Can A Great Dane Be A Inside Dog?


The Great Dane is one of the largest dog breeds, known for their imposing stature yet gentle temperament. They were originally bred to hunt large game like wild boar, and later became popular as estate guard dogs. However, more recently they have gained popularity as companion and family dogs. Despite their size, many Great Dane owners wonder if they can be adapted to live comfortably inside.

There is some debate around whether Great Danes are better suited as indoor or outdoor pets. Their large size leads some to believe they require ample outdoor space. However, their gentle temperament and desire to be near their family makes them oriented towards indoor living. With proper exercise and enrichment, many Great Danes thrive as inside dogs.


Great Danes are one of the largest dog breeds, with males reaching up to 32 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 100-120 pounds, while females may stand 30 inches tall and weigh up to 100 pounds ( When standing on their hind legs, Great Danes can be taller than most humans!

Due to their massive size, Great Danes require ample space to move around comfortably indoors. Owners will need to provide enough room for them to stand, lie down, and turn around without bumping into furniture or walls. Doorways may need to be widened to accommodate their broad shoulders. They will also need a very large crate and bed. Stairs can be difficult for this breed, so owners should provide ramps or limit access. Despite their giant size, Great Danes are gentle giants and with proper training and space, they can adapt well to indoor life.

Exercise Needs

Great Danes are a large breed that require moderate daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. According to veterinary experts, a half hour to one hour of exercise per day is sufficient for most Great Danes (source). Although they are quite large, Great Danes are not an overly active breed and do not require excessive amounts of exercise, especially while growing (source).

To meet a Great Dane’s exercise needs indoors, interactive playtime and short walks around the house are great options. Playing fetch down a hallway or up and down a set of stairs can get your Dane moving. Great Danes also love a good game of tug-of-war. Mental stimulation through obedience training or food puzzle toys is another excellent way to exercise their body and mind. Taking your Great Dane out in the yard several times a day to relieve themselves will also provide some fresh air and a change of scenery.

With proper daily indoor exercise, enrichment and attention, Great Danes can thrive as indoor pets. However, outdoor activities should be incorporated whenever possible for variety.


Despite their imposing size, Great Danes are known for having a calm, gentle temperament that makes them well-suited to life as indoor companion dogs. According to the AKC, Great Danes are generally playful, affectionate, and patient with children[1]. Hill’s Pet describes the Great Dane personality as gentle and moderately playful[2]. They are often referred to as “gentle giants” for their easy-going nature. Though they may bark at strangers, Great Danes are not aggressive watchdogs and do not have an inherent protectiveness or distrust of strangers. Their mellow temperament combined with their love of being around people makes Great Danes content to relax inside with their families.

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Proper training and housebreaking are critical for keeping a Great Dane inside successfully. Given their large size, Great Danes can easily wreak havoc inside and damage belongings if not properly trained. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key when housebreaking a Great Dane puppy. Establish a regular routine for taking your Great Dane outside to relieve themselves and praise/reward them for going in the right spot. As noted in this helpful article, setting a consistent routine is essential for housebreaking success: How to Potty Train a Great Dane. Patience and persistence are required, but Great Danes can be housebroken with the proper techniques. Consider crate training to help reinforce good potty habits and prevent accidents when unsupervised inside. Proper obedience training is also recommended to teach your Great Dane good indoor manners and curb undesirable behaviors like jumping, chewing, or barking. With consistent training and positive reinforcement, Great Danes can become trustworthy indoor companions. But a commitment to proper housebreaking and training is a must for keeping these giant breeds indoors.

Indoor Enrichment

Great Danes are large, energetic dogs that require physical and mental stimulation. Providing enrichment activities is crucial when keeping a Great Dane as an indoor dog. Enrichment helps prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. Great Danes will benefit from indoor play that satisfies their natural instincts to explore, forage and problem solve.

Great Danes love to play fetch indoors. Use soft balls and toys that are easy to grip and won’t damage floors or furnishings. Play hide and seek by hiding treats or toys around the house and letting your Great Dane hunt for them. Food puzzle toys provide mental stimulation as your dog figures out how to move parts and reveal treats. Snuffle mats allow your Great Dane to use their powerful sense of smell to find hidden kibble or treats. Rotate an assortment of chew toys to appeal to your dog’s urge to chew and prevent overuse of any one toy.

Get creative with DIY enrichment ideas. Stuff cardboard boxes and paper towel tubes with kibble and treats. Create homemade food puzzles from egg cartons, paper plates and tennis balls. Provide different scents and textures to spark curiosity through spices, herbs and bubble wrap. Building new creations from blocks, boxes and other household items allows your Great Dane to unleash their inner puppy. Get the whole family involved in fun games like indoor fetch, tug of war and hide and seek. Learn new tricks together to provide mental stimulation. With planning and supervision, enriching a Great Dane’s indoor experience is very achievable.

Health Considerations

Great Danes require special attention to health when kept indoors due to their large size and tendency for joint and bone issues. As puppies, their growth needs to be monitored to avoid growing too quickly, which can put excess strain on joints and bones. Feeding a high-quality large breed puppy food formulated for slower growth is recommended. Since Danes are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, providing padded indoor surfaces for them to lay on can make a difference in comfort. Danes also tend to have sensitive digestive systems, so feeding a high-quality diet tailored for large breeds can prevent issues like bloat or diarrhea. Their short lifespan and higher incidence of cancers like osteosarcoma means catching issues early with regular vet checks is key. Keeping their indoor environment clean and minimizing chemical exposures can also promote health. Overall, their size makes Danes more prone to injuries and mobility issues, so housing them indoors provides climate control and softer surfaces that are easier on their joints as they age.


Great Danes have some unique nutritional requirements due to their large size and rapid growth rate. According to, most experts recommend feeding Great Danes a premium dog food with protein levels no greater than 24% and fat levels between 12-14%. Their rapid growth can be exacerbated by feeding high-protein diets, leading to developmental issues.

It’s also important to feed Great Dane puppies multiple small meals throughout the day to support their growth and metabolism. The feeding schedule should be gradually transitioned to two meals per day by 12 months of age. Great Danes may continue to grow until they are 18-24 months old, so their nutritional needs can vary during this long development period. Monitor your dog’s body condition and adjust food amounts accordingly.

Some recommendations for feeding schedules by age:
– 8 weeks to 4 months: 3-4 meals per day
– 4 to 6 months: 3 meals per day
– 6 to 12 months: 2 meals per day
– 1 to 2 years: 1-2 meals per day

Make sure to provide access to fresh water at all times. Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your Great Dane’s diet or growth.

Settling In

Gradually acclimating a Great Dane puppy or adult dog to indoor life takes patience and proper techniques. When bringing a Great Dane indoors for the first time, start by keeping them in a limited area like a crate or small room to begin their adjustment. Provide comfort with familiar scents and give them time to explore calmly and positively reinforce their calm behavior with treats and praise. Slowly expand their access to more parts of the home as they demonstrate they can remain relaxed indoors. Use baby gates or leashes to maintain supervision during this transitional period. Be patient and understanding if accidents occur as the dog learns the new routine. Maintain a consistent schedule for feeding, walks, playtime and crated rest. Crate training can help a Great Dane feel secure in their new environment. Refer to crate training best practices from this source for tips like making it comfortable, providing treats and toys inside, and using it positively. Proper crate training and a gradual acclimation plan will help the Great Dane successfully settle into indoor home life.


In summary, Great Danes can absolutely be happy and healthy indoor dogs with the right care and training. Their large size requires adequate space and exercise, but their calm temperament makes them well-suited to indoor life. Providing proper nutrition, health monitoring, training, enrichment, and adjustments like ramps and raised bowls allows a Great Dane to thrive indoors. While they do require more planning and accommodation than a smaller breed, Great Danes form deep bonds with their families and can be wonderful housemates. With preparation for their needs and consistent training, a Great Dane can live a full indoor life alongside you and your family.

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