Recognized the world round for their massively imposing size, Great Danes are hulking but loveable dogs.
Their size often misleads people into seeing these giant breed dogs as frightening or threatening. The truth is Great Danes are the world’s biggest lap dogs. They are gentle, loving, and totally unaware of their size!
Nonetheless, a dog that weighs over 120lbs and stands at least 30 inches at the shoulder is a challenge to keep as a pet. Their temperament isn’t the problem, but the cost of housing, feeding, and caring for such a mammoth pet is what worries a lot of people.
If you’re thinking of getting a Great Dane, this article is for you. We’re going to walk you through the average costs associated with keeping these gentle giants.
Buying a Great Dane
As a pure-bred dog, Great Danes don’t come cheap. You can expect to pay anywhere between $600 and $3000 depending on the lineage of the dog, the breeder, and whether you’re after a companion pet or a competition dog.
If you’re looking at buying a Great Dane from an AKC registered breeder, then you will need to pay big bucks. These breeders use breed compliant sires and dams to produce litters that meet the AKC show dog standards.
Puppies from these kids of breeders will usually cost you thousands of dollars. They are usually from a long and well documented line of pure-bred Danes. The pups will also be show quality which means that they meet the AKC breed standards and can compete in pedigree dog shows.
There is often a waiting list for pedigree Great Danes. This is because Great Dane bitches only come into heat twice a year, so a limited number of puppies are born.
Reputable breeders who put the welfare of their bitches and pups first don’t churn out puppies every heat. Hence, why you may need to wait for the next litter to be born.
If you’re not looking for a pedigree Great Dane, then you can look at recreational breeders. These breeders aren’t always AKC registered, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad.
Most recreational breeders are pet owners who have decided to let their bitch have a litter. There is no guarantee that the pups or the parents meet AKC standards. In some cases, you can’t even tell if the dog is pure-bred.
Recreational breeders tend to charge less than professional breeders because they don’t have the bloodline or documentation that professionals do. However, some recreational breeders do chance their luck.
In any case, the average price of a Great Dane puppy from a recreational breeder is about $900 – $1500.
When buying from a recreational breeder, do your research. Check whether the person has listed other litters for sale. If they’ve listed lots of litters of different breeds, they could be operating a puppy mill.
Always ask to see the mother with the puppies. If the breeder makes up an excuse, walk away. If possible, ask to see the father too, but often breeders use stud dogs that don’t live with them.
You should travel to visit the puppy, not the other way around. If the breeder doesn’t want you to see the living conditions, walk away. Again, this is a massive red flag that screams: ‘puppy mill.’
If the cost of buying a Great Dane pup is off putting, consider adopting a pup or a dog. Adoption fees vary from place to place, but it is much cheaper than buying a pup.
You can expect to pay between $150 – $400 to adopt a Great Dane. Puppies usually cost more than older dogs. This means that if you’re on a budget, look at getting an adult or senior Dane.
Your local shelter might have some Great Danes, or you could look at Dane specific rescues like Great Dane Rescue Inc.
Big dogs eat more food than small breeds. There’s no getting around this fact. If you want a large or giant breed dog, you need to accept the fact that you’re going to spend a decent chunk of your income on food.
Contrary to popular belief, puppies eat more than adults. A growing Great Dane pup needs between 6-10 cups of food a day. An adult, meanwhile, will end up needing between 2 and 6 cups of food.
Puppy Great Danes have a heck of a lot of growing to do. This means that they need more fuel which is why they need to eat more.
Adult dogs will eat more if they are more active, but Danes are fairly lazy dogs that enjoy light to moderate exercise. This is why adult dogs need less food.
On average, you need to put away between $700 – $1800 for dog food and treats over the year.
Let’s take a look at the cost breakdown.
Let’s take an average, adult Great Dane and say that they’re eating 4 cups of food a day. That puts them right in the middle of the average range.
4 cups of food are about a 1lb of food every day. As we know the weight of 4 cups, we can now work out how many days we can get out of a bag of dog food.
A 15lb bag, for instance, will feed a Great Dane for about 15 days, give, or take. A 33lb bag will last approximately 33 days.
Now we need to know how much a bag of food costs.
You can get a cheap, 30lb bag of dog food for about $25 at Walmart and similar stores. This should last about a month which means over a year you’re looking at $300 for kibble.
The problem with generic store brand dog food, is that it’s not particularly healthy for your dog. Often, it is filled with additives and filler materials that offer little to no nutrition.
For high quality food, you can expect to pay about $50 -$65 for a 30lb bag. These foods might seem expensive, but they typically prioritize fresh meat and healthy grains which are better for your dog.
At that price, you’re looking at about $600 – $780 a year on dry dog food.
If you want to add some wet food to their feed, you’ll need to add another $40-60 per month which can easily bring your total closer to $1500.
As a giant breed dog, you need to make sure that the food they eat is formulated for them. A lot of brands have different products for different sized dogs, make sure you’re buying large or giant breed food.
This is especially important for puppy food. Growing pups need to be eating food that is full of protein to help them grow. They’re also going to need food that supports bone growth and development.
On top of the cost of dog food, you also need to think about treats. These are important during training as well as being a delicious snack for your dog.
Let’s say you spend about $20 a month on treats for your Great Dane. This covers the cost of smaller training treats, dental sticks, and the odd bone or chew.
Added to our wet and dry food costs, we now stand at $1560. This is an average cost calculation. It can be more if you have a larger, male Dane, or it could be slightly less if you have a smaller Great Dane.
If you plan on feeding your dog a raw diet, you can easily end up spending about $2000 a year on food.
Similarly, if you need to feed them specialist or medicated food, you’ll need to add more to your food budget.
Vet’s fees are unavoidable because you will need to get your dog vaccinated each year. However, your Great Dane may end up costing you more in vets bills than just their annual vaccinations.
If you have a puppy, you’re going to need to pay about $100 for the first set of vaccinations.
Many vet practices offer puppy packages that include the cost of all the vaccines, worming treatment, flea treatment, and microchipping. These usually cost about $150 depending on the practice.
After the puppy package, you’ll need to get your dog’s booster vaccines every year. These usually cost about $60 – $80, again dependent on your vets.
You should also apply flea treatment every month and worming treatment every 6 months. The flea treatment is pretty inexpensive. It costs about $5 – $10 each time and can be administered at home.
Wormer costs about $10 -$15. It is usually charged by weight which means Great Danes end up paying the higher end of that scale.
Let’s do a quick tally here. For a puppy, you’re looking at the $150 puppy package, plus 11 flea treatments and 1 wormer treatment. This means that over the year you’re paying about $240 for the routine vet treatment in the first year.
For every year after that, your cost consists of boosters, 12 flea treatments, and 2 worming treatments. This works out at about $175 a year.
The reason we only calculate 11 flea treatments, and 1 worming treatment is because the first month is usually included in the puppy package.
On top of vaccines and flea treatments, you might need to pay for your Great Dane to be spayed or neutered. If you get your dog from a rescue, they will probably already be fixed. However, if you buy from a breeder, you’ll need to foot this bill yourself.
Neutering costs between $150 – $400 while spaying costs between $200 – $600. The price is dependent on your vets and, in many cases, your income. There are often charities and initiatives that help you cover the cost of fixing your dog.
Spaying or neutering your dog is optional, however it is generally accepted to be better for the dog if you don’t plan on breeding. It is also crucial to reducing the number of pups and dogs that end up straying or homeless.
Routine treatments aside, you may have to visit the vet unexpectedly. These are the visits that really set you back.
The smart thing to do is to get pet insurance. This costs between $30 – $50 a month, but it can save you thousands of dollars if your dog is sick or injured.
As a giant breed dog, Danes are prone to conditions like hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, and other musculoskeletal conditions. These often require surgery or ongoing therapies to heal or manage the conditions.
Without insurance hip dysplasia surgery, for instance, can cost about $4500. This is without the cost of rehabilitation after surgery.
Let’s look at an average year for an adult dog. We will assume that they’ve been spayed or neutered as a pup, so we won’t include that cost. Therefore, we’re looking at $175 for vaccines, flea, and worming treatment. Plus $480 for 12 months’ worth of pet insurance brings our total to $655.
If your dog does need unplanned vet care, you’ll probably need to pay a deductible which is usually about $100, so let’s call it $755 a year on medical fees.
For a puppy, you’re looking at $240 for routine treatments, plus about $300 for fixing, and then $480 for insurance and $100 for deductibles. This gives us a rough cost of $1120 for the first year.
Luckily, Great Danes are pretty low maintenance in the grooming department. They have short, single coats which are mercifully low odor.
In general, you should only really bathe your Dane if they need it. In other words, if they get dirty by rolling in something bad, give them a bath.
If you’re bathing your Dane at home, you’ll only need to pay for the cost of shampoo and a brush. This will cost you around $20 – $30 depending on the quality of the shampoo and the brush.
It’s hard to give you a monthly cost because most months, your Dane won’t need new shampoo or new brush every month. In fact, one bottle of shampoo will probably last you most of the year.
If you do send your dog to a groomer, be aware that they may charge you more than other clients. Groomers typically charge according to the size of the dog which doesn’t really work in your favor.
Depending on your groomer, it can cost between $40 and $60 for a professional groom.
Equipment, Toys, and Bedding
These things will constitute one-off costs. You don’t typically need to replace them frequently unless you have a puppy.
If you have a puppy, you will need to replace the leash, collar, and bed every few months over the first year while the puppy grows.
The things that you will need to buy are:
- Name tag
- Water bowl
- Food bowl
Some things you can do for free at home. For instance, you can use blankets and towels in place of a bed. Other things, like the leash, collar, and name tag, you’ll need to buy from a store.
When it comes to water and food bowls, you might want to consider buying raised bowls. These are easier for your giant Danes to use and can help reduce bloat.
If you are going to buy a bed, remember that you’ll need one large enough for your full-grown Dane. This also rings true for crates if you’re planning on crate training.
In total, you can expect to pay about $300 for the initial essentials. We’d then factor in about $50 a year for repairs and replacements.
As you can see, it isn’t cheap to buy and keep a Great Dane. If you want to take on one of these gentle giants, you need to be prepared to foot their bills too.
Let’s take a look at the full costs.
|Purchase||$600 – $3000|
|Adoption||$150 – $400|
|Food and treats||$700 – $1800 annually|
|Medical fees||$1120 for the first year then $755 annually|
|Grooming||$60 annually or biannually|
|Equipment||$300 initially then $50 annually.|
Assuming you get your dog as a puppy, you’re looking at a total cost of about $4800 for the first year and then $2500 for each year after.
Great Danes have a lifespan of about 7 – 10 years. Let’s call it 8 for the sake of this calculation.
Over 8 years, a Great Dane will cost you about $22,300!
We don’t say this to put you off. In our eyes, a happy, healthy, and loving pet is well worth every cent. We do, however, want you to be informed.
Ill-informed owners are the reason why shelters are full of stray, abandoned, or surrendered dogs. It’s important to look beyond the puppy years and recognize the long-term commitment you are making when you buy a dog.
So, if you have pockets big enough for the loveable, loping, giant that is the Great Dane, go for it! If not, consider looking for a smaller dog.