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As members of the giant breed class, Great Danes are obviously very large. Since they go through such an explosive phase of growth early in their lives, Danes have some unique health considerations and it can be quite staggering to watch them grow firsthand – it can seem like they’ll never stop getting bigger!
So, when do Great Danes stop growing?
Typically, Great Danes reach their full height in 1-1.5 years, and continue to put on weight until they are about 2 years old. A fully grown female Great Dane will likely measure 28-33 inches at the shoulder and weigh 100-140 pounds while males are usually larger, generally measuring 30-36 inches and weighing 140-200 pounds.
However, there are many factors that can impact your Great Dane’s height and weight, and each individual dog is different.
In this article, we’ll look at average growth charts for Great Dane puppies as well as females and males as they grow into adulthood. We’ll also cover how to support your Great Dane through all phases of growth and how to manage such an enormous puppy. Let’s dive in!
Healthy Great Dane Adult Weight and Appearance
Before we jump into the growth charts, let’s talk a little bit about the overall appearance of a healthy Great Dane. It’s entirely possible that your Dane can still be healthy without matching up exactly to the charts, which are, at the end of the day, averages. So, here are some visual cues to help you ensure that your Dane is healthy.
In its official Great Dane breed standards, the American Kennel Club outlines that the ideal Great Dane is square in proportion, powerful, and well-muscled. In fact, nearly every part of the body is described as strong and muscular. However, the AKC also mentions that proportion is key – slight variation in height and weight are to be expected but it’s easy to see when a Great Dane is proportional.
Of course, since Great Danes often reach their full height within 1-1.5 years but they don’t reach their full weight until about 2 years, a ‘teenage’ Great Dane may appear somewhat scrawny and gangly.
But, once your Great Dane has reached two years old, he should be muscular with a deep chest and pronounced tuck-up – a small waist, essentially. You shouldn’t be able to count his ribs or see his hip bones clearly, and neither should he be overweight. When viewed from above, his strong shoulders should taper into a narrow waist, followed by–you guessed it–strong and defined hips.
Now, we know that not every Great Dane is a show dog that will meet exact conformation specs. However, common sense can generally dictate whether your Dane is on track for healthy growth. To get an idea of how big your Great Dane puppy ‘should’ be as an adult, you can ask the breeder (if you know them) about the size of your dog’s parents and grandparents.
If you have adopted a Great Dane and have no knowledge of his family tree, your vet can help you determine if he’s growing at the right pace and maintaining a healthy weight.
Great Dane Puppy Growth Chart
As a general guideline, here is a chart of average Great Dane puppy growth by age and weight:
|1 week||2-3 lbs|
|2 weeks||3-5 lbs|
|3 weeks||4-7 lbs|
|4 weeks||5-8 lbs|
|6 weeks||10-20 lbs|
|8 weeks||15-30 lbs|
Male Great Dane Growth Chart
After about 2 months of age, the size and weight difference between male and female Great Danes becomes more pronounced. Here’s what an average male Great Dane growth pattern looks like:
|2 months||20-30 lbs||15-18 inches|
|3 months||35-45 lbs||20-23 inches|
|4 months||55-65 lbs||22-25 inches|
|5 months||70-85 lbs||27-30 inches|
|6 months||80-100 lbs||30-33 inches|
|7 months||90-110 lbs||30-34 inches|
|8 months||100-120 lbs||30-35 inches|
|9 months||110-130 lbs||30-35 inches|
|10 months||115-140 lbs||30-35 inches|
|11 months||120-165 lbs||30-35 inches|
|1 year||125-175 lbs||30-36 inches|
|2 years||140-200 lbs||30-36 inches|
Again, keep in mind that these are averages – some male Great Danes grow to truly astounding proportions. The tallest dog ever officially measured is Zeus, a Great Dane who grew to a towering 44 inches at the shoulder but only weighed about 155 pounds. On the other hand, some shorter Danes have weighed over 245 pounds!
Female Great Dane Growth Chart
And here’s a growth chart for average female Great Danes:
|2 months||15-25 lbs||13-15 inches|
|3 months||25-35 lbs||17-20 inches|
|4 months||45-55 lbs||20-23 inches|
|5 months||60-75 lbs||24-27 inches|
|6 months||65-80 lbs||26-29 inches|
|7 months||70-90 lbs||27-30 inches|
|8 months||80-100 lbs||28-31 inches|
|9 months||85-105 lbs||28-32 inches|
|10 months||90-110 lbs||28-32 inches|
|11 months||95-115 lbs||28-32 inches|
|1 year||100-130 lbs||28-33 inches|
|2 years||100-140 lbs||28-33 inches|
How Long Does It Take For Great Danes to Reach Full Size?
Great Danes, like many other big breeds, grow exceptionally fast, often reaching their full height in about a year. However, their weight usually takes some time to catch up, and some Great Danes can continue filling out until they are around 2 years old. Again, it all depends on the individual dog.
Consider for a moment how much faster Great Danes grow than people – a Great Dane goes from 1-2 pounds to 100-200 pounds in about two years, while humans only go from about 6-10 pounds at birth to 25-30 pounds in two years! Of course, a Great Dane’s lifespan is much shorter than a human’s (they only live to about 7-10 years, sadly), but still.
If your Great Dane engages in agility or strength work as an adult dog, he may continue to put on muscle and weight until he’s about 3 years old – or potentially even longer!
However, as you can see in this video, Great Danes do the bulk of their growing within the first year:
How To Support Your Great Dane’s Growth
If you chose to add a Great Dane to your family, chances are you are prepared for and even expecting to own a Very Large Dog. There are definitely steps you can take to help your Great Dane grow to his full potential size and weight in a healthy way.
Of course, diet is the biggest factor in healthy growth and development. Select a puppy food that is especially formulated for giant breeds and that contains a lot of protein and nutrients. Portion control is also important – while it can be tempting to feed your Great Dane as much as he’ll eat in order to encourage massive growth, this can actually lead to health problems.
A Great Dane’s bones and joints are vulnerable to injury as he grows, and feeding him too much food can cause him to gain weight too fast, meaning that his bones and joints don’t have a chance to catch up and they will struggle to support his bulk. This can lead to painful musculoskeletal conditions later in your Dane’s life, like hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondrosis, or hypertrophic osteodystrophy.
Obesity can be a major problem for giant breeds whose joints are already under a lot of stress, so managing your Great Dane’s weight throughout his life can help him feel better and live longer.
On that note, it’s important to avoid using too many high-fat treats while training your Great Dane. Opt instead for high-protein treats that are equally tasty, like freeze-fried animal protein treats (liver, tendons, etc.), or use pieces of your Great Dane’s regular giant-breed-approved kibble.
Because of those vulnerable growing joints and bones, Great Danes should not engage in vigorous exercise until about 2 years of age. They should also be kept away from slippery hard surfaces that could cause them to slip and get injured.
However, this isn’t to say that young Great Danes shouldn’t get exercise – it’s actually very important for them to get age-appropriate exercise! Great Danes are sometimes considered to be lazy or low-energy dogs, but in fact they are quite athletic.
Unfortunately, Great Danes have the most energy at the very time of their lives that they are supposed to avoid strenuous activity – so what CAN you do with a young Great Dane to help him burn energy and develop healthily?
Gentle, short-distance walks are always a good option, and they are an excellent way for your Great Dane to practice his leash skills, experience new environments, and learn to socialize. Quality playtime is always encouraged as well, whether that’s letting your young Dane run around in a grassy fenced yard for an hour or so, playing fetch or tug-of-war, or romping with canine siblings (as long as things don’t get too rough).
Swimming is another wonderful exercise option for Great Danes of all ages – it can help keep them cool on hot days, is low-impact and easy on the joints, and can be an excellent way to bond with your Dane. Consider purchasing a life jacket for your Great Dane to help him learn to swim and stay safe around the water.
Training sessions and other mental stimulation such as treat puzzles or snuffle mats can also allow your Great Dane puppy to burn some energy without over-exercising. Basic agility work can help your Great Dane develop his muscles and hone his coordination and balance – which will actually help protect his joints and prevent injuries in the long run.
As your Great Dane finishes growing, you can introduce more rugged and demanding activities like hiking, jogging, more intense agility tasks, and even cart or weight pulling. Just be sure to monitor him as you introduce new activities to ensure that he doesn’t show any signs of becoming overtired or having joint pain. Especially with running, take care to read your Great Dane’s cues and let him tell you when he’s done jogging.
And, throughout your Dane’s entire life, it’s a good idea to steer clear of vigorous exercise around mealtime as there’s a possibility that it can cause a life-threatening condition called bloat.
Finally, be sure to manage your Great Dane’s stress levels and address any signs of anxiety or nervousness. As with humans, excessive stress can cause a Great Dane to overeat or, more likely, under-eat which can adversely affect his growth and development. Expose him to a variety of situations starting as young as possible, get him used to being on his own for short periods of time, and do your best to avoid unduly stressful situations for your Dane.
Spaying/Neutering and Great Dane Growth
Interestingly, spaying/neutering your Great Dane can actually cause him or her to grow extra-large. It has been shown to affect the growth plates in dogs’ bones, delaying the closure later than usual and therefore allowing a Great Dane to grow extremely tall.
While it might be tempting to opt for an early spay/neuter to encourage your Dane to grow as tall as possible, this can unfortunately exacerbate joint problems. This isn’t as much of an issue for smaller breeds, but PetMD recommends that female Great Danes shouldn’t be spayed until after their first heat cycle and males shouldn’t be neutered until around 2 years of age.
Of course, your Great Dane may have already been spayed or neutered by the time he or she joined your family, or there might be other more pressing reasons to have your Dane spayed or neutered earlier. Your veterinarian can make a recommendation about what is best for your specific Great Dane.
Is My Great Dane Too Small?
It can be concerning if your Great Dane isn’t keeping up with the average height and weight milestones, but it’s not always indicative of a problem. Let’s look at some factors that might cause your Great Dane to develop slowly or be smaller than average:
As I mentioned above, some Great Danes have reached seriously epic proportions, measuring 44 inches tall or tipping the scales at 245 pounds. However, this is by no means the norm for Great Danes, as you can see by the growth charts. A Great Dane’s final size and weight is largely determined by genetics (just like people), so if a Dane has relatively small ancestors, chances are he too will be fairly small and light – if you can ever call a 100-pound dog light!
Additionally, there are some differences between American and European Great Dane bloodlines. American Danes tend to be smaller, lighter, and slightly less muscular than their European counterparts, favoring the breed’s Greyhound ancestors while European Danes take after their beefy Mastiff ancestors more closely.
It’s also possible that your Great Dane is not a purebred, especially if you have rescued or adopted your Dane and don’t have any breed papers. Since the vast majority of other breeds are considerably smaller than Great Danes, chances are high that a Dane mix will be on the smaller end. Appearances don’t always tell the full story, so a dog that looks like a small purebred Great Dane could easily have other breeds mixed in there.
Underfeeding or Not Enough Protein
While it’s important not to overfeed your Great Dane as he grows, it’s also critical to feed him enough to facilitate the growth and development of strong, healthy bones and muscles. Your vet can help you determine the right amount to feed your Dane.
Equally important is the composition of the food your Great Dane is eating. As I touched on above, look for a food that’s specifically formulated for large dogs and contains a significant amount of protein, which is a critical nutrient for healthy growth. Too little protein during your Great Dane’s first year can result in an undersized adult dog.
Too Much or Not Enough Exercise
Too much exercise can be risky for growing joints and bones as we’ve covered, and it can also prevent your Great Dane from putting on weight at a healthy rate. Just like for humans, too much exercise and not enough nutritious food can limit growth and cause your Dane to be underweight.
On the flip side, not enough exercise can also be a problem. The first few years of a Dane’s life are critical for muscle development, and if your Dane doesn’t get a chance to use his muscles regularly, they might not develop at the right pace or they could even atrophy.
Illness, Infection, or Parasites
And, of course, illnesses, infections, and parasites (intestinal worms in particular) can cause your Great Dane to have trouble putting on weight. A body under stress will likely not expend the energy on growing when there are other more pressing concerns, so if your Great Dane puppy looks sickly, has diarrhea, has a distended belly but is otherwise scrawny, or eats a ton but doesn’t gain any weight, take him to the vet right away.
How To Manage an Enormous Great Dane Puppy
While Great Danes grow very fast, they don’t always mature as fast. This means that you might be dealing with a puppy who weighs 150 pounds or more, which can be quite a liability for your home – and sanity! As such, it’s important to monitor your Great Dane’s mental development as well as his physical growth. Here’s how to deal with your enormous puppy:
Unfortunately, Great Danes aren’t necessarily the brightest dogs, so training them and teaching self-control can be an exercise in patience for you both. But, if you start small and train your Dane consistently, you can certainly teach him to demonstrate self-control.
Begin by teaching your Great Dane to sit and pay attention in order to earn treats. Ask him to sit, and give him pieces of kibble or small treats for as long as he remains sitting and engaged in the exercise. Whenever he gets distracted, stands up, or walks away, the treats stop. This exercise teaches him to control his impulses and helps him practice focusing. It’s also the precursor to teaching him the ‘stay’ command, which is of course a next-level self-control exercise.
You can also teach your Great Dane commands like ‘place,’ where he’s expected to go to a spot that you point out and stay there until you release him, or ‘drop it,’ in which you will teach him to resist the urge to chew inappropriate items.
Practicing all of these commands regularly will help your Great Dane grow into a well-mannered adult, and they can also be used to distract and redirect a Dane who is misbehaving or getting too hyped up.
Great Danes can easily outweigh their human family members, so leash training is super important for everyone’s safety. The last thing you want is for your Great Dane to see a squirrel and take off, dragging you at the end of the leash. Teach your Dane to walk on a loose leash starting as early as possible.
If you want to teach your Great Dane to pull weight or a cart, be sure to use different gear for each activity – like a collar or Gentle Leader and a leash for walking and a harness for pulling. That way your Great Dane will clearly know which behavior is expected.
Even a small, light person can walk a Dane on a Gentle Leader since it controls where the Great Dane’s head is pointing and therefore which way he will walk, similar to a horse halter.
To teach your Great Dane leash manners, hold the leash tightly and as soon as your Great Dane pulls, stop or turn around and head the other direction. Reward your Dane with a treat whenever they come back to you or stop pulling on the leash. Repeat this consistently until your Great Dane learns to control his impulse to pull on the lease.
Socialize Early and Often
Great Danes are very lovey-dovey with their human family members, which can unfortunately lead to jealousy or potentially aggression when you pay attention to other people/dogs, or when strangers approach you and your Dane. To avoid this and to help your Great Dane build his social skills, have him start practicing polite social interactions as early and as often as possible.
It can be difficult to balance meeting new people with consistently training your Dane how to be polite, as some people may think it’s cute when your Great Dane puppy jumps up on them or chews on their fingers. However, this behavior will obviously not be so cute in an adult Dane, so politely ask new people to pay attention to/give treats to/otherwise reward your Great Dane only for acceptable behavior. Quickly explaining that your Dane is a puppy and is still practicing his polite greeting skills is usually sufficient to get people on board.
Expose your Great Dane to as many places, situations, people, dogs, and other animals as possible – each new positive experience will help reinforce your Dane’s confidence and set clear expectations for what he should and shouldn’t do.
Encourage Calm Behavior in the House
A Great Dane with a case of the zoomies is usually ridiculously cute, but it can be a recipe for disaster when it happens indoors. Especially with giant breeds, it’s important to draw the line between acceptable indoor behavior and behavior that’s only allowed outside. The best way to do this is start young – don’t allow your Great Dane puppy to do things indoors that you don’t want your adult Great Dane to eventually do.
Be consistent with your rules, and ask any visitors to your home to help you enforce them, especially when your Dane is young.
If your Great Dane starts to get too amped up indoors, use one of the self-control techniques that we talked about earlier to redirect his attention, or send him outside for a few laps around the yard to blow off steam.
Finally, let’s recap with a few frequently asked questions:
When Do Great Danes Stop Growing?
Great Danes typically stop growing in height at around 1 to 1.5 years of age, although they will likely continue to fill out and put on weight until age 2 or beyond. They might gain as much as 25 pounds between their first and second birthdays.
Can Great Danes Grow Too Fast?
Yes, and it can cause serious problems. Great Danes already grow at an explosive rate, so it’s important to try to manage their growth with proper feeding and exercise. Overfeeding a Great Dane puppy can lead to him gaining too much weight before his bones and joints have developed enough to support that weight, which can ultimately cause a variety of unpleasant musculoskeletal issues later in life.
Therefore, it’s always best to allow your Great Dane to grow and develop at a natural rate rather than trying to stimulate even faster growth by overfeeding. Your vet can help you determine the optimal amount to feed your Great Dane as he grows into an adult. Remember to feed your Dane puppy food that’s specifically formulated for giant breeds through at least his first birthday.
What is the Average Weight for a Great Dane?
The average weight for a female Great Dane is between 100-140 pounds, while the average weight for males is 140-200 pounds. However, there have been some exceptionally large Great Danes that have tipped the scales at more than 240 pounds!
Remember that there is a size difference between American Great Danes and their European counterparts, and like most breeds, males are usually significantly larger and heavier than females. However, since the base weight for the breed is already so high, the weight difference between genders can seem more extreme.
And, at the end of the day, genetics and nutrition play large parts in how big your Great Dane will ultimately grow to be. It’s also possible that your Great Dane could have some other breeds mixed in, resulting in a smaller or larger than average Dane. Check the size and weight of your Dane’s parents and grandparents if you can as an indicator of just how big your Great Dane puppy might get.
As long as your Great Dane appears to be a healthy weight for his frame and he is within or close to the averages laid out here, there’s probably no cause for concern. A ‘teenage’ Great Dane (between 1 and 2 years old) will likely look a bit scrawny as he has probably reached his full height but hasn’t yet filled out to his full adult weight. But, if you think your Dane is missing the mark by a lot weight-wise, a visit to the vet can help set your mind at ease or identify and address any potential problems.
Great Danes grow exceptionally fast, usually to exceptionally large proportions. However, you can support your Great Dane through this crazy growth phase with high-quality nutrition, proper portion control, age-appropriate exercise, and regular vet checkups.