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Are Great Danes Aggressive? Breed Temperament Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Great Dane Growling

Anytime you see a large dog, it’s only natural to wonder about their temperament. Whether you’re looking to get a Great Dane for yourself or you’re trying to gauge if your Great Dane’s behavior is normal, we’ll walk you through it all here.

The good news for Great Danes is that they’re usually not aggressive dogs. In fact, they’re well-known for their friendly demeanors, but that doesn’t mean they’re all super friendly.

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Are Great Danes Aggressive?

Generally, Great Danes are not aggressive dogs. Most Great Danes have a friendly and patient demeanor. So, while their giant size might make them look intimidating, they usually don’t have a personality that matches this appearance.

However, like all dogs, early training and treatment of a Great Dane have a big impact on their overall personality, so you shouldn’t just assume every Great Dane is friendly.

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Factors That Affect a Dog’s Temperament

While most Great Danes are friendly, there are a few different factors that can go into their individual personality. We’ve highlighted three different factors that can affect your Great Danes temperament for you here.

1. Genetics

Great Danes have genetics that predisposes them to a gentle demeanor. If either of their parents displayed aggressive traits, it increases the chances they will too.

young black great dane dog lying outdoor
Image Credit: Vera Reva, Shutterstock

2. Their Environment

If you have an aggressive Great Dane, there’s a good chance that there was or is something in their environment that is helping to create this behavior. This could be something like an abusive past, or it could be because they’re not getting the exercise they need.

Ensure you’re meeting all the Great Dane’s basic care requirements and you can greatly reduce the chances of having an aggressive Great Dane.

3. Injury or Illness

If your Great Dane usually has a placid demeanor but now they’re starting to act out, they might be dealing with some injury or ailment. This is especially true if they’re acting out when you touch a certain portion of their body.

If you suspect your Great Dane is hurt or sick, we recommend taking them to a vet for diagnosis and treatment.

Owner with her Great dane at veterinary
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

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Tips for Stopping Dog Aggression

If your Great Dane is starting to display some aggressive tendencies, there are a few things you can do to try and get it under control. Below we’ve highlighted five tips to help you get your Great Dane’s aggression in check.

1. Give Them Enough Exercise

A lot of times, dogs display aggression and other negative behaviors simply because they’re not getting their energy out in other ways. If you can, get your Great Dane out and give them plenty of chances to move and play. Whether it’s long walks or a chance to run around an open field, a little extra exercise for your Great Dane can go a long way.

Great Dane Running
Image Credit: Martin Tajmr, Pixabay

2. Stay Calm

The more you work yourself up, the more your Great Dane can feel it. If you stay calm, you greatly increase your chances of calming down your Great Dane.

Meanwhile, if you’re running around, yelling, or acting out in other ways you’re escalating the situation, and there’s a good chance your Great Dane will respond by escalating themselves.

3. Use Positive Rewards

When your Great Dane is acting out, the last thing you want to do is start yelling at them, hitting them, or using any kind of negative reinforcement. This only makes them dig in on their aggressive behaviors. Instead, you want to reward your Great Dane when they don’t display these behaviors.

Image Credit: Sprinkles & Sea Salt

4. Train Often and Stay Consistent

To get the most out of your Great Dane, you need to build a strong bond with them and teach them that they should listen to you. Nothing quite gets this point across like training sessions. Teach them new things and train them often and consistently.

These repeated training sessions will help your Great Dane bond with you and trust you, which will help them listen to your verbal commands when you want them to calm down.

5. Get Professional Help

If you don’t feel safe around your Great Dane or you can’t get some of their aggressive tendencies under control, then you need to seek out a professional. A professional trainer can work wonders with your dog, and they can teach you everything you need to know to work on things at home.

Don’t keep trying to figure it out on your own. If your Great Dane is displaying aggressive behavior, get the help you need before they lash out and hurt someone.

Image Credit: Richard L. Paul, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

While most Great Danes are extremely friendly and loyal, don’t take that for granted, and don’t assume that any Great Dane you come across is friendly. They make great companions, but it’s always important to get to know the specific dog since they all have their own personalities and characteristics you need to get to know.

Featured Image Credit: Jumpstory

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