Great Danes are gentle and affectionate “nanny dogs” that thrive in loving homes. But if you’re thinking about getting a Dane, you may wonder how much grooming is needed for these XL dogs. And for some owners, shedding may be a big problem.
Despite their a “single coats”, Great Danes are moderate to heavy shedders. While their coats shed less fur than “double-coated” dogs, the Great Dane is the largest dog breed in the canine kingdom. As a result, a bigger dog means more fur that could potentially shed.
That’s the quick and simple answer to the question. However, there’s much more to learn about Danes in terms of shedding. Read on to learn the reasons why they shed, and the steps you can take to minimize your Great Dane’s shedding.
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Table of Contents
- A Brief Intro to Great Danes
- Why Do Great Danes Shed?
- The Great Dane’s Shedding Phases
- Reasons Great Danes Shed A Lot
- How to Minimize Shedding in Danes
- Great Dane Shedding too Much?
A Brief Intro to Great Danes
Before we dive into Great Dane shedding, it’s useful to understand the background of the breed at hand, to see if they were bred with certain characteristics in mind. Often, breeds are developed because their breeders choose dogs with specific characteristics.
The Great Dane was developed as a breed during the 16th century in Germany (see other German dogs here). With the Great Dane, breeders chose characteristics that were ideal for hunting boar.
Originally, these dogs were aggressive and ferocious. But as the demand for these dogs tapered in the hunting scene, they were reborn as companion dogs. Over time, breeders were successful in producing calmer dogs.
Despite their large size, these dogs are gentle giants. They often behave like over-sized lap dogs! Great Danes are loving, loyal, and affectionate, which make them great pets.
When considering a pet dog, however, shedding is a serious consideration. No matter how much you love your pet, you won’t love the hair they shed! And if you’re allergic to dog dander, a high-shedding dog can be painful.
Why Do Great Danes Shed?
As I’ve already mentioned, Great Danes do shed. In fact, all dogs shed – with the exception of hairless dog breeds. It’s the natural process for dogs to get rid of old or damaged hair, though some dogs shed more than others.
There are two types of dog coats – single coats and double coats. When a dog breed has a double coat, the dog has two layers of fur and loses more hair through shedding. Thus, double coated dogs require a lot more grooming.
Fortunately for Great Danes (or rather their owners), they have a smooth and short single coat. The coat is relatively easy to groom and is fairly low maintenance. However, Great Danes shed more hair during the spring and moderately throughout the year.
Excessive Hair Loss in Danes
Shedding is a normal process; you can’t prevent it from happening unless it’s in your dog’s DNA. Just to name a few examples of dogs that don’t shed are Poodles and Shih Tzus. And even so, they lose hair just like us humans do.
The frequency and amount of shed hair depend on the breed. However, the individual dog’s diet and health can also play a role in shedding. Excessive hair loss usually means something not quite right. It’s actually an indicator of a lot of health problems.
The number one reason for excessive shedding is a poor diet.– Roy Cruzen DVM (PetMD)
Cruzen recommends that quality dog food should cost roughly $4 per pound. Most commercial dog food barely meets the minimum requirements. However, the minimum is usually not enough for most dogs. As a result, owners see unusual shedding.
Excessive shedding could also be caused by allergies in some dogs. If your Great Dane is experiencing severe shedding during normal months, consult with your veterinarian immediately. There’s usually a logical (and biological) explanation for it.
The Great Dane’s Shedding Phases
When considering shedding, a frequent question is often “why do dogs have fur?” As with many animals, fur is there to help the dog keep constant body temperature. It protects the animal from the cold, the heat, and the sun.
But, because every strand of hair eventually stops growing or gets damaged, it sheds. New hair comes in its place. Just like your own, all dogs’ hair follicles have a growth cycle with many phases. These are:
1. The Growing Phase (Anagen Phase) – This is when new hair is growing.
2. The Transition Phase (Catagen Phase) – This is when the hair stops growing. Hair follicles shrink during this phase and detach from dermal papillae.
3. The Resting Phase (Telogen Phase) – The hair is not growing and it is not shedding. At this point, a new hair starts the growing phrase.
4. The New Hair Phase (Exogen Phase) – This is when the hair sheds and the new hair takes its place.
The timings of these phases vary between breeds. For example, Poodles and other low-shedding dogs spend longer in the first phase. That’s why they don’t shed as much as dog breeds such as the Great Danes.
The thickness of the coat also depends on the season. When there are more daylight hours and warmer temperatures, a dog’s coat will be thinner. This is why there is more shedding in spring as the temperatures begin to rise and the daylight hours become longer.
Reasons Great Danes Shed A Lot
By now, you’ll know that Great Danes are moderate to heavy shedders with a single coat. But, Great Danes appear to shed more than other breeds with a similar single coat. You may be wondering, why is this the case?
It’s actually quite simple. Great Danes are huge! It feels like they shed more than other single coated dogs simply because they are larger and have more fur. More “surface” area means more opportunities to shed fur.
It’s worth bearing this in mind when choosing a pet. Having a Great Dane will likely mean you will have a good amount of hair on furniture, carpets, and clothing.
Great Danes Blowing Out?
Blowing out refers to the time period when dogs lose their winter coat, which is replaced by the summer coat. This occurs during the spring time when the daily temperatures rise and there is more daylight in a 24-hour period.
Similarly, during the fall, a dog will start to shed its summer coat in preparation for growing out the thicker winter coat. This is the cycle of a dog’s coat.
Dog breeds that experience true blow outs during these seasons have double coats. Great Danes have single coats and don’t experience the typical coat blow outs. However, you can still expect shedding to increase in the spring time.
But fear not! There are ways of managing the shedding as a Great Dane owner. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to reduce the impact of shedding in your home.
How to Minimize Shedding in Danes
You’ll know by now that shedding comes hand in hand with dog and Great Dane ownership. There are lots of things that you can do to make this a small problem rather than a big one.
1. Groom Your Great Dane
One of the best ways to minimize the problems caused by Great Dane shedding is through regular grooming. If you’re not a fan of grooming your dog, I would stay far away from raising a Great Dane.
This means regular fur brushing. Brushing your Dane’s coat regularly not only stimulates blood flow but it removes loose fur too. In other words, fur is trapped on the brush rather than being shed into you home.
You should make brushing a part of your regular Great Dane grooming routing, including the cleaning of the dog’s ears and teeth, and trimming its nails. It can be a tedious task, but it’ll go a long way in maintaining good health.
I’d highly recommend using the Furminator De-shedding Brush. Dog owners swear by it, for good reason! It’s the ultimate brush for removing loose hair for double-coated dogs, but works well with single coats too.
Using a Furejector, a single push of a button allows you to release the hair quickly. They even claim it removes 95% of all loose hair!
For a Great Dane, you’ll want to get the large or giant size for short hair dog breeds. With thousands of raving reviews, you really can’t go wrong with a Furminator! Give it a try and you’ll see what we mean.
2. Good Brushing Technique
If you can’t get a Furminator, the second best option is to use a bristle brush that is quite firm. Brushing should be done at least once or twice a week, though brushing more frequently is recommended.
During a heavy shedding season like spring, it’s a good idea to brush your Great Dane every day. This will help you keep on top of the fur situation in your home. And if you plan to use a Furminator, you’ll need to be careful about cutting the skin.
A good brushing should take around 5 to 15 minutes. In order to minimize problems with shed hairs in your home, carry out the brushing in the yard or garden. Otherwise, you may need a heavy-duty vacuum.
3. Bathing Your Great Dane
Great Danes are very prone to getting dry skin, which means you shouldn’t give them baths too frequently. Bathing too often will remove essential oils from their skin, which will make it dry and itchy.
It is important, though, that you bath your Great Dane every few weeks to remove dirt and dead hairs. Even if you brush your dog frequently, there’s a chance that loose hairs are still stuck on the coat.
Don’t be tempted to use your own soap or shampoo. You should opt for a dog-friendly option that is PH neutral. Look for ingredients like oats or oatmeal. These are great for keeping your Great Dane’s coat and skin really healthy.
One of our favorite dog shampoos is by far the Bodhi Dog Oatmeal Shampoo. It’s made with high quality oatmeal and is all natural! Detergent-free, alcohol-free and 100% non-toxic. It also has a light apple scent to keep your Great Dane smelling great all the time.
Bathing your dog isn’t going to be easy because Great Danes are massive dogs! If you don’t have the time or ability, consider taking him or her to a professional dog groomer instead! Otherwise, it’s a great bonding experience for you and your dog.
4. Better Nutrition, Less Shedding
A healthy and balanced diet will help to lower the amount of hair your Great Dane sheds. As such, feeding your dog a good quality dog food is more important than you think.
Great Danes need protein as the main ingredient because this is the easiest thing for them to digest. No matter what type of “trends” there are for dog diet, don’t experiment. You can never go wrong with a mostly-protein diet.
Besides the quality of food, the number one pet peeve I have is giving pets gluten-free diets.– Pete Lands DVM (Saint Francis Vet)
You could also consider including a supplement of Omega 3 to their diet. This is great for healthy hair and skin. Being able to drink fresh water means your dog is able to get rid of toxins and bacteria in his body too.
5. Minimize Shedding Around the Home
It is annoying when your Great Dane’s fur is on your furniture and clothing. There are things you can do to combat this. We’ve already discussed regular grooming but there are things you need to do in your home too.
You can win the battle of dog hair with regular vacuuming. Invest in a vacuum cleaner that is good at picking up dog hair.
Any furniture that has removable covers can be washed regularly – as often as weekly if required. When it comes to flooring, the best thing you can get is hardwood or tiles. If you prefer a carpeted floor, choose a color that will hide your dog’s hairs!
Great Dane Shedding too Much?
If you’ve previously had a moderate shedding dog but not a Great Dane, you might think that your Great Dane is shedding too much.
It is likely, however, that your Great Dane is a lot bigger, which means they have more fur to start with. More fur = more shedding. Unless they’re hairless, there’s really no way getting around this.
If you have any concerns that your Great Dane is shedding more than you would expect, consult your local veterinarian. Shedding is usually no big deal unless it’s excessive, but it’s unlike them to do so.
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