Pit Bull Vs. Great Dane: 4 Key Differences

Written by Niccoy Walker
Published: May 25, 2023
© A-Z-Animals.com
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Choosing the right breed for your family can be a tough decision. All dogs are awesome, but they each offer unique qualities that may or may not fit with your lifestyle. Maybe you have allergies and need a hypoallergenic dog. Or perhaps you live in an apartment and require a dog who won’t bark all day. If you’ve narrowed down your list to pit bulls and Great Danes, this article will give you the rundown on their key differences. Let’s dive into the pit bull vs. Great Dane debate and discuss the differences in their appearance, characteristics, and health factors.

Pit Bull Vs. Great Dane: A Comparison


ComparisonPit BullGreat Dane
Height17 to 21 inches tall28 to 31 inches tall
Weight40 to 70 pounds110 to 175 pounds
Coat TypeShort, smooth, single-layerShort, smooth, thick, single-layer
SheddingLow to moderateModerate to heavy
DroolingLowModerate to heavy
ColorsBlack, white, brown, tan, gray, blue, red, brindleBlack, fawn, brindle, blue, merle, and harlequin
TemperamentFriendly, smart, and protectiveLoving, loyal, and patient
Energy and Social NeedsWell-balanced energy, mental, and social needsHigh energy and needs lots of mental stimulation
Life Expectancy12 to 16 years7 to 10 years

The Key Differences Between a Pit Bull and a Great Dane

One of the most obvious differences between the pit bull and the Great Dane is their appearance. Great Danes are much larger and they have different features. The two also have different personalities and energy needs. And health problems also play a role in their differences, such as lifespan. Let’s break it down further. 

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Pit bull terrier
Pit bulls are muscular with boxy features


Pit Bull Vs. Great Dane: Height and Weight

Pit bulls technically are not a breed. The term refers to several types of bully breeds, including American Bullys, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American bulldogs, and Staffordshire bull terriers. And the American Kennel Club only recognizes the American Staffordshire terrier breed. 

In general, pit bulls range between 17 and 21 inches tall and weigh 40 to 70 pounds. They are also very muscular dogs with boxy features, such as square-shaped heads, almond-shaped eyes, and square noses.

Great Danes are quite a bit larger, standing 28 to 31 inches tall and weighing 110 to 175 pounds. This breed is tall and lean yet muscular. Their body shape is smooth and tapering, while their heads are rectangular.

Pit Bull Vs. Great Dane: Coat Type and Colors

The pit bull has a short, smooth, single-layer coat. They are low to moderate shedders that blow their coats twice a year during the change in seasons. However, there is less hair shed than those with double coats. Pit bulls are low-maintenance dogs that only require monthly brushing to keep their coat shiny and healthy. They are also low-drooling dogs. 

Pit bulls come in many colors, including black, brown, tan, white, gray, blue, red, and brindle. And their overall appearance varies depending on their mix. 

Great Danes feature short, smooth, and thick single-layer coats. However, they are moderate to heavy shedders throughout the year, and they blow their coats twice. Thankfully, they are still low-maintenance dogs that only require monthly grooming. But Great Danes are also heavy droolers.

Great Danes officially come in seven different colors: black, fawn, brindle, blue, merle, and harlequin.


dog food for great danes
Great Danes are smart, affectionate, and loyal

©belu gheorghe/Shutterstock.com

Pit Bull Vs. Great Dane: Temperament

Pit bulls are affectionate, smart, friendly, and protective. They make excellent family dogs for households with older children, and they have calm demeanors. Pit bulls are playful but can also be perfectly fine staying at home and lounging on the couch. 

The Great Dane is loving, loyal, and patient. They, too, do well with families who have older children. But they are more playful and adaptable than pit bulls. And they have high energy levels, preferring to be outside playing and exercising.  

Pit Bull Vs. Great Dane: Social Needs

Pit bulls have moderate energy levels that do well in houses that have balanced lifestyles of activity and rest. They are fine lounging at home but may get bored from time to time. And they can be moderately difficult to train. This breed is open to strangers and needs balanced exercise, playtime, and socialization.

Great Danes have high energy levels and require lots of exercise, playtime, and mental stimulation. This breed can become destructive if they don’t have an activity or job to do. They are also very protective and more reserved around strangers than the pit bull.

Health Factors

A Blue Nose Pit Bull Running with Ball
Pit bulls can live into their twenties

©Diego Thomazini/Shutterstock.com

Pit Bull Vs. Great Dane: Life Expectancy and Health Problems

The pit bull breeds live an average of 12 to 16 years. Due to them being hardy and relatively long-living, pit bulls can live into their twenties. Some of the most common health problems seen in pit bulls are hip dysplasia, thyroid disease, allergies, obesity, dental disease, and cardiovascular disease.  

Great Danes have shorter lifespans, living seven to 10 years on average. And some may live less than that. Unfortunately, bigger dogs tend to have shorter lifespans than smaller dogs. Great Danes are prone to osteoarthritis, diabetes, ear infections, dilated cardiomyopathy, bloat, orthopedic diseases, and happy tail syndrome. 

Pit Bull Vs. Great Dane: A Recap

There are some significant differences between pit bulls and Great Danes. Let’s go back over some of them now.

  • Great Danes are much larger in height and weight than pit bulls. And they also have different body shapes
  • While both have smooth, short, single-layer coats, the Great Dane sheds more than the pit bull. And they both come in many colors.
  • Pit bulls and Great Danes are protective and affectionate breeds. But Great Danes have higher energy, while pit bulls are more inclined to lounge around the house.
  • Pit bulls live much longer than Great Danes

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food, and travel. She graduated Kappa Beta Delta from Florida State College with a business degree before realizing writing was her true passion. She lives in the Triangle area and enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!

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