Great Dane vs Wolf – Size and Key Differences

The Great Dane and the gray wolf have some key differences – the main difference is their size, where the great Dane is significantly larger than the wolf, which means that it’s one of the few dog species that are larger than the wolf.

great dane vs wolf

The Danes are also faster over a short distance, but the wolf will outrun a Great Dane on a longer distance because it has more stamina. Larger wolves are also potentially larger than the great dane.

There are also key behavioral differences between the two animals, which we’ll explore in this article.

If you’re interested in the differences between the great dane vs the wolf, read on to find out more.

Great Dane vs Wolf – Key Differences

Here’s a comparison table between the great dane and the wolf to help you get a clearer picture of the differences between the two.

Great Dane Gray Wolf
Size 30-35 inches 29-34 inches
Weight 140-175 pounds 82-88 pounds
Speed 30 mph 30-35 mph
Life Span 7-10 years 6-8 years (15+ in captivity)
Litter Size 8-10 5-10
Friendly to Humans? Yes No
Aggressiveness No/Rarely Yes

As you can see, there are not that many differences between the great dane and the gray wolf. The biggest changes you’ll see is in their appearance, size, and behavior.

Let’s go over each difference in a bit more detail.

Read Also: European vs North American Wolves (Key Differences)

1. Great Danes are Larger and Heavier

One of the key differences is the size – great danes are usually larger than gray wolves, although some larger gray wolves may match the size of the great dane.

A great dane is larger in height, length, and it has larger limbs than the gray wolf. However, this can only be said for the great dane vs. the gray wolf comparison, while some other wolf breeds like the arctic wolves may be larger than the great dane. For the sake of simplicity, let’s keep it between great danes and gray wolves.

Because of the larger limbs and the greater size of the great dane, it will be substantially heavier and bulkier than the wolf. The great dane will weigh up to 175 pounds, especially the male, while the female will usually be lighter than that. On the flip side, the wolf will only reach weights of up to 90 lbs at most.

This means that the wolf would have an advantage in a race because it is lighter and it will move more swiftly.

For these reasons, wolves and great danes have different expectations when it comes to their speeds. Great danes were always used for short-distance hunting where they were able to use their acceleration due to their bigger muscles, such as when hunting wild boars and other creatures.

Wolves, on the other hand, are marathon runners. They have much more stamina than great danes and are able to run for several miles without stopping, while the great dane will eventually get tired and it will stop.

2. Wolves are More Aggressive

While wild wolves are very shy of humans and will avoid them, they will be very aggressive towards other animals and if needed, also against humans if they feel cornered.

Great danes, on the other hand, have been domesticated for hundreds of years now, as they have a pedigree for being known as the “gentle giants”. They’re very friendly to humans and also other animals, but might turn aggressive if they’re not cared for properly or if they feel threatened.

And an aggressive great dane can do a lot of damage to its opponents. Some great danes that have no owners will potentially attack animals and humans that might come too close to it.

Great danes move far more elegantly than the wolf, too. They were often owned by the upper classes historically as they have been noted for their noble behavior and their gentle character, as well as remaining calm in difficult or stressful situations. This is good news for those who are afraid of the size of the great dane.

They’re also good with children and other animals, which is why they’re such a popular species to own. This would not be possible with wolves, which, even if they’re domesticated, will not be as friendly as the great dane.

Read Also: What are Wolves Scared Of?

3. Other Differences

There are also other significant differences between the species – some of them will be obvious quite quickly, while others are more subtle and not as widely known.

  • Great danes and gray wolves differ in appearance massively. Great danes are slimmer, taller, and have larger legs and ears, while the wolf has a gray pelt and a sharper head as compared to the wolf. The visual difference between the two is quite obvious.
  • Wolves may survive longer than the great danes in captivity, but they will die earlier in the wild. The great dane is not known for its good health, as it is one of the species that die quite early. The lifespan of a great dane is anywhere between 7-10 years and sometimes more.
  • Great danes usually have a larger litter than the gray wolf. Their litter will have between 8 and 10 pups, while a wolf’s litter might only be 5-10 wolf pups big.
  • The largest ever recorded specimen of the great dane was 44 inches tall, which is significantly larger than any wolf out there. Danes also have denser muscles and are thus more compact than the wolf, even though they might appear to be slimmer than the wolf, which means it’s significantly heavier than the wolf.

Final Thoughts

Great danes are one of the preferred dog species for many dog owners, and it’s easy to see why. These gentle giants have a character to die for, although untended great danes can also get aggressive. Nevertheless, these elegant dogs have always been the preferred species of royal families all around the world.

Compared to wolves, they’re friendlier to humans and other animals, are larger in size, and weigh more, while wolves might outrun the great dane and will survive for longer, especially in captivity.