Lifespan

Great Dane Lifespan

Author WDF Staff


If you are a part of the canine kingdom, you probably heard about the tallest dog breed in the world - the Great Dane. These Apollo dogs are an impressive sight to see, and if you ever encountered one, you know how sweet and gentle they can be. Many people get easily intimidated when they see a Great Dane, especially one that has cropped ears. But there is a good reason why Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane - they scare easily.

This is one of their excellent characteristics that makes these dogs an attractive choice for a family pet - they are gentle giants. Some Great Danes act like lapdogs, and all they want to do is be close to their owners and cuddle. However, one of the worst things about these dogs is the Great Dane lifespan.

How long do Great Danes live?

An average Great Dane life expectancy is between 8 and 10 years. Some dogs get to a maximum of 7, and those that are lucky can share their home with a Great Dane for 12 years. The mystery of the Great Dane lifespan is still baffling scientists and vets. They don’t fully understand why the Great Dane life expectancy is so short.

great dane autumn forest

The weird part is - large animals in the wild, elephants, giraffes, and whales, have unusually long lifespans. When it comes to dogs, the general rule is - the smaller the breed, the longer the lifespan. Chihuahuas and Pomeranians can easily live up to 18 - 20 years. If you are looking to get a dog that will stay with you for at least 15 years, Great Dane would not be the best possible choice.

Possible reasons for a short Great Dane lifespan

Scientists have several theories about why the Great Dane life expectancy is so short, but they still have to fully confirm one. We are not going to waste your time with unconfirmed theories. Instead, we will tell you about things that influence the Great Dane life expectancy. These dogs are prone to different health issues, and overall, it impacts the average lifespan of the whole breed. Some of those issues are;


Large dogs, in general, are prone to bloating. This is a different type of bloating humans experience. The scientific term for canine bloat is gastric torsion, and it causes their stomach to twist and turn on itself. The stomach cuts off the blood supply, and if vets don’t intervene, this condition is fatal.

Joint & Bone Disease

It is no big surprise that the Great Danes have joint and skeletal issues. Their rapid growth can cause all sorts of development problems, and the most common ones are hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis.

Vets will often recommend adding supplements to the dog’s diet. These supplements should have a positive effect on joint functions. Check out this article for more information - Glucosamine for dogs.

great dane in the park


Cardiomyopathy is a disease that will cause the dog’s heart to grow. It is a severe disease, and your vet should keep a close eye on the disease’s progress and treatment.

Thyroid Problems

Great Danes are prone to these types of diseases. Thyroid problems often lead to hypothyroidism. This disease might be kept under control with thyroid medications, but it certainly doesn’t help keep them healthier.

If you love big dogs, check out this article with more amazing big dogs - 7 awesome big dog companions.

How to improve the short Great Dane lifespan?

When it comes to prolonging your dog’s life, we are afraid that is impossible. We cannot control their biology or the development of different types of cancer. We can make sure our Great Danes have the best possible start and the healthiest possible life they can lead. Here are some things you could do to make sure your Great Dane’s lifespan is on the longer side.

great dane playing

Controlled breeding

Dogs are often sold over shady websites and yellow pages. Many pet shops worldwide sell dogs with questionable backgrounds, and it is good to know that no respectable breeder would ever give their dogs to a pet shop to be sold. Make sure you get your dog from a certified, registered, and responsible breeder. Ask for health tests and make sure they have good breeding practices.

If you are unsure where to start, check out this article - Buying a dog from a breeder.


There is an expression, “you are what you eat,” and the same goes for our dogs. Make sure your dog is on a healthy diet. They will get all the necessary nutrients from good dog food. There is no reason you should feed your dog table scraps or any other thing with questionable benefits. There are many fantastic industrial options, or if you have the time and resources, you can prepare your dog’s food at home. Just make sure you know where your food comes from.

If you are not sure which dog food is great, this article might help you - Best dry dog food.

Regular health checks

Regular health checks might not do much against bloat, but they can do wonders for other diseases. The sooner a disease is discovered, the better the chances the dog will make a full recovery. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on their vaccines, and if you want to know how that should look like, check out this article - Puppy shot schedule.

great dane running in snow

Great Danes are large dogs, and they have a short lifespan, so regular vet appointments will be necessary. However, giant dogs mean large vet bills. This is a part you should prepare for. Giant dogs simply cost more money. They can eat more food, their beds, collars, clothes, and even doggie bags need to be bigger. Make sure you have the budget that can support a giant dog breed like the Great Dane.

The last piece of advice is to keep a close eye on your dog. Make sure you notice any behavior change, symptoms, changes in diet, exercise, energy levels, or anything else that can indicate health problems. Unfortunately, there are more dog breeds that live relatively short. The Great Dane lifespan is short, but Dogue de Bordeaux has an even shorter lifespan.

Want to know more about Great Danes? Check out this - Great Dane breed profile.

World Dog Finder team

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