Great Danes and Hair Loss: Why It Happens and What To Do

Why are Great Danes prone to hair loss?

While it is routine for your dog to shed some hair, seeing bald spots is not normal at all. It’s a sign of an unhealthy coat, which should be addressed. In particular, Great Danes are prone to developing hypothyroidism when the body does not produce enough thyroid hormones. This makes them more susceptible to alopecia (hair loss) and scabs. As pets, Great Danes are more sensitive to their skin, so owners need to take extra precautions. Remember, it’s always best to consult the advice of a vet. Here, we’re giving you an overview of hair loss in Great Danes. 

Why is my Great Dane losing hair?

Allergies are a common trigger for hair loss in dogs, the same as with Great Danes. Like people, dogs are prone to allergic reactions due to fleas, lice, food, and the environment. Food allergy is easy to spot: you’ll see your dog itching all over after a meal. Dogs with food allergies have skin conditions, and skin allergies can become problematic. 

Hair loss in Great Danes may also be caused by Cushing’s Disease caused by hypoadrenocorticism. This means that your dog may be producing too much cortisol, leading to hair loss. Genetics is another reason for hair loss. While there are innately hairless breeds, some breeds, such as dachshunds, are prone to hair loss in the belly, thighs, and lower back. 


Why is my Great Dane losing hair in spots?

First, you need to determine whether the hair loss is caused by scratching, meaning your dog is itching, or if the hair is falling off without your dog noticing. These behaviors may also include rubbing, biting, rolling, licking, and chewing. The scenario would be completely different if there is no itchiness, which heralds other diseases. An allergic reaction to dog food can cause the latter. However, in both cases, always consult your veterinarian for sound advice. If your dog has an itchy allergy, the hair loss will be where he scratches, and this can be any spot on the body that he can reach. A Great Dane with hair loss will be quite noticeable due to the dog’s large size. It’s easier to see where your dog has itchy skin and what the probable cause could be. 

Bald Spots and Scabs on Your Great Dane

There are many reasons for hair loss in Great Danes. While the list is not exhaustive, it should give you an idea of what to watch out for:

  1. Nutritional Hair Loss: many pet owners feed their dogs’ home-cooked meals, which is problematic for two reasons. One is that they can never be certain of what the composition of ingredients is in their food. Secondly, the nutritional requirements of humans are different from dogs. Thus, it is hard to make sure that your dog is getting the proper nutrition. Zinc deficiency is the most common nutritional issue facing dogs causing hair loss. For this issue, dog kibble is more advisable specifically Nulo  Freestyle Limited Dry Dog Food.  We recommend this dog food because it contains “Zinc Methionine” which is a form of zinc in the highest quality attainable that’s easier on your dog’s digestive system. While the choices to select between salmon and beef make this an excellent option for zinc-deficient dogs. 
  2. Hormonal Hair Loss: Great Danes are prone to Cushing’s Disease, which causes hypothyroidism. Hormones released by the adrenal gland control suppression of hair growth. Having hypothyroidism, therefore, causes hair to fall off. A veterinarian can diagnose Cushing’s Disease and bring your dog back to health. We wrote up an in-depth review on the Best Dry Dog Food’s for Cushing’s Disease to help your dog with Cushing’s Disease.
  3. Infectious Hair Loss: Great Danes can lose hair due to parasitic or bacterial infections. Ringworms are also a common cause of this problem.
  4. Parasitic Hair Loss: This type of hair loss is commonly called mange, which is the presence of parasitic mites in your dog’s fur. These parasites will cause skin lesions. It should also be noted that some dog breeds are more prone to this than others.
  5. Cancer: The most common cancer diagnosed in dogs is cutaneous lymphoma, and a veterinarian diagnoses this through a biopsy. These cancerous conditions can be neoplastic or paraneoplastic, and both of these are treated with medication.
  6. Miscellaneous Reasons: 
  • Sebaceous adenitis is a skin disease that is inflammatory and can cause hair loss. 
  • Seasonal flank alopecia occurs depending on the season. 
  • Color dilution alopecia is expected in Dobermans and other breeds and cannot be treated. 

How to treat bald spots?

For nutritional causes of bald spots, your veterinarian will check your dog’s size and weight (similar to a person’s BMI) and determine whether the problem is caused by diet. If so, you and your vet will need to work together to find the best food for your hypoallergenic dog that won’t cause skin problems. 

Hormonal hair loss, on the other hand, is treated medically. Usually, thyroid supplementation is prescribed by the vet in order to prevent skin allergies as well. 

Allergic hair loss, which can either be due to food, flea, or environment, can be treated by removing the irritant in the first place. It should be said that determining food allergy is not easy. It always takes a few weeks to pinpoint the food causing the allergy. Food intolerance is not easy to spot, as well. 

If your dog has a yeast or bacterial infection causing the allergy, then your vet will likely prescribe antibiotics to treat it. 

Parasitic hair loss is easily treated using common flea and tick repellants. There is a wide variety of these, and they are usually adequate. 

Medication and chemotherapy are to be used for dogs with cancers. Usually, these two treatments come hand in hand and can be quite costly. 

It may also help supplement their diets with omega 3, fatty acids, and high-quality supplements suitable for their skin. 


Great Danes are lovely pets, and they need all the love and attention that they can get. However, problems arise due to their genetics and environment. Great Danes will often have skin allergies or conditions that cause them to have bald spots. However, this is usually not a serious condition, and you, in collaboration with your vet, can treat these problems.