The Great Dane is smart, friendly, and ready to learn, but without early training this Giant can be overbearing and powerful if you don't know how to control them correctly.
A dog resembling the Great Dane has been found on Egyptian monuments dating 3,000 years ago, as well as on Greek money from 36 B.C. However, it is believed they originated from Germany. They were proclaimed the national breed of Germany in 1876! The Great Dane is a cross between the Irish Wolfhound and the English Mastiff. Later the Greyhound was added to the mix for our current Great Dane. This breed is also referred to the name of Deutsche Dogge (German Mastiff).
Part of the Working and Guardian group, the Great Dane was originally bred to hunt boar and bear in the 16the century. Now the breed is known more as a companion dog.
The Great Dane's height is 28-34 and they can weigh 100-200 pounds. A Great Dane, named "Giant George" currently holds the title for tallest dog ever according to the Guinness Book of World Records, measuring 43" tall! Great Dane's continue to grow even after one year old, sometimes several months afterwards.The obvious attribute is their height! This breed is very large and muscular with a rectangle shape head. They are born with floppy ears that hang, which are so adorably cute, but sadly many people still get their ears cropped. Originally, their ears were cropped due to hunting boar, because it was believed to help prevent injuries. This was a false assumption. Although ear cropping is banned throughout many countries, the United States still believes in the practice. A Dane's tail is sleek, long and tapered. They have a short and smooth coat that comes in many different colors such as; fawn, blue, black, harlequin, brindle, and mantle pattern (Boston Terrier look). White is highly discouraged amongst breeders as it can carry the recessive gene for deafness. This breed is a slobbery breed, so be prepared to carry around a towel to wipe their mouth and face frequently. :-)
The Dane is known as the Gentle Giant, because they are truly just that! They have a very kind and gentle spirit about them. They are friendly amongst other dogs, children, other animals, and typically do not have a high prey drive. However, early socialization and proper training helps to achieve their good-natured disposition. This breed needs an owner that is not a push-over because of their size. They will require a steady and consistent training pattern. They are playful, so don't let their size fool you into thinking they are a lazy dog. They can be affectionate as well as easy going. A very, all around, GREAT GIANT breed to enjoy having as a pet!
Their activity level is MODERATE. Many people think Giant breeds tend to be on the lazy side. Typically true, however not the case with the Great Dane! This breed will require a daily exercise regimen such as one 45 minute walk, or going to Doggy Daycare for some playtime. However, due to the breed's rapid growth rate, it is important to not over exercise them when they are puppies, as this can contribute to joint and bone problems. Sadly, this breed is prone to Bloat, a condition where the stomach can rotate cutting off the blood supply to many parts of the body. If not caught in time, the condition can be fatal. Exercise and playtime should not be done immediately after mealtime and smaller meals throughout the day are required for this breed. Due to their size, this breed will not do well with apartment living. They require space, preferably with a fence in-yard to run around.
A typical life span for the Dane is less than 10 years. Health concerns are: Bloat, Hip Dysplasia, Osteosarcoma (Bone Tumors), Wobbler Syndrome, Heart Disease,
Are you in LOVE with this GIANT breed? Looking for a dog that has an all around easy-going, gentle and friendly personality? Do you enjoy taking a LONG daily walk and are looking for a walking partner? Great with kids, other dogs and small animals, the Great Dane could be the breed you are looking for!
As you begin looking for a Great Dane, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized, not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescues? By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe