Big Dog in a Little House
July 9, 2011 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Big Dog in a Little House: Should I let my renters adopt a Great Dane?

I just rented my house to a very nice couple who moved in on July 1st. Before they arrived, they let me know they were interested in rescuing a Great Dane. The email they sent was very well-crafted, with helpful references about the temperament of the dog. So I'm not worried that they would be irresponsible pet owners. I'll also charge them a (refundable) pet deposit. house is tiny. It's only 950 square feet but it "lives" smaller than that. I think a Great Dane wagging its tail in the hallway would easily whack each wall of the hallway with every wag.

This is my first time having tenants, so I'm a little more cautious than I might be otherwise.

So, for those of you who have Great Danes or know people who do, is it really the kind of dog that can live in a small house without wreaking too much havoc?
posted by missjenny to Pets & Animals (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Fenced in yard?
posted by Max Power at 11:19 AM on July 9, 2011

Response by poster: I have a decent-size yard, but it's not fenced in.
posted by missjenny at 11:21 AM on July 9, 2011

Sometimes smaller dogs can do more damage. From what I understand, Great Danes are very mellow and peaceful and do well as apartment dogs. You might want to double check, but I think it should be fine. Especially if it is an adult/older dog.
posted by Vaike at 11:22 AM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I know several people who own rescued Great Danes who live in small apartments without yards. People think of Great Danes as very active dogs: they are raced, and when outdoors the do run fast. But it is a widely known that at home they are couch potatoes. I wouldn't hesitate.
posted by trip and a half at 11:25 AM on July 9, 2011

Best answer: I grew up in a relatively large house with about a quarter acre back yard. Over the years they had a total of five Great Danes, once including two at the same time. They're really wonderful pets and don't require a ton of space since they're not the most active of dogs; a lot of them seem to wind up thinking they're lap dogs and just want to cuddle on top of you. That said, they are huge dogs and if they're stuck indoors you can expect some amount of damage if the owners aren't careful. They're not typically mischievous but their size could be problematic in narrow hallways.

Also, while I say they're inactive, that doesn't mean they don't like to run, so unless they did get regular exercise I'd be hesitant to give a small house approval.
posted by Raze2k at 11:25 AM on July 9, 2011

Best answer: Oh god Great Danes are lazy. It is going to spend 22 hours a day lounging, the rest of the time is for eating and stretching. They are worse than cats. They really are wonderful apartment dogs. My 10lb yorkie mix is way more of a pain to keep in an apartment because he has to go out a lot more and actually wants to run around and play. The Great Danes I've known basically have to be pushed outside to do their business, they might play for 10 minutes but then they are ready for a nap again.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:27 AM on July 9, 2011 [8 favorites]

Best answer: A friend of mine had a Great Dane; they lived in a small house. His favorite activity was to "sneak" onto your lap while you were sitting on the couch, and then stay for hours, as your lower body gradually grew numb. He was an awesome and very mellow dog.
posted by rtha at 11:28 AM on July 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

A puppy or an older dog?
posted by futz at 11:28 AM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

My neighbor had an adorable Great Dane and even as a (huge) puppy her favorite activity was to sit on the couch and look out their front window. Every single Great Dane I've ever met (they're one of my favorite breeds, so I seek them out) has been unbelievably sweet and totally mellow.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:03 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think a Great Dane wagging its tail in the hallway would easily whack each wall of the hallway with every wag.
Dogs are extremely adaptable. After a few days of "hurting" his tail tip from excessive wagging in the narrow hallway, said Great Dane would quickly learn to restrain his tail enthusiasm for roomier areas. I have friends that own two Danes in a smallish two-bedroom house, and I've owned a rescued greyhound, and I can say that both breeds tend to reserve their outbursts of energy for when they're outdoors. My friends' two Danes are as much like overgrown cats as my Grey was; my only "complaint" was that the Danes drooled when they were content (i.e. had their heads cradled on your lap when they were stretched out on the sofa). Greyhounds aren't droolers, thank goodness, so I just got a lapful of pointy head at home.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:25 PM on July 9, 2011

Best answer: As a former renter and large-breed owner, I say go for it if you think the renters are responsible folks. One thing that a previous landlord did was to include a clause saying that I had to scoop the yard regularly and keep my dogs on flea control. That would be my only concern if the yard is small - big dogs make big poop, and you don't want neighbors complaining. But as far as the house itself, a large dog is no more likely to cause damage than a small one. Be a cool landlord and let the nice people get their dog.
posted by tryniti at 12:43 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing Danes are generally, lazy, lazy peaceful dogs, and if I were to have a tenant with a dog, they'd be one of my first choices. So long as the owners are responsible and caring, I don't see a problem. This is an instance where bigger is better -- better temperament, better behaved. There are few, very few, calmer or gentler breeds (greyhounds represent;) ).
posted by vers at 12:50 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Be sure to have a pet deposit and make certain that you include clauses for scooping the yard, flea control and emergency rescue. Your tenants maybe responsible with their animals but future tenants may not so you want something about animal welfare. I rented to undergraduates and it seemed that I had to worry about their animals not being taken care of while they were gone on breaks. They were not actively cruel, just absent minded.

If you have beautiful hardwood floors do factor that into damages and deposit.

Congrats on being generous about the dog, many landlords would not be.
posted by jadepearl at 1:05 PM on July 9, 2011

Definitely make sure there are clauses about cleaning up the yard, because big dogs make big poops! Other than that and a pet deposit it sounds like a good decision.
posted by radioamy at 2:01 PM on July 9, 2011

Is barking likely to be an issue with neighbours? Maybe a clause about noise from the dog should go in there too.
posted by essexjan at 2:05 PM on July 9, 2011

Yes, big dogs like Danes tend to be "plunkers", as in they go where they're going and stay there until they need to go somewhere else. A properly-managed big dog is in general LESS likely to cause damage than a small dog, especially if the small dog is a terrier or something else high-energy. Size has very little to do with energy levels or appropriateness for small living spaces - I would rather live in a small apartment with a Dane or a Greyhound or an Irish Wolfhound than with a small terrier.
posted by biscotti at 3:22 PM on July 9, 2011

Best answer: We had a Great Dane X living in a 32 ft travel trailer with two adults, 2 small dogs, and a cat. (Yeah, we're nuts). The Dane was far less trouble than the chihuahua or the cairn terrier. All three are in doggie heaven now, but I would have another Dane in my RV with me any day.

Keys: two good walks a day, occassional off leash park visits if possible, daily pickup of poop, and not being left alone for long periods of time. They are very social, esp. with their humans. Talk to your renters about these issues. Also, occassionally rescue dogs will have some issues to deal with that are unknown until they are in their new home, and may take time to deal with. That is what your pet deposit is for, as well as perhaps a contract addendum as others have mentioned.

Thanks for giving pet owners / future pet owners consideration!
posted by batikrose at 3:35 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, probably better a Great Dane than my world-destroying Italian Greyhounds. I would be a little concerned about the unfenced yard but honestly there are ways around that. Be very clear that their dog should not be outside unleashed and I think you'll all be fine.
posted by Neofelis at 3:49 PM on July 9, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone. These are great answers. I've let the renters know they can get their dog, but I specified the deposit, poop scooping and flea control requirements. I love Ask Metafilter!
posted by missjenny at 4:18 PM on July 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

My sister-in-law has a great dane (180lbs) and he's about the nicest gentlest dog around. Our dog (a 35lb mutt) has much more energy and has caused more damage to our house that the dane ever could. They're also almost the perfect apartment dog: a short walk every day and a couch to lay on, and they're happy.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:25 PM on July 9, 2011

Oh, and keep in mind that big dogs will have the most energy when they're young, but they seem to grow out of it pretty fast.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:26 PM on July 9, 2011

World's largest lap dog. The first Dane I knew lived in a 6 family apartment building. Never a complaint.
posted by Gungho at 5:34 AM on July 10, 2011

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