Great Danes are oftentimes referred to as “gentle giants”. This is because they are huge dogs, but their temperament is very gentle and loving.
In the 1800s, when Great Danes were in fashion, they were a prized pet for the wealthy and royals. However, one sad fact is that the lifespan of a Great Dane is relatively short compared to other dog breeds. We’ll take a look at why a little later in this article.
The Great Dane has a lifespan from 8-10 years on average. One reason why their lifespan is short is that they suffer from health problems such as Cancer, Gastric Dilation (Bloat) and heart disease. Take your dog to the vet for regular health checks, and check it eats and digests its food properly.
Why is a Great Dane’s Lifespan so Short?
A Great Dane’s lifespan is relatively short compared to other dog breeds. This is because the breed suffers from many hereditary diseases which are less common in other smaller breeds.
There are a number of other theories that try to explain why the life expectancy of a Great Dane is so short. Dog experts have the idea is that because Great Danes are so large, their organs grow at a rate that doesn’t match the pace of their body growth. As their organs grow, they can put too much pressure on their heart and other vital organs, causing them to fail sooner than later.
In any case, this dog was bred as a hunting dog and so the focus was not on the Great Dane lifespan. Perhaps this original breeding has a connection with this shorter lifespan.
Another reason for this shorter lifespan is probably genetic; they have a genetic mutation that affects the cells involved in DNA repair and replication (Fox et al., 2008). This mutation has accumulated in the breed over time and it is not possible to change it without breeding out the trait in all dogs (Lorenz & Georgi, 2017).
What are the Most Common Health Problems That Shorten the Life Expectancy of Great Danes?
One of the most common diseases that affect Great Danes is an enlarged heart. This disease is called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (or DCM). It is a form of heart failure. As the dog gets older the muscles of the heart work less efficiently and the heart gets weaker.
Some of the symptoms to look out for include:
- coughing after exercise
- breathing problems
- falling over after exerting themselves
The good news is that if caught early enough by your vet, medicines can be given to the dog to enable it to live longer. So, be sure to get your Great Dane checked out if you see any of the symptoms.
Other health problems that may shorten the average life expectancy of a Great Dane include Cancer, and particularly bone Cancer, which can be a common problem in these dogs. Look out for swollen joints that give your dog some pain. Chemotherapy may be an option to help extend your dog’s life expectancy if it has Bone Cancer.
There are various other types of Cancer that can shorter your Great Dane’s happy life. Be sure to check for lumps on your dog and get them checked out by your vet. Here are some symptoms to look out for if you think your dog may have Cancer:
- being sick
- lumps or growths on the dog’s body
- sudden weight loss
Quick action and a checkup can enable your vet to treat your dog and prolong a Great Dane’s life span.
Another major health problem that affects Great Danes is a cranial cruciate ligament tear. This happens when their front or hind leg puts too much pressure on their knee and it eventually tears the ligament.
This is often misdiagnosed as an injury to the bone because it will cause inflammation on the joint which can mimic other injuries to bones. This can limit the exercise that the dog gets and this can shorten the length of the dog’s lifespan.
Great Danes are at a much higher risk of getting certain health problems than other dog breeds. This is because the Great Dane’s size and weight puts much more pressure on their joints and bones, which can cause pain and irritation.
Great Dane Health Issues
The following list includes some of the most common health problems that affect Great Danes:
– Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that can cause inflammation in the ball and socket area of the hip joint. It often affects young dogs as they age, but it may also occur as a result of injury or obesity.
– Dislocated Joints: The large size of Great Danes causes their joints to dislocate more frequently than smaller dogs. This occurs when they are jumping or twisting due to their weight distribution.
A Great Dane needs a lot of exercise to maintain a healthy weight. They can be prone to stomach torsion, glaucoma, cataracts, hip dysplasia, and deafness.
One point to note about giving your Great Dane exercise is that you shouldn’t take your dog on excessive walks or hikes before they are two years old as you may risk damaging their joints before they fully develop. A dog with bad joints will probably have its length of life shortened.
Glaucoma is a painful eye condition that can lead to blindness if not treated. It is more common in Great Danes than other dog breeds because the breed is predisposed for this condition. Cataracts are another condition that can affect a Great Dane’s eyesight but is less common than glaucoma.
Hip dysplasia causes pain and arthritis in the hip joint as well as stiffness in the hind legs which can lead to lameness and difficulty walking. All these disorders can not only make your dog’s life less pleasant, but they can also shorten its life.
What do Most Great Danes Die of?
As we have said, it’s not uncommon for Great Danes to have cancer, heart disease, or stomach torsion. What are the most common causes of death among these big dogs?
Actually, bloat is the number one killer according to the American Kennel Club. This illness is caused by gas in the stomach, which if not treated can cause a twisting in the stomach muscles which disturbs the dog’s digestion and can also restrict blood flow to the heart.
This can lead to multiple complications that can radically shorten the lifespan of your Great Dane. If this occurs your dog will most likely need medical attention and possibly surgery to help treat the problem. The most common cause of Bloat in Great Danes is eating too fast and swallowing too much gas.
Unfortunately, this health issue is carried from one generation to the next and so an owner needs to be aware of the problem and take action quickly if the dog exhibits any of the common symptoms.
Cancer can be caused by any number of factors, including genetics, environmental factors, radiation exposure, and chemical exposure. Cancer can also be hereditary, so if your dog’s parents both had cancer or your dog’s parents are closely related to the same dog who has had cancer, then it may be worth seeing a vet about screening for the disease.
What Is The Average Great Dane’s Lifespan?
The Great Dane’s lifespan is only about 8-10 years. This is considerably shorter than other breeds of dogs, who usually live for 10 to 13 years and in some cases even 15 years.
As a former dog owner, I have experienced the death of two dogs and this is an extremely sad event in anyone’s life. I was lucky enough to own a Cocker Spaniel, who lived for 13 years, and a Labrador Retriever, who lived for 16 years and they both seemed to be relatively short periods of time because we as humans live much longer.
Great Dane Versus Other Dogs’ Life Expectancy
A Great Dane can live from 7 to 10 years on average. But a Dachshund, a Maltese, and a Chihuahua can live more than 20 years, a German Shepherd 15 years and 13 years for a Beagle. Why is there such a difference in average life expectancy for these different dog breeds?
There are many factors that affect the average life expectancy of a dog breed. The most obvious one is the Great Dane’s overall health. Another issue is size. The bigger the dog, the shorter his life expectancy will be. This is generally the rule. The reason why bigger dogs, like the Great Dane, live for a shorter time is that larger dogs age faster than many small breed canines.
Another factor that affects longevity is genetics – some dog breeds have been bred to have specific qualities but this sometimes creates health problems, while others are more well-known for their vitality and healthiness. There’s really nothing that can be done about this.
Because of the problems that many Great Danes can face which can become fatal, it is a good idea when purchasing a puppy to check the medical history and background of the puppy and its parents to ensure that you are buying a healthy and well-bred dog.
This will not remove the risks of the breed but may give you peace of mind and ensure that you will enjoy as many years as possible with your new prized pet.
How Can You Help Your Great Dane Live Longer?
There are many factors that can determine how long a great Dane lives. For example, the gender of the dog and their diet will influence how long they live. However, there are a number of things an owner can do to give their dog a healthy life and a longer life span.
The best thing you can do to keep your Great Dane healthy for as long as possible is to ensure they have a healthy diet. Pay attention to what they eat and drink, not let them get too cold or too hot, and provide them with lots of exercise every day.
One thing that you can do is to take them for regular walks. The more exercise they get, the healthier their heart will be, which will lead to them living longer. This is because exercise improves the blood flow in their body and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Another thing that you can do is to feed them healthy food. This means avoiding foods with too much fat since they contribute to weight gain and obesity, which leads to an increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. You should also consider giving them a chew bone or other chew toy to keep their jaws strong and reduce the risk of dental problems like periodontal disease, which can also lead to death if not treated in time.
Prevent Your Dog From Developing Bloat
To help prevent Bloat, the best practice is to feed your dog smaller portions and spread them throughout the day rather than give them one or two larger meals which they may wolf down. This should reduce any potential problems with gas or digestion and avoid emergency surgery.
Another good idea to slow down the eating of your Great Dane is to use one of the special dog bowls made for this purpose such as a JASGOOD slow feed dog bowl. This is a great way to reduce gas from fast eating.
Great Danes Live Longer With Correct Care
Another important thing to consider, if you want to extend your dog’s life expectancy is to try as far as possible to keep your dog happy and this includes giving it proper care, love, and attention, as well as exercise. Help reduce many issues and treat your Great Dane as one of the family and take care of your valuable pet as his years are usually more limited than other dogs.
Did you realize that brushing your dog’s teeth can actually prevent disease and help your Great Dane to live a longer and healthier life? Apparently, according to the Animal Health Center, cleaning your Great Dane’s teeth can prevent dental disease from affecting the liver, kidney, heart, and joints, all weak points in the body of this breed.
If the disease takes hold in any of these areas, the results can be serious for your dog. So make sure to clean your dog’s teeth every day and help it to stay healthier and live longer.
About the Great Dane
The Great Dane is believed to have appeared on Egyptian monuments dating back as far as 3000 B.C. His written description was first found in 1121 B.C. in Chinese literature. His ancestors included the old English Mastiff and Irish Wolfhound and were developed to hunt boar by German people. When he wasn’t needed for hunting, he became a good companion and guard dog of family estates.
He’s sometimes called a “gentle giant” or “the king of dogs.” He’s strong and big but has an energetic, friendly personality. His coat colors can be blue, harlequin, black, fawn, brindle, and mantle. He needs to be supervised when he’s around small children. He needs daily walks. His short coat doesn’t need much grooming. He stands at least 30 inches high.
Final thoughts on Life Expectancy of a Great Dane
Unfortunately, giant breeds often have a short life span. The average lifespan for a Great Dane dog is 8-10 years of age. However, the Great Dane life expectancy of this large dog breed varies depending on its health and many other factors such as environment and genetics.
It’s important to note that genetic diseases can cause premature death in Danes, so it’s crucial to know your pet’s family history before you adopt or purchase one from a breeder. You should also know how much exercise they need and what you will do if they have any accidents inside your home.
As with all pets, owners should first research before adopting or buying one because caring for them responsibly takes effort and time– 10 years worth.
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References and Further Reading:
 American Kennel Club, Great Dane Information.