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Otto the family lap dog

At 22 to 27 inches tall, Great Danoodles are the perfect dog for families that are seeking a larger canine to walk beside them, protect them, and love them forever.


Taller than his people when standing on hind legs, and at a healthy weight of 105-110 pounds, Otto, a great Danoodle, considers himself to be the family lap dog. Not a common dog, the great Dane poodle mix is a large hybrid breed recognized by the Designer Breed Registry.

Now 6 years old, Otto joined Nick Ainsworth, his wife Christy and two sons Johnathan (10) and Brian (12) at 8 weeks old. Otto comes from two very smart breeds and possesses all great traits from both the great Dane and the poodle. Not only is Otto cute, he is also gentle and polite to everyone he meets. Both breeds are known for their patience with children and ability to form strong bonds with their people.

Originally bred to hunt waterfowl, the poodle loves the water; his name comes from the anglicized version of “pfudel,” German for “to splash” or “puddle,” which is no surprise as Otto loves his bath time. With one look, he happily proceeds to the bathtub and takes a seat. “He loves to be washed up, lay down in the warm water, and act like he is at a med spa,” said Nick.

Keeping in line with the German heritage of the poodle and great Dane, Christy and Nick trained Otto in both English and German. Otto responds well with German commands of sit, stay, lay and down.

“When we are out of town, I often help the dog boarding friends with a cheat sheet on his commands to ensure he doesn’t try to hustle them under just English,” said Nick.

Great Danoodles are a very social breed and are very fond of being around their people. Otto’s first eight months with the Ainsworth family were spent at Nick’s office. Otto has a tendency of “booping” his family for attention, especially on workdays from home. If that is not successful, he will put his paws on his person’s leg or will stand up and rest his head on his person, as if he has won the game of affection.

Because the breed is so social, they are prone to separation anxiety. Otto’s XXL size kennel is his safe space and sanctuary when his people are away and sometime during the evening hours when used to unwind.

Great Danoodles are big dogs with big barks and need a lot of space to exercise or time for daily walks. While usually quiet and calm, both Danes and poodles bark if they need to alert their family of something or someone. Otto’s bark is extremely loud and bigger than his courage. He is terrified of the bark of dogs like the neighbor’s 2.5lb Yorkshire terrier; however, the Ainsworths believe Otto would defend his loved ones as needed.


By Julie Matuszewski; photo courtesy of Nick Ainsworth



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