These gentle giants can live for 18-21 years, but are not spry until they’re about 7 or 8.

The “oldest great dane” is the title of a blog post that discusses the life span of Great Danes. The author, who has had experience with Great Danes for many years, gives insight on what to expect from your Dane and how long they live.

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I was awestruck by a Great Dane the first time I saw one and wanted to learn all I could about them.

One of the first things I discovered was that Great Danes had a much shorter lifespan than other dog breeds.

I was saddened by this fact, and I wanted to discover why Great Danes had such short lifespans, and if there was any way to extend their lives. 

Life Expectancy of Great Danes - Senior Great Dane with grey/white muzzle.Life Expectancy of Great Danes

While the Great Dane holds the title for being the world’s tallest dog, it also has one of the lowest life spans of any dog breed.

The breed’s enormous size is both a blessing and a burden, since it is the major reason why Great Danes don’t live very long. 

You should be aware that Great Danes are susceptible to a variety of health issues that may drastically reduce their lifespan.

Although you can’t change your Great Dane’s DNA, there are a few things you can do to help him live longer.

You’ll read about the average lifespan of Great Danes and the most prevalent health issues that plague this breed in the sections below. I’ll also give you some pointers on how to maintain your Great Dane healthy and, as a result, extend his life expectancy. 

What Is the Average Life Expectancy of a Great Dane?

Great Danes are large dogs, so you’d assume they’d have a lengthy life expectancy. Regrettably, this is not the case! A Great Dane’s normal lifespan is eight to 10 years, however some canines have lived to be twelve years old.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We’ve discovered that bigger dogs have a lower life expectancy than smaller canines “on average.”

Great Danes are one of the shortest-living dog breeds, according to various scientific studies, with a typical lifespan of six years.

However, there are several reports of Great Danes living to be 15 years old, albeit there is little evidence to support these claims. 

While six years may seem short, keep in mind that Great Danes may live to be very elderly. Even if this occurs, Great Danes have a much lower life expectancy than most other breeds. 

Why Is The Life Expectancy of Great Danes So Short?

When compared to lesser breeds like the Chihuahua, which live between 12 and 20 years on average, a monster like the Great Dane should live considerably longer. While this may seem to be a reasonable assumption, the truth is very different.

In reality, in the animal world, this is a pretty exceptional scenario. Larger animals live substantially longer in the wild than their smaller cousins.

Elephants, for example, may live for 70 years, although the average life span of a brown rat is just two years. 

While scientists aren’t sure why dogs are treated differently, they do have a few suggestions. Not just Great Danes suffer from this issue; other huge breeds like the Irish wolfhound and Mastiff have lower life spans than other breeds.

One scientific study found that the Life Expectancy of Great Danes is directly linked with artificial selection.

Breeders have crossed only the biggest dogs over generations to produce even bigger Great Danes.

Rapid growth, which is frequent in gigantic breeds, is associated with major health issues, which reduces the lifespan of enormous dogs.

According to another research, bigger canines age far more quickly than their smaller counterparts. These new discoveries have prompted experts to believe that this is the primary cause for big breeds to have shorter lives. 

These two elements, when considered combined, seem to be the most plausible causes of Great Danes’ short lifespans.

However, these gentle giants are prone to a variety of health issues that may shorten their lifespan. 

Health Issues with Great Danes

Great Danes, like many other dog breeds, are prone to various health issues. The primary issue is that these health hazards may shorten or even kill your dog’s life span.

The following are some of the concerns that might limit the life span of your Great Dane:


The danger of bloat in Great Danes is quite high. The stomach twists in such a manner that the blood flow to the intestines is cut off. This is an extremely dangerous and possibly life-threatening illness.

This is very unpleasant for a dog and may be deadly if left untreated.

In general, dogs that have had bloat before are more likely to develop it again. Your veterinarian would most likely propose a tacking operation if your Great Dane develops this ailment.

The goal of this procedure is to reduce future risks and avoid a stomach torsion.

In Great Danes, a stomach tuck is often advised to reduce bloat. During this procedure, a veterinarian will permanently sew your dog’s stomach to the abdominal walls, preventing further bloat. 

If you have a Great Dane that is prone to bloating, see your veterinarian and learn about the causes and symptoms of this ailment.

Remember, prevention and quick intervention are critical, and your dog’s life might be saved!

Joint and Bone Injuries

Due to their giant size, Great Danes frequently suffer from Joint and Bone Injuriess such as arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Both of these diseases worsen over time, causing the joint to deteriorate slowly. Bone illnesses are excruciatingly painful, and they may compel you to make difficult choices about your dog’s quality of life.

Most big breeds, including Great Danes, should take joint supplements including glucosamine and chondroitin to avoid bone diseases.

These compounds aid in the formation and maintenance of cartilage, as well as the reduction of pain and increased mobility. If your Great Dane has already been diagnosed with bone disease, your veterinarian will most likely offer joint supplements as part of his or her treatment plan.

Because Great Danes are prone to major joint issues, most vets advise supplementing after they have stopped growing.

And, since joint discomfort may be devastating in so many ways, see your veterinarian about providing your Great Dane joint supplements as a prophylactic measure. 

Cardiomyopathy with Dilated Chambers

Great Danes are one breed that frequently suffers from a heart condition called Cardiomyopathy with Dilated Chambers. This condition causes the heart to become enlarged and affects its ability to pump blood. 

Unfortunately, this is an incurable and progressive disease that will ultimately lead to cardiac failure. The majority of the time, afflicted dogs do not exhibit any indications of cardiac disease until it is too late. 

Because the Great Dane is one of the breeds most usually afflicted by this disease, you should familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms. Keep in mind that no genetic test exists to assist diagnose afflicted Great Danes at this time. 


Hypothyroidism in Great Danes is also a possibility. This condition develops when the thyroid gland ceases to function correctly and is unable to generate enough of the hormone thyroxin.

The thyroid gland governs the growth and development of Great Danes and plays a crucial part in metabolic rate regulation. 

Hypothyroidism affects the majority of Great Danes between the ages of two and six. Affected dogs will begin to gain weight without displaying any changes in appetite or meal size. 

Synthetic hormones are used to treat hypothyroidism and should be given to your dog for the rest of his life. While it may seem to be a bother, with correct treatment, this illness may be readily handled. 

How Can You Increase The Life Expectancy Of Your Great Dane?

A Great Dane’s normal lifespan is eight to ten years, but you, as the owner, have a lot of control on how long your dog lives. While you can’t modify your dog’s DNA, you can influence a lot of other factors. 

Exercise, a healthy diet, and regular veterinarian visits are just a few of the things that may help your dog live longer. Here are a few things you can do as an owner to help your Great Dane live longer:

Select a Trustworthy Breeder

If you want to watch your Great Dane grow up, you must get him from a reliable breeder. A good breeder will give health certifications for both parents and pups, demonstrating the health of his lines.

Look for a breeder that tests their dogs for hereditary disorders including hip dysplasia, eye difficulties, and heart disease. A Great Dane with no genetic disorders has a better chance of living longer than one with inherited ailments. 

If you acquire a Great Dane from a rescue group, on the other hand, you may not know much about your dog’s past.

You may, however, take your adoptee to a veterinarian for a comprehensive examination and even a genetic problem screening. 

Providing a Balanced Diet

Another thing you can do to extend your dog’s life is to choose the finest dog food for a Great Dane. Your dog’s nutritional requirements should be met throughout his life, but particularly during puppyhood. 

Great Dane pups develop quite quickly due to their size. Your puppy, like all other big breeds, will need particular nourishment to ensure optimum growth and development.

In gigantic breed dogs, a bad diet may cause excessive growth and musculoskeletal disorders including hip dysplasia. 

Even when your Great Dane reaches maturity and becomes a senior dog, feeding a balanced and nutritious food should remain a top focus.

To prevent weight gain, you should pay close attention to how much food your dog consumes. Obesity is a major concern for many dogs, and it may lead to a variety of additional health problems for your Great Dane. 

Making sure your gentle giant is eating breed- and age-appropriate dog food can help him stay healthy. At the same time, you’ll increase your dog’s chances of living to a ripe old age.

Preventing Disease

Great Danes are susceptible to a variety of diseases, but some preventive actions may dramatically reduce those risks.

Bloating may be avoided by eating numerous smaller meals throughout the day rather than one big meal. A slow-feeding dish might be a beneficial purchase since it decreases the risk of stomach gas.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: Stetson was a picky eater, so we tried a variety of slow-feed dog dishes to protect him from gagging and vomiting. Outward Hound’s slow feed dish was our fave.

Early detection and diagnosis of a health condition provides your dog a higher chance of recovery in most circumstances.

Regular veterinarian checks ensure that any health issues are detected early on and that treatment can begin. Also, don’t forget to have your Dane vaccinated on a regular basis. 

And, although it may seem inconsequential at the time, any changes in your dog’s behavior, food habits, or activity levels should be reported to your veterinarian.

All of these symptoms might indicate an illness that could jeopardize your dog’s health if not caught early. 

Physical Activity on a Regular Basis

Although Great Danes aren’t very lively or active dogs, they nevertheless need regular exercise to be healthy and fit. You may create a physical activity regimen for your Great Dane that includes daily walks and playtime. 

Don’t force your Dane puppy to undertake any extreme activity, such as running or leaping, since these dogs are prone to bone problems.

These kind of exercises might put extra pressure on your dog’s joints, exacerbating any existing problems. Instead, go for light and easy activities like a quick stroll or a tug-of-war game.

How Long Do Great Danes Live? Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Great Danes Live For Such A Short Time?

Like all large and giant breeds, Great Danes are prone to several serious health conditions that affect their life span. Great Danes have a higher risk of developing bloat, Cardiomyopathy with Dilated Chambers, and hip dysplasia, among other diseases. 

As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, experts think that bigger canines age considerably more quickly than smaller dogs. As a consequence, a Great Dane’s typical lifespan is eight to ten years. 

What are the most common causes of death among Great Danes?

The most lethal ailment in Great Danes is gastric torsion, often known as bloat. Bloat causes the stomach to twist, cutting off blood supply to the gut and heart, leading to death. Unfortunately, this is only one of several problems that beset this breed.

The second most common cause of death in Great Danes is heart failure caused by Cardiomyopathy with Dilated Chambers. Most dogs with this condition don’t experience any symptoms of heart problems until it’s too late.   

What Is The Age Of The Oldest Living Great Dane?

According to Guinness World Records, Freddy, an eight-year-old Great Dane who resides in Weeting, Norfolk, UK, is the world’s oldest Great Dane.

Freddy is also the world’s tallest dog, standing at 3 feet and 4.75 inches tall and weighing 196 pounds. Freddy is taller than most basketball players when he stands on his hind legs, at 7 feet and 5.5 inches tall. 

What Are the Signs That Your Great Dane Is Dying?

You will be the first to notice if your Great Dane is behaving strangely as a dog owner. Keep in mind that every dog behaves differently when it’s time to go. However, most dogs demonstrate a range of behaviors that might indicate that the end is approaching.

Reduced mobility, reduced thirst, laborious breathing, obvious discomfort, and incontinence are all indicators that your Great Dane is nearing the end of his life.

If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian to arrange for hospice care or compassionate euthanasia at home. 

Is it true that female Great Danes live longer than male Great Danes?

Female Great Danes live longer than males, particularly if they have been spayed. There is no definitive answer as to why women live longer.

Female Great Danes, on the other hand, are smaller than males, which might be one of the causes contributing to their longer lifespan. 


One of the kindest and most loving dogs you will ever own is a well-bred Great Dane.

Great Danes, however, have a shorter life expectancy than other dog breeds owing to their enormous size and many health issues. Even so, there are things you can do as the owner to assist your Great Dane live a long and happy life:

  • Choose a reliable breeder for your pet.
  • Throughout your dog’s life, provide a full and balanced food.
  • Take your Great Dane to the vet on a regular basis.

Great Danes, despite their short lifespans, may live to be a ripe old age and are wonderful companions if properly cared for.

Are you the proud owner of a Great Dane?

If that’s the case, how old is your sweetheart?

In the comments area below, tell us about your dog.


The “great dane life span” is not known. There are many factors that contribute to the life expectancy of a Great Dane, including its size and health. The average life expectancy for a large male Great Dane is 10-12 years. Reference: great dane puppies.

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