Being almost entirely European in lineage, Kenai’s growth will be a bit different than purely American Danes. His body will be as his father’s: substantial in bone and heavily muscled, much like their Mastiff ancestors. (His mother is 1/4 American, so Kenai is 1/8th American.)And not being neutered until at least 12 months will keep him from getting tall and weedy looking. But all danes grow the same way: FAST!
The trick to avoiding growth problems in Danes is to control their intake of protien, calcium, phosphorous, calories and fat. In other words, keep them a bit on the skinny side, and avoid most large/giant breed puppy foods. The myth is that protien causes growth deformities, but think about it a moment: protien builds muscle, not bone. Bone problems are cause by improper ratios of calcium and other minerals. Studies have shown that over and over since the 1970’s. I wish vets would stop carrying on about protien levels, it’s the minerals you have to watch!
To continue the repetition: NEVER TRY TO FORCE QUICK GROWTH IN GREAT DANES.
I’ve never had a European/American cross Dane before, so Kenai’s growth is a minor adventure. This page grows as Kenai grows.
Day one: born at around 2 pounds, Kenai would have fit in the palm of your hand. Like all puppies, the eyes aren’t open, but the nose and ears are fully functioning. Touch, smells, and noises are their first experiences.
By five weeks, they are roughly 6 inches tall and weigh about 12 pounds. They are learning about their environment through all 5 senses, and discovering that there are rules to the life of a pack. Mom isn’t as patient with sharp little puppy teeth, and being too timid leaves you hungry. They are learning confidence from watching Mom react or not react to all the new sounds and sights in a litter yard.
Kenai is 9 weeks old here. Just shy of 13″ tall, he weighs 26.7 pounds. In the 4 1/2 days that he has been home with us, he has grown 1/8 inch and put on 4 pounds of muscle and bone. His ribs are still visible, so he isn’t getting fat. As with all Danes, his feet are the largest part of him, he’s already drooling at the water dish! Kenai is wider in the chest and stronger than any of my other Danes, even at this age.
This is the age that puppies are taken from their litters and given to new homes. Their little brains are primed to absorb whatever is around them. This is also the time that the new family becomes responsible for their socialization. That’s just a fancy word for getting the puppy used to new people, new places, and new experiences.
Here Kenai is 10 1/2 wks old, and prancing his toffee colored tush through a favorite patch of tall grass. His exercise needs are increasing, so we have 3 wanders through the field or 2 wanders and an outing each day, weather permitting. I can’t last more than 10-15 minutes, but he is learning to entertain himself and to chase sticks I toss. It won’t be much longer before I have to introduce him to a treadmill for additional exercise.
His body is 18″ long, and 18″ tall, weighing in at 30.4 pounds today. So in the 10 days we’ve had him, he’s grown some 5 inches, and put on nearly eight pounds. His chest is 6 1/2 inches wide standing up–far thicker and heavier boned than any of my American Danes! He’s outgrown the front seat of the car, not being able to lay down in it now, and we’ve moved up to from small 24″ wide beds to medium sized beds already. He hasn’t even started puppy class yet…
You can see from the pic he is just a little too thin from his growth spurt, so I’ve had to up his kibble, and reduce his brother BB’s, who is much more sedentary because of his leg. He is eating 2 full cups twice a day, plus maybe 1/8 cup or less of kibble for his treat based training.
4/8/08 Kenai is now 23 1/2 inches tall, and weighs exactly 45 pounds, almost double what he weighed a month ago. Told ya they grow fast! He is almost too small for his crate, so a transition to sleeping outside of it without going on the floor is in the immediate future. He has begun his second treatment for the bacteria, coccidia. He is eating almost 8 cups of food a day, and still doesn’t seem satisfied. I think I have to find another kibble with higher fat and calories for him.
As you can see, the boy is THIN. He’s 52 pounds, and 26″ tall. He is switched to Canidae food, and it can’t keep up with his new growth either! So the vet recommended adding rice to his kibble, for the additional calories without added minerals. She said her imported Dobies do the same thing–grow like weeds and always look like a rescue! As long as his bones are good, I’m happy.
Here Kenai is 16 1/2 weeks old. His growth has leveled off a bit: he is 28″ long, and weighs 54 pounds. He is between growth spurts, and eating about 6 cups of food a day. (3 cups, am and pm). His stools tightened up on the Canidae, but his front legs started to knuckle over. So I am considering one last different food for them. He’s nibbling his back legs some too, but I think it is just a little growing pains. He is very healthy and still as much of a tank as he was at 5 weeks! A really solid and well built little fellow.
Kenai is still in a relatively slow growth period, being 28 1/2 inches tall and long, weighing in at 59 pounds. That’s only a half inch, 5 pound difference from a week and a half ago. That’s fine, since he is still very well built. His rump is a bit higher than his shoulders, and he’s arching his back a bit more, which is normal for Dane pups.
Most of the added weight seems to be in the jowels!! Ha! His appearance is more adult like each week, and I am still amazed at how even his growth is: he is filling out as he grows, not once yet seeming lanky or weedy. His girth behind the front legs is 27 inches, so he’s already a deep chested boy. He’s now eating Innova large breed puppy, and doing quite well with it..
5/15/08, 19 weeks old