Hi all,I know that Great Danes should not do "a lot" of stairs, and should not climb any stairs until their joints have developed at around a year, but I can find little or no information on what they can handle in adult life without increasing the risk of hip dysplasia. We are about to get a Great Dane pup, if we're lucky, and we have two flights of stairs. She's from a good breeder with a history of no dysplasia and whose parents and grandparents have been screened and show(ed) no propensity toward it.

For the first couple of months we can carry her up and down, if we don't want her to have to live on the ground floor (I do artwork and things on the top floor, and they do like to be with their people). After that we will have to either leave her downstairs or build some sort of shallow ramps until she's at least a year old. It's after that I'm wondering about. When she is an adult, should we build ramps or can she do stairs a few times a day with no harm? They're pretty steep stairs with a sharp bend at the top and bottom.

Or is this one of those uniquely individual things to which there is no single answer?
Thanks,
Katrina
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I know that Great Danes should not do "a lot" of stairs, and should not climb any stairs until their ... find little or no information on what they can handle in adult life without increasing the risk of hip dysplasia.

Canine Hip Dysplasia has lots of causes, but climbing stairs is not one of them. Normal, everyday going up/down stairs should not really cause any problems, and you do in fact want your dog to learn when he is very young what it is like to negotiate stairs. Otherwise, you could end up with a very large dog who needs to be carried up and down.

What you do want to do in order to minimize the probability of CHD is to start with a puppy from health tested stock (OFA or PennHip on at least
3 generations), so you are getting a genetically sound dog. Minimizeorthopedic problems by feeding them a diet low in protein and fat - no puppy formulas, including large breed puppy formulas. Eagle makes a Giant Breed Puppy formula that Dane people consider acceptable. On the Dane board I'm on, the normal recommendation is for the dog to be fed kibble with Protein no higher than 23% and Fat in the 12-15% range. Feeding adult formulas that meet these guidelines is better than feeding puppy formulas that don't. There is a lot of Dane related information at www.greatdanelady.com.
You also want to minimize high impact workouts, ones that involve a lot of jumping. It is also recommended that you not run long distances with your puppy (especially on hard surfaces like pavement) until your dog is over 2 years old. You might want to consider joining a Dane list. If you email me, I can tell you which one I'm on.
I have a 3 year old Dane that I recently inherited from a friend. She actually has CHD and developed Juvenile Arthritis by the time she was a year and a half. Lived in a house with practically no stairs. Her problems stem from lousy breeding. She is not a very good example of the breed.
Suja
but I can find little or no information on what they can handle in adult life without increasing the risk of hip dysplasia.

HD is genetic, it's not caused by anything. If you have an HD dog, certain things can AGGRAVATE the condtion, but doesn't CAUSE it.

I have an 11 year old Dane and a split level house. He can still go up and down the stairs with no problem. Just because a dog is big does't mean it can't function (unless of course it does have some kind of crippling disease).

Dogstar716
My Dogs: http://hometown.aol.com/dogstar716/TheBoys.html
HD is genetic and the stairs won't cause it, but will make life harder if a dog has HD. We have stairs and there was no problem. Danes are beautiful animals; we've owned two. They are not economy dogs, and don't live very long.
Thanks, both of you. I had always read that stairs can cause hip and back dysplasia in giant breeds and aplastic breeds like daschunds and corgis. It's very encouraging to learn that the dog has to already have a predisposition. 11 years wow! Whatever you're doing, keep doing it! The average life span is 7 - 10 years, yes?
Thank you,
Katrina
but I can find little or no information on what they can handle in adult life without increasing the risk of hip dysplasia.

HD is genetic, it's not caused by anything. If you have an HD dog,certain things can AGGRAVATE the condtion, but ... big does't mean it can't function (unless of course it does have some kind of cripplingdisease). Dogstar716 My Dogs: http://hometown.aol.com/dogstar716/TheBoys.html
HD is genetic and the stairs won't cause it, but will make life harder ifa dog has HD. We have stairs and there was no problem. Danes are beautiful animals; we've owned two. They are not economy dogs,and don't live very long.

My husband grew up with them. Apparently, 25 years ago it was "well known" that they should not do stairs my guess is that people then weren't as up on the genetic causes as people today and that the dogs that were going to get it and had to climb stairs got it faster/earlier than the dogs who were going to get it and did not have to climb stairs. For the record, I'm in the Netherlands, and by American standards, even "wide, shallow" Dutch stairs look like some sort of deathtrap all stairs in houses and apartments here are quite steep and twist sharply at the top and bottom. Ours are carpeted, though, which is somewhat unusual here.
Yes, we're aware of the life span and it is heartbreaking, but they're worth it just to have one in one's home. Beautiful doesn't begin to cover it. They're also loyal, dignified, intellectual, cute as hell, loving... I could go on forever.
Thanks,
Katrina
Hi all, I know that Great Danes should not do "a lot" of stairs, and should not climb any stairs ... and bottom. Or is this one of those uniquely individual things to which there is no single answer? Thanks, Katrina

Katrina
You have already received some good and sound advice here. Something I "might" add however, would be to walk your young dog when going down stairs so he doesn't race down excitedly and accidentally fall or take a tumble. They are mostly much more sedate going up. Just hold on to his collar and make him walk with you.
I'd be interested to know what colour GD you have and you interests in the breed. Since you seem to have sought out a breeder more carefully than most, are you planning to show/breed?
Here are a few "very" good websites which you might like to study.

A nice GD site and forum for those who live in Europe http://www.sullyworld.co.uk/newforum/index.php
A great site to learn the History of the breed and see hundreds of rare Antique paintings and photos. Also has a message board for questions etc. http://groups.msn.com/THEGREATDANEINHISTORYANDART
This is a GD site which should be required reading for anyone considering breeding.
http://home.flash.net/~dby/chlinx.htm
This is a good forum with lots of knowledgeable folk who can answer questions.
http://www.danesonline.com /
There are many more but I don't need to overwhelm you. The above should be enough to get you started.
Congrats on your new pup.
EGD
Being in the Netherlands does add some important information here. The long body of a GD could have simple practical trouble fitting those stairs! Do you have a garden? Or do you have to walk the dogs 4 times per day?
Being in the Netherlands does add some important information here. Thelong body of a GD could have simple practical trouble fitting those stairs!

Luckily ours are unusually roomy for Dutch stairs, but they're still Dutch stairs. They may present a problem for a Dane, but a 110-pound mastiff/bulldog cross we had visiting had no trouble with them, although he went down them carefully.
Do you have a garden? Or do you have to walk the dogs 4 times per day?

Both. Small Dutch garden, so basically a tiny courtyard by American standards. But it's very roomy here indoors again, unusual for Amsterdam (North). We live right by a nature preserve and several areas of wide green fields and historical interest. We will train the dog to trot alongside the bicycle, too.
At the moment we're still trying to negotiate a small loan from family or friends to buy her wish us luck!
Katrina
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