The Great Dane was developed in Germany, although artwork in Egypt dating back to 3000 B.C. shows dogs looking remarkably like Great Danes. The Germans used this breed to hunt wild boar. In the late 1800s, the Germans decided that the breed was to be named the Deutsche Dogge. Where the name Great Dane originated has been hotly debated. This is a giant breed.
This is a giant breed used by Germans to hunt wild boar.
The Great Dane has an elegant, regal yet strong appearance, with a rectangular head, medium-sized dark eyes, and a black nose. He has either folded ears or cropped upright ears. The chest is deep and the body strong and balanced. The tail is long, reaching to the hocks. The coat is short and may be brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin, or mantle (black and white). The short coat should be brushed twice weekly.
Great Dane puppies are clumsy, silly, and playful and need regular, easy exercise and several play sessions a day. Puppies should not over-exercise; doing so can cause problems with growing bones. Adult dogs are calmer, although they appreciate a walk morning and evening and a chance to play.
A Great Dane grows very rapidly (owners and trainers need to know that these dogs are very large physically while mentally still puppies), and training not only teaches him what is expected of him at home and out in public, but also teaches the owner how to control the dog. Training should be firm and structured, yet kind and fun. The Great Dane does best with an owner who understands the needs and characteristics of a giant dog. The breed is good with children who treat the dog with respect, although puppies can be quite rough. Great Danes are usually good with other dogs. The breed has a number of health concerns, including cardiomyopathy, bloat, cancer, hip dysplasia, and wobbler’s syndrome.
The Great Dane is often referred to as a gentle giant.
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: 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.
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, although, when feeling threatened, have been known to attack humans. This is usually brought on by a person that is unfamiliar to the dog. Some breeds may chase or attack small animals, but this is not typical with Great Danes.