Dog Breeds > The Great Dane
The Great Dane
|Alternate Names||Grand Danois, Deutsche Dogge, Great Dane|
|Group||Pinschers, Schnauzers, Molossers and Swiss Mountain Dogs|
The Great Dane Profile
Varieties: a) Fawn; b) brindle; c) black; d) harlequin; e) blue.
The Great Dane combines pride, strength, and elegance in a set full of nobility. Its constitution is big, powerful and harmonious. It has been defined as the “Apollo of canine breeds.” Its head is elongated, narrow, and well chiseled. The skull-muzzle ratio is close to 1/1, and the stop is marked. The ears are set high. Previously, they were necessarily cropped, but today they can be left whole. The trunk is almost square. The Great Dane’s length (measured from the shoulder to the croup) should not exceed 5% of the height in males and 10% in females.
Color: according to variety, the color can be fawn, brindle, black, harlequin or blue.
Size: about 80 cm for the males and 72 cm for the females.
Weight: 55 to 70 kg for the males and 45 to 65 kg for the females.
Origins and History
The Great Dane’s origin is German. It comes from the old “Bullenbeissers” (bull-catchers) that, in turn, come from the “Saupacker” (boarhound) from the Middle Ages. They were all big hunting dogs used to hunt boar, deer, and bear. Their construction sought to achieve an intermediate state between the strong English type Mastiff and the flexible but fast Sighthound. Until the First World War, this breed was only called “Great Dane” because it was widespread in Denmark. In 1920, the term “Deutsche Dogge (German Mastiff)” was also adopted to recall that the massive fighter dogs of the Alani – an ancient Germanic people – were among the Great Dane’s ancestors.
Character and Abilities
The first and most obvious characteristic of the Great Dane is its size, which is useful to guard dogs. Its powerful barking reinforces its role as a guard dog, but it can also be a wonderful companion dog who absolutely loves its owner and its family. It is very gentle and protective with children, and absolutely hates loneliness. The Great Dane is also very tolerant toward other dogs and even toward cats. Easy to train but needs a strong hand to slow down its enthusiasm.
Preferably indoors, especially at night and during the winter, for it to live longer. Despite its size, it is absolutely not an invasive dog and there should be no problem keeping it inside. It needs some physical exercise, but not too much. Actually, giant sized dogs need less exercise than medium or small sized dogs.
It needs a lot of attention and caring when young. Until its first birthday, the owner, or a veterinarian, needs to monitor its alimentation and its intake of vitamins. When adult, it is a robust dog that only suffers from cold. As with all giant sized dogs, hip dysplasia risks are quite high: one should only buy puppies whose parents aren’t affected. Unfortunately, the Great Dane does not live very long – eight or nine years old is already a good age.
Average life expectancy: about 9 years.