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7 Reasons Why Great Danes Lose Hair (From a Vet)

If your Great Dane, who used to have a shiny, healthy coat, starts getting bald patches, you’re probably itching to know why and how to fix it. In this article, we’re gonna chat about why Great Danes might lose their fur and how you can keep their skin and coat in tip-top shape from here on out!


Hair Loss Vs Shedding In Great Danes

Before discussing the details of fur loss in your Great Dane, it’s essential to understand the difference between normal shedding and abnormal fur loss.

Every Great Dane will shed at some point, ranging based on the climate they live in. 

While Great Danes may be low maintenance in terms of grooming care, they will still shed from time to time.

Shedding is most common in Great Danes during early spring and early fall. Their coat will shed and become lighter in preparation for the warmer months and will again change in preparation for the colder months. 

While you may not see tumbleweeds of fur in your home as you would with other breeds, it is not abnormal for some hair to be left behind when your Dane sits or lays on a surface. You may also have a small amount of fur shed when you pet your Great Dane.

Everything we’ve described above refers to normal shedding in Great Danes. Anything more excessive than this should be discussed with your veterinarian. 

7 Common Causes of Fur Loss In Great Danes

While some fur loss is normal in our Great Dane friends, bald spots or excessive hair loss is not. Great Danes can experience fur loss due to multiple reasons, ranging from seasonal allergies to crawling critters.

To help you better understand your Dane pup, let’s list the most common causes of hair loss in Great Danes Below. 

  1. Fleas & Ticks
  2. Skin Allergies
  3. Skin Infections
  4. Poor Nutrition
  5. Thyroid Disease
  6. Other Medical Conditions
  7. Chronic Skin Conditions

1. Fleas & Ticks

Fleas and ticks are at the top of the list of common causes of fur loss in Great Danes. Ectoparasites can make a home on your canine friend, leaving severe skin irritation in their path. 

Your Great Dane does not have to have an active flea infestation to lead to severe itching and fur loss. All it takes is one flea bite to cause an irritating skin reaction, sending your Great Dane into an itching fit. 

Flea allergy dermatitis often presents itself as fur loss and skin irritation on the legs, and hair loss at the base of the tail. This is because these are the areas your dog can actively scratch or bite, causing the fur in the area to fall out.  

2. Skin Allergies

Skin allergies are a common cause of hair loss in Great Dane pups. In addition, great Danes can experience environmental allergies, contact allergies, and food allergies, all of which can impact their skin and coat health. 

Allergies in dogs can cause them to experience severe skin itching and irritation, causing them to constantly scratch and bite at their skin. This can eventually lead to fur loss, resulting in irritated bald spots on your Dane’s fur. 

Great Danes with allergies can experience itchy skin, skin redness, eye discharge, nasal discharge, hives, facial swelling, sneezing, diarrhea, and vomiting. If your Great Dane experiences any of these behaviors, it’s best to speak with your vet about proper allergy relief. 

3. Skin Infections

Skin infections in Great Danes can lead to fur loss and other complications of the skin. Skin infections are often a result of initial skin irritation where bacteria is introduced to the damaged skin by scratching or biting. 

Skin infections in dogs are incredibly uncomfortable, causing dogs to frantically bite and scratch at the area affected. Not only is the skin already irritated from the infection, but the mutilation can lead to eventual fur loss due to the trauma.

Great Danes with skin infections may experience skin redness, oozing, odor, fur loss, and extreme sensitivity in the affected area. If you think your Great Dane has a possible skin infection, it’s important to seek immediate care from your veterinarian. 

4. Poor Nutrition

Our dog’s diet can impact multiple areas of their overall health. A well-rounded diet helps your Great Dane maintain a healthy weight, prevent developing illnesses, as well as maintain their coat health. 

If a Great Dane is lacking essential nutrients from their daily diet, this can cause their skin to become flaky and lackluster. Not only can their coat appear dull, but they may even begin to lose fur. 

A Great Dane that is receiving inadequate nutrition may experience fur loss, weight loss, inability to gain weight, flatulence, diarrhea, and more. If you see any of these symptoms in your Great Dane friend, it’s time to contact your vet for further guidance. 

5. Thyroid Disease

Hypothyroidism in dogs is another possible cause of fur loss in our Great Dane companions. Low thyroid function can lead to a slew of concerning symptoms, ranging from fur loss to dry and flaky skin. 

Great Dane’s with hypothyroidism can experience patches of fur loss, dry skin, dull coat, weight gain, and even decreased energy. In addition, thyroid disease will need to be managed with daily medication, making it essential to reach out to your vet if these symptoms develop in your pup. 

6. Other Medical Conditions

Other medical conditions aside from thyroid disease can lead to hair loss in our Great Dane friends. The skin and coat can be affected by many systemic conditions, ranging from Cushing’s disease to autoimmune diseases. 

Developing medical conditions may lead to the onset of multiple new symptoms, so it’s crucial to always closely monitor your pup for any changes if you begin to notice fur loss. If you see any changes in your dog’s behavior that concerns you, it’s time to reach out to your veterinarian. 

7. Chronic Skin Conditions

The last potential cause of hair loss in Great Danes are chronic skin conditions. Just like you and I, our canine friends can fall victim to many different forms of skin and coat conditions. 

Long-term skin conditions can cause fur loss, dry skin, skin irritation, skin infections, and even lesions on your Great Dane’s skin. These conditions are often challenging to fight with at-home care or basic vet treatment, often requiring the care of a veterinary dermatologist. 

If your dog has a case of hair loss that just can’t be resolved with basic veterinary care and lifestyle changes, it may be time to pursue a dermatology visit. 

Recommended Read: Why Do Great Danes Have Their Ears Cropped: The Truth

When To See The Vet For Hair Loss In Great Danes

If your Great Dane is beginning to lose fur, you may wonder when it is time to visit your veterinarian. While increased shedding can certainly be addressed at home with standard tools to promote coat health, any patches of hair loss should always warrant professional guidance. 

Fur loss can quickly get out of control if it is not addressed properly, and nobody wants a patchy pup. From the moment you notice significant fur loss in your Great Dane friend, it’s time to reach out to your veterinarian. 

Ways To Promote Skin & Coat Health In Great Danes

If you have a Great Dane that is shedding more than usual, there are a few ways to combat their hair loss before it gets out of control. These tips for skin and coat health are not Great Dane specific but can help every single furry friend!

Preventative care: 
Keeping up with your dog’s flea and tick prevention is one of the best ways to prevent skin irritation in your Great Dane. While this cannot prevent flea allergies completely, it can significantly decrease their chances of developing flea allergy dermatitis. 

Address allergies: 
If you know your Great Dane is prone to developing allergies during certain times of the year, it’s best to speak with your vet about proper allergy control and prevention. While some dogs require prescription-strength medication, some Great Danes benefit from over-the-counter allergy meds. 

High-quality diets: 
Offering your Great Dane a quality diet is a wonderful way to promote skin and coat health in your furry friend. A lack of essential nutrients can lead to dry skin and a dull coat in your pup, making them more prone to fur loss with low-quality diets. 

Omega fatty acids: 
Omega fatty acid supplements are a wonderful way to help your Great Dane’s coat shine. These supplements not only act as a lubricant for the skin and joints but can also boost their immune system in allergy-prone dogs. 

Frequent brushing: 
Frequent brushing is an easy way to promote skin and coat health in your Dane pup. Brushing helps to stimulate the natural oil production on their skin, helping to lubricate dry skin in the process. 

Soothing shampoos: 
Soothing shampoos can offer relief for Great Danes with dry and irritated skin. Just be sure that your dog shampoo of choice is approved by your vet or that the shampoo is purchased from your vet’s office. 

Recommended Read: Why Do Great Danes Have a Short Lifespan? 3 Main Reasons

Final Thoughts

Fur loss in our Great Dane pups can have multiple causes. Be sure to review the information we discussed above, and you can best promote skin and coat health in your pup going forward!

Check out The Puppy Mag’s other Great Dane articles!


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.