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Is a Great Dane Right for You?


Great Danes (giant breeds in general) are genetically disposed to certain health conditions. It doesn't mean they will all get the following illnesses, but a knowledge of any predispositions can help you in learning what to look for:

Hip Displaysia:

When some or all of the hip joints are malformed. The dog could lose the ability to move their hind legs.


A general term describing gas distension after eating. Quickly, this can turn into Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (gastric torsion), which is a rapidly-progressing, life-threatening condition. Commonly seen in large, deep-chested dogs, where the gas-filled stomach twists upon itself, so that both the entrance and the exit of the stomach become blocked.

Wobblers Syndrome:

A disease of the cervical spine, commonly seen in large and giant-breed dogs. Characterized by compression of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots, which leads to neurological signs and/or neck pain and a wobbly disposition.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy:

A disease of heart muscle that is characterized by an enlarged heart that does not function properly. Usually leads to heart failure.

PANO (Panosteitis):

Refers to a short-lived and painful condition characterized by limping and lameness. Affects the long bones in the legs of young dogs between the ages of 5 to 18 months. It can occur with any breed, but is more common in medium- to large-sized breeds. Sometimes referred to as growing pains.

HOD (Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy):

A bone disease typically presenting within the first 2 to 7 months, occuring in fast-growing large- and giant-breed dogs. Leads to lameness, pain, depression and loss of appetite.


A disease where the thyroid does not create enough of a hormone that controls metabolism. Leads to weight gain, hair loss, and dry skin. Requires hormone-replacement pills for life.

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