Do smaller Great Danes live longer (Life Expectancy)

Smaller Great Danes tend to live longer than their larger counterparts. The working theory is that size determines how early the Great Danes die. Most of the recorded cases of early deaths in Great Danes are usually related to the larger ones.

This doesn’t apply to Great Danes alone, as smaller dogs generally live longer than large dogs.

Most of the health problems associated with Great Danes often revolve around their large size and are more predominant in larger ones.

The largest Great Danes to have existed all died relatively early compared to the smaller ones. The smaller the Great Dane, the less chance it will contact several health problems, especially heart-related ones. Large Great Danes are known t have one of the shortest life spans in the canine world.

Interestingly, Great Danes are the only case where large animals have short life spans. Typically, larger animals have been known to have long life spans, as seen in the case of mammals like elephants. However, the reverse seems to be the case for the Great Danes.

What Is The Average Age Of A Great Dane?

The average age of a Great Dane usually ranges between 8 and 10 years. Most Great Danes are usually seniors at this point and die of old age as opposed to health problems. Some don’t reach this age before their time, while others exceed this limit.

The average Great Dane will likely live to 8 years and not exceed the 10-year mark.

Great Danes have a shorter lifespan than most other dogs, especially the smaller ones.

The dogs with the shortest lifespans are large, with Great Danes among those with short lifespans. The Larger Great Danes rarely reach the average age before displaying signs of old age.

The three largest recorded Great Danes died at seven, with signs of old age. On the other hand, the oldest living Great Dane was smaller and lived up to 15 years.

Fun Fact: Smaller or larger Great Danes can live long and healthy lives based on the care they receive. They are generally susceptible to certain health problems, which are more prominent among larger ones but can still be managed.

Why Is A Great Dane’s Life Span So Short?

Great Danes have shorter lifespans because they risk certain health diseases. Most diseases that affect a Great Dane are often associated with their large sizes and are more potent in the larger ones.

With the right regimen on your part, you can extend your Great Dane lie slightly, though it likely won’t live beyond ten years.

Identifying common diseases that are common Great Dane killers can help you better prepare for them.

There is no guarantee that your Great Dane will live longer than others, but it will have the best possible chance. Some of the common reasons why Great Danes include have shorter life spans include:

Bone Problems

One thing evident from their large size is that their bones need to be strong.

While that may be the case, Great Danes are susceptible to several bone diseases. Hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis are the most notable bone problems affecting Great Danes. Both problems are progressional, gradually increasing until the dog’s quality of life is seriously impaired.

Once either problem occurs, there isn’t much you can do except manage it and make your dog more comfortable.

Once you notice your dog limping, get some medical attention. Bone problems aren’t immediately fatal, but deterioration continues until the dog dies naturally or the owner is forced to put the dog out. Without early detection, bone problems escalate until, eventually, the dog is dead.

Faster Metabolism

Great Danes have faster metabolisms than smaller dogs, with larger Great Danes being the most obviously affected. Faster metabolism makes old age quicker than expected, which is the case with great Danes.

While an average dog can live till around twelve to fifteen years, most great Danes only live about half that time. A faster metabolism isn’t a disease that kills the dog; it just quickens its progression, shortening its life span.

A faster metabolism also means that Great Danes require more energy than other dogs, especially when growing. At such a rate, they are prone to cell damage, which can have long-lasting effects down the road.

Thyroid Problems

Another condition that usually proves fatal in Great Danes is thyroid problems. Like most other conditions associated with Great Danes, thyroid problems have to do with their size.

The larger the Great Dane, the greater the risk of it suffering thyroid problems. Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid problem associated with Great Danes; unfortunately, it has no cure.

There is a cure for hypothyroidism, but it can be managed. With the right medication and care, a Great Dane can live with thyroid problems for a while. The earlier it is discovered, the better for the dog.

Once the problem grows to a certain point, the end product is death. Regular physical checkups help determine your Great Dane’s health status and detect thyroid problems early.

Artificial Selection

Great Dogs are the largest in the world and have come about by breeding large dogs. On paper, it looks like a solid recipe, preserving a desirable trait, but it has also led to a major disadvantage.

Crossing large dogs has limited the gene pool, with the number of suitable genes to produce Great Danes limiting the pool further. It is akin to inbreeding or crossing dogs from the same litter.

While the results may yield physically acceptable specimens, they will likely be genetically unstable.

Artificial selection is the opposite of natural selection, where desirable traits are passed on and others discarded over time. With Great Danes, the same genes are continually passed from one generation to another.

What is the longest lifespan of a Great Dane?

The longest lifespan recorded for a Great Dane is 16 years, about twice the species’ expected age.

The Great Dane with this record was female, and with females being smaller than males, size may ultimately be the main factor. In contrast, two of the five largest recorded Great Danes died at five years old, while the other three reached seven years.

Compared to the smaller dog, which lived 16 years, none of the giants lived up to half that.

Different conflicting reports have claimed that Great Danes lived between fourteen and sixteen. In most cases, these Great Danes were female and smaller than their male counterparts.

Other factors may contribute to smaller Great Danes’ longer lifespans, but size plays a key role.

While gender and size seem to contribute to how long a Great Dane lives, activity levels may be key. Male Great Danes are largely more active than females, which means a faster metabolism, one of the rapid aging factors for Great Danes.

How can I extend my Great Dane’s life?

A Great Dane’s lifespan can be extended with proper care. Great Danes seem destined to have short lives and largely keep to this trend. However, a few have broken the pattern and lived lives similar to other dog breeds.

Extending a Great Dane’s life seems possible with the right practices. Some of the practices that may help extend a Great Dane’s life include:

Regular Exercise

Physical activity is important for large dogs, especially Great Danes, who are largely seen as lazy. Exercise can help to improve muscle tone and strength, among others.

With Great Danes notably susceptible to bone diseases, exercise will help strengthen their bones but help you detect any issues quicker. Ideally, every Great Dane should get at least an hour of exercise daily.

Great Danes need more exercise than just the bare minimum to establish tone. With each one being different, understand your Great Dane’s limits and plan its exercise regimen accordingly.

Consistency is key with exercise, so ensure your dog meets its daily requirements, even in extreme weather conditions. Where the weather is harsh, an indoor routine may suffice.

Careful Breeding

Breeding isn’t always something you can control, especially when buying a puppy. One thing you can do is learn about a puppy’s parentage before acquiring it. Most of the health problems associated with the Great Danes are hereditary.

A Great Dane with parents free of health problems will likely follow suit. Other strong and favorable traits will also be transmitted genetically.

Careful breeding may not always be about the current generation of Great Danes but maybe one for the future. If you ever decide to breed Great Danes in the future, it won’t hurt to have some with desirable traits and free of health issues.

Veterinary Care

Most dog owners consider veterinary care unnecessary unless a dog is physically ill, but this approach is wrong. Regularly scheduled trips to the vet can help establish and maintain your Great Dane’s health status.

Routine checkups will also help reveal any potentially fatal conditions in infancy. Time is of the essence with diseases associated with Great Danes, especially progressive ones.

The earlier any condition is diagnosed, the faster the Great Dane can be placed on medication which can greatly improve its health. Certain diseases may not be cured but can be managed, especially when identified early.


Grooming doesn’t always get the required attention with Great Danes, but it is important.

Great Danes aren’t the hairiest dogs, so trimming isn’t necessary. The main focus points in grooming are trimming the nails and frequent baths.

Frequent grooming can help prevent certain diseases, even those most associated with great Danes.

The better your grooming practices, the better your dog’s chances of being healthy. You won’t directly increase your Great Dane’s lifespan, but you can prevent it from being cut short.

Final Words: Do smaller Great Danes live longer

Smaller Great Danes generally live longer than their larger counterparts. Great Danes are generally large dogs, the largest there is, and thus, have short lifespans.

The females are usually smaller than the males and less active, meaning they generally live longer. Personal care can also affect a Great Dane’s lifespan despite its size.

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