How Fast Can A Great Dane Run? Great Dane Speed Examined

How fast can a great dane run

How fast can a Great Dane run?  What is a Great Dane’s top speed?  How long can a Great Dane run for?  These are all common questions for this magnificent breed.  Great Danes are known to be one of the faster large breeds out there for certain.  They are also quite effective distance runners as well.  I’ve worked with many in my time and they are a delight to train.

Hi my name is Mike and I’ve been training and working with animals for a long time now.  My pet of choice is definitely dogs.  Through the course of my experiences, I’ve learned a lot and decided to start this website to share some of that information with interested readers like you.  Today we will be discussing the Great Dane breed and answering specifically, “How fast can a Great Dane run?”.

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How Fast Can A Great Dane Run

So how fast can a Great Dane run then?  Great Danes can get up to as fast as 30mph.  They are definitely one of the faster dogs out there and they can also run for great distances without slowing as well.

How did Great Danes come to be this way?  It’s a combination of hereditary and genetic traits passed down by their lines over a long period of time.  Great Danes are actually a breed that came about from the mixing of two other large and strong breeds.  First is the Irish wolfhound and second is the Mastiff.  Both of these breeds are very large and have tremendous strength.  These qualities were distilled and passed on over time forming the Great Dane breed which kept the size and strength with additional added speed to boot.

How Come Great Danes Are So Fast?

As discussed above, breeding and genetics plays a big role in why Great Danes have the speed they do.  There are also some other physical traits we can look at that lend to their explosive speed.

First off, Great Danes are larger dogs but they aren’t as heavy as you would think they should be for that size.  They have long legs as well and compact torsos.  This gives them the ability to move quickly and for longer periods of time.  These dogs also have a gait that resembles a horses gallop instead of a dog’s normal trot.  Their height and long legs give them this advantage.  This is also another reason that they make such good hunting dogs as well.

Great Danes were bred to be hunting dogs and their compact frame and long legs definitely lend to that experience.  They have been known to chase down hogs, deer and even some bear on occasion.  They also have the strength to back that speed up in the short term as well.  These dogs may look spindly and skinny but there is a lot of power in those muscles if they are fed and trained properly into adulthood.  With that being said, lets talk about the Great Dane breed in general and how to best care for them.

great dane breed at a glance

Great Dane Breed At A Glance

So lets touch on the strengths and weaknesses of a Great Dane real quick.  They are fast, strong and light on their feet.  Their agility allows them to be great hunters and also provides them a nimbleness that dogs their size often lack.  They are also easy to train and make great companion dogs.

What about the set backs?  Well, these dogs sadly don’t live that long.  The average lifespan of a Great Dane is about 6-10 years.  Larger dogs tend to live shorter lives and that holds true with this breed as well.  They tend to stay very active during their lives though and if they do pass of old age, it will hopefully be quick and painless for them.  They are also plagued with other large dog problems like bone growth disorders and hip dysplasia.

Now that we have gotten some of the basic info about Great Danes out of the way and we answered the, “How fast can a Great Dane run?” question, lets take a more in depth look at this breed.

Great Dane Size and Shape

Great Danes are large breed dogs with a generally square shape.  They have longer legs than other large dog breeds when compared in proportion to the rest of their bodies.  A full grown male Great Dane in well fed, healthy condition should weight about 120 pounds.  The females should weigh in around 100 pounds.  They generally reach a full height between 30 to 40 inches at the shoulders as well.

These dogs also come in a variety of coats which are explained below:

  • Black:  The coat should be a glossy black and may also have patches of white on the chest and paws
  • Blue:  Often referred to as steel blue.  Patches of white on chest and paws are common here as well
  • Harlequin:  This coat is described as a pure white base but often with patches of black fur throughout as well
  • Fawn: A yellow coat with black around the eyes and ears
  • Brindle:  Often referred to as a stripe pattern.  Usually yellow and black in appearance.
  • Mantle:  Another black and white coat but with one of the colors having predominance on top and the other covering the dog’s underside.

There are many other variations that can occur as well but these are some of the most common ones in a pure bred sense anyway.  If you get a Great Dane mix, the color combinations could be quite different.

Great Dane Temperament

For all of the strength and size that this dog brings you would think that they would be aggressive and hard to manage.  This isn’t really the case at all though. These dogs are seen as great hunters and that is very true.  The notion that they are aggressive and hard to handle is false though. I’ve worked with several of these dogs throughout my years and have found them to be quite affectionate and happy go lucky. Environmental factors will of course play a role here as well.  How they are raised is going to influence how they act.  For the most part though, you have a very happy and companionable animal that is full of affection and care.

The one note of caution I would make is that these dogs can get anxious or scared at times.  If this happens, they can have a tendency to lash out at strangers be they of the human or animal variety.  Just keep this in mind.  You can very easily train and condition them as they grow to adulthood to cope with meeting strangers and new animals.

Great Dane Nutritional Requirements

Great Danes are a large dog breed and as such, they need to be fed properly.  This especially comes into play as they are growing.  Not enough food can cause malnourishment and stunted growth.  Too much food can cause things like obesity and hip dysplasia.  In my experience, most owners will overfeed their Danes.  This does not guarantee that any bone or socket issues will occur but it does increase the likelihood of such a problem.  This goes doubly for this breed because it is already genetically predisposed to these problems to begin with.

Another thing to remember in regards to feeding is the quality of the food source.  I would strongly suggest that you work with your vet or a dog nutritionist to make sure that you are giving your growing pup the quality nutrition it requires.  Keep in mind that this dog is going to grow to 100 plus pounds in a very short period of time.  They will need the proper nutrition and volume to back this up.  What they don’t need is a bunch of junk food or too many meals and snacks messing up their growth cycles.  twice a day with a snack in the morning would probably be fine depending on the dog and their habits.  Once again a vet or dog nutritionist is a great option here.

great danes and exercise

Great Danes And Exercise

Exercise is a very important factor when raising any dog.  Too much exercise can put unwarranted strain on them at the wrong times and not enough could affect them adversely as well.  The key is to find the right balance and continue to modify as they grow into adulthood.

As a puppy, you want to keep the exercise lighter and less vigorous.  Too much exercise can actually damage the bones and joints which are growing and forming early on.  This can lead to problems down the line with their mobility and overall quality of life.  I would suggest 2 good walks each day along with some training, exercise and a bit of playing fetch etc. to keep them in a good place early on.  Your vet will also be a great resource during this time as well.  They will be able to tell you the most effective means of exercise at your dog’s current growth cycle.  Your vet should also be able to steer you away from things that would adversely affect your dog as well.

Bottom line, dogs need exercise.  It’s better to work with a vet or trainer if you’re unsure of where to start.  Ideally 2 10-15 min walks a day with some additional training in between is enough to keep your dog in fine shape as they grow.  It will also help them behave as a lot of the time when a dog acts out, it is doing so because it has excess energy to burn off.

Great Dane And Common Health Problems

This dog has the nickname of Heartbreak breed.  Its sad that they are called this but also apt.  Great Danes are prone to short lifespans and hereditary heart problems.  These can manifest in a few different types but Dilated Cardiomyopathy is one of the most common.  This defect causes the heart to grow too big and thus the effectiveness of pumping to the dog’s entire body is severely strained.  Problems will start with fatigue or general malaise and usually end with an untimely demise.

Another significant Great Dane health problem is referred to as “Wobbler Disease”.  This is an issue where the vertebrates in the spinal column are malformed due to the rapid growth of the animal.  Because of this, the dogs will often develop weak legs and have mobility issues. The usual treatment for this is surgery although, in some cases this can heal on its own as well.

How Fast Can A Great Dane Run Summarized

There we have it.  The question, “How fast can a Great Dane run?” has been answered and we have also learned a lot more about the breed as well.  We have learned that Great Danes can travel at speeds of up to 30mph but they can also run for quite a long distance without getting tired as well.  They are able to do this as a large dog weighing over 100 pounds.

We’ve also learned that the lifespan for this dog can be anywhere from 6-10 years.  Larger dogs tend to have shorter lives and that holds true for the Great Dane as well.  There are some health conditions associated with this breed but not as many as with some others.  Great Danes are also known as the heartbreak breed because of the heart problems associated with them and the fact that it will usually mean a short life.

These dog’s have a warm and friendly temperament despite what some may believe.  They are a great family dog in addition to being excellent hunters.  With the proper training, this dog could be an excellent companion for your family.  We also know that these dogs have the ability to run down hogs, deer and even bear when trained properly.  A definite boon for any aspiring hunter for sure!

All in all, Great Dane’s are a great breed if you have the space and time to care for them.  You also need to be willing to deal with the shorter lifespans.  I’ve known of 1 Great Dane personally to make it past 8.  10 seems to be the hard cap for these dogs.


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