Are Great Danes Dangerous?
Great Danes are the most giant dog breed in the world. They are well known for being majestic and for their size. They are often considered gentle giants. However, all of the good things about these dogs are easily outweighed by their aggression. These dogs are large and territorial. They give a little warning when they are going to attack. A Great Dane bite can lead to life-altering consequences for victims. Great Danes are challenging to control or pull back during an attack, making the situation dangerous. Call The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer immediately if you are the victim of a Great Dane bite.
Great Dane Reputation
This breed is well known for being a family dog and not for being aggressive. While their nature is not to attack, it can lead to severe consequences if it happens. They are thought of as friendly and gentle dogs. Conversely, some people see them as dangerous, especially in some situations. It has become the 14th most popular dog in the United States.
Why are Great Danes deemed dangerous?
Every country has specific breeds they designate as dangerous. While that can vary from country to country, it can vary by state in the United States. Sometimes it can even vary by county. Great Danes are among the most dangerous dog breeds in the United States among insurance companies and local governments. The main reasons these dogs are considered dangerous is because of their appearance and their training.
Historically, Great Danes and other dangerous dog breeds were trained to be aggressive. Even if that is not true today, it still affects their temperament. Aside from training, their appearance makes them dangerous. Since many dangerous dog breeds are on the larger side, they can cause significant injuries.
The history of the Great Dane
Great Danes are nearly 400 years old and were discovered in Germany. They have been linked to similar breeds like the Irish Greyhound and English Mastiff. Historically they were bred for agility and power. In the 1680s, they were bred to be hunting dogs and were initially named Bear Hounds.
Since they are so large and powerful, they could take down a wild boar. When used for hunting, they could catch larger animals than other dogs. While they made great hunting dogs, they were also found in the home as guard dogs. Today, they have the same look but are not used for the same tasks.
Temperament and characteristics
What separates Great Danes the most from other dogs is their appearance. They can weigh anywhere from 110-180 pounds. They can have short, thick, and glossy coats with different colors like fawn, black, brindle, and mantle. They have floppy ears and can reach up to 32 inches in height. These dogs have a typical lifespan of seven to ten years. Often they tower over Dobermans and German Shepherds. If they were to stand on their hind legs, they would be taller than the average person. That means they can quickly overpower you and cause injury.
Their size is a significant factor in how dangerous this breed is. If there is an aggressive Great Dane, it can be challenging for the owner to stop them. As for their temperament, outside of aggression, their behavior is typically:
They usually do not need as much activity as other breeds like the German Shepherd. Overall the breed is friendly and good-natured, but they have some worrisome tendencies. Since they have protective and territorial characteristics, they will become aggressive if they sense a threat. Some of the things they protect the most are their:
They will often attack strangers they feel endangering the people or place they love. That has also been the leading cause of Great Dane bites. Any breed can show aggression if they are pushed. However, a Great Dane attack can cause more damage than when a Chihuahua bites. Sometimes these attacks become fatal. You must speak to The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer if a Great Dane attacks you.
Even when these dogs are not aggressive, they can cause chaos and injury. Their size makes it more likely that they will knock over furniture or people. Sometimes it is unintentional. Owners should restrain their dogs when guests come over so they do not unintentionally cause an injury. Training is another tool to keep guests and strangers safe around Great Danes. These are the owner’s responsibility.
How they appear in pop culture
If you check the Guinness World Records, Great Danes are represented as the biggest dogs in the world. The current holder of that title is a Great Dane that goes by the name of Zeus. He stands at 44 inches and has held the record since 2011. Sadly, he passed away in 2014 at the age of six. While these dogs make an impression in real life, they have also been seen in the media and pop culture for years. Great Dnes have been in comics, movies, cartoons, etc.
There are three prominent pop culture Great Danes you might be familiar with. The first is from a long-running newspaper comic. The comic was around from 1954 until 2015. It focuses on the wacky adventures of a Great Dane named Marmaduke. It was made into a movie in 2010.
Another icon is from Harry Potter. In the film, Fang is portrayed by a Neapolitan Mastiff, but in the books, Hagrid’s beloved companion is a Great Dane. It might be well suited for the caretaker since he is a half-giant and specializes in caring for magical creatures. Fang is portrayed as harmless and fearful.
Probably the most famous Great Dane in pop culture is the crime-fighting mystery solving Scooby Doo. He is portrayed as cowardly and always hungry. He joins his friends to solve mysteries. The animated series began in the 1960s, and the character is still popular today. Fun Fact: Hanna Barbera consulted with Great Dane breeders to ensure Scooby was accurately portrayed.
Potential health complications
Great Danes have shorter lifespans, usually from six to ten years. Unfortunately, not only do they have a short lifespan, but they are also at a higher risk of suffering severe health issues. These complications become more apparent the older they get. Owners can take some steps to mitigate the potential for health complications. Owners should try not to over-exercise young Great Danes as this can lead to bone and joint problems. The breed has a high potential for suffering from hip dysplasia.
A medical condition can lead to severe pain for dogs. One of the reasons these dogs bite is when they are in pain. Great Dnes have been found to be at high risk of pain-induced aggression. Other health conditions they may suffer from are genetic heart conditions. They have a gene that often results in deafness or blindness. As these dogs age, they can experience more pain and health concerns. This can make them more aggressive.
Puppy aggression and healthy play
Great Dane puppies are as rambunctious as other breeds. They growl, pounce, bite, tug, bark, and lunge. This is typical behavior in most cases. However, rough play can quickly turn into aggression. This aggressive streak will stay with them into adulthood. Owners should remain aware of and correct this aggressive behavior from the start. Puppies learn what they can get away with and what gets them attention. They might not differentiate between positive and negative attention.
Often, puppy aggression is an out-of-control puppy, but training is necessary to get these habits under control. It is best to start training early so it does not get worse. Many Great Dane pups that come from reputable breeders are socialized and trained from birth. However, many are not. They are taught early on what is healthy play and what is not. The size of a Great Dane can also make it challenging to distinguish healthy play from aggression. These dogs have the strength, and what they consider harmless can cause catastrophic human injuries. Investigating the dog’s upbringing can help with your insurance or personal injury claim. Speak to The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer to discuss how Great Dane puppy training factors into your case.
Signs of healthy play
When playing with a Great Dane, there are signs to look for that can indicate it is healthy play versus aggression. Always take direction from the owner, as they should know their temperament and specific behaviors. Some signs of healthy play include:
- Play bows: one of the most significant signs of healthy play is when a dog play bows. This is their sign that they are not trying to hurt you. A Great Dane will put their butt in the air and bow to you. It can be a brief or prolonged bow. They will sometimes do this to get you to play with them or mix in while playing. When it is two dogs, they must both bow in agreement.
- Trading roles: When two dogs play, they will often trade roles. They will take turns doing a chase. If you notice that one dog is always chasing, that is not healthy play.
- Loose, wiggly body language: if the dog is floppy, has a wiggly face, ears flop around, and their body is slack, they are comfortable and playful.
- Self-handicap: when there is a larger dog, like a Great Dane, who is playing with a smaller dog, they will modify their play. They will become more gentle, so they do not hurt the little dog. If they do not, then they must be separated.
- Shake it off: Many dogs will also take breaks during play. They will stop and shake it off. After this pause, they will either return to play or walk away, signaling they are done.
- Respect: when playing with Great Danes, they will show respect. Dogs will ask each other to play if they have social skills. They can also translate this when playing with humans.
- Tackling, biting, barking, growling, etc.: these can be signs of healthy play as long as the dog or dogs also display some other signs on this list.
Rude play, on the other hand, can lead to aggression and fights. It is imperative to look for these signs to prevent attacks. Owners should know when to take their dogs away from a situation. Signs of rude play include:
- Chasing or pestering other dogs
- Rolling and pinning
- Playing too rough with a smaller dog
- Forcing another dog to play when they do not want
- Running up
Great Danes must be trained out of rude play early. They may be unable to control this rough play when they get older. It can be hazardous for other dogs or humans around them. They are very large, and rude play can be deadly in a Great Dane. When rude play is the cause of your injuries, you must take legal action. Discuss your options with The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer.
Causes of Great Dane dog bites
While there are many examples of calm and gentle Great Danes, they still can bite. Some situations can lead a Great Dane to bite, and when they do, it can lead to severe injuries. The top reasons that Great Danes attack is:
- Territory: these dogs are highly protective of their property. They will attack if they feel that an unknown person or animal is threatening their home or space. Their high prey drive can quickly work them up. Owners report that the one time their Dane shows aggression is when a stranger approaches the home. However, they do not have such a severe reaction if they meet strangers on mutual territory.
- Pain: since this breed suffers various health problems, they can experience pain. It is ideal for owners to get the dog treatment to ease the pain. They will lash out or have violent outbursts when they are in pain.
- Mistreatment: when a dog is abused or mistreated, that trauma will stay with them. It can lead to behavioral problems such as aggression. They can have unpredictable behavior and distrust of humans. They can experience extreme triggers that cause them to bite or attack people.
Remember, even social and friendly dogs can bark, growl, and show aggression if they fear or their space is challenged. While dogs will do what is natural to them, dog owners are still responsible for the dog’s actions. Great Danes rank 11th as the most dangerous dogs. They are connected to 37 attacks, with three resulting in death. Sadly, the majority of the victims in these attacks were children.
Tips for Great Dane attacks
A friendly dog can strike at any moment, which can be a traumatic experience. Great Danes can be deadly, and survival is at the forefront of your mind. Some tips for handling an attack from The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer include:
- Stay away from unknown dogs: if you see an unfamiliar dog, do not approach it. Great Danes are especially prone to attacking strangers if they feel they are in danger or the person is in their territory. They can also attack in neutral locations like public spaces. Walk away if they are barking, growling, or looking agitated.
- Do not intimidate aggressive dogs: if a Great Dane approaches you and seems aggressive, you should stay very still. Making loud noises or trying to scare them away can make them more prone to attack. Standing still can cause them to lose interest or not see you as a target.
- Avoid being knocked over: because of their size, they can easily knock over a grown adult. You are defenseless when you are on the ground, and they are in the perfect spot to attack you. Stay on your feet as best you can because they are at an advantage once you are down.
- Project yourself but don’t use your hands: instinctively, you may try to protect yourself using your hands. While this might seem like a good idea, it can lead to severe injuries. Use your clothes, bags, and surrounding items to deflect bites and attacks. You can suffer catastrophic injuries when they clamp down on your hand.
- Fight back and get to safety: this tip might be challenging because a Great Dane can overpower you. When all else fails, you may have to fight back. However, you should aim for sensitive areas that can catch them by surprise and allow you to get to safety. Fighting back can sometimes trigger the dog to fight harder, so only do this as a last resort.
After you get to safety, you should take steps to get medical attention. You must also get information about the dog, owner, and witnesses. You may need to call the authorities to file a report. Once you settle down, you should speak to a dog bite attorney in New Jersey.
What to do after a Great Dane attack
After surviving a dog attack, the last thing on your mind is to take legal action. We understand this is a difficult time, but you must take action. You may be left with severe or life-altering injuries. You might suffer from the following:
- Broken bones
- Torn flesh
- Puncture wound
- Muscles, tendon, or ligament damage
- Psychological trauma
These injuries may lead to medication, physical therapy, surgeries, etc. These treatments will have exorbitant costs. The dog owner should pay for these costs because the dog caused your injuries. Often injuries can become permanent, leading to lifelong changes. You can suffer a facial disfigurement that leads you into a deep depression. You might be able to garner compensation through an injury claim. You must discuss your options with The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer.
Liability for dog attacks in New Jersey
New Jersey has strict laws regarding owner responsibility when their dog bites a person. There are no one-bite rules. A Great Dane owner is strictly liable if their dog bites you. They must be aware of their dog’s temperament and personality. They should also be taking steps to mitigate risks. These dogs are powerful, and the owners must be able to control them. They must reimburse you if they are negligent and cause you an injury.
Often dog owners must register their dogs with the county. This can also serve as a way to register it with their homeowner or renter’s insurance. Other times, the insurers require the individual to provide them with information about the dog directly. When you decide to speak to The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer and take legal action, you should gather some evidence for your initial consultation, such as:
- Photos or videos of the attack, location, injuries, dog, etc.
- A detailed account of the incident
- The police report
- Medical records
- Witnesses account if applicable.
We understand that not all of this information will be easily accessible since you are suffering injuries. It is best to gather what you can and let us handle the rest. We will review your case and seek additional evidence if possible. We will also work with your medical team to get an accurate assessment of your injuries. Our local dog bite lawyers are here for you for every step.
When you begin a legal claim, you seek compensation for your losses. Much of these losses are medical bills. However, you may also pursue compensation for other losses like:
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost benefits
You require an individual assessment of your losses when pursuing compensation. There are many overlooked items that victims do not request. There are also many things the insurance company is unwilling to pay for or include. Their assessment is usually much lower than your case worth. The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer can help with an accurate estimate.
Speak to a dog bite lawyer in New Jersey
After a Great Dane attack, you will suffer from pain, confusion, and psychological turmoil. You may have a long road to recovery. Many dog bite lawyers in New Jersey take on these cases along with other personal injury cases. However, dog bites are all we do. When you need experience and an individual approach, call us at 866-259-4377 for a free legal consultation or reach out via our web contact form.