Getting a dog is never cheap, but when you get a breed that seems more horse-like than dog-like, you’re looking at a higher cost than something more average in size. Great Danes aren’t just known for being gentle companions; they’re also known for having a significantly higher cost of care than other breeds. Not only is their initial purchase price fairly high, the necessary vet bills and high-quality dog food can set you back a pretty penny over their lifetime. Before you make the huge (no pun intended) commitment to this breed, it’s strongly recommended that you evaluate the average costs of a Great Dane.
Purchasing a Great Dane Puppy, What You Should Expect to Pay
Lots of people joke that Great Danes are more like owning a livestock animal than a household pet, and the cost of purchasing a puppy from a breeder supports this notion. If you buy a puppy from a breeder, your costs are going to vary widely–and for very important reasons. First, you can expect to pay at least $500 for a Dane puppy, and that’s on the very low (and suspicious) end of average. Most likely, a puppy in good health and raised by a reputable, responsible breeder will run at least $1500, if not more. Show-quality puppies cost as much as $3000.
Why is there such a huge gap in pricing? Well, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, a cheap puppy often comes from unhealthy parents or there’s something wrong with the puppy. Great Danes are genetically prone to a lot of diseases and disorders, and a good breeder ensures their dogs are free of any health conditions.
For example, Great Danes are prone to developing hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is typically hereditary, thus the formation of regulating bodies that allow responsible breeders to have their breeding dogs evaluated for this damaging joint disorder. It isn’t cheap to have a dog certified by something like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), so this is going to increase the cost of puppies significantly.
While the idea of spending over a thousand dollars on a dog might be nausea inducing, it’s going to be more cost effective to get a healthy dog from the start versus a “cheap” puppy that’s going to be riddled with expensive health problems down the road.
Choosing a Great Dane Breeder
It’s tempting to choose a breeder based on the puppy you think is “the one”, but this could be a problem down the road. Instead, look for a breeder before you look for specific puppies. You should only purchase a dog from a breeder who lets you visit their home/farm. If they don’t allow visitors, that’s a significant red flag. Visiting the breeder lets you see the conditions the animals live in and meet the parents of the litter you’re picking from. Assessing the health and personality of the parents is a good indicator of what the puppies are going to be like.
Ask where the majority of their puppies go. If they go to show or pet homes, that’s generally a good sign. However, if their puppies end up at pet stores, it’s time to politely leave. A truly good breeder will never send their puppies off to a pet store.
The breeder should also have a health guarantee in place. This shouldn’t be something you have to fight for; reputable breeders should have no problem providing one. Even if they’ve taken all of the precautions to eliminate hereditary diseases, there’s never a guarantee. Make sure you get a written health guarantee protecting you if you buy a puppy with a serious illness like parvo virus or a heart condition.
If possible, try to get references from people who have purchased puppies from the breeder. Breeders who have been in business for a decent amount of time should have a fairly sizeable list of references who are willing to back up the health and quality of the dogs sold.
The OTHER Costs
The money doesn’t stop once you get the puppy. Too many people spend thousands of dollars on a dog and then realize they don’t have any money left over for veterinary care and quality nutrition. This is a huge mistake with any dog whether they’re a show-quality purebred or a mutt from the shelter. Every dog, especially a puppy, needs to be spayed or neutered and given a complete series of vaccinations, and this is just the bare minimum. Here are some of the necessary costs in terms of owning a Great Dane puppy.
Great Dane Veterinary Care Costs
Like all puppies, your Great Dane should be spayed or neutered. This should occur anytime between four to 18 months of age, and the decision should ultimately be made between you and your veterinarian. The cost of a spay or neuter varies from clinic to clinic, and it depends on how big your dog is at the time of surgery and if you choose to do bloodwork. On average, you can expect to pay at least $300 for the surgical procedure.
Vaccines are also a variable cost and fully depends on your veterinarian. The core vaccines (rabies, distemper, parvo, hepatitis, parainfluenza) are about $75-150 by the time you pay for examinations. There are also extra vaccines to consider in certain regions of the country or whether you’re going to board your Dane eventually.
A Very Important Word About GDV:
Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) is a potentially fatal disorder where your dog’s stomach fills with air and then twists over on itself. GDV swiftly kills your dog if you don’t seek medical attention for them. Unfortunately, Great Danes are more prone because they’re considered a deep chested breed and that anatomy makes them more susceptible to it. Most of the time the only cure is emergency abdominal surgery.
Breeds that are more likely to suffer from GDV can have an elective surgical procedure known as a gastropexy. The stomach is “tacked” to the abdominal wall, so if your dog bloats, the stomach has to remain stationary. While this doesn’t prevent the stomach from bloating, it prevents the stomach from flipping over on itself, improving their odds of surviving treatment. The gastropexy is usually performed during your puppy’s spay or neuter. The cost depends on a few things. It’s cheaper in female dogs because their abdomen is already open for the spay. Male dogs require a separate incision into the abdomen. You can opt to have it performed laparoscopically, but that costs significantly more even though it’s less invasive.
A gastropexy done by itself will run upwards of $500 or more dollars. If it’s performed in conjunction with a spay/neuter and your dog is already under anesthesia, the costs will be less.
The food you feed a giant breed like a Great Dane is extremely important, especially for growing puppies. A giant breed puppy that grows too quickly is going to have lifelong problems with their joints. It’s incredibly important you feed them a high-quality dog food designed for Great Danes with rapidly growing bones and joints.
How much does the typical Great Dane eat every day? An adult male Great Dane can eat as much as 10 cups of food a day, and a female Dane eats six to nine cups. When you’re considering a good quality food, this food bill tallies up pretty quickly. A good diet for your dog will run $100 or more dollars per month.
A well-cared for pet is never cheap, but when you double or even triple the size of a normal dog, your costs are going to be higher. Great Danes will never be considered a “cheap” dog, and if your heart is set on this breed, please consider the costs associated with them. Good care will significantly prolong your dog’s life, and that’s something every pet owner wants for their pup.