great dane lifespan

Great Dane Lifespan

This is a complete guide on the Great Dane lifespan. I am going to be breaking down the average number of years that you can expect your Dane dog to live.

Here are some topics we are going to be covering:

So without much being said, let’s get started.

Great Dane Lifespan

Great Danes have an average lifespan of between 8-to-10 years. However, some Great Dane dogs actually die early and live for only 6 or 7 years. There are only a few Great Dane dogs that live to the 12 years that is expected for other dogs.

great dane lifespan expectancy

There are many factors that influence the lifespan of Great Dane dogs. Some of the factors are genetic predispositions whilst other factors are related to human management and the attitude of the caretaker.

In the next sections, I am going to be breaking down some of the factors that influence the life expectancy of dogs and how you can help your Great Dane to have a full life span.

Why Do Great Dane Have Short Lifespans?

Great Danes tend to have short lifespans because they are genetically more susceptible to life threatening diseases such as Bloat, Dilated Cardiomyopathy, and Cancer. The oldest Great Dane ever recorded died at the age of 15 but many tend to live a much shorter life.

However, it is important to note that although Great Dane are genetically more susceptible to life threatening diseases, they can live a healthier life if a perfect environment and proper care is presented to them.

You can still expect your Great Dane to live a fairly longer life if you take good care of them. Just avoid getting white Great Danes or double-merles since they are much more susceptible to a lot of diseases and health problems due to their genetic makeup.

Great Dane Life Expectancy Vs Other Breeds

The lifespan of Great Dane dogs is considered to be shorter when compared to other breeds. For example, the average life expectancy of most dog breeds is between 10-to-13 years whilst most Great Dane dogs live between 8-to-10 years.

Some breeds like the Basenji or Xoloitzcuintli can live upwards of 16 years but there are still other breeds like the Irish Wolfhound with much shorter lifespans of between 6-to-10 years. Therefore, if you take all the other breeds into consideration, Great Danes can be said to have a fair longevity although there are many breeds that exceed them.

Factors That Influence Great Dane Lifespan

Here are some factors that influence the life expectancy of your Great Dane:

  • Genetics– These are some of the predispositions that will affect how long your Great Dane gets to live. Genetics play a very crucial role in the lifespan of your dog so it is important to get your Great Dane from reputable breeders who follow ethical breeding practices. For example, there are many petitions to stop the breeding of White Great Danes or double-merles because they are more susceptible to various diseases and health problems that significantly lower their lifespan.
  • Diet– Diet and nutrition is also another factor that significantly affect the length of your Great Dane’s life.  A typical Great Dane diet should have large quantities of proteins, moderate fats and low calories. Veterinarians recommend that treats should be served in moderation and must not exceed 10% of your Great Dane’s daily food intake since they can make your Great Dane more susceptible to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many other life threatening health problems.
  • Lifestyle– The lifestyle of your Great Dane can also significantly influence their lifespan. Lack of exercise is one lifestyle related issue that has been proven to affect how long many dogs get to live.

Whilst genetic predispositions are known to affect the lifespan of many dogs, in most cases the length of your dog’s life will significantly depend on human management and the attitude of the caretaker. You have a much bigger role to play when it comes to helping your Great Dane to live longer.

What Do Great Danes Usually Die From?

The leading causes of death for Great Dane dogs will basically vary depending on their age and stage of development. Puppies are more likely to die from a different set of problems than what an adult or senior dog would die from. This section covers some of the leading causes of death for Great Dane puppies, adults and seniors.

Leading Causes Of Death Among Great Dane Puppies

  • Infections– This is one of the leading causes of death among puppies. Infections are mostly highly contagious diseases that can spread rapidly among puppies. Some examples of infections that you must watch for in Great Dane puppies include Parvovirus, Distemper, Adenovirus, Kennel Cough and Leptospirosis.
  • Trauma– Trauma is also another lead cause of death in Great Dane puppies since their body organs and skeleton will not have fully developed to handle such experiences. Common examples of trauma include falling down staircases, being hit by a car and being accidentally stepped on. 
  • Congenital diseases– This is basically a broad term to describe all the diseases that your Great Dane puppy can inherit from their parents. Common examples include liver shunts and heart defects.

Leading Causes Of Death Among Adult And Senior Great Danes

  • Gastric Torsion- This is also known as canine bloat and it is one of the leading causes of death among Great Dane dogs.
  • Cardiomyopathy- This basically causes the heart to enlarge and get bigger. Cardiomyopathy is mostly genetic but your Great Dane can still get the disease even if there is no history of such problems in their family tree.
  • Tricuspid Valve Disease- Yet another congenital (genetic) condition where the heart valve doesn’t function correctly. As a result, the left side of your dog’s heart may fail.
  • Cancer- Cancer is also a leading cause of death in Great Dane dogs with bone cancer being the most common type.
  • Neurological Diseases- These are mainly diseases of the brain and spinal cord and they can often lead to paralysis, fatal strokes, tick paralysis, seizures, encephalitis and tumors of the spinal cord or brain. 
  • Trauma- Trauma is also another major cause of death in adult and senior Great Dane dogs. These include being hit by a car, being fatally injured during activity or any other accident that may damage body organs.

How To Help Your Great Dane To Reach Full Life Expectancy

Here are some tips to help your Great Dane to reach their full life expectancy:

Have Your Great Dane Spayed Or Neutered

Spaying and neutering can help your Great Dane to reach their full life expectancy by helping to prevent ovarian cancer in females, helping to reduce the odds of mammary cancer in females and also helping to prevent testicular cancer in males.

Provide A Balanced Diet

Poor diet and nutrition can make your dog susceptible to life threatening diseases and health problems so providing a balanced diet can help to reduce the risks of such problems. A typical Great Dane diet should have large quantities of proteins, moderate fats and low calories. Treats should not exceed 10% of your dog’s daily food intake.

Regularly Exercise Your Great Dane

Great Danes generally require moderate exercise but a lack of exercise can make them more susceptible to life threatening diseases and health problems like obesity and heart disease.

Provide Regular Vet Checkups

Regular vet checkups are crucial for helping your Great Dane to reach their full lifespan. Your veterinarian can help you to discover diseases and heath problems before they spread or cause much damage for your Great Dane.

So, How Long Do Great Danes Live For?

As already mentioned, Great Danes generally live for around 8-to-10 years. The oldest Great Dane ever recorded died at the age of 15 but this is very rare for the breed. Factors that affect the lifespan of a Great Dane are mostly genetic predispositions, diet and lifestyle.

However, whilst genetic predispositions can significantly affect how long your Great Dane gets to live, it is important to note that human management and attitude of the caretaker is mostly the reason why many Great Dane dogs die early.