Great Dane Information

Overview

Also known as the Deutsche Dogge or German Mastiff in its homeland, the Great Dane is one of the world’s tallest dog breeds known for their enormous bodies. However, their large size belies their friendly and affectionate nature, as Great Danes are known to make wonderful loyal companions for owners with plenty of space. Read on to find a full breed description for Great Danes to help determine whether this “gentle giant” is the right breed match for your family.

Great Dane
Basic Info
NameGreat Dane
Other NameDeutsche Dogge, Grand Danois
OriginGermany, Denmark
Size Type Giant Dog Breeds
Breed Group Working Dog Breeds
Life Span 6 -12 years
TemperamentConfident, Devoted, Friendly, Gentle, Reserved, Loving
HeightFemale: 28–32 inches, Male: 30–34 inches
Weight110 to 190 lbs
ColorsBlack, Blue, Brindle, Fawn, Harlequin, Mantle
Puppy Price Average $1000 - $1200 USD

Great Dane

Physical description

Body Type

As a humongous powerful dog breed, Great Danes possess a square body with an equal ratio between length and height. The long head is rectangular in shape, the muzzle is deep with a well-defined stop, and the dark eyes are deep-set and medium-sized. When left naturally, the medium-sized ears are set high, folded forward, and hang close to the cheeks. Despite being illegal in many parts of the world, some Great Danes have cropped ears for cosmetic reasons, which make them stand erect and appear larger in proportion to the rest of the head. The breed has a well-arched muscular neck with perfectly straight front legs and rounded feet. Male Great Danes are usually between 30 to 34 inches at the shoulder height and weigh between 120 and 200 pounds, but females are slightly smaller at 28 to 32 inches with a weight ranging from 100 to 130 pounds.

Color

Coat color variations for the Great Dane include yellow gold with a black mask, fawn and black with a chevron stripe pattern, pure steel blue, pure white harlequin with black torn patches, and mantle black and white with a solid black blanket. Although not recognized by the breed standard, some Great Danes may be merle as a result of harlequin breeding or receive a recessive gene for a chocolate brown coloring.

Coat

Great Danes possess a short and smooth coat of thick, dense hairs covering their enormous bodies. Typically, these dogs shed an average amount like any other short-haired breed, but owners may notice a bit more hair around the house due to their large size.

Characteristics
Good with Kids
 
Cat Friendly
 
Dog Friendly
 
Trainability
 
Shedding
 
Watchdog
 
Intelligence
 
Grooming
 
Popularity
 
Adaptability
 
Hypoallergenic  No

Grooming

With a short-haired coat that is easy to groom, it is recommended for owners to comb and brush their Great Danes with a firm bristle brush when needed. Since bathing this giant can be a major chore, it is suggested that the dogs are only bathed whenever necessary because it is a low odor breed that is prone to dry skin when bathed too frequently. When the slimy, white, and translucent slobber begins to form on the dog’s jowls, owners may need to carry a drool towel to tidy up the mess. Ears and eyes must be cleaned at least once a week to remove the buildup of mucus and prevent the occurrence of infection. Since Great Danes are more susceptible to pay injuries than smaller breeds, veterinarians recommend keeping the nails as short as possible with a traditional nail cutter.

History

Known as the “Apollo of all dogs,” the Great Dane is a very ancient breed that appeared on Egyptian monuments dating back to 3,000 BC and Greek money dating back to 36 BC. While the earliest writings of dogs resembling Great Danes were in Chinese literature back in 1121 BC, there is documentation that indicates it was not until 407 AD that the Asiatic people brought the powerful mastiff dogs to invade German Gaul, Spain, and Italy. Highly admired for their ability to bring down wild boar and even bear, European nobility imported the strong dogs to act as their very large hunting companions.

Developed from the selective breeding of the Irish Wolfhound, English Mastiff, and Greyhound, the Great Dane was also prized as an estate guard dog also used for tracking and carting. By the mid-19th century, the breed gained tremendous popularity being marketed as a dog of luxury instead of as a working dog. In 1863, Great Danes made their first appearance at a German dog show in Hamburg and within two decades the official “Deutsche Doggen Club” was formed as the first Kennel Club in Germany ever. After being recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887 as well, Great Danes have grown to become the 17th most popular dog breed in the U.S.

Temperament

With a lovable disposition, Great Danes are often described as charming, affectionate, caring, playful, and friendly with everyone. Known for being patient with children, the dogs are reliable, trustworthy, courageous, loyal, and dependable. When raised by a firm and consistent pack leader, Great Danes will not bark much and will only become aggressive when the circumstances require it within its watchdog duties. However, when not properly trained or socialized, the dogs have a tendency to become fearful, cautious, or aggressive towards unfamiliar stimuli, such as strangers or new surroundings. Provided that Great Danes are trained properly from puppyhood, most are among the “world’s largest lapdogs.”

Given their large size, Great Danes require daily walks to maintain their health. On the other hand, it is important to note that the dogs should not be overly exercised when young because the puppies grow large very quickly and excess exercise may increase risk for joint problems. Since the breed is relatively inactive indoors, these dogs thrive when provided a large fenced-in yard that enables them to work off some of their natural energy. Although not preferable, Great Danes may be suitable for apartment living if sufficiently exercised with access outdoors.


Interesting Great Dane Facts

  • As one of the tallest dog breeds on the planet, the current world record holder for the tallest living dog according to the Guinness World Records is the Great Dane named Zeus who stands 44 inches at the shoulder height.
  • While it may seem that their food intake would match their enormity, most Great Danes interestingly consume just two to three cups of dry dog food in a meal.
  • Great Danes experience rapid growth spurts that can cause puppies to be visibly bigger after a single night’s sleep. In fact, within the span of just one year, these puppies go from just a handful to being able to stand on their hindquarters to stare a six-foot tall man right in the eyes.