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Families with dogs-Anyone have experience with Great Danes

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I'm starting to get dog wants again, and we're looking for a new breed. I loved my Rottie, but we can't afford the increase in home owner's insurance for a Rottie, and even now, when I see another Rottwieler I get very sad. I don't think I can get another one.

It will be at least a year before we're ready for another dog, and we're thinking of getting a puppy, so we can teach it to live with our cat. We also need to build a fence around our yard, and set up a kennel. And we have a baby.

We love giant working dogs, and are willing to work with and excercise one. We have experience training a big stubborn dog.

Sooo I was thinking about getting a GReat Dane (you know, like Scooby Doo) once we're prepared to get a puppy. Can anyone tell me some personal experiences with them? Any other giant dogs? How are they off lead? We hike in the woods, and Kaya was always good at staying close, and could be controlled with just voice commands.
post #2 of 31
I've seen a tragic decline in both temperment and health in Danes over the past 5 yrs or so. Quite a bit of fear based aggresion and I know of 2 who were recently put down (completely separate homes) and both sets of owners raised them very well and attempted numerous things to fix the problem, there was just something fundamentally wrong with the dogs. Personally, I'd avoid or do a TON of research first. Bull Mastiffs are a nice large working dog. If you liked the Rottie-have you considered a Beauceron??
post #3 of 31
I had one growing up named Kirby. He was and still is the love of my life. He got old and grey and died an old man. He was very wise and sweet. He slept on my mom's 4 poster bed with her everynight, even though he was almost the size of a skinny horse. He never bit and was always respectful. When my little brother was a baby, he would lay in the crook of kirby's belly and kirby protected him. My mom called him teen angel (for some strange reason).... he was the best.... let me go cry now.
I know he was difficult to walk on a leash bc he went so fast and people were afraid of him. (we named our next dog boo radley).. I would get one if I had the room... definately like a huge new addition to the family. He even was stolen for a couple of years and eventually found his way across the city back to us.
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Ooh Beauceron--pretty.... I'll check them out, as well as Bull Mastiff's. If I hadn't fallen in love with Kaya the first time I saw her, I would have looked further into getting a bull mastiffs.
Shannon, I was reading in another thread that you don't recommend families get rescue or shelter dogs (paraphrasing, can't remember if you meant both or either). I totally agree with great reluctance. Kaya came from a rescue org, and her profile listed her "good with kids". At the time I had no kids, and no plans to have kids. I believe we lucked out with her. I noticed that many rescue orgs won't accept families with children under 8. Maybe that's just for working dogs. At first I was frustrated by this, but now I understand. We want a "blank slate" of a dog, as it were.
In hindsight, I had no idea what I was getting myself, and thankfully I had the time and motivation to work with Kaya. I think this was something her previous family didn't have.
I've noticed that overbreeding, media with cute dogs (101 Dalmations, Taco Bell commercials, etc.) has brought so many breeds down. So sad.
Half the fun of getting a new pet for me is preparation and research, so off I go. Thanks!
post #5 of 31
I have a lab/dane mix. He was a rescue, and I do understand your hesitation with rescue, but he was only 3 months old when he was rescued so he was still somewhat of a blank slate. He is slightly skittish and fearful, but also very submissive and sweet. Anyway, he's a great dog, I don't know if he is typical of Danes but he is definitely not typical of a lab--much calmer mostly.

He's not great off lead, but that may be partially our personalities--we haven't trained him extensively. My mom calls him a big lug, and that's a good description--sweet and loveable and not super bright :LOL It did make housetraining challenging--he just didn't seem to get the concept--but other than that he's just perfect, great with kids, great with us, eager to please if he can figure out what we are trying to get him to do! :LOL

Good luck!
post #6 of 31
My family had a Great Dane. He was a really nice dog. Off-lead, he'd stay close but would not necessarily listen to us the first time (and it got him into trouble when he met a rattle snake). He was very protective, but he'd get mad if we even hugged each other. If he was nervous, he'd drool so much that our whole carpet would be wet. Sadly, the breed is prone to some sort of intestinal twisting & he did not live his full lifespan due to that problem.
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by delphinemere
He was very protective, but he'd get mad if we even hugged each other.
Kaya was like this, too. When she was spry there was no dancing, no standing around hugging or kissing alowed. First she would huff and bark, then she would try to break it up by jumping in. Then we'd sit and hug her and she'd snort and groan, but if you got up, she'd be insulted. The only affection allowed had to involve her.
post #8 of 31
An ex-coworker of mine raised, trained, and showed Great Danes. What beautiful, loving, and obedient pets/family members she had. One of her dogs was older and required medical treatment through out the day. We let her keep him in the office with us. He was such a great dog. We all cried when he passed away.

I'd love to have a Great Dane one day.
post #9 of 31
I have always wanted a great dane. I love big dogs, and I love that they have short managable coats. Sadly they have alot of health issues, don't live very long and as Shannon has already mentioned there has been a real down turn in their breeding recently. If I were going to get one I would research the breeder I chose very carefully. Have you considered some other large breed dogs. I understand you prefer the working breeds, but there are some other good ones out there. I am particularly fond of Great Pereneses and Newfoundlands. They are both super with kids and used frequently in SAR work. I have also heard great things about Irish Wolfhounds, but I don't think they do well off lead (most hounds don't). The best dog I ever had for off lead was a malamute/wolf mix. I don't know that it is real common in them though. He was just a super smart and obedient dog. I really lucked out with him.
post #10 of 31
Newfies are AWESOME--I worked with a newf kennel from the time I was 13.
post #11 of 31
We had one and loved him dearly. They aren't long living dogs but are the best with kids. I can reccomend googling great dane. There is a great site but I can't remember right now. BIG POOP!
post #12 of 31
if you are looking for another breed, Bernese Mountain Dogs are absolutely wonderful!! Look very rottie-ish. Similar coloring(except the white), and of course long fur, but they really have a similar look and they are such big lovable mush balls
post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 
Can't do the long coats. Too much fur, cough cough sneeze sneeze. My MIL is allergic to cats and furry dogs (haired dogs are okay. She has 2 standard poodles)
Dh and I were talking about dogs last night. He really wants a Boston Terrier (we're not totally married to the working dog idea. We just want a suitable dog, and we love big dogs--for the most part). I think we'd have to get 2, and we already have a cat. He also likes English Bull dogs, I like Bullmastiffs, although in reality, I both those breeds, as much as we love them, aren't really for us. So here's what we're really looking for. I think in some ways a GReat Dane would work, but maybe not:
short coat, good with children (although we wouldn't leave our kids alone with even the best dog), big--but not required, likes long hikes, good off leash, house-loving couch potato.
post #14 of 31
Have you looked at American Bulldogs at all? I've worked a few here and they are just awesome much pots--but powerful. THe only problem is they look enough "pitbullish" that if your city is looking to start breedbans you could have some trouble.
Have you looked ever at a Dutch Shepherd??? Smaller than a german shepherd but all the workability and temperment but fewer cases of "bad example of the breed" since they are far from popular.
post #15 of 31
We are also looking for a new dog, and my requirements are similar. We are getting an American Mastiff puppy in five weeks. Think Mudge, only less drooly. It will be a little bigger than what I'd ideally like, but that's OK.

post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 
I love bull dogs and I really love pits. Dh won't have a dog that looks like a pit, though. It was hard enough to get people not to be automatically afraid of Kaya.
But given how many pit-looking dogs I see around my town, there isn't a ban on them.
The Dutch Shepherd is a nice looking dog. ...
post #17 of 31
We had a Great Dane for 6 years and I'd definitely get another one.

He was a rescued Dane and sooooooo mellow. He was almost 3 when we got him. BTW, Dane puppies are notorious for chewing...and I mean chewing BIG things, like destroying an entire couch. So crate-training would probably be great for a puppy.

Anyway, our Dane was the gentlest, sweetest dog ever. He was actually afraid of one of our cats for almost a year, lol. Definitely a beta dog, not an alpha. He was good off-leash too (we did take him to obedience training). He died of cancer last year THe really big dogs do not live very long (10-12 years is LONG for them), so that might be something to consider.

post #18 of 31
This is kind of old but oh well... We have two Danes and I really believe they are one of the absolute best breeds of dog. When they are sweet they are sweet to the bone. When they are chickens they are 165 pounds of giant baby.

If you don't mind hair (and I mean HAIR) and you don't mind mopping muddy paws and you want a dog that needs to be with the family a Dane is a great choice. They're bright (most of them) and friendly, lazier than hell, and usually very sweet. Get two if you want to be made into a human sandwich.

ETA: Unless you are an extrememly patient person who loves to train dogs I would not recommend a puppy Dane. I would own another Dane but I would NEVER own another puppy Dane. When your 4 month old puppy weighs 65 pounds it's a little scary. :LOL
post #19 of 31
I have been a major great dane rescuer for many years, and have had more than a hundred pass through my home through the years.
They are wonderful. Sweet, funny.. just perfect. I will never live without one. We currently have a very small Brindle dane (Splash) and by very small I mean about 100 pounds.
I do have to say... that if you were coming to me for rescue... I would probably deny you for the scooby doo reference. Anyone who compares them to scooby doo or marmaduke we normally deny initially, and only if they come back do we really look into them.
Don't get a puppy. Really. If you are not an experienced GD owner a puppy is NOT for you. They are really very difficult as puppies, explaining why the median age of a GD in rescue is only eight months old. Seriously look into rescues. If you buy one from a pet store, you are getting one from a puppy mill (regardless of what the pet store says. The dog came from a puppy mill) and if you get one from a "backyard breeder" (someone who has no clue what they are doing and basically wants the money) you are setting yourself up for a nightmare, as well as paying them for being irresponsible. Your best bet is really a rescue dane. I have only once in my life had one returned for behavior problems that we were not aware of (if the dog doesn't get along with kids, is scared of stairs, hates loud noises, etc. I ALWAYS let people know, so do most rescues).
Don't get a white one- They're deaf. If you don't mind a deaf one, then by all means go for it... they're wonderful creatures. But make sure s/he is older and well trained. A deaf one for a new owner is a handful.
Merle is NOT a "rare color"- it's a birth defect, pure and simple.

Great Danes are wonderful... the best dogs there are. They shed a LOT, they eat a lot as puppies (Splash would eat 4-5 lbs of food a DAY and still look like she was starving... that was at 4 months old!) but as adults they even out (she eats about 6 cups a day now, not too bad... a 30 lb bag of high quality food lasts us about 2 weeks, with two big dogs) and they are obstinant as hell, but there is nothing like them
post #20 of 31
Originally Posted by splash
Merle is NOT a "rare color"- it's a birth defect, pure and simple.
Oh thank you for saying that. Nothing pisses me off more than certain "breeders" who want to charge extra for their genetic mistake. I've heard them all. "I have a white german shepherd--they're very rare ya know" Yeah, they're rare because it's a breed fault. Their incidence of seizure is 60% higher than the rest of the breed, they often have skin and digestive issues and have I believe at 30% greater chance of developing cancer. Anytime you specifically breed for a fault you are working with such a shallow gene pool it's not even funny. I had a client tell me he paid $3000 for his rare long haired rottweiler (hmmm, sucker born every minute) Then there are always the wonderful "King" shepherds and dobes. No such thing--it's just a big dog--and if all you breed for is size, the most important things get messed up. Don't even get me started on designer breeds! :
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