The Great Dane is a giant dog with unique needs and considerations. Our aim is to provide the most comprehensive free information guide covering all aspects of the Dane and Dane ownership.
Can you imagine 170 pounds of canine nonchalantly parking his rear end on your lap (with front paws still on the ground) and settling down to watch the news with you? What can you say about a dog that gallops like a horse with total grace one minute and the next is walking and trying to scratch with its hind leg at the same time? (Multi tasking confuses them!)
How do you explain the strong deep bark your Great Dane makes when he stands up and protects you from strangers he doesn’t know, but then whimpers and tries hiding with his head under your arm pit when it thunders outside!?
Great Danes are noble, beautiful, loving, silly, gentle, playful, trusting sensitive giant dogs with unique issues. They’re special – very special. Having one in your life is indescribably rewarding !
Great Danes make excellent companions. They are very mild and patient with children, and they can usually live well with other dogs. Their demeanor is very sweet and kind, and they seek affection from people. Also very loyal and brave, Great Danes make fine watchdogs. Very rarely are Great Danes aggressive, but they can be competitive toward other dogs of the same sex. Because of their large size, Great Danes should be obedience-trained so they do not lean on people or objects. Great Danes have a number of instinctual talents, and are capable of becoming terrific tracking, carting, and/or watchdogs.
As described by the American Kennel Club, "The Great Dane combines, in its regal appearance, dignity, strength and elegance with grand size and a well-formed body. One of the largest working breeds, it never appears ugly. The Great Dane is a short haired breed with a strong galloping figure. In the ratio between length and height, the Great Dane should be square. The male dog should not be less than 30 inches (76 cm) at the shoulders, a female 28 inches (71 cm). Danes under minimum height are disqualified. From year to year, the tallest living dog is typically a Great Dane. Currently, the tallest living dog (2009) is a harlequin Great Dane named Titan, standing 42.25 inches at the shoulder. The tallest dog on record (according Guinness World Records) was a brindle Great Dane named Shamgret Danzas, who stood 42.5" at the shoulder.
The minimum weight for a Great Dane over eighteen months is 120 pounds (54 kg) for males, 100 pounds (45 kg) for females. Unusually, the American Kennel Club dropped the minimum weight requirement from its standard. The male should appear more massive throughout than the female, with a larger frame and heavier bone.
Great Danes have naturally floppy, triangular ears. In the past, when Great Danes were commonly used to hunt boars, cropping of the ears was performed to make injuries to the dogs' ears less likely during hunts. Now that Danes are primarily companion animals, cropping is sometimes still done for traditional and cosmetic reasons. Today, the practice is somewhat common in the United States and much less common in Europe. In some European countries such as the UK, Denmark, Germany, parts of Australia, and in New Zealand, the practice is banned, or controlled to only be performed by veterinary surgeons
The Great Dane's large and imposing appearance belies its friendly nature; the breed is often referred to as a gentle giant. Great Danes are generally well-disposed toward other dogs, other non-canine pets and humans. Some individuals may chase or attack small animals, but this is not typical of the breed
Like most dogs, Great Danes require daily walks to remain healthy. However it is important not to over exercise this breed, particularly when young. Great Dane puppies grow very large, very fast, which puts them at risk of joint and bone problems. Because of a puppy's natural energy, Dane owners often take steps to minimize activity while the dog is still growing.
There are six show-acceptable coat colors for Great Danes.
Fawn: The color is yellow gold with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears.
Brindle: The color is fawn and black in a chevron stripe pattern. Often also they are referred to as having a tiger-stripe pattern.
Blue: The color is a pure steel blue. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable and considered faults.
Black: The color is a glossy black. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable and considered faults.
Harlequin: The base color is pure white with black torn patches irregularly and well distributed over the entire body; a pure white neck is preferred. The black patches should never be large enough to give the appearance of a blanket, nor so small as to give a stippled or dappled effect. Eligible, but less desirable, are a few small grey patches (this grey is consistent with a Merle marking) or a white base with single black hairs showing through, which tend to give a salt and pepper or dirty effect. (Have the same link to deafness and blindness as Merle and white danes.)
Mantle (in some countries referred to as Bostons due to the similar coloration and pattern as a Boston Terrier): The color is black and white with a solid black blanket extending over the body; black skull with white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole white collar preferred; a white chest; white on part or whole of forelegs and hind legs; white tipped black tail. A small white marking in the black blanket is acceptable, as is a break in the white collar.
Historians claim that there are drawings of dogs that resemble the breed on Egyptian monuments from roughly 3000 B.C. It is also reported that the Great Dane was developed from mastiff-like dogs taken to Germany by the Alans. The Bullenbeisser may be its direct ancestor, composing about the 40% of its make-up.
According to Barbara Stein, "The breed originated in Germany, probably from a cross between the English mastiff and the Irish Wolfhound." However, other sources maintain that the breed originated in Denmark and still others report the question as controversial and unsettled. In 1749 Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon used the name ”le Grand Danois,” (translated by William Smellie (encyclopedist) as ”Great Dane”). Up until that time the hound was referred to in England as ”Danish dog.”
According to Jacob Nicolay Wilse the Danes called the dog ”large hound,” a terminology continued well in to the 20th Century.
Whether the Great Dane is of German or Danish origin will be impossible to decide. The German/Danish boarder has changed constantly during wars. But it is well known that huge dog skeletons are found in chieftain Viking graves in (inland) Denmark (+ Norway as well as Sweden) and are mentioned as the keeper of Hells Gate in the Nordic Mythology. Whether these skeletons are actually Great Danes or an other type of dog of impressive and extra ordinary large stature for example the Irish Wolf Hounds (from Dublin where the Vikings often traded), is hard to say, but it sure is interesting that the dog until recently was known as a specific Danish dog in all of the old 'Viking Colonies' from Ireland, Scotland, Russia, England, France and through out Scandinavia from Iceland, Greenland, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The claim of the Great Dane’s origin as being a German dog is often seen in relation with a hostile German national politic towards it's smaller neighbour Denmark. As a fine example to this we see Bismarck who loved the 'Great Danes' but hated the Danish nation. To him the majestic dog certainly was of German origin even though many other European countries disagreed. It should be stressed though, that the Germans in newer time have made a fine piece of work in making the breed more clean and homogenic and hereby they could finally claim the breed to be a German creation. Ein Deutsche Dogge or a Grand Danois is the end of the day a matter of taste. As late as in the 1780 Germany the hound is referred to as ”Grosser Dänischer Jagdhund” (English: Large Danish Hunting Hound). And also at the first dog exhibition, held in Hamburg 14-20 July 1863, eight dogs were caed ”Dänische Dogge” and seven ”Ulmer Doggen.”
The origin of the name Great Dane is curious. The breed can be traced back to Germany, not Denmark. The reason why Anglo Saxon and French speaking countries refer to a "great Dane" rather than "German Mastiff" may be for historical political reasons, during the unification of Germany by Prussia and Bismarck. The breed had many names in the Holy Roman Empire, depending on its origin. The oldest trackable breeders were in the states of Württemberg and Hesse. All regions had their favourite colour of coat. This led to the confusion during the first breeder exhibition in Germany in 1863, when breeders from all over the country signed in dogs of the same breed under different breed names. The German Dog Exhibition in Hamburg Altona decided there ought to be a united name for the old German breed and chose "Deutsche Dogge" (German Mastiff). However Britain or France would not call a dog "Great German", because unified Prussia presented a threat to France.
The precursors of today's Great Dane are the old "Bullenbeisser" (bull biter) as well as the so-called "Hatz- und Sauhunde" (coursing and boar hounds), which are a cross between the strong Mastiff of the English type and a fast and nimble Greyhound. At first, big and strong dogs that did not necessarily belong to a certain breed were considered as Danes. Later on, names like Ulmer Dane, English Dane, Danish Dane, "Saupacker" (boar seizer) and big Dane described the different sizes and colors of this type.
In 1878 a committee of seven, consisting of committed breeders and judges with the chairman Dr Bodinus, decided in Berlin to unite all varieties of the above-mentioned types under the term "Deutsche Dogge" (German Mastiff). Through this the foundation for the first German dog breed has been laid. In 1880, on the occasion of a dog show in Berlin, a standard for the Great Dane was determined for the first time. Since 1888, the "Deutsche Doggen Club 1888 e.V." is in charge of this standards and repeatedly modified since. Today's edition fulfills the demands of the F.C.I.
Adorably cute Great Dane Puppies ENJOY !