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So you want a doggie like me?

My humans get lots and lots of people telling them that they would love a doggie like me – a Great Dane.

Well, it’s not hard to see why – after all, us Danes are one of the most beautiful and majestic of dog breeds – we’re not known as the “Apollo of Dogs” for nothing! :P

We’re also known for our placid, easy-going temperaments and for being “gentle giants” despite our huge size.

But us Danes have a dark side too (see below) – Hee! Hee! :twisted:

So – because I know lots of people, who think they would like a Great Dane, read this blog – I thought it was a good time to tell you a bit more about what it’s really like living with a Dane – especially now with the ‘Marmaduke’ movie coming out.

Of course, I’m very proud that Hollywood is making a star out of Great Danes but I am also sad because it is often a bad thing for our breed, because movies are only make-believe and only show the cute side of things – but humans can be very silly and just rush out to get a doggie like the ones they see in a movie, without taking time to find out all the problems that such doggies can bring.

This makes the Evil Puppy Farmers and Backyard Breeders very happy because then they can force their prisoner mummy dogs to make lots and lots of sick puppies to sell to the Dummy Humans who have done no research…

This is India, a Great Dane mummy dog rescued from Backyard Breeders. They beat her everyday, even though she gave them 4 litters of puppies in 3 years. When she was rescued, she was nursing 11 day old puppies. She had whipworms and sarcoptic mange, her fur was falling out and she had open wounds on her body. But she was one of the lucky ones and has now found her forever home. (Click on the photo if you want to read her story)


…and then when the Dane puppies get to 5 months and are the size of baby elephants with no manners at all or lots of sickies, the Dummy Humans decide they are too much trouble and try to throw them away.

That’s how you end up with lots of lost, scared Danes looking for homes but often with mental sickies or back and leg sickies which make it really hard to adopt them – and even if they are all fine, not many people want or can have a giant, slobbery doggie in their homes so it can be really hard finding homes for them…

…and so sometimes, they are forced to go to the Rainbow Bridge early, even though they are still puppies, really; even though they’ve done nothing wrong except be born; even though all they ever wanted was just to find somebody of their own to love…

Lots of puppies die tortured, unloved, scared and lonely, just because some silly human thought it would be fun to get a doggie like they saw in a movie. :(

* In 1998 – the year following the “101 Dalmatians” movie – over 2,000 unwanted Dalmatians were dumped at Southern California’s shelters alone – and the Dalmatian Rescue people were only able to save 69. The following year, the number was over 3,000… and this was just in one part of the US.

So if you really love Great Danes, I hope you will read the rest of this post and think carefully before you rush out to buy that cute puppy.

Thank you.


Honey the Great Dane


(by my human, Hsin-Yi – COPYRIGHT: please ask for permission before reprinting)

The Truth About Great Danes

“With great power comes great responsibility”


Everyone remembers the first time they fell in love – and so it was with me. We were on holiday in Spain – sitting out late one evening enjoying paella and the balmy summer weather, at a cafe in Madrid – when I saw the most magnificent dog sitting with his owner a few tables away. At the time, I wasn’t sure what breed it was but I was captivated by his majestic beauty and noble presence. The massive, chiselled head with the gentle, dark eyes; the rippling muscles in that great body which whispered of strength and power, and yet moved so lightly and gracefully; the patient dignity with which he sat and waited – it epitomised everything I thought a dog ought to be.

I watched as he got up every so often and wandered over to another table, regarding its occupants with a gentle curiousity – but at a snap of his owner’s fingers, he would turn and instantly return to his master’s side.  After seeing so many small dogs out-of-control with their ‘spoilt brat’ aggression, this combination of great size and power coupled with such gentle obedience was breathtaking and awe-inspiring. I knew then that this was the dog for me.  When we returned to England I searched eagerly for more information and learnt his name at last: the Great Dane.


The Wonderful Things

Ask any Dane-lover what makes this breed so special and he will probably start telling you about their gentle natures, their sweet, soppy personalities, their goofy antics, their elegant beauty…but in practical terms, I think what makes Danes so wonderful is that they are such easy-going dogs to live with (- IF you have trained and socialised them properly).


Easy-Going Housemates: Danes are generally very calm, placid dogs who take life at a slow and easy pace.  While they like to be with you, they do not demand constant attention and interaction like some other breeds – not for them the need to constantly chase a ball or dig a hole or scavenge for food or chew their surroundings to pieces – if nothing is happening, they tend to lie down quietly in a corner and more often than not, go to sleep.  (Yes, there are Danes who are hyper and bark and destroy and constantly ask for attention but this is probably more due to poor training and socialisation and the owners rewarding “attention-seeking behaviours” – or even poor temperaments due to poor breeding. A well-bred Great Dane should have a stable, calm personality).


And while we’re on the subject of sleep, let me tell you – these dogs sleep. A lot. We have counted and Honey sleeps on average 18 hours a day – not kidding. What always surprises us is how tired she seems when she returns to bed straight after breakfast – surely a dog that’s been sleeping since 10pm last night and only woke up at 8am this morning for a toilet visit and breakfast can’t need to sleep so deeply again, snoring as if she hasn’t slept for days? :roll:

Honey usually goes back to bed around 9am in the morning and won’t wake again until about 4pm when she will stretch leisurely and wait patiently to be taken for her daily walk. Once her walk is done and she has had her dinner at around 7pm, guess what? Yup, she’ll head straight for her bed again. I sometimes think that unlike other dogs who consider sleeping a second-rate activity to fill the time when there is nothing better to do – for Danes, sleeping is an aim in itself.  This is not a dog whose primary mission in life is to terrorise potential intruders, dig a hole to China, chase every moving object or consume every edible thing…this is a dog whose primary mission in life is to sleep – as much as possible! :D

Can you spot the Dane??

Their quiet natures mean that they are actually ideal indoor dogs. Many people wonder how we cope with such a huge dog in the house but ask any of our friends who have stayed with us – you hardly notice her. Honey is so quiet and so inactive indoors – she is almost like an extra piece of furniture. You actually feel there is “less dog” than if you had two smaller excitable dogs running around, jumping up and barking all the time. Many people mistakenly believe that you need a mansion and estate to have a Great Dane (we lived in a tiny 2 bedroom garden unit back in Auckland) – in fact, in Europe, they are known as “apartment ponies” because their quiet natures mean that they are actually more suited to living in a limited space (as long as they get decent walks daily) than many of the smaller but more active working and sporting breeds.

It also means that – providing you have done the right training and got them used to the idea gradually – Danes can be easier than many other dogs to leave alone at home.  They are generally happy just to sleep the day away, instead of getting up to mischief like trying to escape or ‘help’ you with your interior decorating.

When Honey was younger (5 months onwards), I was out working for the large part of each day – (certainly not ideal but unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of working from home and dogs can cope if they are prepared properly, exercised enough and given adequate boredom relievers while alone). Accordingly, we left her lots of things to occupy her time – from stuffed Kongs and raw bones to treats hidden around the garden and chewtoys galore. I used to come home to find most of these things untouched and Honey just stretching and coming out of her bed as I walked through the door…! ;)  It was almost like she had a switch and was in “OFF” mode when we weren’t around – and then tackled all her toys and treats with gusto as soon as we came home!


BUT this was only because we took time to traing & prepare her, gradually extending the time over days and weeks, so she felt secure and relaxed about being left home alone. AND we made sure that she had enough mental stimulation (through daily training sessions) and physical exercise (a variety of walks – we never missed a day, no matter how tired we were and if we were going to be late, we booked a dog walker) when she was with us, so that she was content to sleep when we weren’t there.  (And of course, her fundamental stable temperament helped – dogs that are anxious, excitable or neurotic are much more likely to develop separation anxiety).

* I am not saying that Danes are suitable for being left alone for long periods of time – no breed is – and  if your dog will have to spend most of his life alone, then you shouldn’t have a dog. Constant, prolonged solitary isolation is one of the cruellest things you can do to a dog.


Easy Exercise: This inherent “laziness” in Danes also means that they don’t have much stamina. A Dane tires really easily. Even when she was a boisterous teenager – 10 minutes of training games or playing Tug with Honey would mean that she needed to sleep it off for at least another 2 hours…not a bad trade-off! :P

And this means – contrary to what a lot of people believe – Danes do NOT need a lot of exercise. Yes, they are massive dogs but their energy requirements are low compared to other breeds. Thus, you don’t need to jog for 10km a day or throw a ball for an hour to satisfy your Dane – he’ll be quite happy with 2 shorter walks or 1 longer walk a day.

We tend to only walk Honey once a day in the afternoon, usually for about 40mins although occasionally for 1 hour, and she is very happy with that. We do make an effort to give her lots of variety – so over the course of a week, she gets a rotation of leashed pavement walks and off-leash runs at the park or beach. (Just by taking your Dane to an unfamiliar place – even if you’re not doing a long walk – will tire him out with all the new smells and stimulations. Dogs get bored with the same routine just like we do.) Of course, Honey also gets regular, short training sessions throughout the week – don’t forget, 10 minutes of intense training can equate to 20mins of running in tiring the dog out. People who just rely on physical exercise find they have to walk longer and longer as their dogs develop stamina faster than they can keep up with it.

However, for the few rare times when I’m really busy and can only spare 20mins or the weather is horrible, Honey is fine with a quick stroll around the block and won’t be climbing the walls at home with her excess energy.  Conversely, if we want to go hiking for 3 hours on the weekend, Honey will tackle any trek with enthusiasm and have no problems keeping up (although of course, she will be comatose for the whole week afterwards! ;) )

This again is what makes Danes so easy to live with – their flexible exercise requirements. It’s one reason why they were top of my shortlist – I wanted a breed athletic enough to cope with substantial exercise when I wanted it but mellow enough that I didn’t HAVE to devote hours to exercising him every day. I also like the fact that I can take Honey to a 2-day dog training workshop when I want to but she will also lie quietly and not bother me all day when I have work deadlines to meet and can’t spare much time to interact with her. I have friends who own a Dalmation/Border Collie-cross and they have to walk him 3 times a day (two of which are 5km jogs) just to keep him sane. I admire their dedication but I’m too selfish myself and like having a dog where I have the flexibility to be lazy sometimes – and not suffer any consequences! ;)


Easy Management: In training language, Danes are known as “extremely low drive” – which basically means they can’t be bothered much, especially with anything that requires a lot of effort. They need to be given a LOT of motivation and “good reason” for them to do anything. This can be a nightmare when you are actually trying to train them in advanced obedience and competitive dog sports (like I am with Honey) as they lack the constant enthusiasm & focus of the traditional working breeds – but it’s a blessing when it comes to living with them.

Obviously, there are exceptions and puppies will always be puppies but in general, Danes are very easily deterred. They give up easily. This means that it’s not hard to stop them doing things – whether it is escaping from a garden or stealing food from the kitchen – they are easily daunted. Sure, they will seize an opportunity just like any other dog but if you make things just a little bit difficult – whether through poor access or constant supervision – they will often give up and not try again.

These are not dogs that will spend a lot of time cleverly working out how to open every cupboard in the house or repeatedly planning how to sneak past your defences…which has led some people to label Danes as “stupid”.

The truth is, Danes are no more stupid than any other breed – they can learn to open cupboards or any other clever trick – but the key is, they just can’t be bothered most of the time.

Much like cats aren’t stupid – in fact, they are probably more intelligent than dogs – but they are difficult to train because they often just can’t be bothered. To do something, an animal has got to not only be capable of doing it but also want to do it…this is the reason why many people struggle with training their Danes.  They have a much a harder time motivating their dogs than owners of other breeds.

Some claim that Danes are “stubborn” and yes, they can be but it is not the same kind of stubborn persistence and continual enjoyment in defying you that you find in some other cheekier breeds.  This doesn’t mean that there are no naughty Danes – of course there are Danes that steal food, dig holes and destroy things! – but more often than not, if you’re clear and consistent with the rules in the beginning and supervise so that they don’t get a chance to develop the bad habit, then they will accept the status quo and never think of questioning it again, unlike some other breeds that will keep testing you and pushing boundaries as long as they’ve got breath left in their bodies! :P

Honey respecting the ‘Out-of-Kitchen” rule…we can go out and leave food on the counter and she will not enter, because this rule was consistently trained and reinforced from Day 1.

Danes are also known to be ‘sensitive’ – they value affection more than food or toys and really get upset by your displeasure or anger. Honey fears my Scary Face and Scary Voice far more than any other possible punishment. This means that they are often easily deterred from doing something naughty just with a Stern “Telling Off” – they really don’t like annoying you – compared to other breeds which may defiantly talk back to you or just shrug off your objections and turn a deaf ear.


Easy Grooming: Great Danes really are wash ‘n’ wear dogs. Their short, single coat requires minimal grooming – a run over with a rubber curry comb (eg. Zoom Groom) once a week to remove any dead, loose hairs is often more than enough. (This is another reason they topped my shortlist as I HATE grooming and wanted a breed I could get away with doing as little as possible! I’m ashamed to say that sometimes, Honey only gets groomed once a month!)

Any mud dries and falls off quickly – there are no long hairs to clump and matt together.  Compared to other breeds, they do not shed excessively although they can “moult” twice a year in spring and autumn but as long as you’re a bit more conscientious with the grooming then, it is hardly any trouble. Certainly nothing like the huge clumps of hair and fur you will often see coming off other breeds.

After a bath, they dry extremely quickly – 10 minutes in hot sun. Their big size does mean they can be difficult to bathe IF you have not done the proper training and socialised them to baths from an early age – it is practically impossible to hold a squirming, soapy giant dog that is panicking. Even more so with nail clipping – Dane nails are like huge talons and are extremely hard and take a lot of strength to clip, and if they have dark nails like Honey, very difficult to see the quick – so it is essential that your Dane will lie quietly while you’re struggling to squeeze the clippers – otherwise things could get very ugly! ;) . But get in early with positive associations & socialisation to these activities and you’ll be fine. Honey doesn’t enjoy her baths or her nail clippings – but she stands or lies quietly and complies dociley while I’m getting on with it.

But don’t think it’s all plain sailing with Great Dane personal care – the Curse of the Slobber (see The Dark Side below) more than cancels out any grooming benefits you get! :lol:



The Dark Side

Despite their wonderfulness, Great Danes have a lot of negatives too and much as I love them and consider them to be the epitome of what a dog should be, I would be the first to admit that a Dane is not for everybody. In fact, I would go so far as to say a Great Dane is not for most people. They require a more dedicated, committed owner than average so if you can’t embrace the following things 100%, then DON’T get a Dane!


You absolutely CANNOT skimp on the training. Danes aren’t any worse behaved than other breeds – in fact (as mentioned above), in many respects they are easier to manage but this does not mean you can skimp on training in any way. Why? Because if they DO misbehave, the consequences will be 10 times worse than other dogs – just because of their sheer size and strength.

This is not a dog that you can afford to have even a bit “out of control” – he can be a serious danger to himself and others. I hate the double standards that seem to apply to dog breeds based on size but in this case, I have to admit that there is a point. Not that it excuses them or makes it right but you can hang on to or pick up a toy breed that is misbehaving – whereas you will be lucky to escape injury or a lawsuit with a Dane. It is like the difference between you not knowing how to ride a bicycle: the worst that can happen is you fall off or crash into 1 pedestrian – and you not knowing how to fly a Jumbo jet:  you could kill hundreds of people, damage airports and cities or worse.

And an untrained Great Dane can seriously impact your quality of life – you can’t just “put up with it” as many owners of smaller dogs do and just get on with life, albeit with some exasperation and discomfort. A Jack Russell pulling on a leash is a nuisance – a Great Dane pulling on a leash is a hip replacement waiting to happen. A chewing accident won’t just be a favourite shoe destroyed – it will be half the house demolished. I’m not kidding. I have seen Danes chew up half a kitchen wall. Yes, the wall.

I had a friend whose Dane lunged and took off down the street, dragging her face down on the concrete road behind him…she only stopped when she smacked into a telephone pole and had to be hospitalised for days with concussion and “burns” all over her body where her skin had been ripped off. It may seem funny on a YouTube video but it’s not when it is happening to you. Which it will. Guaranteed. If your Dane is not trained properly.


Sure, there will be those who can rely on brute strength to hang on – maybe one reason why Danes are often walked by big, tall, beefy men – but unfortunately, we can’t all be Arnold Schwarzenegger. And besides, you shouldn’t have to.

Walking a Dane in a ballgown & high heels? It’s all down to the training!

One of the things people say to me more than anything else is how surprised they are that such a small woman as myself can handle a Dane. And not only just “hang on” as many people seem to but have her behave beautifully.

Er…why? Leadership is not about how much you weigh but about how much authority you have. And only training gives you the kind of authority that allows you to control an animal that weighs 20kg more than you and whose jaws could rip you in half.

I actually prefer controlling Honey when she is off-leash – I rely on my voice and authority – and not on a length of nylon to restrain her. But I can only do that because she respects my leadership, which was established through training.

Of course, I totally understand that not everyone is as interested in dog training as I am and I don’t expect them to be. For me, it is almost like a hobby – no different to golf or knitting or even shopping for some.  But not everyone wants to spend large parts of their spare time training their dogs and that’s fair enough. But just don’t get a Dane then. I hate to say it but get something smaller that you can “get away with it” . It still isn’t right – every dog, not matter what size or breed, should be trained and I’m constantly disgusted at the number of small dogs I see who are allowed to behave like canine terrorists – but it is true that you can get away with less training with a smaller, less powerful dog.  At least you CAN hang on or physically drag them away.


And if you’re thinking I’m just being a goody-goody and you can probably get away with it – trust me, you won’t. We get on average 5 messages coming through the ‘Contact Honey’ page every week and a lot of them are Dane owners begging me for help because their Danes are out of control. A lot of them thought they could “get away with it” and didn’t bother to put in any time training when their Danes were young. They’re all suffering for it now. And the sad thing is, it could all have been so easily prevented.

Of course, there will be those reading this who will be thinking, “But I hardly trained my Dane and he’s an angel!” Good for you – but you’re one of the very few, rare lucky ones. Yes, there are some dogs who grow up magically well-behaved with you hardly doing anything (just like children) but can you take the chance? Like playing Russian roulette – if you’re lucky and get an empty round, that’s great, but if you happen to get the bullet…

I’m not saying that you have to go to the extremes I do with participating in dog sports, etc, if you get a Dane but you HAVE to be prepared to commit a significant amount of time to training, especially in the first year and even thoughout your Dane’s life. With great power comes great responsibility and you have a duty, if you get a Dane, to ensure that he is not a danger to himself or others.

Besides – you want to enjoy your dog, don’t you? You don’t want to spend your life panting behind your dog, with your arm dragged out of its socket…or breaking into a cold sweat every time you see another dog/cyclist/jogger/cat coming down the street whilst your dog has turned into a cross between Godzilla and a Giant Mexican Jumping Bean…or skulking around, walking your dog at midnight in the hopes of not meeting anyone…(all things I’ve known Dane owners to do)…if life with a dog has to be like that, what is the point?

This is what life with your dog ought to be…


You might not believe it looking at Honey now but we went through a very bad time with her when she was about 7-8 months old. I would get panic attacks just at the thought of having to take her out for a walk. I would be dragged behind her until the rubber soles of my shoes were almost smoking, as she lunged and barked at other dogs. I was flipped off my feet, flat onto my back. We were expelled from training class for being “out of control”. I could not enjoy her at all and yes, I did even think about giving her up. (GULP)

But then we decided to get professional help from a wonderful trainer called Flip at Flip’s Top Dog in Auckland and the rest, as they say, is history. So I’m telling you all this not because I enjoy preaching but because I have lived through the nightmare of having an out-of-control Dane myself and I would not wish that experience on anybody.


You have to do MORE socialisation – and never stop. You know all those stupid things that people are told NEVER to do to strange dogs? Like stare at them, point at them, run up and hug them, scream and make sudden moves, touch them from behind…? Well, they’ll do it to your Dane. Guaranteed.

I am constantly staggered at the kind of things people do to Honey – from joggers giving her rump a smack as they run past (??!!) to children mauling her head and crawling underneath her. One little girl in a park even came up and patted Honey’s tongue as she was panting! Not to mention the construction worker who asked me how much Honey weighed and then before I could reply, proceeded to try and lift her in his arms to find out for himself! 8-O

Of course, they are at fault for doing those stupid things and would totally deserve it if they provoked a reaction from your Dane but if anything did happen, who do you think would be blamed? Especially when there is a “big dog” involved? And sure, all of this applies to all dogs but a lot of breeds can get by relatively unnoticed – with a Dane, you can never avoid it – he will always be drawing attention – and bringing out the worst in stupid behaviour.

So it is up to you to make sure that your Dane sees all this excessive attention as a good thing. That he is very tolerant of stupid behaviour – because he will have to put up with a lot more than most other dogs. And you can only achieve this through adequate socialisation.

(sigh) Can’t I just sniff the grass in peace?

Be aware, also, that some Danes can be quite timid and ‘skittish’ – you can try your best to avoid this by selecting a reputable breeder who only breeds from stable dogs with good temperaments – but to some extent, there is a definite tendency in this breed. Therefore, it is even more important that you “bomb-proof” your Dane because a fearful Dane that can’t cope with all this attention may resort to aggression – perhaps justified, you feel – but in the end, it is your Dane who suffers (and might even be put to sleep).

Sure, you can protect your Dane if you never take him out ever or only live up in the mountains – or build a Force Field around him to prevent anyone coming near…but realistically, you will have to rely on socialisation. So can you spare the time, especially in the early months, to take your Dane to a host of places and expose them to a variety of people, animals, objects and experiences in a positive way? And ideally continue doing  this for the rest of his life, to cope with the constant new social challenges he will have to face? You just never know what the next stupid person might do or when it might reach your Dane’s breaking point – so you have to continually “put credit in the socialisation bank”.  If you can’t invest this kind of time, then DON’T get a Dane.


SLOBBER!!!!! Danes are definitely NOT for the houseproud.  There’s no delicate way to put this – unless you’re very “relaxed” about home cleanliness and decor (or you want to spend most of your days manically cleaning), forget having a Dane. These dogs can drool like there is no tomorrow. Yes, some of them have ‘tighter’ mouths and only produce a dainty dribble but there is no guarantee for this and no way of predicting, especially when they are a puppy, just how ‘slobbery’ they are going to be.

As someone who lives with a “slobbery Dane”, I can tell you that it is not for the faint-hearted. Honey drools constantly. She drools when she is hot; she drools when she is excited; she drools when she is walking; she drools when she is sleeping; she drools when she eating food; she drools when she thinking about food; she drools when she rides in the car; she drools when she is playing; she drools when there is nothing better to do…it is non-stop and relentless.

And we’re not talking about a few dainty little drops, either, but great long stringy gobs of slime which smell and stick everywhere – on your clothes, your hair, your walls, your furniture, your carpets, your floors, your cars, your friends…

The walls in our house are always covered in slobber. From great big splatter patterns that look like an alien was slaughtered in the room to small blobs that have hardened into lumpy projections. Nor is the furniture safe, even though Honey is not allowed on the sofa – a good toss of her head means she can fling her drool far and wide. A lot of Dane-owners have forgotten what their lounge suites look like as everything is always perpetually covered with sheets.

And even when she is not actively drooling, Honey’s mouth is always wet. This means wherever she lays her head, there is likely to be a slimey damp patch afterwards. It also means that the area around her mouth is always moist and a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, especially given all the folds and wrinkled skin underneath her chin. This is one reason why so many young Danes suffer from pimples and acne on their chin.

Of course, we do our best to fight it. We keep Honey’s water bowl outside and feed her outside and wipe her mouth with a towel before she comes back in the house. We keep a ‘slobber towel’ in several locations in the house and wipe her mouth at every opportunity. But it is a losing battle.

We’ve got used to it and don’t mind it. My personal pet peeve is noisy dogs and I cannot stand dogs that yap a lot at every small thing – so I’d rather deal with slobber than excessive barking and howling. It’s not a judgement – neither problem is better than the other – but just what you are happier to put up with. But just make sure that if you do decide to get a Dane, you can put up with this.

And if you want proof, just watch this video:



Great Danes could be the most expensive mistake you’ll ever make.  When people ask me about the cost of having a Dane, the only thing they tend to think about is food. Actually, I think – once they are fully grown – Danes don’t cost significantly more to feed. They might even eat less than a slightly smaller but more active working or sporting breed. It also depends on what you feed them – some foods deliver very little nutrition so have to be fed in huge amounts. But when they are growing puppies (which can be up to 2 years), you will have to invest in an expensive, high quality diet. Danes are already prone to developmental problems as it is – you really have to do everything to ensure good growth and health – if you skimp on the quality of food now, you’ll be paying for it in vet bills later.

Any discounts for giant breeds?

Make no mistake about it: EVERYTHING about your Dane will be expensive. Like the look of that dog bed? Wait until you see what the price is in XXL size. Want to buy some flea treatment? You’ll be paying what other owners pay in a year just for one sitting. Thinking of getting a crate? Better start saving for the cost of the Giant model. Need to put your Dane in a kennel? Double the standard rate just to start with. Searching for a Dane-friendly dog coat? Be prepared to pay designer prices. Looking for a new car to transport your canine friend? You’ll be looking at models with hefty space at the back and a hefty price tag attached.  And as mentioned above – any damage your Dane causes (whether in destructive behaviour or accidental injuries) will be MAJOR and likely to cost you a LOT in repairs/treatment.

Any time you think something is good value for money – wait until you see the same thing in XXL size. It is incredibly frustrating but there are no good deals in the giant range of anything. And any vet treatment and pest control is always calculated by weight – and your dog will have a LOT of it. Even a simple course of antibiotics could easily cost you hundreds. NOTHING with a Dane is cheap.

As for pet insurance, I only have 2 words: get it. Even a simple operation for a Dane is likely to cost thousands, especially if anaesthesia (again calculated on weight)  is involved. And don’t just go on the standard premiums quoted on the website – Danes will fall into their “special breeds” group where the premiums are extra high (told you nothing with a Dane is cheap!) so make sure you double check and read the small print. If you feel that insurance is not worth it, at least set up a dedicated savings account where you’ll put money away every month for your Dane’s medical expenses. Trust me – you’ll need it.


The curse of the celebrity. You might think it’s really cool to have everyone oohing and aahing over your dog every time you go out but believe me, it wears really thin very quickly.

Please don’t think I’m ungrateful – I am very honoured and flattered that people think Honey is so beautiful and want to meet her and ask questions about her – and I am more than happy to oblige a lot of the time and enjoy making new friends – but sometimes, I really just want to walk my dog or go to a cafe in peace. But it’s NEVER an option. You are stalked wherever you go and we have had people literally queue up to take photos with or pat Honey.

If you’re someone who craves being the centre of attention all the time then yes, maybe you would enjoy it. (But I really worry about those who just get a Dane because they want to show off having “the biggest dog in the street”).

I’m not a particularly shy person and I’m comfortable getting attention and talking to strangers – but I still find the constant onslaught a bit of a strain, as would any normal person.

Those of you reading this with young Danes probably won’t agree – you’re still enjoying being singled out with all the attention…I used to think like you when Honey was 2 yrs old – after all, I agree, it’s nice to feel “special” – but now that we’ve had it for nearly 7 years, the novelty is definitely wearing off!

And don’t forget all the ‘smart comments’ you will get. This can wear REALLY thin. I have to grit my teeth now every time someone passes us and says “You could put a saddle on that thing” or some other “horse” remark.

I know they are only trying to be funny – and often they look at you, expecting you to laugh uproariously at their “witty” comment – when in truth, I’ve heard it so many times I can barely stretch my lips into the semblance of a smile.

I wouldn’t mind it so much if people actually came up with something original but everyone says the same stupid things and thinks they are so creative. I don’t understand why they feel the need to comment anyway? Do they think I haven’t noticed that my dog is very big??

As for the stupid questions, don’t even get me started. They range from “Will she eat my dog?” (in all seriousness) to “Did you know she was going to get so big when you got her?” I mean – huh? It’s like ordering a Vindaloo Curry and then asking, “Did you know it was going to be spicy?” :roll:


Can you cope with a Special Needs dog? Getting a Great Dane compared to getting a more common breed is like keeping exotic tropical fish instead of common guppies. I don’t mean they are more valuable or special but just that they require more expert knowledge and ‘work’ to raise them well and ensure optimal health.

This particularly applies to Dane puppies. They have to be carefully watched, fed and exercised during their first year as their rapid growth (and genetic heritage) means that they are very prone to developmental & skeletal diseases. Even when they are fully grown, you will have to continue with special routines and procedures to avoid things like bloat & gastric torsion.

So think carefully about whether you are able to put in the time & effort for all this extra “special care”. Just like how if you haven’t got the patience,  know-how and time to tend & prune & trim & fertilise a garden full of exotic orchids, then it might be better if you just stick to a less ambitious garden with hardier plants that don’t need so much specialist care.


NOT the ideal dog for a young family. If you have children under 5 yrs old (AND ESPECIALLY if you’re a first-time owner), please think twice about getting a Great Dane puppy.  As mentioned above, you really cannot afford to skimp with a Dane puppy’s training and socialisation – and it is hard to find the time when you have your hands full with tantrums and Teletubbies.

Honey at 5 months

Of course, this could apply to puppies of all breeds but you have a lot less leeway with a Dane. Why? Because of their growth rate. A 4 month old Dane puppy will be the size of a large Labrador already – and probably much stronger.  It will still have the mind of a puppy and all the same puppy issues but behave like a small rhinocerous in your home. It can also hurt your children a lot harder if there are any accidents.

I can’t tell you how much it upsets and angers me to get the messages we get through the ‘Contact Honey’ page every week – almost all identical – from people with Danes about 5 months old which they just cannot control and are now becoming a threat to their families. It is always the same age: 5 months – when it is no longer a cute, lumbering puppy but a huge boisterous young dog causing havoc. Invariably, none of them will have done any training. Why? Why? Why are people so stupid?

Of course, there will be those indignantly reading this now who have welcomed a Dane puppy into their family of young children and raised a wonderful family dog. I’m not saying it can’t be done but it usually requires a lot of dedication and hard work. And a large dose of luck too.


Life is unfair with a Great Dane. If you’re going to get a Dane, brace yourself for some serious discrimination. This probably affects all owners of large breeds – and Danes are probably better off than those breeds which have a certain (usually undeserved) ‘reputation’ such as Rottweilers, but nevertheless, you will find life with a very big dog very uncomfortable at times.

There is a terrible double standard that exists in people’s perception and tolerance of dog behaviour, based on your dog’s size. Little dogs can behave atrociously, barking ferociously, lunging aggressively, even biting – and people will often laugh it off or call it “spunky” or “cute” – whereas if your Dane ever so much as sneezes in the wrong direction, people will be all over it, accusing it of aggressive, threatening behaviour. You will suffer far more and far quicker judgement on your Dane and be forgiven less.

When it comes to incidents between dogs, the bigger dog is ALWAYS blamed. And when you’ve got a Dane, you’ve got the biggest dog in the park. Doesn’t matter if he didn’t start it. Doesn’t matter if he is standing 3 metres away. It will be his fault. We learnt this the hard way when a Manchester Terrier attacked Honey in a park back in Auckland and when she tried to defend herself, the Terrier’s owners reported her to Animal Control, wanting her to be muzzled for being a “dangerous dog”. Their argument was that a big dog had no right to defend itself against a little dog because of the size difference.

Having a bigger dog also means that any un-dogfriendly attitudes are magnified. Even if people are willing to consider it for a little dog, there is no way they will allow it for a Great Dane.  These double standards also often apply to the things you can do and places you can go. Lots of so-called “dog-friendly accommodation” only welcome dogs below a certain size.

You will even suffer negative attitudes from other dog owners – especially ladies of a certain age with dogs of a certain fluffy, white type – who will be snatched up and cradled in their owner’s arms as you walk by with your perfectly behaved, perfectly disinterested Dane – whilst they sniff disapprovingly and coo to their bristling, yapping bundle that “Mummy won’t let that big nasty dog hurt you.” Like the smart aleck comments, this one is easy to shrug off once in a while but when it becomes a daily occuremce, it can really get you down.


Big size means big incoveniences. While you don’t need a huge house & garden to have a Great Dane, their big size does make things pretty inconvenient at times. For example, any cafe you want to stop at will need a lot of room around the tables. You can’t just tuck your Dane out of sight under the table – more likely than not, they will sprawl halfway across the pavement, blocking everyone’s way.

Their height also means that you ‘d better train some very good food manners or have very high counters! Things that are out of the question for most dogs are an easy reach for Great Danes. And while you can get away with a small car (as we did for our final year in Auckland), you really do need to get a decent-sized station wagon or 4X4 to transport your Dane. And remember, if your dog gets exhausted or injured while out on a trek, you won’t be able to carry him back easily. Come to that, if he gets stuck in a narrow space, you won’t be able to get him out easily! :D

With a dog this size, it’s never a quick “get up and go” – you will have to plan every outing and check every destination for enough space and welcoming attitude to cope with such a big dog.


 You won’t get a ‘Honey’  We get a lot of people writing in saying they would love to have a dog like Honey, ie. a Great Dane – but we also get quite a few saying they would love to have a dog like Honey. Literally. They don’t just want a Great Dane – they want a ‘Honey’.

This also happens a lot when we go out and meet people marvelling at Honey’s good behaviour and lovely temperament. I am always in a quandry in these situations. Of course, I am delighted that Honey is being such a good ambassador for the breed but I also worry that she is giving people unrealistic expectations.

Honey wasn’t bought – she was made - through blood, sweat and tears. And unless you’re going to put in the same amount of time and commitment I have in training and socialisation – which most people can’t or won’t – then your Dane won’t be Honey. I’m not saying Honey is better – your Dane doesn’t have to be Honey to be wonderful – not all Danes have to learn how to stay out of the kitchen, do advanced Obedience or dance. But please don’t think you’ll be able to get a ‘Honey’ easily.

Some of you may remember Honey’s little niece, Raffy, who she babysat back in Auckland. Raffy was 4 months old at the time and her owners had visited Honey’s blog and wanted a Dane like Honey in their home. They had brought Raffy especially to our trainer, Flip, and that was how we met. I was really sad to learn a few months later that they had decided to rehome Raffy.  Apparently, they decided Raffy was just “too much” and they couldn’t cope. I suppose at least they did the responsible thing by looking for a more suitable home for her. She was really just a typical boisterous 6-month old Dane puppy but unfortunately, I think them reading Honey’s blog had led them to false expectations

Honey & Raffy practising their Down Stays in the park…

I had had the chance to spend some time ‘working’ with Raffy myself and she was just the most gorgeous, normal ‘little’ puppy – she reminded me a LOT of Honey at the same age: very bouncy & rambunctious, overly-confident and fearless – a LOT of spirit which, yes, if not channelled right, could be a handful. Her owners complained about her wrecking things in the house when they went out and left her alone or being too rough around their young children….which is really just all normal puppy behaviour.

Sadly, I think in this instance, Honey’s blog did more harm than good because they were obviously expecting a replica of Honey and were disappointed. I got the impression that they couldn’t understand why she wasn’t perfectly behaved, given that she came from Honey’s breeders, was related to Honey and had been taken to the same trainer! Thankfully, our breeders took her back and found her a lovely new home with a lady who had just lost her old Great Dane.

You can’t always buy everything – sometimes, if you don’t put in the time and hard work yourself, you will never get the results you want. Even if you took a puppy cloned from Honey, you would not get a ‘Honey’ if you don’t do all the things I have done with her training and socialisation.

But if you CAN put in the dedication and work required, then yes, you can get your own ‘Honey’.

And for those of you who haven’t seen this before – I’ll leave you with this video which shows just how wonderful life with a well-trained, well-socialised Dane can be:

If you’re interested in finding out more about Great Danes, check out my Great Dane FAQ page

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99 Responses to So you want a doggie like me?

  1. Kaj Nielsen says:

    Love this post,
    I want to print it out a thousand times and drop them from a plane over my city, my wife and I decided we want another Dane ( not for a year or so) but the other day I was looking though the ads on kijji. And found TEN litters of great Dane puppies. This is only after 3 weeks of the marmaduke movie coming out.. I’m terrified of what the Edmonton shelters are going to look like in 5-7 months from now,
    Harley is a great puppy. Everyone we meet says she has great manners and well behaved, I have put in the time, maybe not as much as I should. But we do train. But still has lots of manners to learn, and people don’t understand that having a 20 lb puppy jumping on you while your sitting on the couch is now big deal, but try having a nighty pound 8 month old puppy jumping on you.
    Just this morning I was laying in bed trying to catch an extra ten minutes. Harley on the josher had decided it was time to wake up. I got a paw in the ribs, one in the chin, and another in the eye. Lol was kindda funny, but to someone else. I really don’t think a red neck would think it was so funny.. And here in Alberta we have lots of this. You know the guys with the big trucks and the dogs pacing back and for in the back.

    I love your blog and I think is should be a requirement that people read this entry befor even considering getting a great Dane.
    Much love to you
    Hugz and slobberz.

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  3. Em & Pepper says:

    What a well-timed, thoughtful and incredible piece of writing. As soon as I saw ads for “Marmaduke” my blood turned cold, knowing what has happened after similar animal movies (I remember the craze for “clown fish” after Finding Nemo – but can imagine this becoming, like a bazillion times worse than that – Danes are alot more trouble than a tropical fish!) Hopefully when people search for Dane info this piece you’ve written will pop up and make them think twice, but those people that would rush out to buy an animal on a whim are unlikely to do any reasearch, are they. On 60minutes last week they had a segment about “Oddles”, showing NZ puppy farms churning out supposed poodle crosses & selling them for huge sums to public & pet stores because these “designer mutts” are so popular at the moment. It was awful Hsin-Yi, I cried. Public demand is an awful horrible thing when it comes to animals. Breaks my heart into a thousand bits.

  4. Sparta the Great Dane says:

    This is an excellent, informed and well researched piece. I believe it should be printed in all the weekend newspapers, just after any advertisments for the Marmaduke movie. Then it should be handed out in hard copy to all the people leaving the theatre. Those pictures of those abused dogs make me absolutely sick. And the story about Raffy is unbelievable. I’ll never understand people not taking their responsibilities as a pet owner seriously.

  5. Mango says:

    Honey! That was a wonderful post and just about everything you said applies to ME too. Yuh, I sleep a lot and don’t need much exercise, but all the rules are different for me out in public than with PeeWee. I can’t even give a little AR AR AR without getting in trouble and people are always staring at me and putting their faces in mine and making stupid comments.

    And of course our house guests cannot avoid slobber. Hehehe. Momma weeps when she takes me to the vet because everything is so expensive. Yuh. And what the people should really ask is not, “how much does he eat” but “how much does he poop?”

    I hope that lots of humans will read your post and think twice about getting a giant dog instead of a little PeeWee like my idiot brother (who many people consider a “big” dog… as if).


  6. Minnie and Mack says:

    What a wonderful, wonderful article your mom has written! Honey, you are so fortunate to have such a wonderful mom and dad to raise you.
    We hope your mom’s written word gets out to all those who want a dog of any size so all our cousins will live happy lives.

  7. Ricky says:

    Great post! Your mom is a wonderful writer and hopefully her words will get through to anyone who wants a Great Dane (or any dog in general) and will make them think it through before they commit to such a major responsibility as dog ownership.

  8. Indiana "Bones" Taylor says:

    Hi Hsin-Yi – I loved reading EVERY WORD of this post. I hope that someone who was thinking of getting a Dane reads this post very carefully before they get one. My lab Indy “Bones” Taylor is a handful and he is no where near Honey’s size. It makes me so sad to see and read about dogs being rehomed – people these days just don’t do enough research for their own situations. It is frustrating I tell you! This is our second lab and we knew from experience that this breed works for us. People who see movies Like Marley and Me – and then go get a cute lab puppy w/out thinking it thru. One thing I wanted to emphasize to your readers: I think it is a good thing to seek out help with training when you need it. I am still having leash issues with Indy and am in the process of looking for a traner to help me get this under control. Don’t be afraid to seek out help! Yes it may be expensive – but the benefits you get in the long run will far outweight the money cost.

    Thank you again for all the great information. Honey is am amazing dog – thanks to all your heard work, dedication, and love for her. And it shows.

    take care – Diane Taylor from Baltimore Maryland (USA)

  9. Ludo says:

    Long post Honey! I will has to come back and read properly, but from my skimming, very good! What an important message to send and I hope it gets through to people!

  10. Alyson says:

    Thank you very much for posting this! I wish there was a “you” in America that was widely known. I love my Dane with my whole heart and people always get confused as to why I say “I don’t think you should” when people ask if they should get a Dane. This post is why. Yes they are wonderful, yes my Dane (Moose) has brought an immense amount of joy to my life, BUT it took a lot of CONSISTENT and constant training to get him to be so well behaved and to handle all the “attention” we receive in a community that RARELY sees Danes. They truly are a very rewarding companion, but only if you are well prepared in all areas to have one.
    thanks again for a wonderful post. I am going to put a link in my blog to this article because I find it so great and educational.

  11. sara says:

    They should hand out this post to everyone who goes to see Marmaduke. Marmaduke was one of my favorites while growing up. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. Too bad Honey didn’t have the lead role!

    Training is so important, and I admire your methods, consistency and willingness to educate others.

  12. Dear Hsin-Yi,
    My eyes leaked right away when I read about India the sweet Dane was beat up every day by her own backyard breeder. Like many other animal lovers, I’m angry when it comes to abuse and neglect issues.
    You are so honestly presenting both glorious and dark sides of raising a Dane. You wrote a very informative and thoughtful post here, I thank you for that.
    I’m glad to see Lemon again, and Honey’s purple bed, haha, in hundred of wonderful photos, those two brought back sweet memories since I follow Honey’s journey.
    Love y’all

  13. Lots of info here.

    Jan understands what you mean about being shocked by what strangers do when you’re walking your dogs. Jan gets waaaay off the sidewalk — into the road, a parking lot, crosses the street, whatever is necessary to keep away from passing humans. Because of some of the rude, scary, nasty things that have happened.

  14. GREAT post Honey and Hsin-Yi.
    I was so sad looking at those first pictures of the abused/mistreated/unhealthy Danes. Some Danes just don’t put on weight but those were just emaciated!
    And Raffy! OMG! I seriously OMG’d out loud when I read she had been rehomed. That makes me so upset! One of Darwin’s brother’s (Kona) who I posted about a few months ago was rehomed. The owner saw the puppies and thought they were so cute (DUH – what puppies aren’t) and then couldn’t handle him once he got bigger… She didn’t realize how big he’d get. I was so pissed. I was so glad I had randomly come across his ad on craigslist so we could help get him out of there and into a better home, but I was so annoyed with that “owner”.
    I’d love Darwin to be a Honey, but I know it takes work. We aren’t close to having her as well behaved as Honey, but it’s a work in progress and we are willing to work with her. We can’t really afford classes or a trainer right now, but we do the best we can with advice and tips from knowledgeable people like you.
    I think this post is true for many breeds. Our coworker has a Lab that is out of control (yet they dont seem to exercise him or train him) and they sent him to a boot camp (they didn’t train him, someone else did) and can’t understand why he’s so out of control (he’s still a puppy too). Our coworker was amazed that Darwin is still a puppy (17 months) and yet so calm and well behaved while in the office with us. It’s those kind of people you just want to say “DUH” to.
    Ok Im rambling, but thank you for such a great post!

  15. Mayzie says:

    This is a Most Wonderful and Thoughtful post, Honey and Hsin-Yi! The first thing my mom thought when she saw the ads for that “Marmaduke” movie was “uh oh!” Cuz of everything you said. Peoples can be so weird. Everybuddy would be so much better off if they’d just spend a little time and THINK about the kind of doggie that would be best for them.

    Lots of what you said abouts doggie discrimination applies to doggies who look like me, too. And my mom said she really wasn’t totally prepared for people thinking I’m a bad dog cuz of how I look. It really hurt her feelings at first but I had a talk with her and told her that I would just keep on being Mayzie and maybe we could change a few peoples’ minds along the way. And you know what? I think maybe we have!

    Wiggles & Wags,

  16. Jenny and Kadie says:

    Hi Hsin-yi!

    I totally agree with studying the breed and making the commitment before getting a cute little puppy! I have put lots of time into Kadie and I absolutely enjoy her now!!! Boy has it been alot of work but looking back I wouldnt have any other breed! My husband and I are dog lovers and had no idea how much we would love danes!

    Your blog has really helped me with ideas on continuing her training and concerns about bad behaviour! We (meaning Kadie and I) are still learning alot but it has been so worth it! Kadie is my best buddy and I love coming home to my Kadiegirl!! Thanks for all your research and insight! You are a tremedously blessing!

    Kadie and I love Honey and aspire to be as helpful and as balanced as you both are together!!

    Lots of wags from Alabama!
    Jenny and Kadie

  17. sprinkles says:

    I had wondered if you would do a post about that movie “Marmaduke” coming out.

    Thank you for taking the time to do this. It’s very informative and well thought out. I imagine it took you a long time to write. Hopefully this will make people think a little more and do some actual research before they decide on any particular breed. I’m guilty of not doing any research but got lucky with the chi’s I have. Both are very sweet and loving.

    I love that picture of Honey lying on her back. But that picture of the skeletal Great Dane with the big lump in her leg makes me sad. :(

  18. Sasha & Drake says:

    First off for any of your readers who don’t know. Drake is a 4 year old Harlequin Great Dane we adopted from a Dane Rescue. You go through hoops in order to adopt from them. If a dog doesn’t match our home, you wait until they have one that does. We were well educated before he came home and we love him dearly.

    Although I know I am “preaching to the choir” as we say in the southern areas of the US, I have a few things I’d like to say/add:

    If you have questions about a breed, the local Rescue Group for that breed will happily answer them even if you don’t adopt from them. They would rather educate someone before the fact, than need to rescue a dog after it!

    I heard somewhere that puppies cause female humans to release the same hormone that human babies set off.

    People should also think about – how all those antics Marmaduke gets up to in the movie would relate to in their home.

    As for the people… REALLY!! –

    We’ve only had Drake since March, but I am already working on that second skin for the comments…. not that they mean bad… but after the millionth time… it’s really not funny.

    I am also a bit of a social person, but already we’ve been held hostage by a Grandmother, Mom, and 18 month old child for 30 minutes in a park…. while trying to keep up with my own children running around. The pet store is never a quick trip with him…. EVERYONE has to stop you and ask questions.

    I am still amazed how parents will just let their kids walk up and fawn over Drake without even asking about his disposition. I understand how Hsin-Yi can get “stressy”.

    And the CAMERA PHONES!! You can be walking down the sidewalk and people will just whip out those camera phones and snap away.

    The tail, people, the tail is a weapon of mass demolition. It can and will clear a coffee table in 2 seconds of joy. Forget about leaving a cup on the end table… unless you wanna clean up the contents in 5 minutes.

    Still he brings us more joy, love, and laughter which more than makes up for the negatives. Someday I will probably adopt another one because Danes fit really well with my lifestyle. But Hsin-Yi is right and I wish more people would listen to that message!!

    Sorry… I’ll climb down from the soap box now…..

  19. Cheryl says:

    Thank you Hsin-Yi and Honey.

    I think I have changed my mind about a Dane, I had no idea about many things you mention in your lovely informative post. You got me on the slobber thing, i am very house proud and had a hard enough time with the slobber from my late
    Doberman Pinscher. Wow.

    I will continue to get my Dane fix by haunting your blog and adoring you and Honey from afar!

    Take care and thank you again for the informative blog!

  20. Honey and Hsin Yi, great post. I was considering a Dane seriously this past year. We ended up choosing another breed for many of the reasons you listed above, mostly the fact that we are novice dog owners, have a tiny car, and can’t afford huge vet bills that come with a giant breed. We still love the breed, and when we are better prepared to raise a giant breed dog, we would love to add a Dane to our family. I really hear you on the big dog prejudice! Darwin is only 70lbs, and even we experience all of the issues related to prejudice against large breeds. I can only imagine how hard it is with a dog more than twice his size! He is tiny compared to a Dane! :-) We have had numerous badly trained little dogs attack and maul Darwin on leash, and at dog parks. The owners think it is funny. I do not. If he is playing with a little dog, and so much as gently bats it on the head with a paw, the owners are up in arms. It’s frustrating because I have worked extremely hard to train and socialize him, and I’m very proud of his good behavior. yet some people insist on assuming any large dog is a dangerous beast. So frustrating! Anyways, great post, I wish every one considering getting a dog would read an article like this first.

  21. Loki says:

    You have said what we all feel Hsin-Yi and I just hope that some of the people who really need to read this do – if it is o.k. I will post a link to this page over at Brisdanes.

  22. Hi Honey and Hsin-Yi, After reading this post, mom had only one word to say- Whew!
    Growing up, she always wanted a big dog, the bigger the better! She never put in much thought about how much work it could take to raise a big dog. Getting me, a puggle!, was totally unexpected. I know she complains about how much I poo but deep down, she is glad she didn’t get that big dog she always wanted. At least she can still pick up my poo with one hand! Now after having me for almost four years and knowing how much work it is to take care of a dog, she has great admiration for anyone who can take a good care of a big dog.
    we SO agree on “Honey wasn’t bought – she was made”. Whenever mom got the email saying “we got a puggle because we saw Preston!”, we feel honored but are also extremely worried.
    anyway, thanks for a wonderful post and lets hope
    people don’t get a Great Dane for a dumb reason (ie, the movie…) but after thorough research and a long thought like you did.
    take care,

  23. Woo! What a wonderful post! There are a lot of parallels between us Sibes and Great Danes, I think. We don’t drool, but we sure make up for that in fluff. :)
    Snow Dogs and Eight Below were our Marmadukes, if you know what I mean. People get us because of our looks – then give up on us when they realize we have LOTS of needs (centering around exercise and training, to start with) – and that’s why so many of us end up at shelters. (Like me, Storms and Zim!) People who meet us don’t believe the … err … challenges of having Sibes and point to how well behaved the four of us are. Mom tries to explain it’s because she works with us every day (I really didn’t realize that myself… I thought we just played and then got praise or stuff!) and makes sure we have adequate exercise. I hope they listen – just as I hope people listen to you about Great Danes.
    Honey, that photo of you laying with your belly up on your bed in the garden is soooooooo cute! You look like you really need tummy rubs! Please ask Hsin-Yi to rub your tummy — with my compliments.

  24. Oh my gosh. The beginning of this post brought tears to my eyes. I am bookmarking this to send to everyone who asks me about great danes. Thank you so so much for writing this!

  25. Kasha the Dainty Great Dane says:

    Hello Hsin-Yi and Honey,

    You are spot on with everything you said. Thanks for posting all about Danes so they know what they are really all about. I was reading your post at work and hoping nobody walked up on me since it was so long…didn’t want to get in trouble. Great job!

    AARF Kasha the Dainty Great Dane

  26. what a wonderful write up you have done Hsin-YI about our wonderful breed the Great Dane.
    You have summed up a great Dane 100%. I hope people that are considering a Great Dane have a read through this blog post and take it all into account.
    Research is everything.
    Stripe sends honey Slobbers

  27. Lorenza says:

    It was pawesome to read your post!
    It is important to know all those facts before anyone even think about a Great Dane!
    Have a great weekend
    Kisses and hugs

  28. House and Jeannette says:

    Spot on. Jeannette went to see Marmaduke the other day and yes there were lots of ‘Dane’isms at the beginning but she said look out for the Dane explosion.
    Jeannette is going to try to bring it up next Saturday on the radio 774.

    thank Hsin Yi your brilliant

    slobbers House and Jeannette

  29. that so true! that the same like mastiff
    not everyone can take care of a mastiff it hard work and lots of pations
    but sanne alway wanna have a dane and i think she can handel one :)
    but its fur later, two dogs are enough she says

    omg that video of the grandma soooo true! :D
    i think it happens with me (el’bow) and sanne haha

    oooh we love the video, it was nice to see that again :)

    El’bow & Hauwii

  30. Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for taking time out and sending out this message Honey and Hsin-Yi! It breaks my heart to see and hear of animals going to rescues because people don’t understand that there is more to owning an animal than just buying one. It’s because of all the reasons you listed about needing to take time that I have decided that I must wait about 10 years to get my own great dane! :-( It stinks and I’m not happy about it but it wouldn’t be right for the dog, I already have a two year old toddler running around and soon I will be logging alot of hours going back to school for veterinary. I just wish alot more people would sit down and take a good hard look at themselves and their lives before choosing a dog/cat or any pet. Thanks once again, for getting the word out!

  31. Great post Hsin-Yi. I dread movies coming out about a specific breed – if one ever comes out about mine I’ll have heart failure as they aren’t for beginners either. I think of the movie Haachi about the Japanese Akita in 2008, a beautiful majestic breed that SO DEFINATELY ISN’T FOR BEGINNERS, and wonder how many of those have been rescued in the past 2 years since.

    But so agree, staying in the house with a trained great dane – it was easy to forget Honey was even there. Until you heard a formidable WOOF! Just to remind you Honey was around – and awake!!

  32. JD and Max says:

    Hi Honey (bit of a long reply this – bear with us!!)

    We wonder sometimes why people get ANY doggies as they don’t think it through for the ‘long haul’ :( so we loved this article as it should really make everyone think about WHY they want a doggie.

    As you know our FH also waited until the ‘time was right’ until she got us, nearly 20 years in fact! :) She wanted fairly active doggies but nevertheless is glad she didn’t go for ‘high energy’ doggies! We get two walks a day – minimum of an hour in the morning (often 2 hours, especially at the moment with the light mornings and lovely weather – us and FH love being out before the real heat of the day hits so we find it very easy to ‘loose ourselves’ on a walk. We meet a lot of other dogs and walkers when we’re out at these times so it’s lovely and social too! In fact, MH often quips that he though we’d all ‘left home’ by the time we DO get back home, he he he!) We also enjoy an evening constitutional too! When it’s really hot, like now, we’re happy enough with a stroll round the block, just so we can carry out our ablutions, he he he, so we’re very flexible if some of our walks are shorter. A pal of ours has a jack russell mix that still has endless energy after a 3 hour treck – FH is glad we’re not like that. :)

    We know what you mean about other people having set ideas about how a dog will act based on how the dog looks. In fact, FH is very strict with us as she said she doesn’t EVER want us to be one of those smaller breeds who are allowed to behave atrociously simple because we’re little so our behaviour has less impact than if a big doggie behaved the same way. She also doesn’t like owners who always seem to be shouting at their doggies. So – did you know this? – she’s taught us most of the ‘basic’ commands by sign language. This means that when we’re out FH often makes a game of talking to us very eloquently in front of others whilst discreetly doing the sign language. For example, if we’re wandering too close to the river FH will call us and give us the sign language for ‘return’ whilst saying “Boys! You’re far too close to the edge – I’d really rather you come back over here, it would make me feel so mucy better you know!” It means that SO many people have said to her ‘Gosh – your two understand everything you say!’ We all think it’s really funny, he he he! :)

    Mind you, we would like to point out that bias with doggie size is also prevelant with big doggie owners. We’ve lost count of the amount of owners of dobermans or mastiffs to name a few breeds have deliberately kept their dog away from us simply because they EXPECT FH be terrified of their doggies and genuinely think their dog should NOT be playing with a smaller doggie. FH has had managed to have a chat with a few of these owners and explained that we are well socialised and won’t run screaming from the scene, but some still don’t want to know and FH realises the they probably have a big doggie as a ‘token’ which is quite sad. You see JD adores larger doggies! Max isn’t scared of them but does prefer playing with doggies his own size, but JD does prefer the larger breed! He’s totally head over heels in love with a golden retreiver called Abby and every morning we meet up with a gorgeous Doberman who he adores playing chase with – this Doberman has a big sister who is a Yorkshire Terrier! What a fabulous doggie combination don’t you think?! The Yorkie is definately the boss of the sisters! :)

    Sadly, our Great Dane pal, Charlie, died earlier this year – he was 8. We miss him very much. His human has only ever owned Great Danes but is now fostering a Schnauzer for a few months!! He said he’ll be glad to go back to Great Danes because he can’t cope with the energy that a Schnauzer has, he he he! :D

    Schnauzer snuggles – JD and Max.

  33. Great post! It’s important for people to understand what they’re getting into with certain dogs. A lot of times people meet the Vs and think they’re adorable and say they would like to get a vizsla, and we have to explain the velcro/super-mega-high-energy/destructive-when-bored tendencies of the breed. Not that they aren’t great dogs, but like the Danes, there are special considerations for some breeds.

  34. Dana says:

    Wonderful post! Very thorough. I think I understand ~10% of what it would be like to have a dane. All of these things are true of Moose only they are probably 10% of the magnitude of the Dane traits. i.e. 10% of the drool 10% of owners scooping up fluffy dogs, 10% of the attention etc.
    I am so sad to hear Raffy’s family gave up but hope the new family will benefit from the great start she got from Flip’s and she will thrive with a more understanding home. People are so sure that the whole difficulty that others have with puppies does not apply to them… I just don’t get how they can be so dense! I also do not understand why more people don’t see how wonderful adopting an adult can be. They are definitely not all perfect from the start but you know what you are getting, especially if they come from a foster home. I KNEW I did not have the skill and energy to properly raise a puppy so I started with an adult. There have been some surprises and challenges but if I had started with a lab puppy would I have done better than Moose was on the day I adopted him? With a lot of luck and hard work, maybe but in reality probably not. Someone else went through the difficult time with him and look what I got, a right out of the box amazing dog in my opinion. Why don’t more people like Raffy’s original owners try this? I hate that they felt she was disposable and generally people with this attitude should not have a dog but they might have done ok if they started with a 2 year old. There is an unfortunate mis-conception that rescue dogs are ‘damaged’ and some, like India, have had a horrible past and require a special soul to help them (which many people love to do) but there are many like Moose who have come from a nice home where, until that last day, they were cared for. These are dogs who are likely to be as easy as any dog from the day you bring them home!
    Anyway, I appreciate that you were so thorough about this issue and if it convinces one person to think a little harder before this MAJOR decision then you will have done an awesome thing!
    I have seen the video before but still enjoyed it and laughed out loud at your swimming lesson. I had forgotten that!

  35. The OP Pack says:

    What a wonderful and information-packed post you have done!!!! It should be available to anyone who sells or buys a Great Dane. Actually so much of what you say applies to so many dogs that there is something there for everyone. You spent a lot of time and effort to put this together. We thank you for that. We know that a Great Dane is not likely to be a part of our humans’ life but even they would say they have learned a lot from your post. Many commenters have already voiced a lot of what we would say. We hope many more get to read it, absorb it, and then act upon it.

    Woos – Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  36. Sunday is our Independence Day, please join us for a fun and…slobbers filled holiday!

  37. That is a fantastic post :) We think everyone who is thinking of getting a Great Dane reads this!

    We love reading your blog, it is always filled with so much detail!

    We really wish we had been big when you were back in Auckland, becuase the both of us love to play like tom-boy’s now hehe!!

    Licks and lots of slobber,
    Lexi and Jasper the Danes

  38. Steffy says:

    Thank you for writing this! Not just for the Marmaduke situation but for expressing the frustration of people who make their witty jokes or have such narrow minded concepts of keeping a large breed.

    I have a Saint Bernard puppy that I researched for a whole year before deciding it was the right breed for me. I’m so grateful for his company and will NEVER leave him. But it’s so frustrating whenever I’m walking him, to have people run up to us (which is especially rude when I have clicker and treats in hand as he is still under some leash training) and literally, word for word:

    Idiot: Hey, is that a Saint Bernard?
    Me: Yes, he is.
    Idiot: WOW! You know he’s going to get big?

    No really?! Holy cow, I was just going to dump him the minute he got to be too much! Or when people insist that I should’ve named him Beethoven. :S

    Sorry for the rant, but PREACH IT WOMAN!

  39. Cinnamon says:

    Another great post by Hsin-Yi and Honey!!

    We also see many Beagles getting rehomed because they just can’t understand why their dogs don’t listen to them. But most of the time it’s the owner who did something wrong. They didn’t do homework to know about the breed before getting their dog who doesn’t only look adorable but also have its own mind, which the owner has to teach the dog to use in a good way, otherwise it results in you know what…

    But, until I read this post I didn’t realise what it really means to have a large breed dog like a Great Dane. I think Honey is a lucky one to be a member of such a great family.

    Cinnamon’s mum

  40. Oskar says:

    Hsin-Yi, is a brilliant writer and dog trainer. It breaks our heart all of the doggies who are abused or taken to shelters when people don’t do their research.

    My people researched doggies for over 6 months before they chose a miniature schnauzer. They have dropped the ball with training me & I am very barky and don’t always listen well.

    Due to Hsin-Yi’s posts and information over the time we have been reading your blog, my mom person has taken more of an effort to spend time training me!

  41. Ciao Hsin-Yi,
    I agree with your post 100%.
    Thank your for taking the time to do it.
    Even if it just saves one doggie and one owner it was worth it. Yes even owners because there are some that would really like to love a pet but they are not ready for the “game” or they under value what it really means.
    I was one owner that did not expect the implications of having a big doggie and it turned out I loved it, I love to learn more about training and dedicate time to this, but how many doggies I can also see around me that are not as lucky as Lucille or Honey.
    What if I had not liked it? What if I had not correct some of Lucille’s behaviours…
    Well done – it is really a wonderful and honest post!
    Thank you!
    Ciao Lucille & Nicoletta

  42. parlance says:

    Hsin-Yi, I’m glad you had the courage to present those dreadful photos at the top of your post. I cried. One in particular will haunt my nightmares. (Sometimes I hate the human race – not individuals, but us as a species. And then I remember all the kindness we are capable of.)

    The rest of the article was great. I feel sad that Raffy was rehomed, but I hope he was lucky in his second family.

  43. Tucker says:

    Honey – thank you for the great post. Everything you said is so true. My Momma says she gets very tired of not being able to walk down the street without having to stop every 20 feet. I get tired of the little kids trying to pet me sometimes and Momma and Dad always have to keep a watch out for the people that run up to me. The little kids sometimes try to poke me in the face and I bark at them and back up. Then Momma and Dad have to appologize because I scared the kid!! It’s just not fair that the doggie always gets blamed. Sometimes Momma just wants to say to people Serioulsy, I don’t poke your kid in the face, please don’t poke my dog! Being a Dane gets old sometimes.

    woof – Tucker

  44. Great post! It has lot of points that you have to think before taking great dane or even any other dog. Thank you for sharing it, so hoping it will help people to rethink before taking a doggie.

  45. Leilei says:

    i surprised you haven’t given your thoughts on the whole cropped ear issue with danes… i would love to hear what you have to say about it.

  46. The “cropped ear thing” isn’t an issue because the practice is considered barbaric and banned in countries like the UK and Australia & NZ where we live. It is only in the US (and I think maybe in Europe still) where it is still done.

    I personally think Danes look much more beautiful with natural ears – but I know some don’t share that view. It was originally done to protect the Dane’s ears during its boar-hunting days but it is now just done for cosmetic reasons and because many people like their Danes to look more “aggressive”.

    Some say it makes a Dane look more majestic but to be honest, a well-bred Dane with a good head & ear shape would look majestic without the need to mutilate its ears.

    Many American Danes have awful ‘flying nun’ ears because their breeders have never had to consider ear shape in their breeding for so long. But as I said, it is a personal preference for a certain look. I hope the US will follow the example of countries like UK & NZ one day and ban the practice as unnecessary – and this will force US breeders to breed for better shaped, sized and positioned ears again.


  47. Leilei says:

    i only mentioned that as i saw the marmaduke movie features a dog with cropped ears… and thought you might want to put that in a post for people who are potentially thinking about buying a dane… particularly those inspired by the movie…

  48. Thanks, Leilei – that’s a good point! But I don’t think I will have much influence in America, where a lot of people expect Danes to have cropped ears. And ultimately, I can’t really dictate how people like their dogs to look. In NZ, Aus & UK, it doesn’t really matter as they can’t crop their ears anyway! :)


  49. Ali O'Hara says:

    Oh while you see more cropped ears in the show ring, natural ears are allowed, and more common in pet Danes. One of the Marmaduke actors is a neighbor of mine, but all my Danes have natural ears, and almost all the pet Danes are natural-eared.

    I think that while we have thousands of dogs and cats being killed for no reason but lack of space, and horrible abuses of animals, that cropping and docking are moot points. I’d rather see a dog have his ears cropped, in a good caring home, than a natural-eared dog left out tied up, neglected.

    Now *I* could never do it, but I think there are more pressing problems right now.

    Thank you Hsin-Yi and Honey for this wonderful post. As a rescue person I really appreciate your effort to educate for our breed.

  50. Major says:

    THANKYOU! THAT my friend was utter brilliance. I hope there is a book deal somewhere up your sleeve. Very impressed :) We hope Miss Honey and the family are doing well, and keeping warm this winter xxx Maj

  51. Thor says:

    Wonderful post! There are so many things that people must learn before getting a great dane.
    Everyone should read this. Your blog is pawsome, lots of information and fun too. Love you, Sweet Honey.


  52. Excellent, excellent, excellent post. Living with a breed (Siberian Husky) that has been featured in many popular movies, we always are concerned when a new movie comes out about the flood of animals that will hit breed rescue and animal shelters in just a few months. May publicity like yours lessen that impact and result in more educated dog owners.

  53. Hsin-Yi, what an incredible post! I wish everyone could read this, especially those considering adopting a Dane.

    I often find myself wishing that the movie industry would quit making movies about certain breedsof any animal. It is just to hard on the animals that are adopted and given up afterwards. Not to mention all the shelters/rescues that have to take them in.

    I think that, while Honey is the face of hte Ambassador, you are the real ambassador for Danes.

    Meowm Rhonda

  54. Marjie says:

    We’ve had 3 mastiffs. We don’t work extensively at training, but they get trained during the course of everyday life. A swat or 2 on the nose teaches them to keep their faces off the table, a push off the sofa teaches them to sit on the floor next to us, and a firm tug on the leash when they’re little teaches them to stay close at hand. That being said, we have 10 fenced acres, so the dogs have been free to romp with the children wherever they go. They go to the deli downtown, and sit on the porch to wait for whatever goodies the kids bring out. Of course, in our house, socialization is a no-brainer: you can’t exist in an environment containing 11 people and NOT be socialized! I agree that people don’t know what they’re getting into when they get giant dogs, and they admire the well behaved ones without considering that the good behaviour has to be drilled into them from the very first day, and naughtiness cannot be tolerated. What’s cute from a 20 pound dog is intolerable in a 200 pound dog – and those “cute” tricks would get really tiresome in a small dog anyway! Actually, it’s kind of sad that people don’t apply more common sense to their dogs, and then wonder why the dog’s a hooligan.

  55. Kristine & George says:

    Hsin-Yi & Honey

    We miss you both……

    I have to say this is great article. Although it is based around Danes the same principels apply to all other dog breeds and all people considering getting a dog As Flip said to us in training the other week owning a dog is like having a drivers licence and if you take your eyes off the road you will have a crash, the same applies to your dog. Training is the best decision we ever made.

    As for people you treat the animals badly, shame on them! I can’t even tell you what I would like to do to them.

    Lots of Love and Slobbers Kristine and George xxx

  56. cna training says:

    Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

  57. Lois Hansen says:

    I decided to check in and see what Honey was up to. Each time I am amazed at all the hard work you put into your site. It’s fantastic.

    The part about the abused Great Danes broke my heart. I was glad for the happy ending but this came right after I was reading an article about the killing of 58,000 (yes the number is right) dogs on the streets of Iraq. They actually had a photo of a man behind a low wall with a rifle pointed at the head of a dog, who was lying down and looking at the cameraman. It was very painful to see.

    Raffy: How sad was that! I’m only hoping that she went to a better home with people that know how to live with a Dane.

    My husband (Jack) and I are really doing a lot of research for a respectable breeder that will deliver our girl Sky to us in November.
    I can’t wait to get my hands on a puppy again. I have all these plans for the perfect diet, the perfect training program, aka the perfect dog.
    What we will take is a Great Dane that loves living with me and Jack.

    I will definitely do clicker training – thanks to you.

    Lois Hansen

  58. 2guys2pups says:

    Thanks much for the great post. As new Dane owners we are learning first-hand about the “Dane-Effect.” Friend Dane owners of ours recently experienced that same accusations at a dog beach, simply because “Bob” their Dane was attached by a smaller, aggressive dog.

    Very frustrating.

    Anyway, thanks for the great blog. We will definitely be stopping by often. Eve, our 14 week old Dane is growing up with Link, a 16 week old golden retriever. We’re writing about the experience at


    Take Care,

    -Paul & Kyle

  59. Lois Hansen says:

    We are DEFINITELY keeping natural ears with our new puppy this time.
    Society has been programmed for so long to see Great Danes with cropped ears, that natural do
    not seem right to them. I am really happy to see that we in the United States are standing out as WRONG and barbaric. That’s where to hit us so change will be made.
    We have been on a site called Puppy Find. It is amazing. Anyway, I am happy to report that natural ears appear to be more the rule than the exception here in the USA – at least with the breeders we have been checking out.
    Let’s pray it keeps going in that direction. Lois

  60. Ali O'Hara says:

    Lois, please find a reputable breeder for your Great Dane! Puppyfind is a website used by disreputable breeders who do NOT have the best interests of the breed at heart. These breeders often breed dogs of poor temperament and health, and many of their dogs end up in rescue. I know, because I do incoming for rescue. Please check out the forums at danesonline.com for more info on selecting a well-bred Dane and why its important, and check out these links, if you love our breed.

  61. Lois Hansen says:

    Thank you for the heads-up about PuppyFind.
    Some of the backyard breeders are not as
    obvious as others. I do believe there are reputable
    breeders on the site – but we will DEFINITELY
    be more diligent on our research now.
    I get more frustrated with BY breeders every year. The last thing I want to do is contribute to their existence. Thanks again. Lois Hansen

  62. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. It’s perfect and so honest. I’m sharing it on our blog and recommending it to friends and family.

  63. B says:

    I must say this was a great read, I have a dane she just turned 6 months of age and I love her to bits. To be honest she has been the easiest for me to house train of any of the dogs I have previously owned. Your comments about cost and pet insurance.. so true, many people think that it is just another dog and the costs are all aligned… I purchase high quality food at 120.00 per month, she has her own bedroom with a full size bed, loves a ton of toys and truly is the best dog I have ever owned… but again I investigated the breed entirely to ensure I was a fit for her and could provide what she needed and in retrun I get back 10 fold of what I give her… actually fell upon this article and site while researching her puppy pimples… I think she is going through puberty… Well Just wanted to say this was a great read and hope that others read and understand the breed before they rush out purchase a dane thinking it will be like Marmaduke…

    Great site,


  64. Steve says:

    Awesome reading, filled my info box well. I think the Dane is the dog for me. Thank you very much

  65. Kellie says:

    Wow, Ive wanted a great dane for many many years now and have always planned on buying one in the not too distant future but after reading this its definately informed me alot more about owning a great dane. Im very glad I found this as it hasnt exactly changed my mind, but it has made me more aware of what is required of you as a great dane owner.

  66. Sophie says:

    Great post. I really felt it when you said people with large dogs gets discriminated against. We recently lost our German Shepherd and I have really had to stop and think long and hard about whether we should get another big dog. Its ok for small fluffy shi tzu crosses to attack your GSD but if it so much as barks then it is evil and dangerous.
    Really good advice in your article. Thanks.

  67. Sandy says:

    Have just finished reading your post. We have just had to put our great dane Pepper down at age 14. Pepper was our third great dane (each was rehomed with us) We are still not sure if we will get another dog but if we do it will be another dane.
    I wholeheartedly agree with all you have to say about danes in your post, good and bad. Honey reminded me of our first great dane, Rumpole, a fawn dog who I’m sure slept 20 out 0f 24 hours. We may have been lucky in the slobber department as none of ours were anywhere near the slobberer that your Honey appears to be.
    Great post and all the best

  68. brian hooper says:

    So true about the danes! mine wont move off the bed unless i do!, ( she can hang on longer then i can!) Only thing that can get her up faster is a “treat” HA!

  69. Alicia says:

    I really really wanted a Great Dane, I’m always on petrescue.com.au looking for a surrendered dog of that bread.
    But your article made me realise that I am not ready to have one just yet. The possible vet bills and the slobber really made me think twice.
    Not that I would EVER surrender a dog to a shelter, but I would hate to have saved a dog that I couldn’t handle.
    I think I will get one in the future, but not right now and I just thank you for an honest and well written article.
    There should be one of these for every breed so people know what they are getting into.
    Thank you.

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  72. Amy Whipp says:

    Thank you so much for this page. I fell in love with Great Danes around 3 years ago, and spend my time researching what I can about them. This is the most informative page I’ve found in a long time and I have convinced my partner that we can get a pup in 2-3 years.

  73. Heather M says:

    What a wonderful site/blog!! I cringe when I take our girls (both danes) out and hear people say “Ohhh I have to get one of those!” I tend to get the same old questions/comments “do you put a saddle on that?” and “you must be rich to have 2!” I love to educate people about the costs and training involved, and always share my favorite slobbers story. I’m a neurotic clean freak, so yes I’m always cleaning the drool and hair! But I love both our girls <3 and wouldn't trade them for anything. I would love to share this!!

  74. Amanda says:

    Thank you for the article!!! I had Dalmatians that were rescues and all because of 100 or 101 Dalmatians!!! We only have 1 Dal now, but we also have a Dane and so many people LOVE our dogs (pomeranian too!) and they don’t realize the money, cleaning, high quality food we spend lots of money on!!!!! Good owners just make it look easy but we all know it is really hard because those wonderful dogs have had wonderful trainers and socialization and so many other money involved things!!! Thank you I do have great dogs, but the cost a great deal!! Oh- grooming is twice as much too!!

  75. Erica Fanning says:

    Great article! After checking out numerous Great Dane rescues, I just can’t understand why a family would relinquish their beloved pup…however, I realize that many people do not spend enough time training their dane (or dog in general, regardless of breed). While we may fall short some times, we have spend a lot of time training and socializing our almost 1 year old, Toby. He is such a joy and he has my heart, but he can be a trying little bugger. He listens great to my husband, however I believe he tries to show dominance over me, so he does not listen to me as well. For the most part he is lovely, but every once in a while he can be a rip. I am so glad that you revealed the good and bad about this MAJESTIC, beautiful breed of dog. He will be 1 in 2 days and I am considering putting him in training as he has acquired a new love for jumping up and “hugging” his daddy and I, BAD BEHAVIOR!! He could use the training and relearn some leash skills. We spent A LOT of time with him, but it seems like you can never do too much. We love you, Honey, and are so glad we got a dane. Toby would probably have a comment too…but he is currently sleeping, as usual! Thanks again for this article, I hope that it will be an eye-opener for a first time dane owner who thinks it would be “cool” to have this dog, but may not be doing their research, or really know what they are getting themselves into!

  76. S & K says:

    I always wanted a Dane of my own. I did some research and was warned about what to avoid, the costs, etc.. The learning experience revealed lots of myths I didn’t know about this breed. I found out that if you tell someone you have a big yard, they immediately know you are a novice. I was warned not to go to a backyard breeder. Ok, makes sense so I started reseaching reputable breeders. Couldn’t get the time of day with no real Dane experience. I finally got so disgusted, I turned to the online classifieds and found the color I was looking for. The breeder only asked how fast I could get there with the money. It was love at first sight and I had my Dane puppy.

    He grew like a weed and I fed him the recommended food & applied the knowledge I had learned about care & upkeep. Wow, was he ever destructive! Dog toys other than Kong & Nylabone lasted mere minutes in the jaws of that little alligator of a puppy. My arms were like hamburger meat from being chewed on. Oh, my poor furniture! Total destruction in the livingroom. I still loved my big little guy but something wasn’t looking right with him. I called a friend who asked me to bring him over. She lived & breathed Danes so I trusted she would know it he was ok or not. The moment she was him, she said, “OMG” and immediately got on the phone with her vet. An appointment was made and the vet came out with a box of tissues, handed them to me and said: “Its always hard to tell someone this but your dog has a very serious ailment and without very expensive orthopedic surgery, will not likely have any quality of life in about 2 more months.” The breeder offered no help other than an “I’m sorry.”

    I bit the bullet and paid thousands for the surgery and now I have my adult, healthy Dane but there is a learning experience here that if you cannot go to a reputable breeder that health tests and shows the dog, your Great Dane experience could be disasterous. If the good breeders do not give you the time of day its because you need to prove yourself worthy & committed to the propper welfare & care of a giant breed dog. That can be done but it doesn’t happen overnight. I offer this warning to anyone even considering going to a backyard breeder for a Great Dane – DON’T DO IT! My next Dane will be from a show breeder.

    The Great Dane experience itself is awesome. I cannot imagine my life without one. They are not for everyone. They demand all of your attention, wreck the furniture, huge vet bills, hard on the landscape, hair everywhere, slobber on the walls, etc.. I find it worth it but really, this is NOT Scooby Doo, Astro, or Marmaduke. It is a large, powerful dog that wants to be envolved in everything you do. Training is a must – I cannot stress that enough. I have known others who got Danes and “wanted their life back” so they dumped the Dane. Danes form strong emotional attachments to their human families and don’t do well being dumped.

  77. Karen says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for this amazing insight into such a majestic canine.

  78. Jo says:

    hi honey. i came across your blog when i was research the great dane breed and we loved it. thanks so much for sharing all the info and your amazing adventures with us!

  79. Crystal says:

    This is a great post! I have a Giant Schnauzer which is a rare breed in the United States, and I completely agree with all of your points ! I love my Max to death but I was unaware of the type of expenisve that go along with a giant dog, and the type of attention (good and bad) that he would receive. People tell me that he is a beautiful dog and he is very good natured, and I let them know that his good behavior is based on training when he was young and daily consistency on my part. He was in puppy school when he was 4 months because I knew that he would grow bigger and bigger, and I would need to know how to handle him from a younger age. However, when he barks at another dog or a person, he has a very large mouth full of big teeth that makes people nervous and they complain instead of realizing that they are approaching him or me (Giant Schnauzers are guard dogs for their owners) in an aggressive way.
    I have a few questions though; we are moving to Okinawa Japan in a few months, and I’m starting to learn that Japanese home owners are uncomfortable renting houses to owners of dogs, especially large dogs. Do you have advice or suggestions about traveling through Asia and the Pacific with a large dog? Do hotels even allow dogs? Lastly, are designated dog parks where the dogs can be off the leash and are fenced in common in Asia like here in the US? My dog is well trained but he believes “off the leash” means “explore as much as I want to”

  80. CPhil says:

    Oh, I just love everything in this article! Greetings from the US! I grew up with a beautiful, loving female Dane, who is still living (AT THE RIPE OLD AGE OF 12!!!) and is my heart and soul. It breaks my heart to think of all the doggie-losses after the release of movies like the ones you mentioned; just thinking about it brings tears. I hope that many many people read this article and realize that no breed is perfect, and EVERY breed needs extensive training to become anything like Honey. Great Danes are an amazing breed, but they are also an amazing challenge. I wish you all the best and hope Honey continues to do well as she ages. My husband and I own a Golden Retriever (much better fit for our family until our son gets older, at which point I will be looking for my own special Dane), and we watch your training videos daily, trying out new tricks! We’re working on the laundry clean-up trick, and she’s really starting to get it! Hope you have a FANTASTIC year in 2012 and keep up the great work being a wonderful ambassador for both the breed and dog ownership! Love from the USA!

    -Carley (golden), Calli (mommy), and family! :)

  81. Tash says:

    When my partner and i were first thinking about getting a puppy we went through loads of different breeds and the pro’s and con’s of each one etc, and eventually decided on a Great Dane, but before we started looking for a puppy we started doing HEAPS of research, all we did for a good couple of months was find out as much information as we could about Dane’s which is when we found this brilliant site!

    My partner forwarded me this article to read and it was so helpful and was actually one of the big contributors to our decision, because you not only go through the good points, but all of the bad points that people don’t tell you about! I am pretty sure we have read almost every article on this site between the two of us trying to absorb as much as we could!

    Pretty soon after we found this site we decided to start looking for a puppy, and found a small breeder in Perth (Western Australia) that had a litter of 6 purebred Great Danes, 5 Black and 2 Brindle pup’s, we went to see them and then had a really big think about it and went back again the following week to have a play and a bit more of a chat with the breeder, we spent a lot of time around both the mum and dad of the puppies to get a feel for their nature (and size!) and eventually decided on one of the Female Brindles!

    We picked her up and now have a gorgeous little girl, who is growing SO fast, and has the best personality, but is also a little feral! She will run around and try to play with anything that gets in her way, which is quite a lot because she doesn’t run in a very straight line, and often runs too fast and falls over her own legs! she is HILAROUS to watch and is constantly making us laugh at how uncoordinated and goofy she is.

    We have just started Puppy Pre-school, which she is taking to really well, when the Chihuahua in the class doesnt try to eat her! We are lucky she seems to be really patient and doesnt seem too phased by the pokes and prods that my young cousin gives her when they are playing, when he lays on her bed or even when he tries to eat her food!

    We feel so lucky to have her in our lives and reccommend this site to anyone who has a large breed dog! You have helped us so much with our journey so far! Thank You! Thank You! =)

  82. Prabhod says:

    Thank you! this is just an awesome blog…very realistic and to the point, we are expecting our Dane in few days and this is very timely for me.

  83. Jacquie says:

    Great post!

    My family, which includes 4 children ages 4-14 will be picking up our first Dane next month. I am realistic in the fact that she will quickly be bigger than the kids, and plan to get her into puppy obedience training ASAP. I am also thinking about reducing my class load for the fall semester (and possibly the spring). As much as I am looking forward to being her handler, I will probably also have my 14 year old son be an active participant in her training. I travel frequently for work, so it will be imperative that she listens to someone other than me well.

    My mother in law, who is 68, lives w/ us and so there is someone home all day long. However, I still feel that the puppy will need to be crated during the day w/ frequent bathroom breaks until fully potty and house trained. I don’t want to depend on her to keep a watchful eye out for mischievous puppy behavior and have the puppy punished for being a baby. I found a great article on an alternative solution to the standard crate, which has little room for puppies and dogs in the event of accidents etc, and have made some space in my down stairs to set up her “space”.


    I actually found 6 x 6 x 4 kennel set at Home Depot for $190, which may be less expensive than paying for the 6×6 panels individually. I haven’t gone to check it out yet though. I think this will be a good solution, because if I had a standard crate upstairs in our every day living area, then the little kids would be constantly playing in it, and I have read that the crate should be the dogs den and “safe” place that it get some peace and quiet w/out being bothered. I am already thinking of it as her “bedroom”!

    I agree with you on puppy health insurance. I have looked at a few options here, and think I will settle on purina’s insurance plan. The have an option to include preventative care, and for great danes costs about $80 a month, with a $250 annual deductible and 20% copay, so it seemed pretty reasonable.

    Look forward to reading more!

  84. Sarah says:

    Omg thank you so much for all your advise. We have just become proud parents to a 12 week old Great Dane puppy and life could not be better. Dexter has settled in so well and is a real member of the family, it is like now having four children instead of three lol. My husband had a Great Dane when we met but she was already an adult dog so I have no experience with a puppy. My husband works in London all week and is only home at the weekend so I am trolling the Internet to get the best possible advise on how to raise him. Dexter will start training next week as like you said the last thing we want is an over active Great Dane that has not boundaries. So far Dexter is showing great potential to being a wonderful pet and as you say it is important that we continue his training. We have a wonderful trainer that is a retired police dog trainer, he will use the clicker training system with him so fingers crossed all we go to plan. I work from home so it is not a problem training him everyday, but before I can train him I too need to be trained lol. Even at just 12 weeks, I can take him of the lead and he will stay by my side or if my little boy is running dexter will run after him but as soon as my little boy stops he stops. He is not aggressive with food and he loves attention and will follow me everywhere lol. His bad habbits are “mouthing” and pulling on the lead but we hope that both of these habits will be improved over the next couple of weeks as long as the whole family is consistence with his training. As I write this dexter is fast asleep next to me after just having his breakfast lol he will be going for his first walk of the day shortly and I normally take him for 3 x 20 minute walks a day. When we go out as a family dexter always comes with us, it’s funny but now when I am planning a day out we only go to places where dexter can come with us. Yesterday I had to leave him at home on his own for a few hours as we were going to watch the Olympic torch rally come through Canterbury and thought it maybe too dangerous for him to come along as we knew there would be thousands of people lining the streets and all I could think about was getting back home to him, it felt that I had left a small baby at home by itself lol. When we arrived home he was perfectly fine, just waking from yet another sleep and having a stretch as he slowly moved towards the door to greet us lol? I agree, if you put the time in to training your Great Dane he will be a friend for life, I have never met another breed that show so much affection and love that a Great Dane had and it breaks my heart when people mistreat them. Dexter is the third Great Dane in Canterbury and the youngest and the other two are perfect examples of the temperament of what a Great Dane is like because they have fantastic families that treat them as a member of the family and not just an animal. Thank you for all your advise, Honey is really beautiful, give her a big cuddle from me xxx

  85. Adelle says:

    WOW. I am so impressed. You have done a phenomenal job, both in the training of your wonderful Honey and in communicating the importance of training, socialization, and (my personal pet peeve) good diet. Thank you for opening your life and home and sharing Honey’s story; it is truly inspirational. You do a great service for Great Danes as well as dogs in general by showing such a wonderful example of this often very silly and misunderstood breed.

    Keep at it, and my best wishes to all of you.

  86. Jacob says:

    Hey I like the part in the story where you said you even thought about getting rid of Honey at age 6-7 months, but then berate others for being frustrated at their dog’s behavior and asking you for help. “Why, Why, Why are you so stupid?”

  87. Kate Herbert says:

    What a wonderful, and true article! We did research for a few years before getting our first Dane… And now we have two! They are a big commitment, but the payoff is huge! Thank you for putting such great information out there!

  88. Callie says:

    I have read many blogs since we got our 7 month old dane and I have to say I love this one! When we got our baby dane we immediately invested in a personal trainer and everyone thought we were crazy but people don’t understand how much time and dedication it takes to train a dane. I was so happy to read that you strongly suggested training. I can honestly say that yes it was expensive at first, but it is so worth the money to have a well behaved dog that you can be proud of!
    P.S. My favorite joke people say about our dog is “Man he’s as big as a horse!” and most of the time I just want to reply “Have you ever seen a horse? You’re stupid.” lol!

  89. Nancy says:

    What an awesome post! Thank you for sharing this with the world…people really need to have a better understanding of what living with this giant breed is really like. So many people comment to us about how much they really want one when we’re out and about, and I just wonder how many of them really understand what life would be like with a dog of this size. I’m also SUPER relieved to hear that Honey was a bit of a terror herself around the 8 month mark, but that through hard work and determination you have made her a model citizen. Our big boy, Moose, is 8 and a half months old now and so far we have been very lucky. He is a very easy, mild mannered dog. But I’m having the same probelm you had when Honey was a puppy. He lunges like crazy at other dogs while out on leash. It is absolutely non-aggressive…he just wants to play, but other dogs/people don’t know that. And you’re absolutely right about the prejudice the exists against large dogs. I just hope that with continued work and socialization Moose will become as lovely a walker as Honey. Kudos to you on her training and socialization, she seems like an exceptional Dane.

  90. Jenel says:

    Absolutely amazing! You gave very good information. I was raised with danes (show & non show) and couldn’t wait to get MY very own, but knew I had to wait. I waited 10 yrs before I got my baby girl Kali (she is 8yo now) and she was worth every second. I was able to put in the time & love needed to help make a magnificent dog. I do mean help b/c she was one of the few that was born w/self control. She’s actually a service dog now, so she has flown on airplanes (in the cabin), rode on tour buses, trains and gone into many establishments. I so understand the photo taking, it does get VERY old. Just recently a group of family & friends were w/us at Dole plantation on Oahu and they couldn’t believe how silly people were. Our friends & family just kept saying “you’d think they’d never seen a dog before” – haha.
    Anyways, sorry to ramble, I just really enjoyed reading what you wrote. Thank you for trying to teach people, hopefully they will listen.
    Jenel aka: Kali’s very proud mommy!

  91. BethAnn says:

    I had my Dane (Mackie) for 9 years…he was my entire world…he’s been gone 3 years and I grieve daily for him. He was so special for so many reasons, he was born in July on a good friend’s birthday, then we picked him up *ON* 9/11…he was the bright spot in an awful day…he gave me hope. He was also my migraine alert dog, and thanks to him I could go back out into the world living a more normal life without fear.
    We only had a 700 square foot house, 5 tiny rooms…and we’d lose him daily…in the house! Yes, Danes really are great for small spaces! (When properly trained!). And yes, the constant “smart” comments of “horse” & “saddle” & “who’s walking who” are SO overplayed (I’m sorry, do you see me flying behind him? No? I’m actually having to almost drag him…dumb*ss). If you’ve not heard of it, there’s a GREAT site for snappy comebacks, just Google “Ginnie’s Great Dane Links”, there’s 6 pages of REALLY funny stuff!
    When we had him we also had my (now ex) husband’s standard Dachshund (who was a bully & Mackie was terrified of), and my Westie…who he & the Dane thought they were twins joined at the hip. Mackie wasn’t really “into” small dogs…he’s hide behind “Daddy” & whine…small kids too…larger, or even his size he was curious at best about. Even though my Westie was a small dog, Mackie didn’t see him that way…it’s all about perception, isn’t it? We fostered and sat for dozens upon dozens of dogs in Mackie’s lifetime, never having the first problem with any one of them getting along.
    Our true friends know Mackie & knew he wasn’t this menace that society played big dogs out to be…oh yes, he could live up to his nickname of “The Great PAIN” because of his whining or grumbling when he didn’t get his way…but when we were out, he was an angel!
    I had one sicko come up to us at an outdoors store once and say “Hey, he’s as big as a deer”, all while leering at Mackie, and Mackie backing me away from this nut job…then the very next words out of his mouth were “I bet I could mount him on my wall…can I have him when he dies?” To that he was escorted out & asked to NEVER come back. (It pays to be friends with the owner who loved Mackie!)
    We too endured the prejudices of “small dog” uneducated people, we tried…for a very short while…to educate, but they were SO closed minded we just gave up, why waste our breath when “they were right”…I mean he was tearing the flesh from their bones as they spoke…right? (idiots)
    One other downside is the short time you get with your Dane. I want another one with all my heart…but I know the heartbreak I’m in for in just a few short years. All three of mine crossed The Rainbow Bridge the in 2010 (the Dachshund was 15, Westie 17 & Dane 9), and I’m divorced, living back at my parents and going to school & working 40+ hours a week…so it’s not practical right now, and I know this…so I live vicariously through Dane sites & articles like this one. And I must say it’s probably the most perfectly written article I’ve ever seen!

  92. Marion Arban says:

    Just found your blog. Loved it. I had always wanted a Great Dane and finally bought a black Dane. He was the love of my life. He was always by my side, minus my work hours. Warrior was an adult even as a puppy. I was one of those lucky ones who didn’t have any problems with his behavior. I’ve always had dogs from small to big. Never giant sized. The one thing you forgot to say about the down side is the fact they are not with us long. I lost my Warrior a 8 yrs. of age. His heart gave out at the vets office. I fell to pieces that day. Of all the dogs I’ve had, I was in my fifties at the time, he was and still is the best dog I ever had.

  93. Laura says:

    Great article!!!! thanks

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  95. Beth says:

    Great article!! I fell in love with Danes when I was 12 and knew this was the only dog for me and luckily my husband agreed. We have a beautiful black dane that is 10 1/2 that we love to pieces!! We had her before our kids and it was a lot of work to get her to be the sweet Dane she is. I couldn’t imagine having little ones while dealing with her puppy stage; she was a handful! Now we are dealing with a lot of medical bills due to her age and diapers she is incontinent and the expensive pills stopped working, so she wears adult diapers. We wouldn’t change a thing she is such a sweet girl and people really don’t look at the big picture and these poor babies get sent to the pound! Thank you again for this wonderful article.

  96. Becky says:

    Great Article! I loved reading about Honey!
    We have 2 Rescue Danes and love them. They are such great companions. We have Charlie who is 4 such a sweetheart. We got her when she was 7 months, she was with a family with a new baby that said she was too much trouble. Left her outside or kenneled. She is very calm and just wants to lay on you. Then there is Colby, he is 3. We found him in kennel ( skinny and in his own feces) in the back of a pickup at Dairy Queen when he was 7 months old. I was talking to him and the owner asked if I wanted him. There was no way I was going to leave him in that kennel!
    We have a granddaughter that lives with us and these dogs are her best friends! She does everything from watching TV to playing house with them. They just lay with her and she can do whatever she wants!
    Thank You again for sharing Honey with us!

  97. Ken says:

    Wonderful article. I missed my first Dane so much that it took me almost 30 years to get another dog – a Dane. I felt that getting another one would be like trying to get a replacement which would be a betrayal of her memory. It took me a long time but I realized that it would be ok. Well…there was also the bear. While hiking with my kids, a bear was trailing us. We did everything they say to do – making noise, letting it know we were there- it knew and it kept coming. We were getting close to a neighbor’s house and I told the kids to hurry on a go in the house. I turned and faced the near – still coming. I waved my hiking stick over my head and let out 3 dangerous sounds half growl half bellows that even surprised me! The bear stopped for the first time and looked as if her was reassessing the situation. At that point I took off and joined the kids.

    I knew then that I needed a dog to help me look after the kids – not to mention, a good can of bear spray. We found her. She’s wonderful. However she’s no Scooby Doo. She is a true Dane, meaning she is hostile to threats of any kind to her family. I’m a good trainer and I have her pretty well controlled because she respects me as her Alpha, but she’s very scary to outsiders.

    I laugh at all the descriptions of Danes on the net that say that they’ll show a burglar the silverware. The Danes I’ve owned would have reacted in accordance with an incident reported in a newspaper in the 1800s about a pet Dane strangling a would be burgler to death on the windowsill of a house he was trying to burglarize. Almost no one in America knew what a Great Dane was back then.

    In the bear department is where my Dane’s true Daneness really shines. She will not tolerate a bear entering the property, no matter the size. And the bears get it. When she swings into action and they see her charging with that thunderous growl with fangs bared, they high tail it out of there and fast. She won’t allow my young ones to go out and wait on the school bus until she goes out and makes sure there are no predators first.

    If we’re in the house and I see her look out the window and suddenly explode with ferocious rage, I know there’s a bear outside. I realize that many will say, “bad breeding, bad breeding”, but I for one think there’s a place for the original Dane character. Many farmers and ranchers who employ Danes along with their livestock guarding pack would agree.

    In fact the original Dane character isn’t unlike that of Anatolian Shepherds or Ovtcharkas and other large guarding breeds – super protective and super powerful. And yet no one advocates turning those breeds into dim witted Marmadukes, despite their scariness. I think there’s a place for both types. Those who want a highly protective Dane should be allowed to have one provided that they’re capable of handling the responsibility. And they shouldn’t be subjected to taunting from others about bad stock and bad genes. In my opinion, guardy Danes are good stock too when placed in responsible hands.

  98. gracemary234 says:

    Great blog! I recently, through a series of tragic events in my family, took in my niece and her husbands great dane. Her name is Alice and she just turned 3 in January 2015. Luckily, she was trained properly from day one and is she is wonderful! Our household is adjusting to our newest family member and your blog really describes this new part of our life perfectly! She experienced a serious tragic event and has PTSD. She has overcome this difficulty so well. We already have an 8 year old rat terrier, Oswald, who ruled the roost! It took a little while to overcome his fear of her size but now they are the best of friends and are sooooo funny! I have a lot to learn about how to raise her but so far so good. The drooling is real. All of our friends freak out when she drools but, it is just a part we need to accept, she can’t help it! We laugh and hug and play and she is very happy.

    Thanks for sharing, I will be following your blog from now on.

    Much love – Grace & Alice! (and Oswald and our 3 cats….)

  99. Mary Owen says:

    Hi Honey!
    My name is Maggie. I am currently 2 years old, but was adopted by my wonderful parents Josh and Mary and their 3 yr old great dane Babbs. Being I spent the first 9 months neglected in a trailer home stored in a crate appropriate for the size of a small labrador, I seem to have something to prove. Even though I’ve been in a happy home for over a year now, I am still very aggressive with other dogs – except Babbs, she lives with me and I love her (because she lets me be alpha). I was wondering if you had any advice for my parents – the ones who adopt a dane who’s been carelessly discarded and has a bit of baggage. They’re wonderful, and they are 100% committed to keeping me (I was free, but I’ve been expensive – I’ve been bit by a black widow spider, been a victim of a hit and run incident, and am currently healing a broken toe), but they could use some help when it comes to controlling me around other dogs. If you have any advice, please let us know! Hello and slobbers to Honey, Thanks a bunch!
    Maggie ( and Josh and Mary and Babbs)

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