The Best All-Around Dog Breed, with Great Videos!
Wonderful Great Danes!
Since I have years of experience with dogs and am known as a true canine aficionado, I’m often asked by potential dog owners about different breeds. Of course, many would-be owners already have a specific breed in mind. Others, however, are totally clueless. They want me to tell them which breed to go out and buy.
That’s an almost impossible task. Just about every breed has its good points and bad points, and a lot depends on the individual dog’s bloodlines and on how it’s handled and trained. Any breed can make a good companion, just like any breed can bite or attack if provoked enough. If someone really presses me for a specific answer, I give them my opinion. Before I share that with you, I’ll tell you about breeds with which I’m familiar.
Breeds I’ve owned, bred, worked with, or known on a first-name basis – ones owned by family or close friends:
German shepherd, Labrador retriever
Siberian husky, Border collie
Collie, Jack Russell
Border collie, Toy poodle
Australian shepherd, Dalmatian
Shih Tzu, Alaskan malamute
Dachshund, Anatolian shepherd
Pomeranian, American bulldog
English bulldog, English mastiff
English Springer spaniel, wolf hybrid
Golden retriever, fox terrier
Chihuahua, Brittany spaniel
English pointer, English setter
German pointer, Irish setter
Bloodhound, Black and tan coonhound
Basset hound, Siberian husky
mutts, pit bull
This list is in no certain order. In fact, the last dog on the list is the first on my list of the best all-around dog breed. I’ve owned nine Great Danes over the years, and if I could own only one breed for the rest of my life, it would definitely be a Dane!
Why, you ask? Great Danes are the most human-like breed I’ve ever met. They have an enormous capacity for understanding their human families. They have a unique sense of humor and can be real clowns. Danes are also very smart and are willing, making them very easy to train. The fawn male I have now is the smartest dog I have ever seen!
You might be surprised to learn that Great Danes get along wonderfully with children. They’re extremely tolerant of the poking and prodding toddlers are wont to do. To see an example of this, be sure to watch the last video, found below. These gentle giants just love being around and playing with kids! And you don’t have to worry about the huge canines jumping on the tikes because they’re taller than most kids.
Great Danes are super easy to groom. Their short coat just needs a good brushing once a week, along with an occasional bath. They don’t shed much, either. Surprisingly, they make wonderful inside pets. Visitors to our home are always shocked at how graceful our big boys are. They never knock things over in the house.
All the Danes I’ve owned are clean and meticulous. They’re easy to house break, and they don’t like to get dirty when they go outside. They don’t even like to get their paws wet! When it rains, they try to “hold it” until it dries up outside, but ours never, never have an “accident” in the house.
People often wonder if they can afford to feed such a large dog. We spend more money feeding our cats than we do our two Danes! Great Danes are laid back and lazy, with slow metabolisms. They don’t eat nearly as much as you’d think.
While Danes are not naturally aggressive, they do make excellent watch dogs. They’re amazingly alert to their surroundings. Ours know when there’s a strange car in the neighbor’s drive and when a stranger comes to our door. When that happens, they spring into action, barking, growling, and hackles raised. They look and sound absolutely ferocious! I honestly feel very safe and protected with them around.
Every Dane I’ve known gets along well with other animals, too. Our Danes were not raised around cats, but when the dogs were grown, we inherited a couple of kitties. The cats live outside, but the dogs are fascinated with them. When they encounter one of the fur balls outside, the big dogs love on the kitties and sniff them all over.
Danes are also playful, and some are natural retrievers. I’ve had a few that I think could easily be trained to retrieve doves or other downed birds. Wow – wouldn’t I get some strange looks on the dove field!
Great Danes are real people dogs and expect to be a part of the family. They don’t do well as kennel dogs or full-time outside dogs. They like air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. They grieve when you’re away. That’s why we decided to have two Danes - they'd be company for each other when we weren't at home.
The only down side I can think of concerning the breed is their lifespan. Most Great Danes live only about nine years. Some breeders, however, are increasing the longevity of their bloodlines to twelve and even fourteen years.
I would recommend this breed for just about anyone, including first-time dog owners, families with small children, those living in high-crime areas, older owners looking for a companion, and families with older kids who want a playmate.
With Great Danes, you'll have a variety of coat colors from which to choose: fawn, brindle, blue, black, harleguin, and mantle.
Please remember, dear reader, that this is all based on my personal opinion, based on my personal experiences. I’m sure there are some bad Danes out there somewhere, just like there are bad representatives of every breed. It’s also important for you to know that I do not breed or sell Great Danes. I have two neutered males, unfortunately. Had I known what an amazing dog my Hamlet would turn out to be, I would never have had him “fixed.” My daughter owns Hamlet’s sister from a later litter, and I hope she will someday have puppies so I can get another dog of the same bloodlines.
Great Dane coat colors
Read more about Great Danes and other breeds:
- Big Dogs and Little Kids
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- Great Danes and Kids: Partners in Crime
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- Guard Dogs for Families with Small Children
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- Best Family Dogs
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