Hi there, today we're going to talk about the Miniature Great Dane. Have you ever heard of this breed? Their name is a kind of contradiction, so when I heard about this breed, I didn’t believe that such a thing existed at first.
But surprisingly, Miniature Great Danes are a thing. This miniature dog breed is a pocket-sized version of those gentle giant breeds we all love. I am currently fostering a great Dane, and I am so in love with her. So I got interested in delving into the story of the smaller version of my giant size pup.
What is a Miniature Great Dane?
The Miniature Great Dane is a smaller version of the Great Dane breed. These dogs are also known as Teacup, Pocket, or Mini Great Danes.
These miniature dogs are like compressed copies of Great Danes — the looks, the big personality, and the gentleness of the breed in a smaller package.
Contrary to popular belief, Miniature Great Danes are not hybrid dogs. They’re not a new designer breed that just cropped up. A miniature Great Dane is still a purebred Great Dane because it does not have the genes of other breeds in its DNA.
However, because they do not conform to Great Dane breed standards, Miniature Great Danes are not recognized by the AKC, or the American Kennel Club.
How Mini Great Danes Are Created
There are three ways that Mini Great Danes are created, and these are:
1. Purposefully breeding less than standard size Great Danes together to create a more petite version of the giant breed dog.
2. Dwarfism genes may have passed from the parents on to the offspring or they were the result of a genetic mutation.
3. Purposefully breeding Miniature Great Danes with the dwarfism gene.
The third scenario, though, uses highly unethical breeding practices and is frowned upon. To intentionally breed a dog by drawing out the recessive traits is wrong and carries with it several possible health risks. We will discuss that point in this article further on.
Although the mini Dane is a purebred Great Dane, it is not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club as a separate breed.
Fast Facts About The Mini Dane
- Pedigree: Pure breed
- Parent Breed: Great Dane
- Breed Group: Companion
- Breed size: Medium size
- Height: Around 20-26 inches tall
- Weight: 90lbs
- Energy level: High energy
- Lifespan: 6-8 years
What Do Miniature Great Danes Look Like?
Miniature Great Danes resemble their larger cousins. In fact, the only difference between the two is the size. The two kinds of Great Danes both share the same build and muscular physique, except the Mini Great Dane is much smaller in size.
They have a long, narrow head that is flat on top. Their eyebrows are prominent, and their ears are usually floppy. The eyes are dark and round.
The body is quite long and muscular with straight front legs and medium-length tail.
Quite unlike what their name suggests, Mini Great Danes are not small or toy dogs. In fact, they’re quite big too. A Miniature Great Dane size is anything that’s smaller than Great Dane breed standards. Since Great Danes are giant breed dogs, you can imagine that Mini Great Danes are still quite large in stature.
Markings and Coat Color and Texture
Miniature Great Danes can come in a variety of coat colors and markings. They can have a solid coat in black, blue, fawn, brindle, or harlequin, or they can have a combination of two or more of these colors. Their coats can be smooth or slightly rough in texture.
Personality and Temperament
The Mini Great Dane temperament is as you’d expect from a breed that’s known for being chill. Miniature Great Danes are known for their gentle, loving, and loyal personalities. They are great with children and make excellent family pets. And they will guard your home too!
They are also very social dogs and enjoy being around people. They typically get along well with other animals they are raised with, but some of this smaller breed can get aggressive with other dogs they do not know. If you want a friendlier pet, early socialization is key.
Miniature Great Dane pups enjoy playing games and going on walks. They’re not really all that laidback as some claim because these dogs can be high energy, and Mini Great Dane puppies are even more so. But they can swing from being super playful to being content as lap dogs in a jiffy. In fact, they have a tendency to relax in couches, and look for all the world like couch potatoes.
Miniature Great Danes are intelligent dogs and are easy to train. I don’t have a Miniature Great Dane, but I do have a lovable Great Dane who is super sharp and intelligent. Since the smaller version mirrors the larger Great Dane in everything but size, I can personally vouch for the cleverness and quick-wittedness of this breed.
These Mini Great Danes are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise. They are also very alert and make excellent watchdogs.
Unfortunately, Great Danes are one of a few breeds with a short life span. Generally, giant breed dogs have a shorter life expectancy than smaller breed pups. There is no evidence that the life expectancy of Miniature Great Danes will be better, although since they are smaller they might just live longer than their bigger versions.
However, if you got your Mini Great Dane dog from an unscrupulous backyard breeder, chances are that your dog’s life will be even shorter because breeders who intentionally breed for the dwarfism gene will probably hide all the medical conditions that come with it.
Dogs who carry the dwarf gene can have chronic health problems, such as skeletal problems and joint pain. If you suspect that the Mini Great Dane breed pup you have is carrying dwarf genes, go to your vet immediately. They may prescribe medication to help your dog’s bones grow stronger.
Not all Mini Great Danes are a result of breeding for dwarfism. Some are runts of the litter and will be naturally smaller. Some are bred from the smaller-than-standard Great Danes (but don’t carry dwarf genes).
The key here is to choose a responsible breeder who will ensure that your pet is healthy and sound. And with proper care, your Miniature Great Dane will live a a healthy and full life.
Conditions that Mini Great Danes are prone to:
Miniature Great Danes, like any other breed, are prone to certain health issues. Some of the health issues that Miniature Great Danes may face are the same as those faced by Great Dane dogs.
- Bloat – It’s a condition where gas or food stretches a pupper’s tummy, causing it abdominal pain. It’s a common occurence in large dogs or deep-chested ones, although it can happen to any breed. Most often, bloat is caused by eating or drinking too fast. Older dogs and those that weigh about 99 pounds or over carry a higher risk of bloat.
- GDV – Or Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, is the severe form of bloat. When this happens, blood flow to the stomach and lower part of the body is cut off. It’s a serious health emergency that may result in stomach rupture, spleen injury, and even death.
- Hip Dysplasia – Great Dane dogs are prone to hip dysplasia and it’s assumed that the mini ones are too. Dog owners of Mini Great Dane puppies are encouraged to have a screening done for their pet at 16 weeks of age to determine the severity or prevent it altogether.
- Happy Tail – The tails of these lap dogs are exceptionally long. Combine that with the enthusiasm of an average Great Dane dog and you can get a tail that is injured from constantly hitting solid objects.
Great Danes aren’t known barkers, and neither are the miniature dogs. In fact, Great Dane dogs are considered one of the quietest of all dog breeds. But they do have a booming voice so if they want to alert you to something, your whole street will probably be alerted too.
History of the Mini Great Danes
The history of the Miniature Great Dane is not well-documented, as it is a relatively new breed. It is believed that Miniature Great Danes were first bred in the United States by breeders selectively breeding for the smaller version of the giant breed dogs.
Parent Breed: The History of The Great Dane
Great Danes are large breed dogs that are of Germanic descent. Thought to be around 400 years old, Great Dane dogs were originally bred as hunting dogs and for protecting estates and carriages of the nobility.
Today, some are still used for hunting, although for the most part, these large breed pups are kept as companions.
Caring for the Miniature Great Dane
Caring for a Miniature Great Dane is similar to caring for any other dog. They require regular exercise, a healthy diet, and plenty of love and attention.
Miniature Danes are highly active dogs and require regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. They enjoy going for walks, playing in the yard, and participating in other physical activities. They have a lot of pent-up energy that it is wise to help expend most of it through physical exercise so that they will be content to loll on your couch for the rest of the day or night instead of pacing or barking.
A Mini puppy will require lots of exercise of about 30 minutes each session. (About two to three sessions may be needed since puppies are very active.) As they grow into adulthood, their energy levels will decrease. Only 30-60 minutes of exercise daily will be needed.
Visit dog parks to introduce your puppy to other dogs and help him socialize.
Your pocket Great Dane will also need mental stimulation to arrest boredom. Since the breed is prone to bloat, a slow feeder will not only help prevent bloat but also provide mental enrichment. The slow feeder acts as a sort of puzzle for the dog to figure out how to access its food.
Maintenance and Grooming
Like their bigger counterparts, Miniature Great Danes are low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They do shed, but only lightly. Because they have such short coats, you only need to brush these miniature dogs a few times per week to get rid of loose hair.
Regular bathing is needed for these gentle pups to maintain shiny coats and healthy skin. But don’t do it too often, or you’ll risk drying up their sensitive skin. Every six to eight weeks is fine, unless your Mini Great Dane dog has managed to get really dirty.
Regular brushing can keep your miniature dog healthier and free from dental decay. Unlike humans, most dogs do not care for brushing the teeth so start them young and do it with consistency.
A thorough dental exam and cleaning is only needed once a year.
Dental chews are also excellent in preventing tartar buildup, and as a bonus, dogs love these treats!
Your Miniature Great Dane is also drooler. Their facial construction is not suited to keeping saliva in. You might notice that it also gets worse after eating, drinking, or exercise. This is quite normal for them.
While drooling can’t be helped, you can work with it by tying a bib around your dog’s neck to absorb the saliva as it falls. And if you’re going on a trip, feed your Mini Great Dane at least three hours before to minimize the drooling in your car.
Training is an essential part of caring for a Miniature Great Dane. These dogs are intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement training techniques. It's important to start training your Miniature Great Dane at a young age to ensure that they grow up to be well-behaved and obedient dogs who are non-aggressive to other pets.
At just before 12 weeks of age, get your Miniature Great Dane exposed to new experiences. Introduce it to other people, animals, and places. This is an important step in helping it learn socialization.
Miniature Great Danes require a healthy, balanced diet to maintain their health and energy levels. As much as possible, feed them dog food that starts with an animal protein. Although dogs are omnivores, they need meat most of all to help with developing and maintaining lean muscle mass.
And since are prone to health issues, such as hip dysplasia, look for dog food that contains joint support supplements. Keep the calories low so that your Miniature Great Dane does not gain weight too much and put lots of pressure on his joints, but keep the protein high so that he will have enough to fuel his muscle growth and taste for playtime.
Raising a Miniature Great Dane Puppy
Caring for a Miniature Great Dane can be a rewarding experience, but it also requires a lot of time, effort, and patience. Puppies require a lot of attention and care in their early months to ensure they grow up to be healthy and well-adjusted adults.
One of the most important aspects of caring for a Miniature Great Dane pup is providing them with a safe and comfortable living space. Puppies should have their own space, such as a crate or pen, where they can feel secure and comfortable. It's also important to puppy-proof the house, removing any potential hazards and making sure they can't get into anything dangerous.
Feeding a Miniature Great Dane puppy a healthy and balanced diet is also important. Puppies need to be fed smaller, more frequent meals than adult dogs.
Regular veterinary care is essential for the health and well-being of your Miniature Great Dane puppy. They should receive regular check-ups, vaccinations, and parasite prevention treatments.
Provide crate training for your small dog starting at around eight weeks. This is a helpful way to teach your small dog to hold it in until it is let out to poop and pee. There might be a few accidents at the start, so use puppy pads and place them around your house.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Miniature Great Dane
Like any breed, there are pros and cons to owning a Miniature Great Dane. Here are some of the main pros and cons to consider before getting a Miniature Great Dane:
- They’re good companions. A well-trained and socialized Miniature Great Dane makes a great family pet. They’re good with children, are calm, and generally speaking, quite loyal.
- They’re pretty smart. Your Miniature Great Dane is highly intelligent and easy to train.
- They’re protective. The Miniature Great Dane is really just a Great Dane, only more compact. The large breed dog was originally created to protect assets and people, so they make good watchdogs too.
- They’re meant for those with a moderately active lifestyle. Miniature Great Dane dogs are energetic but not too much. They love a good exercise, but will be quite docile and happy with being on your lap too.
- There are some health problems associated with the breed. Your Miniature Great Dane is prone to certain a few health concerns, such as hip dysplasia and bloat. And if you’re getting it from anywhere but a responsible breeder, there may be more health problems in store for you in the future.
- Some of the larger ones may need more space. A smaller dog may be fine with a small apartment setting, but larger ones (those that are nearer in size and weight to the standard-sized Great Danes will need a lot of room.
- They’re not as small as you think. Some people are misled by the “mini” attached in front of the Great Dane breed. They’re not teacup size, and they’re definitely not toy dogs. The Miniature Great Dane size is just a tad bit smaller than your usual Great Dane pooch. But for the most part, they are still considered a large dog or a medium-sized one.
The Miniature Great Dane is a more manageable version of that giant breed that I know and love. They’re everything that a Great Dane is but in a smaller package.
Although some unscrupulous individuals may try and use particular breeding practices that are unsavory and unethical, there are also many breeders that I know who stick to doing what is right. The trick is finding responsible breeders who will ensure that the Mini Great Dane you get is free from health issues and who genuinely love the dogs that they raise.
I know from experience that the Great Dane is one big goofy and loveable dog, and based on this, I know that you will en joy your Mini Great Dane too.