(aka: German Mastiff, Deutsche Dogge)
The Great Dane is a giant of a dog, and is the tallest of the dog breeds. These dogs have a well muscled and athletic build, and an expression of nobility and dignity. The Great Dane has a short, dense, and sleek coat, and the coloring can vary. This includes harlequin, brindle, blue, black, mantle, and fawn. The height of the Great Dane is around 30-34 inches for females and 33-38 inches for males. The weight of these dogs is 100-140 pounds for females and 145-190 pounds for males.
Great Dane Temperament
The Great Dane is a giant of a dog with a patient and gentle personality. These sweet natured dogs make great family pets, and are attentive and devoted to their owners. The Great Dane is best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership, as they can be stubborn and bossy. Early and extensive socialization is also important to promote a stable, confident manner. The Great Dane is a bold, spirited breed, and his size alone means that he makes an effective watchdog. These dogs do need plenty of attention and devotion from their owners, and are not suited to those with little time to commit to a pet. Training should be consistent and firm, yet positive. The house proud may want to think twice before considering this breed, as they can be very messy and do drool.
Younger Great Danes can be very destructive and boisterous, and will need a good deal of supervision. These giant dogs do need a fair amount of exercise, and plenty of space will be needed because of their sheer size. When not on a leash the Great Dane will need a large, secured, safe area in which to exercise. The Great Dane is good with children when raised with them, but his size could cause a problem if you have very small children. When it comes to other pets, some Great Danes will be accepting but others may see themselves as the dominant one, and supervision may be required. Again, early socialization is important. The reaction of the Great Dane around strangers can also vary, and can depend upon the individual personality of the dog. These dogs are very sensitive, and some can come across as quite aloof. However, with consistent training and extensive, early socialization the Great Dane can make a very loyal and loving - if rather large - pet.
The grooming requirements for the Great Dane are quite low, and an occasional brushing will help to keep his coat looking good. You may need to brush more regularly when he is shedding more heavily. The Great Dane is a medium shedder, and can shed all year round and more heavily at certain times of the year, so he may not be the best choice for allergy sufferers.
A dog very similar in appearance to the Great Dane has been found on Greek coins dating back to the year 36 B.C. They were considered the dogs of royalty and were very highly prized and regarded. These dogs were brought into what is now Europe and were heavier, larger and less refined that what we now know as the Great Dane.
The modern Great Dane was first developed in Germany, likely as a cross between Mastiffs brought by the Asiatic people and Irish Wolfhounds. They were originally bred as dogs of war and for hunting large game. The Great Danes were valued for their strength, obedience and ability to work independently. In the fourteenth century the Germans began to actively use the Great Dane as dogs to hunt wild hogs. The Great Dane became popular with English hunters and was originally known as the German Boarhound.
The German Boarhound at some point in time became known as the Great Dane, although there is little information on why the name change occurred or why they were connected to Denmark instead of Germany. In the year 1880 the German government officially decreed that the Great Dane should only be called the Deutsche Dogge within the country.
In more recent times the Great Dane is typically used as a carting dog as well as a companion. They can also be an excellent show dog and watchdog.
The Great Dane is a gentle and calm dog that is typically very easy to train when training is started when they are very young. Older Great Danes may be more challenging to work with if they have not had foundation training when they are young. This is very typical of all dog breeds, but the large size of the Great Dane makes it very important to get the foundation training.
Obedience training is highly recommended for this breed to incorporate both training and socialization at a young age. The Great Dane should be trained using only calm and positive training methods never aggressive or harsh punishment should ever be used. The Great Dane is a very sensitive breed and will quickly become attuned to the handlers and owners emotions and approval or disapproval. Usually a sharp "no" and a lack of attention is all that is required to let the Great Dane know that they have done something wrong.
The Great Dane should be leash or lead trained and should be kept in a fenced yard or on a leash when outside. Even though they are not aggressive they are intimidating and can really frighten people that are not familiar with the breed. The Great Dane needs to be socialized with other dogs and non-canine pets and this should be part of the regular training program.
The Great Dane is usually relatively easy to train but occasionally a Great Dane can become somewhat dominant, requiring a firm and consistent owner. In these cases a professional trainer can also be used to help the dog and owner learn to work together and prevent dominance issues from becoming a problem. Since the Great Dane is so large it is critical to deal with behavior issues as soon as they occur, never allow bad habits to become established.
Often very excited and happy to see owners come home after a long day, they have to be taught not to jump up. Teaching the Great Dane to sit when he or she approaches someone is a great idea and helps to prevent anyone from being nervous when first meeting the dog.
The life expectancy of the Great Dane is around 6-8 years, which is far shorter than many other dog breeds. There are a number of problems associated with this breed, and this includes deafness, heart problems, bloat, HD, HOD, cataracts, and bone cancer. Care should also be taken in extreme temperatures, as the Great Dane is sensitive to extreme heat or cold. The parents of the Great Dane puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates.