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when great dane puppies begin to bark

07 October 2011

Q: When does a Great Dane puppy begin to bark?

A: The voice appears well before adulthood arrives. That’s how it works with Great Dane puppies.

Puppy class is now in session.

Great Dane Ready to Bark

i am great dane, hear me roar!

If you’ve got a Great Dane puppy, you’ve got an animal in development. Everything is going to grow, but not necessarily at the rate you assume. Those huge paws that arrived at birth? They’ll grow a little more, but not too much. That skinny little neck? It will become a thick column of muscle by the end of the first year. The gangly frame of a 5-month-old Great Dane puppy will still be gangly, albeit taller, by one year. The legs? They’ll stop growing well before your puppy fills out her chest, shoulders and legs.

The voice? Part of the maturation process when raising a puppy is the development of a voice. Voice is synonymous with the ability to bark. Great Dane puppies have little voices. Adult Great Danes have giant voices. The difference between the first stage and the latter stage for us was about six months.

I Went to Dog Camp and Learned How to Bark

Even though Luna is still a puppy, she developed an adult voice in the summer. It arrived in July while we were away on holiday and she was at her own version of summer camp.  She was 8-months-old.

Her voice changed dramatically. If she’d been in The Spice Girls or Destiny’s Child, she would have been given the boot because she’d never again be able to sing her former parts. She was like a mezzo-soprano who sang Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), then went to Corfu for three weeks and some ouzo, and returned to La Scala as a tenor.

When we dropped Luna Dog off at the kennel, she still had her high-pitch puppy bark. She spent the next three weeks in close proximity to dozens of other dogs obviously clamoring for attention. She changed; thousands of barks probably changed her.

Can You Hear Me Now?

The effect on her vocal development was profound. In 21 days, she changed from Paris Hilton to James Earl Jones:

    “Hey, I can speak much louder than most dogs.
    I’m probably the loudest dog here.
    Let me show you, Mr. Lab/Pomeranian/Bull Terrier-Next-Door.
    I am Great Dane, hear me roar.“

Within days of returning to the house, we heard that big voice for the first time. It was evening. I think she heard one of the neighbors’ beagles talking at night. Her ears twitched.  The hair rose perceptibly on her back. She rose on her legs and responded.

Her bark was drumline loud. Think of the deep rumbles that Director Peter Jackson associated with Mordor and Sauron in The Lord of The Rings films. Hues of fire, rolling waves of volcanic magma, and a rumbling noise that sounded just like our 8-month-old Great Dane. She doesn’t always use the voice of Mordor when barking but she calls on it when necessary. Typically, the big voice comes out when she perceives some thing—a person, animal, or unidentified sound—close to the house. That’s one reason why Great Danes are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a guard dog dressed like a family pet.

What’s the Baby Going to Sound Like?

When Luna began speaking in her deep voice, it reminded me of parenting OD in the early days. Well before she started to speak, I wondered what she was going to sound like. Would she sound like Sandra Bernhardt? Melissa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny? Moon Unit of Valley Girl fame? Shania Twain?

Curiously, OD turned out a bit like her canine sister. Her speaking voice is neither high nor low. Her loud singing voice, though, registers much lower. She’s the only girl in the school choir who sings either tenor or bass. We’ve got two deep talkers in the family.

I knew Luna would end up with a big deep voice. That’s what Great Danes have. I just didn’t know it would arrive so soon.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. cathy mitchell permalink
    07 October 2011 4:58 am

    Speaking of Cherubino – here’s my favorite mezzo singing that role and this is, I believe, her best performance (and I think the gold standard for the role).
    Federica Von Stade : Cherubino’s “Voi che sapete” – 1980

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