Are Great Danes Good With Small Dogs?

By John Martin - May 7, 2021

Great Dane sitting with Chihuahua in a chair

Ferocious in nature, Great Danes are known as the ‘Gentle Giants. A venerable breed, the Great Dane was once groomed to hunt wild boars and participate in fights.

Contrastingly, an owner found his giant canine buddy captivatingly glued against the glass of a hamster cage. Silently, for hours on end, watching the little creature exercise in the running wheel.

Well, do you still think Great Danes would be good with small animals or not?

Understanding The Nature Of The Great Dane Breed

At times easygoing and at times skittish. The general behavior of the Dane, or any other being, is difficult to grasp. But with a little effort, we can draw out a basic sketch of their daily interactions and habits.

Here is a simplified list of some of the known and predictable characteristics that a Great Dane possesses and exhibits.

  • Their giant body measure implies they need larger living spaces. Providing a comfortable space to move around and explore allows them to stay in tune with their hefty bodies.
  • Since they are genetically wired as guard dogs, their territorial instincts can vary from individual to individual. With some guests, they are amicable, and with some others, they are aloof.
  • They are generally mild-mannered, but this also greatly depends on their upbringing. The environment also plays an important role in determining their actions.
  • Adult Danes are not as energetic as their youthful persona. When grown, they require moderate levels of exercise and a pleasant everyday ambiance.
  • Don’t mistake their huge sizes and label them as intimidating. Great Danes crave familial comfort as much as any other dog breed. Especially from their owner and the immediate family.
  • Leaving your Dane alone for too long is not a wise move. They tend to develop anxiety issues and may possibly end up causing hefty trouble around the house.
  • Their resounding barks leave little to the imagination when it comes to guarding and being wary around strangers. However, this aspect of the canine depends on their general interaction with the people around him.
  • It is wise to train your Dane to be gentle from a young age to his surroundings and the occupants. The fully grown canines are no joke to handle when on a rebellious rampage.
  • They require constant supervision as well as social interaction to inculcate a stable temperament in the growing years.
  • While obedience training is a must, remember, they are also sensitive in nature. Harsh commands will only drive them far from you emotionally.
  • When it comes to being with other smaller pets, the Great Danes may or may not get along. Some can be civil, while others tend to be dominant.
  • As little pups, Great Danes are known to be boisterous and destructive, filled with impish energy. A good upbringing will ultimately determine their progressing growth and future individuality.

Are Great Danes Relaxed Around Smaller Dogs And Other Pets?

There is certainly a possibility for Great Danes to exist in harmony with smaller dogs, as with any other pet.

Sometimes, their gentle nature compels them to act responsibly around the smaller critters, making memorable moments.

There is no substitute in seeing your giant canine cuddling cozily with your small pup or kitten. The mere sight allows one to understand that size does not necessarily dictate one’s nature.

There are also possibilities of the Dane expressing aggression towards other dogs. Some of them may possess lingering yet potent instincts of chasing fleeing animals.

To sum it up, if you want your Great Dane to be relaxed around other smaller pets and people, you will have to work towards it.

Grooming Your Dane To Be Comfortable In The Presence Of Smaller Pets

Bringing up a Great Dane from its infancy or youth may be a more acceptable option than dealing with an older canine.

Young Dane pups, as you know, are always itching to move around and explore. Conditioning them well requires more than additional efforts in all aspects of upbringing.

However, their altruistic nature, willingness to stay indoors as well as fierce loyalty makes the task accomplishable.

Mingling with smaller pets should be a supervised activity. Great Danes are typically unsure of their own build. Even a simple swipe of their tail might accidentally cause injuries to the small pets.

Interactions with unknown people and pets can either bring about aggression or opposingly cause them to be shy. Both qualities are unhealthy for your pet. Additionally, if your Dane ever feels threatened by intrusive socialization, they instinctively bite in defense.

Obedience training, coupled with a stable environment, creates a fulfilling formula to gradually introduce your canine to new atmospheres.

Ensure your behavior towards them is not harsh, but soothing and firm. Their underlying characteristics as a gentle giant will surely make the entire process easier.

Related: Can Great Danes Swim?

Factors To Be Aware Of When Considering A Great Dane As A New Member Of Your Family

This applies whether or not you have smaller pets in your homes. Of course, if you do have little critters running around, sit down and consider these factors deliberately.

Catering to their appropriate levels of exercise

Although the build of a Great Dane is intimidating, its sheer body bulk exerts pressure on the gangly limbs. This causes consistent strain on the muscles and bones of the canine as it grows older.

Great Danes may be at their peak in their prime; however, with aging comes a whole set of unwanted complications. Accordingly, your Dane will require regulated exercise to keep him in shape and not pile on more than what is required.

Of course, with the reduced expenditure of energy, it will eventually cause them to rebel. And a rebellious Great Dane is not an incident you are willing to experience.

Having spacious living conditions is a prerequisite to owning a Great Dane. They need all the space they can get to romp around, expelling unneeded energy levels.

At such times, you will have to invest extra efforts and exercise caution, in addition to providing ample companionship.

Catering to their willful temperament

While Great Danes are naturally amiable, they also experience mood swings and whatnot. You cannot always expect them to obey your commands.

They have a headstrong personality that needs equally obstinate, yet passionate, and comforting support. By no degree are they a breeze to tame, but you will find that they are willing to please you. Gradually.

Throughout the whole process, you must remain consistent and firm, avoiding harsh remarks and disapproval. For a healthier future, remember that respect training and obedience training go hand in hand.

Catering to their socialization needs

Danes, in general, have a modest tolerance level to strangers. Some can be naturally friendly, some are wary, some others remain completely aloof, while some tend to show dominant characteristics.

It becomes that much imperative to incorporate a friendly behavior in your pups during the growing years.

When your Dane is exposed to different environments over time, they are gradually able to realize behaviors for themselves. This allows them to separate the good guys from the abnormal ones, as they perceive their interactions.

You obviously would not want to drag your unfriendly and unwilling pet on a leash in public, which is why start training and grooming them when young.

Catering to their aggressive moods

One cannot guarantee that a Great Dane will consistently act mild-mannered without touching on a bit of aggression. Sometimes, the genes cause aggression to be a dominant feature of canine behavior.

Understand that general upbringing plays a vital role in grooming your pet to be non-aggressive according to the situation.

Great Danes have potential aggressive moods. This implies the clear possibility of cultivating a stable temperament in your pet, with consistent efforts.

Catering to their health issues

The bone structure of the Great Dane may seem imposing, but it is equally unfavorable to their health.

The middle age in Danes brings about multiple health complications. It does not help that their life span is unfortunately short.

From joint and bone disorders to cancer, bloat, and heart diseases, the Great Dane is a highly vulnerable breed.

The imposing canine breed is not a welcome visitor in every apartment or housing conditions. Certain areas seek a targeted ban on giant breeds, fearing any unforeseen incidents.

From refusals of homeowners insurance to facing unjust attention, potential Great Dane owners need to seriously consider the consequences of owning one.

Will Your Great Dane Be Able To Get Along Well With Your Pet Pups?

Coming back to the topic of whether or not your Dane will be amicable with your smaller pets. Having gone through the provided information, you will have a general idea of what to expect from your giant canine.

Do you still believe the chances of your Dane hurting and causing trouble regarding the small critters are significant?

Well then, remember this. The inheritance of what we know as aggressive or dominating temperament in Danes is simply a less predictable factor.

Common sense, the right amount of preparation and supervision, as well as socialization. A well-balanced application of these elements enables a fruitful and satisfactory coexistence between your pets.