The Great Dane is the largest dog breed, typically weighing over 100 pounds (45 kg) and standing over 2 feet (64 cm) tall. These dogs are thought to descend from large dogs bred in ancient Greece. Despite the name, the European breed was developed in England and Germany to hunt large game. The Great Dane’s gentle and loving nature belies its massive size, so that it has been called “the world’s largest lapdog,” though they of course require a fair amount over exercise.
Should you Purchase Insurance for your Great Dane?
Dogs this large tend not to live for very long, and the Great Dane is no exception, with an average lifespan of only 6 to 7 years. Health problems associated with the breed include:
- Bloat (gastric dilation volvulus, stomach torsion): the stomachs of these dogs may become distended and actually twist within their bodies as a consequence of excess intestinal gas; symptoms include a bloated abdomen, drooling and unproductive vomiting. Without immediate treatment, usually surgery, a dog stands a good chance of dying.
- Hip dysplasia: these dogs may inherit a condition where the hipbone fails to fit correctly into the pelvis. Over time, wear and tear can cause these joints to become inflamed, resulting in pain and restricted movement. The condition can often be reversed with surgery. Owners are urged to ask breeders for confirmation that the hips of the parents are not affected, though this does not guarantee that puppies will not develop dysplasia.
It is not for nothing that some veterinarians and breeders refer to the Great Dane as “the heartbreak breed”: these dogs are almost certain to develop a fatal condition within 6 or 7 years, and are at risk for mechanical injury owing to their size. One way to prepare yourself for the downside of Great Dane ownership is to purchase the correct pet health insurance plan.