Welcome to the Great Dane section of our website. We will go over everything about this fantastic dog breed
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The Great Dane is most popularly known for its gigantic size. This breed is one of the tallest dog breeds in the entire world. The history of the Great Dane's origin is one that is quite controversial. Some people believe this dog breed originated in Germany from a cross between the English Mastiff and the Irish Wolfhound. Other sources insist the Great Dane is originally from Demark. To this day, the true history of the Great Dane breed is unsettled.
History of the Great Dane
In 1749, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon used the name "le Grand Danois" meaning "Great Dane." Until that time, the dog breed was called "Danish dog" in England. The Danes called the dog "large hound" according to Jacob Nicolay Wilse. This is a term that has continued to be used well into the twentieth century. The hound is referred to as "Grosser Danischer Jagdhund" in Germany since as late as 1780, which translates to "Large Danish Hunting Hound" in English. In July of 1863, the first dog exhibition was held in Hamburg where eight dogs were called "Danische Dogge" and seven dogs were called "Ulmer Doggen." Return to Top
Structure and Size of the Breed
The Great Dane breed has an appearance that is quite recognizable. This dog breed merges its nobility, poise, strength, and grace with its extremely large sized, powerful, well-formed, smooth muscular body. The Great Dane is one of the largest working breeds. This dog type is a short haired breed with a strong dashing figure. The ratio of a Great Dane is described as a square shape. The male dog should not be less than 30 inches at the shoulders and the female dog should not be less that 28 inches. Year after year, the Great Dane typically is dubbed the tallest living dog. The current record holder as the tallest dog in the world is a blue Great Dane named Giant George. Giant George stands tall at 43 inches at the shoulder. He is also the tallest dog according to the Guinness World Records, beating the previous record holder named Shamgret Danzas, a brindle Great Dane who stood at 42.5 inches at the shoulder.
The minimum average weight for a Great Dane over eighteen months old is about 120 pounds for males and about 100 pounds for females. Male Great Danes generally appear to be more massive throughout their bodies with a bigger frame and heavier bones compared to females. The Great Dane breed has naturally droopy, triangular ears. However, in the past, when Great Danes were frequently used to hunt boars, their ears would be cropped in order to make injuries to the dogs' ears less likely during their time hunting. Now, Great Danes are primarily companion animals and are not used for hunting very often. Yet, cropping is still done sometimes for cosmetic and traditional reasons. The practice of cropping is much more common in the United States than it is in Europe. In fact, the practice is actually banned in some European countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, and parts of Australia. Return to Top
Various Colors of the Great Dane
Great Danes are seen with a variety of different coat colors. There are six show-acceptable coat colors that Great Danes can have. The first acceptable coat color is fawn. Fawn is a yellow gold color with a black mask. The black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and also may appear on the ears. The second coat color is brindle. This color is fawn and black in a chevron stripe pattern. This is also often referred to as a tiger-stripe pattern. The third show-acceptable coat color for a Great Dane is blue. This blue is a pure steel blue. If white markings at the chest and toes are seen, these are considered faults and not desirable. Black is the fourth acceptable coat color. This black is considered a glossy black. As with the blue coats, white markings at the chest and toes are not ideal. The fifth show-acceptable coat color for this dog breed is harlequin. Harlequin has a base color that is pure white with black torn patches occasionally, which is well distributed over the dog's entire body. A pure white neck is the most ideal coloring though. To be acceptable as a show dog, the black patches should also never be large enough to look like a blanket, but never too small to look like spots. The last show-acceptable coat color for a Great Dane is mantle. Mantle is also called "Boston color" in some countries due to the similar coloring and pattern as a Boston Terrier. Mantle is a black and white color with a solid black blanket that practically covers the body. For this coat color, ideally the dog would have a black skull with a white muzzle, a white chest, a whole white collar, white on parts or all of the forelegs and hind legs, along with a white tipped black tail. While these above coat colors are the only ones show-acceptable, other coat colors are occasionally seen on the Great Dane breed. These coat colors include white, merle, merlequin, fawnequin, fawn mantle, and others. These colors are not acceptable for conformation showing and are never desired by breeders who plan on breeding show dogs.
The Great Dane's temperament is most often known as gentle and friendly. Often times, this breed is mistaken as a powerful and dominant dog due to its large and strong appearance. However, Great Danes are overall extremely friendly and agreeing with other dogs and animals, as well as humans. Yet, it is important to note that when this breed of dog starts to feel threatened, they have been known to attack humans. This attack is usually caused by a person that is unfamiliar to the dog and does not know how to treat him. Other dog breeds often chase and attack small animals, but this is not at all likely to be seen in the behavior of a Great Dane. Great Danes love to take walks daily in order to stay healthy. Yet, it is important to pay close attention to them to prevent over exercising this breed, especially when they are young. When Great Danes are puppies, they grow very large at an extremely fast pace. This puts them at a greater risk of joint and bone problems. Puppies have a lot of natural energy, so it is important as an owner to make sure you take the time to focus on minimizing activities while the dog is still growing. Because Great Danes are so large, this breed continues to grow and gain weight longer than most other dog breeds. Return to Top
Lifespan of the Great Dane
The average lifespan of a Great Dane is approximately 6.5 to 7 years. The health of a Great Dane is mostly based around their large size. Like most extremely large dog breeds, Great Danes tend to have a somewhat slow metabolism. Having a slow metabolism causes this breed to have less energy and less food consumption per pound of dog compared to smaller breeds. Great Danes have many health problems that are generally common in large breeds such as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). This health issue causes a painful distending and twisting of the stomach. This is a very serious and critical condition that can affect Great Danes and may ultimately cause death if not addressed immediately. This health problem can be caused by the dog drinking large amounts of fluid in a short amount of time. Veterinarians often recommend having their stomachs tacked to the right abdominal wall through Gastropexy, especially if the dog or its relatives have a history of GDV. A good practice to use with Great Danes to help prevent GDV is to elevate their food dishes in order to regulate the amount of air that is inhaled while eating. It also helps to refrain from exercising a Great Dane immediately before or after meals. This has been said to help reduce the risk of GDV. In order to determine if GDV may have occurred in a Great Dane, there are a few things to look for. Look for visible swelling or enlargement of the abdomen, along with repeated retching that sounds like a repetitive non-occurring attempt to vomit. GDV is a very serious surgical emergency and immediate evaluation should be determined if a Great Dane shows any signs of this condition. Other health issues often found in Great Danes are dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and a variety of congenital heart diseases. This breed of dog also often suffers from several genetic disorders that are specific to Great Danes. If a Great Dane is white and lacks any color near its eyes or ears, then that often means that organ will not develop and can lead to blindness, deafness, or both. It is important to always examine and take care of a Great Dane in order to help prevent these health issues.
The Great Dane breed is one of the most friendly and gentle dogs out there. With their strong and large appearance mixed with their calm and welcoming personality, the Great Dane has a wonderful well-rounded attraction. Along with being one of the largest dogs in the world, the Great Dane is also one of the largest well-known breeds today. Return to Top