Great Dane Howling: Find Out Why and What It Means

Howling is a common Great Dane behavior, however, when the behavior occurs frequently, it can be concerning and in some cases problematic to the people around.

So what does Great Dane howling mean? And what can you do about it?

We’ll delve into the various reasons why Great Danes howl and how to address this behavior when it becomes a problem.

What does it mean when a Great Dane howls?

Great Dane howling happens as a form of communication due to attention-seeking behavior, separation anxiety, frustration, boredom, fear, territorial behavior, and an underlying medical problem. The specific reason for howling varies between individual Great Danes and their specific circumstances.

By understanding the meaning behind your Great Dane’s howling, a solution to this common behavior problem can be put in place to address it.

great dane howling

Can Great Danes howl?

Yes, Great Danes can howl. Howling is a natural behavior in dogs, and it is not specific to any particular breed, including Great Danes. While some individual Great Danes may howl more than others, it is important to note that howling is part of a dog’s communication behavior.

If your Great Dane howls, it is usually nothing to worry about, and it is a natural part of their behavior.  It is therefore normal for Great Danes to howl. Howling is a natural and common behavior for Great Danes that serves various purposes, such as communication with other dogs, humans, and other animals.

However, excessive or prolonged howling that is out of the ordinary for your dog may indicate an underlying medical or behavioral problem that needs to be addressed.

Great Dane howling

Great Dane howling is a vocal form of communication much like barking or whining, used to express a range of feelings, including excitement, distress, and warning, as well as in response to various stimuli.

Understanding the reasons behind your Great Dane’s howling behavior is important in addressing it effectively and ensuring your dog’s well-being.

Related: Why doesn’t my Great Dane howl?

Reasons for Great Dane howling

Attention seeking behavior

Howling can be a way for Great Danes to get their owner’s attention, either for affection or to get something they want, such as food or a toy.

Great Danes naturally crave attention from both their owners and when they don’t receive enough of it, they might turn to howling to get it.

This can be especially true for Great Danes that are left alone for long periods of time and it occurs due to being anxious or lonely without their owner’s presence.

Additionally, attention-seeking behavior can be reinforced if a Great Dane succeeds in getting their owner’s attention through barking or howling. 

For example, if a Great Dane howls, and their owner immediately comes to them and offers attention, the Great Dane may learn that this behavior is an effective way to get what they want.

An attention-seeking Great Dane will also cry, paw, jump up, or follow you everywhere in order to get your attention.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common cause of howling in Great Danes. It is a condition in which a Great Dane becomes anxious or distressed when their owner leaves them alone, and they may also present a variety of behaviors as a result, including barking or howling.

Separation anxiety in Great Danes can stem from several triggers, like a change in their owner’s routine, a relocation, or the loss of a loved one.

It’s also frequently seen in Great Danes with a history of trauma or instability, or those separated from their mother and littermates at an early age.

Some Great Danes are very susceptible to separation anxiety because they are people-oriented dogs that thrive on human companionship. This means that they love being close to their human owners and family.

When separated from their owners, they tend to suffer from separation anxiety by feeling insecure. 

This is accompanied by other behaviors that include pacing, whining, and destructive behavior such as digging, or defecation in the house.


Howling by your Great Dane can be brought on by frustration. A Great Dane may howl if they are prevented from doing something they enjoy, such as playing with other dogs or exploring their surroundings, or if they are unable to get something they want, such as a toy that is out of reach.

A Great Dane may engage in a number of undesirable behaviors in times of frustration, including barking or howling as a coping mechanism.

It is important to recognize and address the root cause of the frustration in order to prevent or resolve this behavior.

See Also: Great Dane crying: Here’s why and what to do


When Great Danes howl, boredom can be a common cause. Great Danes need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy and if they don’t get enough of it, they might get bored and engage in negative behaviors like howling to pass the time.

When Great Danes are left alone for extended periods of time without anything to do, boredom can be particularly common. 

Great Danes who lack adequate room to roam and explore, or who lack access to toys or other forms of enrichment, may also experience boredom.

Underlying medical problem

In some cases, howling may be a sign of an underlying medical problem that is causing discomfort, pain, or a medical problem affecting their behavior.

If your Great Dane is howling due to illness, you may also notice other signs of sickness such as loss of appetite, weakness, or signs of pain. 

Look out for these symptoms and more unusual behavior changes which can be indicative that your Great Dane is unwell.

Fear and anxiety

Fear and anxiety also cause a Great Dane to howl. A Great Dane may feel anxious due to several reasons including the fear of loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms, separation anxiety, or unfamiliar situations or environments.

Great Dane fear and anxiety can have many different root causes, including past trauma or abuse, a lack of socialization or training, and adjustments to their environment or routine. 

When a Great Dane is fearful or anxious, they may howl as a way to cope with their emotions.

To stop this behavior, it is important to identify the source of the fear in order to put in place an appropriate solution.

Other fearful and anxious behaviors include pacing, panting, shaking, and hiding which may also be present in addition to howling. 

Territorial behavior

Territorial behavior is a common reason why Great Danes howl. Great Danes are naturally territorial, and they may bark or howl to protect their territory from perceived threats like other animals or strange people.

Territorial behavior can be particularly prevalent in Great Danes that have been raised to be watchdogs for their owners or trained to defend their homes. 

A Great Dane that is showing territorial behavior may bark, howl, wag its tail, and exhibit other actions meant to dissuade or repel the perceived threat, such as growling, lunging, or showing teeth.

Great Dane howling in sleep, should I be worried?

Great Dane howling in sleep happens due to dreaming, pain, separation anxiety, underlying medical conditions, and aging. It is not uncommon for a Great Dane to howl, bark or cry in their sleep, and in most cases, the behavior is not a cause for concern, however, it can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

This behavior can be unsettling for a dog owner to witness, as it may appear as though their dog is in distress.

Do not do anything to your dog when they are howling, barking or crying as they sleep. This is because waking them up is disruptive and will startle and confusing for them. 

It is best to let them sleep and allow them to process their dreams naturally even if they seem to be having a nightmare. However, continue monitoring your Great Dane’s behavior.

Waking them up is necessary for certain circumstances if the howling, barking or crying are becoming a problem such as causing a disturbance, if you notice fast breathing, panting, or if they are having trouble breathing. 

In this case, wake them up gently by calling their name until they wake up. Do not touch your Great Dane during this time because you might startle them and they might bite you. 

Read more: Understanding reasons behind Great Dane howling in sleep

Great Dane puppy howling

Great Dane puppies, like many other breeds, may howl for various reasons as a form of communication to express their needs or desires. 

This could include howling to get attention, to signal hunger, or to let their owner know they need to go outside to relieve themselves, boredom, fear, separation anxiety, medical problems, and as a normal part of their social behavior when playing with other dogs.

Therefore it is normal for a Great Dane puppy to howl. Howling is a natural and common behaviors for Great Danes that serve various purposes, such as communication with other dogs and humans.

However, howling can be a sign problem for a sign of either a medical or behavioral problem which needs to be addressed.

What to do if your Great Dane is howling

There are a number of actions you can take to manage and stop your Great Dane from howling if it is becoming a problem. This includes:

Identifying the underlying reason

Determining the reason for your Great Dane’s howling is essential to solving the problem. 

Examine various factors such as your Great Dane’s, age, background, and environment as well as any changes or stressors that may be contributing to the behavior.

Provide mental and physical exercise

A well-rounded routine of physical and mental activities is important for the well-being of your Great Dane. 

Ensure that your Great Dane is getting enough exercise, playtime, and training, and consider incorporating interactive toys or games to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

Set clear boundaries through training

Establish strict rules and boundaries for your Great Dane, and be unwavering in their enforcement. 

This could help your Great Dane understand what behaviors are deemed appropriate especially when they use howling to demand attention.

When to seek help 

Consult your veterinarian or a trained dog trainer if you are unsure of the cause of your Great Dane’s howling if you suspect that the behavior stems from an underlying medical issue, or if the behavior continues to be a problem despite your efforts. 

They will assist in identifying the underlying cause and offer advice on how to address the behavior.

It is particularly important to see a veterinarian for your Great Dane’s barking or howling. This includes:

  • A sudden change of behavior: If howling is sudden or unusual, it could be an indication of an underlying medical condition or psychological problem.  Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination of your Great Dane, and perform necessary diagnostic tests to identify the reason for the behavior and provide a solution.
  • The behavior is accompanied by other symptoms: When howling is accompanied by other symptoms, it is important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or other behavior changes could indicate a medical problem that needs to be addressed.
  • The behavior becomes problematic: If your Great Dane’s howling becomes an issue for neighbors, other people, or even for you, it is important to seek assistance. A veterinarian or professional Great Dane trainer will offer guidance on stopping or minimizing the behavior.

What not to do when your Great Dane is howling

Avoid the following when you see your Great Dane howling:

Yelling or punishing them: Avoid yelling or punishing your Great Dane when they howl. This form of discipline will only increase their stress and anxiety, leading to even more howling. 

Instead, keep calm and use positive reinforcement methods for good behavior to encourage them to stop.

Ignoring the behavior: It might seem like an easy fix to ignore your Great Dane’s howling, but doing so only reinforces the behavior. 

One of the reasons Great Danes howl is to get their owners’ attention and they are more likely to persist if they are not successful. It is important to address the behavior by implementing an appropriate solution.

Encouraging the behavior: Resist encouraging the behavior by not giving in to their demands by use of howling to get attention. 

In the long run, this can reinforce the behavior and make it more challenging to stop. Instead, use or get training for your Great Dane to better teach them the appropriate behavior.

Takeaway: Great Dane howling 

Howling is a common Great Dane behavior, but they can become problematic if it is excessive or inappropriate.

A number of factors cause this behavior, therefore, to stop your Great Dane from howling, it is important to identify the root cause of the behavior and to implement a solution that addresses it.

Remember, if your Great Dane’s howling are causing concern, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian or a professional Great Dane trainer for assistance on how to address the behavior.

At this point, you’ve just scratched the surface of the fascinating world of Great Danes. But there’s so much more to discover! Are you curious to learn about the different Great Dane colors, Great Dane ear cropping styles, or perhaps you’re eager to uncover other aspects of Great Dane behavior?

Our resources have you covered! Keep reading to reading our in-depth guide on Great Danes and more information that will take you on a journey of knowledge and help you become a true Great Dane expert.

From training tips to health care advice and everything in between, we’ve curated a collection of valuable resources to empower you as a Great Dane owner. So, don’t stop here – let’s delve deeper and unlock the secrets of these majestic giants together!

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