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Irish Dane (Irish Wolfhound & Great Dane Mix): Info, Pictures, Traits

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Parent breeds of the Irish Dane

Height: 30 – 35 inches
Weight: 100 – 150 pounds
Lifespan: 7 – 10 years
Colors: Brindle, sable, cream, red, black, gray, silver, faun, and white
Suitable for: Families with a large amount of space
Temperament: Loyal, loving, gentle, laidback

If the idea of owning a big, lovably, and highly energetic dog is something that interests you, and you have plenty of space in your yard and a genuine love of exercise, an Irish Dane could be the dog for you.

As far as designer dogs go, they don’t come much bigger or more energetic the Irish Dane.

Irish Dane is a hybrid dog that is the result of crossing two of the biggest dogs around, the Irish Wolfhound and Great Dane. It is unknown when or where the Irish Dane was first developed, but the breed has grown significantly in popularity over the past 10 years.

When you first come across a fully grown Irish Dane, it’s hard not to be intimidated. They stand up to 35 inches tall, weigh as much as 150 pounds, and have a sleek muscular appearance of a professional athlete. Yet when you get to know them, you soon realize that they’re big softies at heart.

divider 10Irish Dane Puppies


Irish Danes are beautiful dogs, and it is easy to see why owning one would appeal to many people. However, they won’t be for everyone, as they need both a large amount of space and a considerable amount of daily exercise.

For starters, Irish Danes aren’t great city dogs. To own one, you need at least an oversized secure suburban yard or better yet, a rural property with access to acreage in which they can run around. You’ll also have to be up for plenty of exercise, as a short trot around the block simply won’t cut it with these dogs. Keep your Irish Dane well entertained with plenty of mental stimulation to avoid boredom. These large puppies are loving and playful dogs that will make great pets for anyone who has the space and energy for a gentle giant.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Irish Dane

1. Irish Danes are fantastic jumpers

Not only do Irish Danes need a great deal of space to run around, but they also need a yard that has high fences. These dogs know how to jump, and once an Irish Dane realizes that they can get over your fence, you will have a hard time trying to stop them.

Of course, it’s not just the height of your fence that matters, as Irish Danes are smart enough to use low walls, trash bins, or just about any other item left or located by the fence as a step or a springboard to get over even the tallest obstacle.

2. Irish Danes come from incredibly old bloodstock

The Irish Dane may be a relative newcomer as a breed, but their parent breeds, the Great Dane and Irish Wolfhound, have been around for centuries. The Great Dane is thought to have been developed as a hunting dog during ancient Roman times, and the Irish Wolfhound saw service as both a hunting and war dog as far back as the 1st century.

3. Despite their size, the Irish Dane is great with children

Despite being considerable taller than most small children, the Irish Dane has a gentle nature and loves spending time with children. They will happily tolerate a bit of poking, prodding, and even a little rough play, and when they’ve had enough, they’ll walk away without getting snappy.

The parent breeds of the Irish Dane - Irish Wolfhound and Great Dane
Image Credit: Left – Viktoriia Bondarenko, Shutterstock| Right – Nikolas Otto, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Irish Dane 🧠

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Yes, as mentioned above, Irish Danes are great with children. The one thing to watch out for, though, is that they can get overly excited and easily knock over a young child without meaning to.

They are also protective dogs that will fiercely defend their families and home from anything, or anybody whom they see as a threat. This with their imposing size makes the Irish Dane a fantastic watchdog.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Yes, Irish Danes tend to get on well with all members of their household, and that includes any other pets you may have.

However, introducing a new, fully grown Irish Dane into a house with a cat or two may be a little problematic. Not because the Irish Danes dislikes cats, but simply because their prey drive is such that they will chase small animals that they’re not familiar with, which will likely to create anxiety for your cats.

Ideally, if you wish to have cats and an Irish Dane, you should get both when they are young and allow them to grow up together. When raised with other animals, Irish Danes, like most dogs, will quickly come to see your other pets as being part of their family.

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning an Irish Dane

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

When you have a dog as big as an Irish Dane, you know that you are going to go through a great deal of dog food, and the bill for this will quickly add up. However, this should not be seen as a reason to skimp on quality, as Irish Danes need to be fed a well-balanced and nutritious dog food to live a happy and healthy life.

There are many different dog food choices, but you will get the best value for money from a premium dry dog food that has been specifically formulated for large or giant dogs. Many dog food brands produce this type of food, but something like Royal Canin’s Giant Adult Dry Dog Food is a good place to start.

Of course, if your dog has any special dietary needs or you have any questions or concerns about what they should be eating, the best person to consult is your dog’s vet.

Exercise 🐕

Irish Danes need a great deal of exercise, and your ability to give this to them should be one of your main concerns when considering if this designer dog is right for you.

This breed is not at all suitable for life in an apartment, and we’d go so far as to say they are not a dog for inner-city life at all. Rather, you will need a house with an exceptionally large yard. You also need to be prepared to give your dog a good long walk every day. This can be broken down into two shorter walks if you prefer, but you should be prepared to provide them with at least 90 minutes of solid walking every day.

Training 🦮

Irish Danes are intelligent dogs that are always eager to please, which is a major plus when it comes to training. They learn quickly, and if rewarded for doing the right thing, they will have no problem in learning basic obedience.

Training is a great way to keep these dogs mentally stimulated. Once your dog has mastered the basics, you may want to undertake more advanced training seasons. However, we would caution against agility training, particularly if this training teaches them to climb over things, as once your Irish Dane learns that they can get over your fence, you may have a problem stopping them from doing it.

Of course, being a big dog, it is also important to ensure that your Irish Dane is socialized. Dogs this size that show aggression toward other dogs or people can be extremely problematic. So, it pays to take care of your dog’s basic training and socialization when they are young.

Grooming ✂️

Irish Danes don’t need a lot of grooming. However, those that have a coat that is closer to that of their Irish Wolfhound parent may benefit from occasional clipping.

Bathing is something that they don’t need much of, which is fortunate, because as you might imagine, it can be a bit of a challenge due to their size. When it comes to bathing an Irish Dane, you may find it easier to take them to a professional dog groomer than to wrestle with them in a bathtub.

Health and Conditions ❤️

As with many large and giant breed dogs, Irish Danes can be susceptible to hip and joint problems. However, many of these can be avoided through careful and responsible breeding and have over the years, become less of an issue.

Health issues that they can suffer from include the following.

Minor Conditions
  • Myotonia congenita
  • Cataracts
  • Ear infections
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Entropion
  • Gastric torsion
  • Cardiomyopathy

Divider 5Male vs. Female

Male Irish Danes will grow to be significantly taller, heavier, and stronger than females, and they have more of a tendency to roam than females. On the other hand, Female Irish Danes are usually significantly more affectionate and more territorial than males.

To some extent, these differences are present in the majority of dog breeds, and in a smaller dog, you might simply overlook them. But when the weight difference between a male and female dog can be as much as 50 pounds, it’s worth considering. While most of the behavioral differences between males and females can be greatly reduced or illuminated by spaying or neutering your dog, there is just no getting over the fact that you will need to be considerably fitter and stronger to safely walk a 150-pound dog, instead of a 100-pound dog.

Divider 3Final Thoughts

Irish Danes are not a dog for everybody, and we don’t recommend them for first-time dog owners. However, provided that you can care for them, Irish Danes make great family pets and excellent companion dogs. They love their human families, are protective, and get on particularly well with children.

With all the exercise they need, you can be assured that owning and caring for an Irish Dane will also keep you extremely fit and active.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Left – DragoNika, Shutterstock | Right – Tara Lynn and Co, Shutterstock

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