The Great Dane combines an elegant, noble appearance of great size and strength, with a friendly, dependable personality. They make great family companions for the right home.
The Great Dane can trace its history to the “mastiff” type canines depicted in carvings, pictures and writings dating back to 3,000 B.C., used as fierce hunters and feared as war dogs. They were highly prized for their strength, boldness, and loyalty.
As time passed, they began to be selectively bred in several countries at the same time and were known by many names. In Germany, where they served originally as boar hounds and as guard dogs for estates, they were called “Deutsche Dogge” and became the national dog in 1870. Standards were being adopted and a more refined looking dog was developed; in England, crosses between these dogs and greyhounds were made. Meanwhile, in the mid-1800s some fanciers in the United States began importing dogs, primarily from Germany. A specialty breed club was organized in 1889, which evolved into The Great Dane Club of America in 1891.
The American Dane enthusiasts continued to import and breed, refining and delineating the breed’s characteristics, eliminating the short legs and coarse bodies and breeding out the aggressive behavior inherent in the early imports.
Today the Great Dane fills a variety of roles. Companions, show dogs, protectors, or working dogs, the Dane’s versatility, intelligence, and adaptability make him extremely popular; just as his size, elegance, symmetry, and carriage result in the beautiful animal we call The Apollo of Dogs.
The Great Dane must be spirited, courageous, never timid or aggressive, never shy or fearful; always friendly and dependable. They can be clowns, and they can also be guardians of the home. Introduced properly to the task, they can be the protector of your children and your home/property with a fierce loyalty.
This breed requires a home with set guidelines of what is and is not acceptable behavior. A Great Dane puppy with a cute bad habit becomes a giant pain in the neck when bad behavior is not corrected properly and quickly. They are easily trained, and can do a variety of activities and dog sports.
While they are often touted as couch potatoes, the Great Dane is a working breed. They have a strong mind, and will use it! It is the owner’s job to channel that into a happy, loyal companion.
- Homes with a large, fenced yard with a solid 5 to 6-foot fence.
- Owner(s) with a strong sense of leadership.
- A structured lifestyle, with someone present more than not.
- A loving home that can provide daily, regular exercise, both physical and mental.
- Owners who are able to provide the financial needs of owning a giant breed.
- Homes with no one home a good portion of the day.
- Someone who expects a great dog without putting in the time and patience to provide training.
- Apartment living – they are big, and can be loud!
- Someone who wants a small, quiet lap dog.
- Incredibly loving and loyal
- Sweet and silly, yet stunningly regal
- They are huge!
- Their costs to maintain can be high
- They can be very destructive when bored
- Shorter lifespan due to size
Females: Average 32 to 34 inches at the shoulder, and 120 to 140 pounds.
Males: Average 34 to 36 inches at the shoulder, and 160 to 180 pounds.
The Great Dane comes in seven accepted colors of the breed standard, which are Black, Blue, Brindle, Fawn, Harlequin, Mantle, and Merle. The other colors that exist and are seen in this breed are the result of the mixing of color families not endorsed by the Great Dane Club of America.
Varies with age, but somewhat moderate to active when young, slowing to moderate and laid back as they age. They require regular exercise appropriate to their age.
8 to 10 years on average.
While the breed is normally good with and very tolerant of children, because of their size, supervision is paramount, as they are often unaware of themselves and their size.
While the breed normally does well when properly introduced to other animals, they can have a high prey drive, so proper socialization starting at an early age and training are necessary.
There’s not a lot that the Great Dane breed cannot do! There are many sports and activities one can do with this giant breed, from Agility, Rally, and Obedience, Nose Work, Barn Hunt, Coursing Ability to name a few of the organized sports, to hiking, swimming, and walking companion for the active family.
The short coat of the Great Dane doesn’t require any special grooming, but they do have periods about twice a year of increased shedding. A good weekly grooming with a rubber mitt or a soft, short-bristled brush is suitable most of the year, with increased daily brushing during times of shedding. Great Danes need bathing only occasionally.
The toenails should be trimmed and kept short on a regular basis, because if allowed to grow too long, they can cause pain and discomfort, which will affect this giant breed greatly.
Besides the short life span of this breed due in most part to their size, the more prevalent health concerns this breed can experience are bloat and torsion (gastric dilatation-volvulus), osteosarcoma (bone cancer), eye and cardiac diseases, as well as hypothyroidism.