Great Dane as Watch Dog or good Guard Dog

The “Apollo of dogs”, the Great Dane is one of the most iconic dog breeds. You get to know a lot of interesting facts only once you have this German breed with you. Great Danes are a protective breed as their main cause of breeding was either for hunting boars or to act as guardians.  Traditionally Great Danes were bred for the sole purpose of hunting and guarding because of their impressive size. In the middle of 16th century this dog breed was mostly used for hunting boars. But once hunting lost its popularity they were mostly used for guarding roles.

This article focusses on whether Great Dane be used as watch dogs or guard dogs.

However, people get a Great Dane not only because of their protecting power but also because they have ample other qualities which make them fit as a family dog.

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Great Danes are big dogs with a muscular and a long body, flat on top and narrow head, prominent eyebrows, forward dropping ears, long and strong neck, and medium-sized tail which tappers down below the hook and thicken at the base and so just their look can scare off intruders without any doubt. 

The elegant male Great Danes can go up to 32 inches tall and approximately between 140 to 175 lbs in weight whereas the female Great Dane can go up to 30 inches in height and about 110-140 lbs in weight. Great Danes come in a handful number of colours which include black or harlequin which is black patches on a white body and blue

However, don’t go on their looks as it might be deceptive. They can be extremely patient and loving and gentle by nature. Hence, they go by the name of ‘Gentle Giants’. At the same time they are also good guardians and watchful of their family and if needed they can be excessively defensive and excellent at ensuring your safety. 

General temperament of Great Dane

Generally speaking, Great Danes are usually social animals who are super friendly and loving to others. They even go along well with other animals if they are brought up together with them. These dogs are extremely gentle towards other animals, who are smaller than them.

They have a delightful nature and are great as family-friendly pets. If you have small children at your place, they will be your children’s happy mates. 

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Great Danes are said to be almost the size of a small horse but they are typically gentle and patient with others. Since they are large, these protective breeds are called gentle giants. However, gentle because they are usually calm and withstand the usual behaviour of small kids without getting irritated.

Their peaceful disposition and quality of being lapdogs will make them a beautiful addition to your family. They are family oriented and will do everything if needed to defend their family. They are extremely loyal dogs to their family. Although they possess guarding abilities but it’s somewhat muted in their characteristic. They do intervene only when they sense or perceive any potential threat.

The Great Dane is a natural guard dog and are gentle protectors and docile with children of small ages also. Even though found resting or sleeping at most times they are generally vigilant at all times.

With such a huge size and stature, it is enough to be sure that any intruder who is willing to approach your home will think twice before trespassing.

Difference between a guard dog and a watchdog

Great Dane dog

When the question comes to the fact of whether watchdogs or guard dogs are best to protect your place, they both do it perfectly but with their specialties. Using the terms synonymously is almost like saying that your receptionist in your doorkeeper works the same as your security guard.

Therefore, to make the understanding easier, watchdogs are not ferocious. Their only function is to alert their owner about an impending unusual threat detected. Hyper reactive dogs are not good as a watchdog but suit guard dogs or attack dogs. The perfect breed of watchdog should be intelligent and capable enough to determine whether the threat is real or fake. It should not harm the innocence but alert the people about the incoming risks. Irrespective of their size, watchdogs generally have a loud barking capacity and they continuously monitor the movement of the suspicious person while circling their owner to ensure their safety.

On the contrary, a guard dog is also capable of barking to alert its owner but is also quite capable of attacking and restraining the intruder from getting into the house. They initially try to restrain the threat from entering the house by only barking and scaring them. However, in case, it does not work, they move to plan B, which is, at times, attacking. 

Since watchdogs do not bite, they do not need excessive training. However, guard dogs have strong senses and, therefore, they need proper training to be able to determine whether it is a friend or a foe. If otherwise, the damage caused can be really serious. 

Is the Great Dane better as a Watchdog or a Guard Dog?  

Great Dane dog breeds

Well, after reading about these beautiful dogs the question that still lurks within our minds is whether or not Great Danes will keep you family safe. So, the answer is yes. They certainly will by acting as guardians of your family. But if you are looking to keep Great Danes to patrol the outside of a fence or any highly secure area Great Danes may not be a wise choice. We have other dog breeds like German Shepherd or Doberman or Rottweiler for those purpose. 

But if you are looking for a family guardian which by its sheer size or stature or its barking capabilities is enough to intimidate the intruder Great Danes can be a great option.

These family-friendly protective dogs, though are most gentle in comparison to it size  and of calm temperament can be aggressive when they sense someone is trying to help you harm you and they try to protect you at any cost. One of the major reasons why people prefer breeding Great Dane is for protection. They work as your protecting guardians and the best part is they are very easy to train. 

You might have come across this recent news from Okhlama city where a Great Dane named Dubai bites an intruder after he trespasses into a home. The big dog which initially accepted pets from the intruder transformed into an imposing guard dog on hearing a scream from the owner. Dubai charged the trespasser while barking and nipping at him. 

While all dogs have more or less guarding abilities it is important for owners to understand the level of guarding, they want their dogs to be. In most cases the intimidation factor combined with their watchful nature and barking ability is a good option to deter any threats.

Whilst they are persistent barkers, they will bark to alert you till they perceive something as threat to you or your family. They will also not leave the stranger and continuously monitor their movements unless they get a signal from their owners. They are gentle animals on home and mostly spend time sleeping or resting but the sight of stranger will certainly make them aware. They are most likely to confront an incoming threat and will let you know about them by their barking skills.

The exceptional characteristics of the Great Dane are something that makes it a brilliant option for families such as their watch dogs.

This is what a owner (Del Giudice) has to say about his Great Dane:-

​My Dane at 3 months old has high instinct for protection. Already had a situation where my Dane clued me into the presence of someone, I had no clue of.

How can you train Great Dane as watch dog or guard dog?

Some steps in which you can perfectly train your Great Dane to be an effective guard or watch dog are –

Start early 

When you start training your Great Dane early at the initial stages, it can end up being a great protective dog. The earlier you start, the better the results. You might take them to training classes and make them follow the commands. Since they’re really easy to teach, it can be proven as a smart option to start the training early at a young age.

Let them socialize

Let your Great Dane meet as many people and pets as you can. That will in turn help them build some confidence in themselves. A shy dog can never be an efficient guard dog or watch dog. So, need to let them socialize with people so that it understands human behaviour better. 

Taking commands 

Teach him some of the basic commands like when he has to lie down, sit or wait. You can make them understand those through different hand gestures and movements. This will help you gain better control over them and in panic situations, you will be able to control movements through your commands and thus proving itself as an obedient dog.


Treat them with delicious meals and give them verbal praises and encouragement whenever they behave like your protector. For instance, whenever they bark at a stranger who tries to touch or get in contact with something you are trying to protect, shower it with praises. Try to do this immediately after they bark at the person so that they can link them up and understand what they need to do when such situations arise. In this way, they will naturally develop the qualities of an efficient protecting guardians.


Q. Do Great Dane shed? 

Great Danes are moderate to heavy shedders. Although they shed moderately throughout the year but they shed heavily during the spring and fall season. The sheer size of Great Danes adds up to the volume of hair.

Q. Are Great Danes good with cats and other small animals?

Yes, Great Danes are known to be fairly cordial and friendly with other small animals and cats. These canines if raised properly with small animals including cats are happy to share their space and time with them.

Q. Which dog holds the Guinness record of being the tallest dog?

The tallest dog that ever lived was a Great Dane. With a height of 44 in and a weight of 70.30 kg the Great Dane named ‘Zeus’ was the tallest dog that ever lived. Zeus passed away at the age of 5 in September,2014.

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