Preparing for your Great Dane is a must! But I’m here to share that as you start exploring everything that you need for a Great Dane, you’ll start to find that XL isn’t for a giant breed, and often even XXL doesn’t fit the needs for a Great Dane. Hopefully I can help!
I’ve compiled a list of everything you need to prepare your home for welcoming a Great Dane. Young or old, these are all great items to have on hand.
While some of this is just my preference, I’ve talked to many and have other perspectives as well.
Crates can be controversial but ultimately we try to train all of our rescues to be crate trained. While many think of it as being “couped up all day” they are actually often quite comfortable in their “space” and will retreat to their crate on their own. We could spend all day discussing crate training but that’s for another post.
So, what size do you need?
Crates can be tricky, because while the 48″ looks like it will be sufficient, you don’t know how big your dog will be if you got a pup, or what they might be able to squeeze into if they are already and adult.
If you are rescuing a Great Dane, ask your local rescue or foster home what size crate has been working well.
Typically we recommend that a 54″ would be ideal for a dane.
The 48″ does fold and is easier to move around if traveling, but some danes are quite squished. Sometimes if crates are needed I just suggest you keep one at the place you frequently travel (parents, kids homes, in-laws, etc) just in case. Lord knows you likely cannot commute with you dane and a 54″ crate.
Some people will put a mat in their crate, others don’t. I started off with soft blankets in Cash’s crate but crate training was tough and he would pee in his crate every single day. So, then I just left one blanket in there and that was all. I do know that everyone has their preferences, some love something soft and other’s want something more durable.
Dog Crate Necessities
54" style crate
Our first recommendation for the largest of Great Danes
For your smaller built Great Danes or use it as an in between crate until they are big enough for the 54"
I’m super particular about my leashes, I know that sounds silly and I encourage everyone to do what works best for them but this Stunt Puppy leash is so soft and easy to hold on to without giving me leash or rope burn. And it’s locally made in Minnesota! I love that it has a buckle that can go around your waist, but it also has a handle down by the collar.
The closer to the collar you can hold the dog, the more control you have. Even if this leash isn’t the leash for you, I would highly suggest finding one that is comfortable and easy to hang out to without giving you a rope burn.
By far, my number one fav! Soft material, can clip around your waist, gives extra bungee to help with pulling, and a handle by the collar for an easy grip.
Harbor Hound Co
This is a biothane, waterproof style leash that is trendy, comfortable, and functional. You can add an extra handle down by the collar clip for ultimate control
Collars are obviously up to you! There are just so many things to consider when it comes to finding a collar that is right for you.
I have a stunt puppy which you can find at the link below, but I also really love the martingales, as it pulls tight as the dog pulls so that they cannot get out of the collar.
Neck sizes vary, Cash is 21″ neck size so finding a collar around that size would be good if you don’t know the neck size of the dog you are bringing home just yet. You can always ask your foster if getting your dog from a rescue though keep in mind necks can be sensitive areas.
This type of collar is made to have an extra loop that pulls tight as your dog pulls so their head cannot escape. The extra loop can be the same collar fabric, or is often times a chain. Either one works just the same!
This is great for everyday wear when walking your dog, training your dog, etc. As a safety precaution I highly encourage these collars to be removed when your dog is unsupervised/left home for the day.
This is a standard collar that adjusts to the size of your dog's neck. Typically the most commonly sold and expected. Unfortunately this collar is not for a pup early on in training in most cases. Of course we all want our dog to be able to be trained in loose leash walking with a flat collar, but it's hard to do! Basically, I feel like this collar is used for the looks and ease of a collar.
This isn't very common but it's such a great concept. Similar to the martingale, it pulls tighter around the dogs neck when they pull. The difference here is that there isn't a "stopping point" so you don't have to size it just perfect because no matter how tight you pull, the collar is pulling too. Also a great training tool.
Cash and I spent a ton of money trying to find a harness that works for him, and what works for him doesn’t work for everyone. Finding our what works best is often the hardest part when preparing for your Great Dane because each dog is different. Here is what I have found typically works great for our big dogs.
Sporn No Pull Harness
This is what Cash uses. It honestly fits every dog that has come into rescue because it’s one that sinches tight as they pull so there is a lot less adjusting and fitting that needs to happen.
This has a clip in front and on the back, some people will hook up both sides to a leash for ultimate control. I tend to see a lot of heavy danes wearing this type of harness.
This harness was hard for us to fit to Cash. The shoulders are very wide for Cash based on the size he needed around his chest area. When he would walk, it would hang low on him causing some issues walking. However, I know a ton of people that use this harness and when it is fitted properly, is a great option!
I have a few fosters that use this harness. It has a handle on the back which is nice for control. However, I have seen some dogs get out of this harness before so it makes me a little more nervous. Overall, many people love it, as always just make sure it’s fitted.
They say if you can control the head, you can control the whole body. While these didn’t work for us, they work for many. So, I’ve included some gentle leaders that might also be helpful as well if you want to go that route.
You can read more about the difference between the two over at That Mutt!
This is a head collar that fits around your dogs muzzle and connects to their leash. When they pull, it pulls right on their nose.
The halti is also a head collar that fits around the dogs muzzle but it also connects to their collar. So you can have extra control of both the muzzle and the neck instead of straining one way or the other. For larger danes I typically suggest the halti over the gentle leader.
Some people recommend elevated dog bowls and others don’t. While you continue researching and preparing for your Great Dane, you’ll find extensive research in both directions. Cash drinks from the floor but eats from about 12″ off the floor in an elevated dish. Listen to your dog, and feel free to do what works best for you! Stainless steel bowls are best to clean and keep free of bacteria.
Make sure your bowls can hold about 3-4 cups of food at a time!
There are SO MANY options.
Costco has these 42″ circle ones that are the most affordable for their quality! Many dane owners take advantage of these beds.
Big Barker are the one’s that are huge, spendy, and totally worth it. They seem to like the headrest beds the best if Cash could choose.
I’m sure that there are so many more, just find one big enough! You want to find measurements of about 30″x50″ or somewhere close, give or take.
There is a lot of chatter about food. If you would like to have a grain free diet then, Victor, Fromm, and Holistic Select are great options. If you want to feed a grain inclusive food, I would recommend Victor, Nutrisource, or Fromm there as well. These can be found at Chuck N Dons. Of course when it comes to food you can also find it on Amazon, or Chewy.com, and what you feed will likely be dependent on what the dog is currently eating.
I’ll be getting a new post about about food soon, so circle back!
I got this cargo liner after I got my car detailed recently and it that has been seriously amazing.
Here is the natural flea and tick preventative that I prefer. You can even spray your yard down which is soooo helpful!
Preparing for your Great Dane can be overwhelming, and I’m sure I’m missing things but these are the initial basics. Treats and toys are an obvious addition but you can see what your new pet enjoys and go from there! If you have specific questions or need ideas, send them my way,
I’m happy to help!
Friday 15th of July 2022
Do you have recommendations for booties?
Friday 28th of October 2022
Yes! I have a post specifically for winter gear, you can find that here:5 Winter Gear Items You Can’t Live Without!