What Exercise Should a Great Dane Do?

Great Danes are stunning creatures which are revered all over the world for their grace, immense power, and majesty. Also referred to as ‘Apollo of Dogs’, the Great Danes were initially bred to demonstrate loyalty, patience, courage and above all, size and sheer strength.  However, many owners of Great Danes today will tell you that their dog is a total couch potato, which is a far cry from what many would expect with such a breed.   

Great Dane running

Great Danes require some exercise every day to keep them healthy. However, compared to the activity needs of many other dogs, Great Danes only need average to low levels of activity.  30 to 90 minutes of activity such as a walk, fetch games, or a visit to the dog park is sufficient. 

I have compiled the following fun activities you can do together with your Great Danes to stay active, fit, healthy, and to have fun.

Things to Remember When Exercising Your Great Dane 

If you own a Great Dane, there’s probably nothing you and your per enjoy more than going outside and getting some exercise together. It helps build your relationship and keeps both of you healthy while at it.   However, you must be careful when doing so because like other large dogs, Great Danes are more prone to injuries and joint issues as a result of excessive exercise, particularly if their bones are yet to develop enough to support such activity.  Before deciding on an exercise routine for your Great Dane, we always recommend that you consult a vet to advise you on what you can do and what you should avoid.

The Classic Dog Walk  

Nothing beats a pleasant walk when it comes to getting your dog some regular exercise. Exercising together with your dog can be as simple as visiting the local park or taking a stroll down the street. If you want to crank up the intensity, you can mix it up with short intervals of running, jogging or high stepping to boost the heart rate and consequently burn more calories. However, keep the intensity level to what seems comfortable for your dog; don’t overdo it.  

To ensure you cover all the bases, take your walks on various surfaces like concrete, sand, earth, shallow waters, rough surfaces, snow, and others. Use obstacles like trees, benches, logs and ditches for the dog to crawl under, jump over or balance on. Keep the jump heights low until you’re confident that your Great Dane can handle it.  

Great Dane with toys

Fetch Games  

Dogs enjoy a good game of fetch. For Great Danes, fetch races are more than just a game. They can also be a great way to exercise your Great Dane right in your back yard. However, don’t do it the old-fashioned way with sticks – they can splinter and cause injuries to your pet. Instead, grab your Dane’s favorite toy and toss it around. Feel free to race your dog to see who gets to the toy first.   Fetch races are easy and fun to do, and they can be a regular source of exercise for your Great Dane at home.   

Dog Tag

This is a classic childhood game that can be a great way to exercise your Great Dane as well as lots of fun for both of you. It merely involves you and your Dane chasing each other down for a few minutes. It will burn a few calories and at the same time, make your bond with the dog stronger.

However, you should still be careful to avoid injuring your pet or yourself while doing it. The game can also bring out some aggressive behavior in your dog, so be on the lookout.   

Dogstacle Course  

This is meant to provide a different form of exercise that works on muscles that other forms of exercise probably won’t. You can create your own Dogstacle course in your backyard by placing some fitness steps or other similar household items around the backyard. Next, place your Great Dane on a leash and guide him through the course at a reasonably quick pace.

Your Dane will be in constant motion and will definitely love spending some quality time with you. You can squeeze in some exercise for yourself by exercises like push-ups and squats as your pet moves through the course.

Dog Park  

A dog park is like a huge dog birthday party, and aerobics classes all rolled into one. It provides a wide space for your Great Dane to explore and meet other dog breeds. You can take your Dane to the park by yourself or have some friends bring their dogs and turn it into an exercise party of sorts. However, remember that your Great Dane will probably be much larger than the other dogs at the park so make sure that you’ve done proper socialization and behavioral work with the dog to keep him friendly and relaxed in a dog park environment.   

Red Dot Rally  

A simple laser pointer can be a source of endless hours of pure fun and exercise for your Great Dane. It can be a great indoor activity when it’s too cold or rainy to go outside for exercise. However, do not shine the laser directly in your pet’s eyes, and when playing inside, move breakable items to other rooms as your Dane can easily knock them over when too excited.

Out and About  

There are usually community events such as 5k runs or beach events where you and your Dane can exercise together with many other pets and their owners. Such events can be a fun way to build your relationship with your Dane and give him the exercise he needs.  


Do not leave your Great Dane at home on your next hiking trip. Danes love being out in nature and exploring new places. It provides mental stimulation and can be a great form of exercise for you and your pet. Do not forget to bring the leash with you and choose a trail that has the right length, elevation, and degree of difficulty for your pet. Also, bring enough water and treats to keep your dog well hydrated and happy. 

Great Dane in mountains

Best Exercise for Great Dane Puppies  

Just like the adults, Great Dane puppies also need exercise, but you need to be more careful with them.   For a 1-year-old or less puppy, you want to take it easy with the exercise to protect its delicate bones and joints.

The rapid development that the puppy is experiencing puts him at more risk of injuries if the exercise is too strenuous.   Excessive exercise for Great Dane pups can lead to problems such as hip dysplasia or other joint and bone problems when they’re still young. To protect your pup’s ligaments and joints, you should avoid the following: 

a) Running or jogging on hard surfaces like concrete.  

b) Playing on slick or slippery surfaces such as tiles, wet ground, and others.  

c) Jumping from tall heights such as the pick-up bed or SUV. You might want to avoid Dogstacle courses for pups.  

d) Roughhousing or wrestling.   

The best exercise for Great Dane pups involves short walks several times per day, moderate indoor and outdoor games such as fetch or red dot, and lots of socialization.  

Good natured as Great Danes are, they definitely need early socialization to expose them to different people, places, sights, sounds, and experiences while they’re still puppies. It ensures that they grow up to be well-rounded dogs.   

Great Dane puppy running

Precautions to Take When Exercising Your Great Dane  

Ask your vet about your pet’s unique requirements. Different Danes have their own individual exercise requirements depending on various factors such as their age, size, health condition, among others. After careful examination, your vet should be able to advise you on the best ways to exercise your Dane for the best results.  Your vet should also tell you if it’s safe or not to take your dog to dog parks based on their vaccination status.

Do Not Over Exercise Puppies  

Too much exercise for puppies will negatively affect their musculoskeletal development, which can cause lifelong problems for your pet. Ask your vet for advice on the best way to exercise your pup.   

Be Careful at Dog Parks  

Sometimes dog parks can be overwhelming for some dogs. Great Danes are large dogs, and they can sometimes draw too much attention at dog parks. It can even inadvertently bring out some aggressive behavior in your Dane. Watch out for how your pet interacts with other dogs and people. 

Be Careful on Snow  

When walking with your Dane in the snow, be careful as it can be slippery. Also, the salt treatment on roads may sting your dog’s feet. 

Watch Out for Overheating  

Dogs can quickly overheat when exercising in warm temperatures. Signs of overheating include excessive panting, drooling, confusion and vomiting. If you see these signs, move your dog to a cooler place before applying cool water to their fur. You can also fan them to cool things down quickly.  

Watch Out for Any Signs of Fatigue  

The last thing you want is your Dane exercising when already too tired. Signs of fatigue include excessive panting, stopping, lagging being, and slowing their pace. If you notice these signs, allow your dog to rest before going back home.

Related Questions

How much does a Great Dane sleep?

An average healthy adult Great Dane will sleep between 16 to 18 hours per day. This can change depending on the age of the dog, with pups and old dogs sleeping more and its health.

Will a Great Dane destroy my house? Great Danes are a sensitive breed of dog and require companionship and close contact with their owners. Without this close contact Great Danes can become destructive, depressed and aggressive. This can lead to your dog destroying its living area.  

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