Do Great Danes Need a Lot of Exercise?

By John Martin - March 7, 2022

Great Dane exercising outside

Known as the Apollo of Dogs, Great Danes make wonderful pets. However, the huge size and strength of this gentle giant is not something that you can take lightly and their exercise needs are something you simply can’t ignore. So, in this article, we have attempted to answer your question, do Great Danes need a lot of exercise?

Understanding Great Dane Exercise Requirements

If you’re planning to bring home a Great Dane and are wondering how much exercise this large dog needs, then here is a complete lowdown on the exercise needs of this breed. While in general, Great Danes are calm and sedate dogs; nevertheless, they need sufficient exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated, healthy and happy.

Great Danes are by no means lazy; however, if you leave your pet, he’ll be happy to stretch out and lounge on your couch all day long. When you compare the activity and exercise needs of your Great Dane with that of other dog breeds, his requirements are moderate to low. Ideally, an adult Great Dane needs around 30-60 minutes of moderate activity 2 times a day.

Great Dane Puppy Exercise Needs

Like your adult Great Dane, your puppy too needs exercise. However, you must be cautious when exercising your Great Dane puppy because a puppy less than a year old has delicate bones and joints and too much exercise can strain them and even cause injury and damage.

Too much exercise can cause bone and joint problems such as hip dysplasia, etc. in your lil pooch and can also cause musculoskeletal development problems. Short walks many times a day and moderate outdoor, as well as indoor games, are sufficient to keep your Great Dane puppy active and healthy.

Here is a general guideline for the exercise requirement for Great Dane puppies:

  • Up to 6 Months: 10-15 minutes per day
  • 6-12 Months: Up to 30 minutes per day
  • 12-18 Months: Up to 30 minutes per day

Avoid the following activities to protect your puppy’s bones, joints and ligaments:

  • Running on very hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt
  • Playing on slippery surfaces like wet ground, tiles, etc.
  • Wrestling or roughhousing
  • Jumping from tall heights and obstacle course jumping

Also Read: Do Great Danes Jump Fences?

Why Do Great Danes Need Exercise?

Great Danes are moderately active dogs with low to moderate exercise needs. However, regular exercise is essential to keep your pet active, in shape and healthy. Here are some of the reasons why regular exercise is a “must” for your pet:

  • Helps to provide physical, social and mental stimulation
  • Keeps your pet physically strong, active and fit
  • Aids in proper digestion
  • Helps to strengthen joints, bones and muscles and also prevents injury
  • Enhances mobility
  • Prevents obesity and other health problems
  • Promotes heart health
  • Reduces behavioral issues

Best Exercises for Great Danes

Here are a few activities and exercises that are best for your Great Dane.

  • Walking: Nothing can beat a nice walk when it comes to regular exercise for your Great Dane. You can either stroll down the street with your pet or visit the local park. If you want to increase the intensity, you can include a few minutes of jogging or running. You can take your pet to various surfaces such as sand, concrete, rough surfaces, shallow waters, snow, etc. to get him accustomed to all types of surfaces.
  • Playing Games: Playing fetch games with your Great Dane with his favorite toy, frisbee or ball is a wonderful way to exercise him at home.
  • Playing Tag: Chasing your pet or the other way around can be great exercise for both you and your pet, a wonderful way to bond while burning calories.
  • Dogstacle Course: A dogstacle course can be a wonderful way to exercise your Great Dane while working the muscles. You can create a DIY dogstacle course in your backyard or garden for your pet with household items.
  • Visiting the Dog Park: Taking your Dane to the dog park is a great opportunity for him to explore things and also meet, interact and play with other dogs.
  • Hiking: Hiking is a great way where your Great Dane can experience and explore nature. Hikes not only provide your pet his daily dose of exercise but plenty of mental stimulation. Hiking or jogging different trails can add variety and spice up your pet’s exercise routine.
  • Swimming: If your pet loves water, then you can take him swimming in a pool, pond or lake. However, make sure that your pet gets in the shallow part and supervise him as long as he is in the water.
  • Agility Sports: Agility sports, flyball, canicross, etc. can be great for your Great Dane, providing good physical exercise, as well as mental stimulation.

Precautions to Take When Exercising Your Great Dane

Depending on the size, age and health condition of your Great Dane, his exercise requirements may vary. It is best to consult with your vet and tailor make the exercise for your Great Dane based on his individual requirements. However, some of the precautions that you must take when exercising your pet.

  • Avoid overexercising your Great Dane puppy as this can affect the development of their musculoskeletal system, bone and joint problems and cause long-term problems.
  • Be careful when walking your pet in the snow as the snow can be slippery, causing your pet to slip and get injured. Further, the cold snow and the salt treatment on the roads can harm the pads of his feet.
  • Be careful when you take your Great Dane to the dog park. Supervise your pet’s interaction with other dogs and other people, as sometimes your pet may become aggressive.
  • Take care not to over-exercise your Great Dane as he can get too tired. Some of the signs of fatigue include excessive panting, slowing down, lagging behind and if you notice any of these let your pet rest.
  • If the temperature is very warm, exercising can make your pet get overheated, which may show signs such as drooling, panting, vomiting or confusion. And, if you see any of the above signs, move your pet to a cool area, give him cool water to drink, fan your pet and apply some water on his fur to cool him down.

Also Read: Do Great Danes Get Attached to One Person?

Signs of Too Much Exercise

Your Great Dane needs adequate exercise to keep him active and fit. While too little or no exercise can cause him to become sluggish, overweight and even obese, too much exercise can be equally harmful. Here are some signs that your pet is being overexercised:

Your Pet Is Limping

If you’ve gone for a long walk, hike, jog or bike ride and have taken your Great Dane along, if you notice that your pet is limping, it may mean that he’s had too much exercise.

And, if this happens, then avoid any exercise for the next couple of days or cut short your pet’s exercise routine until he heals and completely stops limping before you resume the walk or exercise routine. And, when you resume the routine, then restart slowly and build up to more strenuous exercises.

Your Pet Is Panting

When you come back from a long walk or exercise, your Great Dane may be panting because he may be overheated. While some panting is fine, if your pet is finding it very difficult to breathe or taking very long to cool down, then the next time around reduce the time spent exercising outdoors.

In the hotter months, take your pet for walks in the morning or the evening when the weather is cooler so that your pet does not end up getting a heatstroke.

Your Pet Refuses to Go Outside

Great Danes are happy to be couch potatoes and may have to be urged to exercise every day. And, if your dog is particularly resisting and does not want to move or go outside, it may mean that he has gotten a lot of exercise for the day. In such a case avoid forcing your pet for more exercise, lest he gets over exercised.

Your Pet Is Sick

If your Great Dane is resisting and does not want to exercise, it may be because he is sick. And, when this happens, it is best to take your pet to the vet to ensure that there is nothing seriously wrong with your pet.

Also Read: 21 of the Best Great Dane Mix Breeds

Wrapping Up

Exercising with your Great Dane can be a wonderful way to stay fit and bond. However, you must be careful when exercising your pet, as the large size of the Great Dane makes them more prone to joint problems and injuries. So, before you start on an exercise routine, check with your vet first on what is safe for your pet and what is not.