Whether you’re already the proud owner of a Great Dane or you’re considering adopting, eventually, you’ll have to face the hair-raising dilemma of shedding.
Great Dane shedding can leave you with a shag carpet you never wanted and a pelt covering everything from your bedding to your work clothing. I know how it is. My Great Dane left grey hairs all over my favorite black button-down shirt.
I knew I couldn’t limit myself to only the lighter-colored outfits in my wardrobe. I had to take action. Fear not; it’s not so hard to get your canine companion’s shedding under control with a few expert tips made to tackle this problem.
The Facts Behind the Myths: How Much Do Great Danes Shed?
Let’s face it. Great Danes are big dogs, and with big dogs comes a lot of fur. You may be wondering, do Great Danes shed a lot? If your furry friend seems to be a high-volume shedder, it’s likely a matter of their sheer size.
Relatively speaking, a Great Dane only sheds an average amount for their breed size. When you’re comparing a Great Dane to a chihuahua, though, “average” can get overwhelming.
Many Great Dane owners adopt their dogs with the idea that single-coat shorthair breeds don’t shed as much as others with longer fur or double coats, regardless of the dog’s size.
Some dog owners even believe Great Danes are hypoallergenic because of their close-cropped, clean, glossy coats. While shorthair breeds are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction than longhairs, they aren’t entirely hypoallergenic.
Unfortunately, the real threat for allergy sufferers is a Dane’s dander, which is generally the actual cause of allergic reactions, rather than shed fur. Although shorthair breeds do typically cause fewer or less severe reactions, this is where the Dane’s size comes into play again.
The sheer volume of shedding for such a large dog tends to cancel out the benefits of a shorthair breed.
However, as long as you keep your pet’s coat healthy and free of Great Dane dandruff, you can still minimize allergy woes. Dandruff and excessive shedding can be signs of skin problems, dietary issues, allergies, or other factors that may call for a trip to the vet.
Do Great Danes Have a Particular Shed Pattern?
Some dogs shed more or less with the season, and Great Danes are no different. Dogs tend to go through seasonal shed cycles, but Great Danes also undergo a significant transitional shedding as they move from puppyhood into adulthood.
This shedding tends to happen at around 12 months of age; Great Danes will completely shed their puppy coat as adult fur grows in.
Although this process can make your pup’s fur appear patchy and uneven, this is a natural process that happens to all dog breeds and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
A puppy’s soft, fluffy fur is critical for keeping a developing young dog warm and reducing exposure to the elements. As adults, dogs can better regulate their body temperatures beneath their mature coats.
Annual Shedding Cycles
Throughout the rest of their lives, Great Danes go through annual shedding cycles corresponding with changes in the weather.
In late autumn and early winter, your dog’s coat will thicken as its warm winter pelt grows in. This coat will remain until spring, at which point shedding rates—and your vacuum cleaner usage—will increase drastically as your Great Dane divests itself of its winter coat.
So how much do Great Danes shed in the spring? This amount depends on several factors, including environment, diet, the breed of Great Dane, and their coat patterns.
Great Danes are a mixed breed, and despite the name originated in Germany rather than Denmark as a hybrid canine blending Mastiff breeds with Irish Wolfhounds and Greyhounds.
Further variants in breeding between American and European Great Danes have led to other differences in coat patterns and types. Differences in genetic expression between breeds can affect fur density, shedding cycles, and shed frequency.
Can You Stop Your Great Dane’s Shedding?
It’s impossible to completely stop a dog’s shedding, no matter the breed. Shedding is a normal, healthy part of a dog’s biological functions, and as long as their fur remains healthy, it’s natural for your Great Dane to shed at a regular rate.
Dogs shed for the same reasons humans do; hairs reach the end of their natural growth cycle, die, and fall out to make room for new hairs to sprout from the same follicle.
The only way to completely eliminate Great Dane shedding would be to shave your dog. While shaving a dog can be helpful when treating skin conditions, when preparing a dog for surgery, or when removing substances that you cannot wash out of the dog’s fur, it’s generally not advisable to do so simply to avoid shedding.
A dog’s fur is a vital part of its bodily functions, necessary for warmth and insulation. Even without fur, your dog would still shed dander. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
If you’re constantly picking fur out of your clothing, finding it in your food, or sweeping it up off the floor, you’ve probably given up on a hair-free life—but fear not. Here are a few tips for slowing the shed and making sure you’ve got a happy up with a healthy coat.
Reducing the Shed: Grooming a Great Dane
Proper grooming helps to minimize excessive shedding—and catches normal shedding before it ends up in every nook and cranny of your home. Ideally, you should thoroughly groom your Great Dane once a week.
Brush Your Great Dane Regularly
The ideal brush for a Great Dane’s short, smooth fur is a medium-bristle brush. The brush’s stiff bristles will catch fur that’s ready to shed and gently pull it from the follicle and also help to brush away built-up dander that can lead to skin problems.
Always follow the direction of your dog’s fur to prevent discomfort, and be firm but gentle with each stroke.
Use a Comb for Better Fur Management
Many grooming combs are specially designed to catch and tease out shedding fur and can be helpful for detangling matted areas or catching more delicate hairs the brush may miss.
Don’t Neglect the Nails
Allowing a Great Dane’s nails to grow too long can actually impede their ability to walk and lead to pain and foot problems. Use a clipper to trim your Great Dane’s nails above the quick, avoiding the vein and nerve to prevent damage to the paw.
Don’t Bathe Them Too Much!
Bathing your Great Dane too often can actually make shedding worse. Dogs produce natural oils necessary for healthy skin.
Washing your dog too frequently can strip those oils away, leaving their skin dry and flaking, contributing to increased dander. Dry skin can affect hair follicles, causing them to release dead hair more frequently and leading to a patchy coat.
Getting Your Great Dane Used to Grooming
Great Danes are extremely even-tempered dogs, but even the calmest canine can turn agitated when exposed to stressors. Some dogs react poorly to being groomed, especially if grooming requires restraint or extended handling in uncomfortable positions.
Proper training and socialization can minimize adverse reactions, and you should take great care with animals who haven’t acclimated to the grooming process.
Typically Great Danes react well to human handling and are highly sociable dogs. By taking the time to familiarize your dog with grooming rituals and rewarding them with affection, you can reduce the stress caused by grooming.
Let your dogs sniff your grooming tools and play with those without sharp edges. Take your time with each stage of Great Dane grooming, and let your dog adjust to each part of the process before moving on to the next.
With patience, you can turn grooming time into another form of social bonding. Many Great Danes enjoy the attention that comes with being brushed and combed. However, if you find your Great Dane reacts with anxiety to the process, you may want to look into professional grooming services to help you manage your Great Dane’s shedding.
Diet Changes to Reduce Great Dane Shedding Problems
Like humans, Great Danes need a proper diet for healthy fur and skin. If you notice your Great Dane shedding more than usual, they may be suffering from a nutritional deficiency or another dietary issue.
Because Great Danes are such large dogs, they tend to eat a great deal more and require a good deal of protein for a healthy diet.
What are the Benefits of a Raw Diet?
Many Danes thrive on a raw food diet. This diet involves feeding your dog raw meat and sometimes bones congruent with the diets of wild canines, avoiding processed foods that may have several fillers that could be unhealthy for your dog.
When choosing a raw food diet, dogs can eat most of the same raw, unseasoned, unprocessed meats that humans can.
Unprocessed means poultry, fish, and beef are on the table, as well as some high-protein fish. If you want to supplement with packaged food, opt for grain-free wet canned food or dry kibble.
Focus on Healthy Nutrients
Many grains used as fillers in packaged dog food can cause digestive issues, particularly for specialized breeds such as Great Danes.
That doesn’t mean vegetables are out of the question! Many vegetables and even fruits are safe for your dog to eat and can provide valuable and highly dense nutritional content to contribute to a glossy coat.
In particular, choose vegetables such as broccoli, high in vitamin E—an essential nutrient for strong, healthy hair growth.
Exercise can also be a significant factor in cutting down on Great Dane shedding. Proper exercise maintains your dog’s highly active metabolism, contributing to healthy digestion.
On top of daily walks, make for plenty of active playtime. This playtime can also prevent gastrointestinal issues common to Dane breeds.
Recovering Your Home (and Clothes) From the Fur Avalanche
Even with proper grooming and a great diet, you’ll still find your Great Dane’s fur in your teeth, in your bed, everywhere you can possibly imagine. So how can you avoid the embarrassment of your own personal mohair coat?
Get a high-powered vacuum that can handle fur, especially with a good filter. Look for one with a brush attachment and a wand arm to help you reach difficult places and pull the hair off of upholstery, rugs, and carpeting.
A wet vac or rug shampooer can be helpful here, too. Just remember to familiarize your Great Dane with the vacuum to avoid frightening them with the noise.
Get a Hand Vac
Smaller hand vacs can help with quick jobs and get into those nooks and crannies. They’re also great for use on fur-covered clothing – Just a quick swipe, and you’ll remember the true color of that cashmere sweater.
Hand vacs are also great for portability and can be extremely useful if you happen to take your Great Dane for car rides routinely.
Invest in a Lint Roller
Lint rollers take off more than just extra threads and fabric pills. Their sticky sheets can catch dog hair in an instant and make short work of de-furring your clothing, your sofa, or any other fabric surface fur clings to.
Try a De-Furring Glove
These gloves are often made of microfiber or rubber with small bumps or bristles that can easily catch and remove hair clinging to curtains, clothing, or fabric-upholstered furniture.
Dust and Wipe Down Your Home Regularly
A microfiber cloth and a little spray cleaner can get rid of more than just accumulated dust. Even if you don’t see it, there’s dander on every surface. Make short work of the dog hair, and the invisible skin flakes and mites your Great Dane sheds with regular dusting.
Keeping Your Great Dane Happy
While some Great Danes can be fussy about grooming rituals and diet changes, you can establish a routine to keep your Great Dane’s coat healthy with patience and effort.
A healthy dog is a happy dog, and once you’ve found the right balance of grooming paired with a solid feeding regimen, you’ll find your Great Dane’s shedding problems much more manageable.