I’m not an expert on all dogs, but I like to think I’m an expert on my dogs. So, I’m here to share with you some knowledge I have on the two breeds we own.
When we first decided to get a dog we were not yet married, and I (the person who would actually be keeping the dog) lived in a one bedroom apartment. We were both going to school at the time, so it may not have been our best decision, but we still wouldn’t change a thing! Our first was a female Great Dane, Callie, and our second was a male Golden Retriever, Ruger. Callie is now 2 years old, and Ruger is 4 months.
“Do you have a saddle for that ‘thing’?”
“That ‘thing’ is taller than you are!”
“Does ‘it’ live in the house?”
“I bet ‘it’ eats you out of the house!”
Yeah. We’ve pretty much heard it all. Nope, no saddle. Yes, she is taller than me. Yes, she lives in the house. No, she actually doesn’t eat any more than a normal dog. Can we continue on our walk now?
If you are wanting a Dane, these are some of the comments you should prepare yourself for. At first all of the stares and comments make you swell with pride a little, like “yeah, my dog is awesome” or “wow, we’re basically famous now”, but after about a weeks worth of walks, you’ll be over it.
Great Danes are actually incredible dogs to have, though. You obviously need to be okay with sharing your space because they have zero sense of personal boundaries, and, well, they’re huge. You will try and fail at keeping her off the couch and/or bed, but you won’t really care because she is the best cuddle buddy in the world. Who needs a body pillow when you have a Great Dane??
Danes are incredibly smart and super easy to potty train because they have larger than normal bladders. Callie was fully potty trained for my apartment within a couple of weeks. Travel potty training took a little while longer to master, but I was still very impressed!
Now, when I say Danes are incredibly smart, I mean it. But they also have a huge attitude to match their massive size. In my experience, Danes don’t live to please you like a Lab or a Golden does. Callie’s personality is more like that of a teenager’s. She sighs when we tell her to move, sleeps in all morning long (seriously, don’t try to wake her), and gives you the evil eye when you talk about her. We rarely give her commands. We tried that, and it was a vain attempt. Instead, we talk to her like a person.
“Do you want to go see Nana?”
“Come on, let’s load up!”
“Callie, don’t you even think about going after that cat!”
Honestly, 99% of the time your Dane is going to do whatever she wants to do. Some may say this is a parenting fail on our end, but I say no harm, no foul. Her personality is loving, and she never really gets into too much trouble anyway. Except the time she chewed up my Harry Potter book (she was still teething) to spite me for going grocery shopping. Not cool, Callie. Not cool.
Great Danes don’t shed as much as a long-haired dogs, but their short, wiry hairs feel like splinters lodged in every piece of fabric you own. Shedding is just part of the game when you own any type of dog though, so get used to it.
Because Great Danes are so big, they are more prone to bloat (twisting of the stomach). This can be life-threatening, so it’s very important to read up on steps to take in order to avoid it. We never let Callie eat immediately before or after activity, and we feed her a high quality dog food where some sort of real meat is the first ingredient, NOT meat bi-product. As puppies, Danes also need a low protein content so that they don’t grow too quickly. Growing slowly allows theirs bones to develop strong, thus decreasing the chances of joint problems like hip dysplasia later on.
Sadly, Great Danes have a very short life expectancy (7-10 years), but they are one of the coolest and most fun dogs you will ever own. That’s a fact, not my opinion.
IT’S SO FLUFFY, I’M GONNA DIE!!!
Okay. Sorry. Minion reference. I had to.
But seriously, that is exactly what was going through my mind when we first got our Golden Retriever, Ruger. He was pure fluffball, and yes it was absolutely adorable, but I was not looking forward to all of the shedding I knew would accompany his presence in our home. Y’all are thinking I’m crazy now, right? Why would she get a Golden Retriever if she didn’t want a dog that sheds a lot?
Well, let me tell you. I’m a sucker for puppies, and my sweet sweet husband has been wanting a hunting companion for years now, so I finally caved. If you ask him, he would tell you I begged for another dog, specifically a Golden, but that is just absolutely false… maybe. I did, however, tell him that I would not allow him to get a Lab, and that it would have to be a Golden or some other kind of retriever. I am generally not a fan of Labs for many reasons, so sorry if that offends you!
Sooooo Ruger is our duck dog. He is nearly 4 months old now, and a total champ. He catches, but doesn’t kill (because of his soft grip), baby birds in our backyard on the regular. Apparently, that’s a really good quality to have in a bird dog. We just celebrated the 4th of July, and he didn’t pay any attention to the fire works at all, meaning he most likely won’t be scared of gunfire when we start introducing it, which is good. He also started swimming like a pro right off the bat! Braton was beaming with pride at his little buddy lol. So, yeah, those 3 qualities are unique to his hunting abilities, but let me tell you about him as a pet because he’s amazing.
Ruger is also ridiculously smart, but unlike Callie, he lives to please, which is a nice change in pace for us. He knew his name and how to sit within the 1st day or two of us having him. In addition, he now knows how to lay down, heal, stay, fetch, and go to his kennel, and he’s very very obedient with those commands most of the time (he is still a pup, after all). I would even venture to say he is 100% potty trained… knock on wood!!
One of the reasons I chose a Golden over a Lab is because they generally have a calmer temperament, and Ruger has proven this to be true. It probably helps that his older sister wins the prize for world’s laziest dog, but he is really pretty chill. He is still a puppy, so he obviously needs play time, but most of the time he just hangs out, chews on a toy, or sleeps. He is always always always happy and smiling. Even when we get on to him for doing something he shouldn’t, he just sits there and smiles out us. It’s impossible to stay mad for long.
His sleeping preferences are polar opposite to Callie’s. He actually prefers to sleep on the hard ground, which is definitely a nice change for us after having Callie who will stand up all day long until you give her a couch or soft bed to lay on (spoiled much??). Unfortunately, he has begun to shed quite a bit, as expected, but with regular grooming we have been able to keep it under control.
I thought I was totally hooked on Great Danes, but now that we have a Golden Retriever, I am totally hooked on them as well. Callie brings the sass, and Ruger brings the comedy. There is never a dull moment in our household, that’s for sure!
If you are a young, single or married, college student I totally recommend getting a dog! Yes, they can be an extra expense, but they have also cut our entertainment expenses down drastically. We don’t go out every weekend or go party with our friends nearly as much because it’s just so dang fun to hang out with our dogs! You’ll never feel alone in the world with a dog to keep you company. They can help you stay fit too! I have found that for someone like me who doesn’t love to exercise, it’s a lot more fun to get out and be active when you have a dog who demands it.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed my take on owning a Great Dane and a Golden Retriever! Here are some more pics of our dogs, for those of you who wish to see them. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more!