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english mastiff & great dane puppy care sheet

Giant breed puppies require unique care and nutrition compared to smaller breeds. We have highlighted some of the most important points to be aware of when caring for great dane puppies and english mastiff puppies below. Always consult a veterinarian for specific recommendations regarding your puppy.

Please do your research before purchasing a puppy. Read our checklist on Choosing the Right Puppy and Finding a Good Breeder for more questions you should ask when interviewing breeders and selecting your new puppy.

puppy care
nutrition and feeding
giant breed growth
great dane/mastiff health
training large breed dogs
behavior & training
responsible breeding

great dane & mastiff puppy nutrition

Nutrition plays a huge role in proper growth and development. Great Dane and Mastiff Puppies should never be fed a regular puppy food. In addition, the quality of ingredients in the food you choose and the amount fed are just as important. We feed our giant breed puppies Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Puppy. There's too much to say about feeding and nutrition to fit it all here, so check out the page on Great Dane and Mastiff Nutrition and Feeding for more information on this topic. >


Socialization is more than just taking your puppy out to play with other dogs - proper socializing involves exposing your puppy to all sorts of new experiences while they are young so they will be able to handle new and different situations as adults. Once you bring your puppy home, it will be up to you to teach them all of the things their mom would normally show them - exposure to new people, places, pets, objects, scents and noises is incredibly important. That being said, our vet recommended that we not take our puppies anywhere until they complete their vaccinations at 16 weeks, which makes socializing tricky.  Here are some ideas on socializing before it's safe to take your puppy out to public places:

Once your puppy has had the full set of vaccinations recommended by your vet, you can start exposing them to new places and pets. Visiting friends houses (especially if they have friendly pets) is a great way to get your puppy used to new things. Walks at a local park, trips to PetSmart, and enrolling in obedience classes are other great ways to socialize your puppy. Think about anything your puppy is not exposed to in your home that they are likely to be exposed to in someone else's home or in a public place, and get them used to these things. Some great danes and mastiffs have a higher prey drive than others, so interaction with small dogs and cats should be supervised so proper behavior (no chasing or pouncing) can be encouraged at a young age.

what not to do

exercise & giant breed puppies

Exercise is important, but don't over-do it. Not only will proper exercise provide your puppy with an outlet for all of that energy, it helps them develop muscle tissue which supports those heavy giant breed bones. Taking your great dane / mastiff puppy on a short walk every day can also help to establish a "pack" bond between you and your pup, and will begin socializing your puppy to familiarize him/her with different people, places and situations. If your puppy has not been fully vaccinated,  you may want to avoid public places until all shots are complete. Short games of fetch on a soft, non-slippery surface (carpet, grass) or practicing to walk on a leash around the house or backyard are a great alternative. You should not force your great dane or mastiff puppy to exercise if he/she does not want to or tires out. Jogging or allowing giant breeds to jump (from furniture or out of the SUV) is also not recommended until adulthood, 18-24 months. Read more about this on our Giant Breed Growth page. 


Most puppies loose the disease immunity they receive from their mother's milk some time between 6 and 16 weeks of age. Typically, vets recommend a series of puppy vaccinations every few weeks in an effort to minimize unprotected exposure to disease, but since there's not an easy way to tell when the vaccines take over and begin working, the safest plan is to avoid taking your puppy anywhere other dogs may have been until he/she has received the full series of puppy shots according to your vet's recommendations.

obedience training

Adult great danes and mastiffs are huge dogs and can easily overpower any owner if they are not properly trained and socialized. It is crucial that every great dane and mastiff masters a minimum of a few basic obedience commands. We like clicker training for puppies - check out Kokopelli Dog & Puppy Training.

Giant breed dogs that have not been properly trained tend to be banished from the house and receive little attention or exercise since they are so unmanageable. This in turn leads to destructive behavior like digging up your lawn or chewing up plants, or can lead to signs of separation anxiety like constant barking or chewing. Sadly, many great danes and mastiffs end up in shelters or at rescue organizations simply because no one bothered to teach them basic manners in the beginning and things spiral out of control. By enrolling in an obedience class now, you can learn how to teach your dog to behave properly, walk gently on a leash, and follow commands such as "off" and "sit" which are so important when they are giant adults.

encourage submission

There will be times when your puppy must allow strangers to touch them - for example, when being examined by a vet. You can make this easier on your pup by gently touching their feet, opening their mouth to check teeth frequently. If you expect to show your dog, begin stacking your puppy and get him/her used to being placed in certain positions for short periods of time. Gently rolling your puppy over onto his/her back places the puppy in a submissive position - this signals to them that you are in charge. Depending on the personality of your puppy, they may need this reminder daily. Placing your puppy on his/her side and requiring them to "settle" or lay still for a few seconds (gradually increasing the time as your puppy gets older) can be a helpful command when it's time for nail trimming or other grooming.


mydog8it.com a great dane puppy care sheet.
first regional animal hospital information on vaccines, house training.

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