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Are Great Danes Good Guard Dogs? Protective Behavior Explained

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

fawn great dane

If you’ve ever been face to face with a Great Dane, then you know just how imposing these giants can be. They aren’t just heavy dogs, but they’re tall dogs, too. Some Great Danes can exceed 3 feet when standing on all four feet and 7 feet when standing on their back feet.

Between their height and weight, many Great Danes are the size of an adult human. Although just being large doesn’t make a dog a good guard dog. Are Great Danes good at being guard dogs? Great Danes can make good guard dogs with proper training and socialization.

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Do Great Danes Make Good Guard Dogs?

Great Danes can make great guard dogs, while still being suitable for family homes. Proper socialization is important with this breed to ensure you end up with a well-rounded adult dog. Otherwise, you may end up with a spooky mess of a dog that’s the size of a human. Your Great Dane should be gentle and affectionate with members of the household, including children.

With proper socialization, Great Danes can be welcoming and loving dogs with strangers, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good at being guard dogs. In fact, the temperament most people want in a Great Dane is a dog that happily welcomes visitors but that also knows when a threat is present.

At minimum, you want your Great Dane to be an effective alert dog to let you know when a threat may be present. Proper training and socialization can help you strike a balance between a dog that barks at every sound and a dog that appropriately alerts you to intruders.

merle great dane dog standing outdoor
Photo Credit: velora, Shutterstock

Why Are Great Danes Good Guard Dogs?

While large Great Dane-type dogs have been around for thousands of years, Great Danes as a breed have been around for at least 400 years. They were carefully developed to be fearless hunting dogs, primarily being used to hunt dangerous game animals like boar. The temperament necessary to do this type of hunting is often not the type of dog you want as a family dog.

As time has gone on, breeders have begun breeding Great Danes with a more desirable temperament for families and the average dog owner. The need for fierce boar-hunting dogs has significantly decreased in the last 400 years, so there was no longer a notable need to breed Great Danes to be as aggressive. However, the protective temperament of the Great Dane has been maintained.

Great Danes are loyal and loving dogs that aren’t afraid to protect their owners and home when necessary. If you’re unsure how to properly train your dog to act as a guard dog while still functioning as a family pet, then you may need to consult with a trainer to ensure you are managing your dog safely and effectively.

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In Conclusion

Great Danes can be wonderful guard dogs and family dogs, and luckily, there is an effective level of crossover between the two. The average Great Dane has a strong sense of loyalty and love for its people, so functioning as a guard dog is an extension of their love for their people. There is also a genetic component to the Great Dane’s tendency to protect due to their old breed function as guard dogs and boar hunting dogs.

Even with temperament changes in the breed, the mighty Great Dane is known for its willingness to alert to threats and protect its people. Even if you end up with a Great Dane that isn’t willing to hurt anyone, the imposing presence of these giant dogs and their powerful bark can be enough to deter any would-be harm.


Featured Photo Credit: Dmussman, Shutterstock

Brooke Billingsley

Authored by

Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping...Read more

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