Dogs resembling the Great Dane have been seen on Egyptian monuments dating back to 3,000 BC. Extremely large boarhounds resembling the Great Dane appear in ancient Greece; in frescoes from Tiryns dating back to 14th–13th centuries BC. The large boarhound or Molossian hound continues to appear throughout ancient Greece in subsequent centuries right up to the Hellenisticera. The Molossian hound, the Suliot dog and specific imports from Greece were used in the 18th century to increase the stature of the boarhounds in Austria and Germany and the wolfhounds in Ireland.
Bigger dogs are depicted on numerous runestones in Scandinavia, on coinage in Denmark from the 5th century AD and in the collection of Old Norsepoems, known in English as Poetic Edda. The University of Copenhagen Zoological Museum holds at least seven skeletons of very large hunting dogs, dating from the 5th century BC going forward through to the year 1000 AD.
In the 19th century, the dog was known as a “German boarhound” in English speaking countries. Some German breeders tried to introduce the names “German Dogge” and “German Mastiff” on the English market, because they believed the breed should be marketed as a dog of luxury and not as a working dog. However, due to the increasing tensions between Germany and other countries, the dog later became referred to as a “Great Dane”, after the grand danois in Buffon’s Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière in 1755.
Description, Grooming, Color, and Coat:
The Great Dane is a large German breed of domestic Dog known for its giant size. As described by the American Kennel Club:
The Great Dane combines, in its regal appearance, dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well-formed, smoothly muscled body. It is one of the giant working breeds, but is unique in that its general conformation must be so well balanced that it never appears clumsy, and shall move with a long reach and powerful drive. The Great Dane is a short haired breed with a strong galloping figure.
There are three colour varieties with five to six colors of the Great Dane…
The six usual colors of Great Danes’ smooth, short coats are:
- Fawn (a golden color with a black mask)
- Brindle (fawn and black intermixed all over the body in a tiger-stripe pattern)
- Blue (steel blue, which is really a sort of gray)
- Harlequin (white with irregular black patches over the entire body)
- Mantle (black and white with a solid black blanket over the body)
He sheds a lot, but his coat is easy to keep in top condition with regular brushing. Use a firm bristle brush and shampoo as needed. Regular brushing keeps your Great Dane’s coat healthy and clean, and cuts down on the number of baths he needs.
As you might imagine, bathing a Great Dane is a daunting task, particularly if he’s not looking forward to it. Hard to imagine him hiding under the kitchen table while trying to escape a bath, but it happens.
Brushing your Dane’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Size: In the ratio between length and height, the Great Dane should be square. Male Great Danes are 30 to 34 inches tall and weigh 120 to 200 pounds. Females are 28 to 32 inches tall and weigh 100 to 130 pounds.
Temperament: The Great Dane’s large and imposing appearance belies its friendly nature. They are known for seeking physical affection with their owners, and the breed is often referred to as a “gentle giant”.
Great Danes are generally well disposed toward other dogs, other non-canine pets, and familiar humans. They generally do not exhibit extreme aggressiveness or a high prey drive. The Great Dane is a very gentle and loving animal and with the proper care and training is great around children, especially when being raised with them. However, if not properly socialized a Great Dane may become fearful or aggressive towards new stimuli, such as strangers and new environments.
Great Danes are a breed recommended for families provided that they get trained early and onwards, regarded by animal experts due to their preference for sitting on and leaning against owners as ‘the world’s biggest Lapdog”
Health: Great Danes are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Danes will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed. Hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, bone cancer, and heart disease are a few thing to watch for.
Exercise: Like most dogs, Great Danes require daily walks to maintain their health. However, it is important not to over exercise this breed, particularly when young. Great Dane puppies grow very large, very fast, which puts them at risk of joint and bone problems. Because of a puppy’s natural energy, Dane owners often take steps to minimize activity while the dog is still growing.
Lifespan: Under 10 years but most live till about 7-8 years.