Are you considering a larger dog such as the Great Dane? Has this particular breed caught your eye, but you’re unsure due to their size and risk of aggression? Here is what the research says regarding their general nature and temperament.
So, are Great Danes aggressive? Great Danes are not considered an aggressive dog breed. While some individual Danes can be hostile towards unfamiliar dogs and people; they have usually been trained to behave in this way. Generally, Great Danes get on well with most people, animals, are relatively easy to train and are calm in temperament and nature.
Great Danes, by most accounts, are considered a gentle and safe dog breed.
These large dogs may appear intimidating, but they are far from it, generally speaking. Great Danes are loving, playful, and they are fantastic with children.
These dogs make good guard dogs mainly because they are very protective of their families, and they have a scary bark.
Let’s explore the Great Dane temperament in greater detail in the section below before looking at some of the potential causes of aggression in this breed.
Great Dane Temperament
Great Danes are very friendly, and they make friends quite easily – they are also known to be very keen to please their owners and other people.
The Great Dane is an imposing-looking canine that stands on average at 30 inches to the shoulder.
This breed is quite tall and has quite a muscular and powerful physique.
This “working dog” may look scary but is one of the easiest-going breeds you’ll ever encounter. According to many owners, Great Danes are a pure joy to live with.
With all of that said, Great Danes make ideal watchdogs, the mere sight of these dogs is enough to make any intruder stop dead in their tracks.
As such, they are often used and trained for such purposes.
It’s important not to mistake the Great Danes’ meekness for weakness.
Yes, Danes are sweet-natured, but they are also courageous and will not tolerate mistreatment of themselves or their beloved family.
Great Danes are adored and praised by their owners because they are such loyal companions.
Danes are an excellent addition to families with young children because they are so gentle and patient with children.
However, due to their sheer size, it’s natural to be concerned with the safety of your children in the presence of this dog.
For this reason, looking at other breeds of dogs with a similar temperament may be more suitable for you and your family.
Why Is My Great Dane So Aggressive?
Great Danes can become aggressive due to health conditions, abrupt changes in their environment, or they’re perceived need to protect.
Great Danes are typically “gentle giants”; they are often very complacent and eager to please.
With that being said, there is no guarantee that any Great Dane puppy won’t turn out to become an aggressive adult.
Or at least show these tendencies during particular times and contexts.
Remember, every dog has its own individual personality and this is something you must consider with any breed of dog.
If you have recently adopted a Great Dane puppy and you notice some aggressive traits, you must take steps to rectify these early signs of aggression, because it is a liability and can prove dangerous further down the line.
If a Great Dane puppy doesn’t grow out of its aggressive behavior, it will go on to chase, bark at, and bite anything that moves.
If this was to occur with a family member or a neighbor, you will likely be faced with having to euthanize your dog.
It goes without saying, but this is a terrible situation that can and should be avoided.
But you do need to be proactive and take responsibility as the owner to prevent such outcomes.
Below are the common reasons for Dane aggression.
You need to rule out any potential health issues that may be causing aggression in your Great Dane.
An injured paw might make your normally peaceful Dane lash out at those around them.
This is their natural response to pain and discomfort, so they may be actually trying to communicate this to you.
It does not always mean they are dangerous; instead, they can be rectified with appropriate care.
So, if you were to observe some signs of aggression, first and foremost, you must talk to your vet.
In Response To Vaccinations
Along similar lines, dogs can occasionally react badly to vaccines. It can make them act out aggressively.
This bad reaction is an issue that again, you must discuss with your vet. It will occur days after the vaccine – so you must monitor them during this time frame.
Other diseases like cancer, rabies, and thyroid diseases may also be causing an otherwise calm dog to become an angry, aggressive dog.
Hopefully, your puppy is healthy and well. If so, but are still acting aggressively, it may be caused by or triggered by another factor.
Let’s discuss these in more detail.
Sometimes Great Danes are aggressive because they feel territorial or protective of their belongings – this could be an item of furniture or a toy.
For this reason, you need to be careful when prizing away toys. Its always important to do so in a calm manner.
Things Have Changed
Sometimes changes in your dog’s lifestyle or environment are not taken well, especially where aggressive dogs are concerned.
Sometimes an ordinarily docile Dane will act out if anything out of the ordinary has changed; especially if it causes discomfort or unfamiliarity.
Some of the most common causes are a change in diet or location. For these reasons, you need to be aware of changing too many things at one time.
Also, be aware of how you respond to and look after your dog during this time of change. They may require extra attention and care.
Great Danes may act or pretend to be aggressive as a defense mechanism.
Danes acting in this way will be on high alert and may act aggressively at a stranger’s approach.
Sometimes what can begin as a cover of defense might cross over into interactions with other animals, and humans and Danes might retain their aggressive traits.
Will A Great Dane Attack An Intruder?
Great Danes make good guard dogs; they have a tall and powerful physique, not to mention a terrifying bark. This is usually enough to make any intruder head for the hills. However, a Great Dane would not usually attack an intruder; it is not in their nature.
That is not to say that the Great Dane is not protective of their families, these dogs are very protective, but they are not attack dogs.
If you are on the market for a personal protection dog, you should consider a dog that is trained to attack and defend humans.
These dogs are highly trained to protect and defend their owners on command.
A dog’s breed only plays a small part in the makings of a guard dog; the characteristics of a dog are what make them ideal candidates for personal protection training.
Before investing money in one of these dogs, it is crucial to spend some time with a variety of dog breeds to ensure that you find one that fits your family and lifestyle.
With all this being said, Great Danes can, and are often used as guard dogs and personal protection dogs.
While this does not come naturally to them, they can be trained to undertake such tasks.
Great Danes are most certainly not aggressive.
This dog breed is among the sweetest, gentle natured, and people-pleasing you are likely to come across.
Danes are considered to be the ultimate gentle giants, very mild-mannered, and calm in their temperament.
Great Danes only require moderate exercise, yet they do need lots of room to maneuver.
These canines are friendly, and they need constant companionship. Some Great Danes can be trained to coexist peacefully with other pets, even cats!
When you see how gigantic these dogs are, it is hard to believe they are so gentle; yet they are very protective of their human family.
A Great Dane would never attack an intruder, but they will use their deep resounding voice to scare away any potential trespasser – their enormous muscular bodies are intimidating enough.
If you are considering getting a Great Dane as a pet, you won’t regret getting one.
They will go above and beyond to please you and guard you. To build their confidence, you can take them out into the world more often than you would with other dog breeds.
Great Danes are known to love to cuddle. Great Danes are considered to be one of the most affectionate dog breeds; routinely expressing their emotions. Great Danes thrive in the company of people and like to show their affection in a number of ways.
Great Danes lean on their owners and people as a sign of affection. This is their way of showing that they feel safe and that they want to give attention or equally receive it. While not all Great Danes dogs will “lean”, it is more likely to occur from this breed compared to other dogs.
Great Danes are not known for their regular or repetitive barking. However, great Danes like any other dog breed can develop barking as a habit and some are known to bark more than others. It’s important to prevent and train this behavior out of a Great Dane as an owner because they have one of the loudest, most far-carrying, and deepest bark of any dog breed.
Great Danes can make a good guard dog due to their sheer size, intimidation, and strength. They are able to take down an intruder if the situation presented itself and they feel the need to protect their owners. Great Danes are often trained as a guard and personal protection dogs for these reasons. They equally can serve as great watchdogs because they can remain calm and silent.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.