The Great Dane is a giant powerful dog that is also very elegant looking when it is standing at attention. It has a personality and heart to match their size. If given the chance, they will become a very loyal and trustworthy family pet.
They are such a handsome dog they have been given the nicknames the Apollo of dogs or Gentle Giant because of their royal looks. Many stand 30 inches or more at the shoulder. You will not have to worry about intruders, they get scared just by the size of these massive dogs. They do make a good security system all by themselves. All you have to do is feed and love this system.
These large dogs can live either in the country or even in the city as long as you provide them with a large yard to get their exercise. They love to play and especially with children but care should be taken around smaller kids because of their enormous size. they have been known to unintentionally knock over or trample a toddler. They even love cats! They would rather be inside with the family than outside.
They are not an aggressive dog and will not be unless provoked insistently. They are not barkers, so you will not have to worry about the neighbors complaining. However, when they do bark, you know it. You must make sure you start their training while they are young, if you do not they will walk all over you and because of their size you do not need a disobedient dog.
The Great Dane has a long narrow head, a proficient frontal stop, and their nasal canal is large. The neck is very muscular and long with their legs being strong and straight. Muscular thighs drop down to the compact rounded feet with short nails that are dark. The Great Dane has a medium length tail that reaches half way down its leg. When they look at you, their eyes are a round, brilliant, dark color and always show expression in them.
It is up to you whether you want to crop their tail, so they stand erect or leave them alone. It is more common to have them cropped in the United States than any other country. Their fur is short and close to their bodies. They have several colors of fur including the fawn, brindle, black, blue, mantle harlequin, and once in awhile Merle.
The size of the males for height is 30 to 36 inches and weight is anywhere from 120 and 180 pounds. The female is about 2 inches shorter and twenty pounds lighter than the males. The Great Dane is not full grown until almost the age of 2 years. They must be given the right nutrition to reach their full potential. If not fed proper they will not have strong healthy bones to carry all that weight. They like to be lap dogs and want to be cuddled a lot.
A Great Dane named Gibson is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the worlds tallest dog standing at 42.2 inches at the withers.
This large loveable dog likes to lean on you but watch it if it is a child. They have been known to knock them over. They have a deep desire to be around people and do not like to be left alone. They do not bark and only become aggressive if provoked. The Great Dane is considered to be one of the most dependable dogs of all. They make a great watchdog when circumstances require it. Start training at eight weeks of age and do not let up until they learn everything they need being a giant of a dog. Never let them jump up on people because their weight will push them back if not knock them over which can result in accidental injuries for the person. There are a number of things to teach them from the beginning and a few are no leaning, no jumping, no running in the house, sit, stay, walking on a leash, no pulling just to name a few. Before purchasing a Great Dane, you should talk with the breeder to learn more about training.
The short, smooth coat comes in brindle, fawn, blue, black or patches of black with white (Harlequin), and is easily cared for with a good weekly brushing. These dogs need special attention and nutrition as they mature to help them reach their full potential. They enjoy a good daily run, but should not be exercised immediately after they eat. They have short coats and do not really enjoy cold weather, a nice sweater will help to keep them warm. Some Great Dane owners have a complete closet full of clothing for their dog.
They have a short life expectancy of only about 10 years, a lot less than any other breed. Make sure you get your Great Dane from good stock. Many have puppies and just sell them no matter what type of health the puppy may have. Check on the breeder before buying from them.
The Great Dane can be traced as far back as Egyptian times. There have been monuments with pictures of dogs that resemble the Great Dane from 3000 B.C. and even some artifacts found in the temple of Babylon in 2000 B.C. There was a relief-plate with Assyrian men walking a dog that looked similar to the Great Dane because of its enormous size.
Tibet was even thought to be an origin according to some zoologists. They believed a similar type to the Great Dane was found in Chinese literature in 1121 B.C. Thinking maybe the Irish Wolfhound or the Irish Greyhound played into the development some where along the way as well. Comte de Buffon thought this as well because the Celts had taken some of the Irish Wolfhounds to Ireland and bred them with the huge dogs from the English and Romans, thus producing the Great Dane. However, others around 1700 thought it was from breeding them to Irish Mastiffs.
There were dogs called boar hounds that were bred for hunting and these were what looked the most like the Dane. Then in 1680, German noblemen started to breed many of these dogs, the most handsome and largest were kept indoors and soon became known as Chamber Dogs. They were pampered and wore gold collars trimmed with velvet.
The Great Dane got its name from Buffon. In his travels, his eye caught one of the Boar Hounds and he said they looked more like the Greyhound. He said the Danish climate had made them become a Grand Danois. So now, they were known as the Great Danish dog. The Danish name seems to hang on even though Denmark had nothing to do with this breed what so ever. Eventually it was shortened to Great Dane.
Some thought they developed in Germany because they had the Boar hounds imported through the 18th centuries so by then they had their own breeding stock and did not need any from any other country.
Not many other countries welcomed this breed. The Italians refer to the Great Dane as Alano meaning mastiff. The United States and other English speaking countries have been calling them Great Danes.
There are many famous and well known symbols of the Great Dane. The state dog of Pennsylvania is a Great Dane and the Team mascot for the University of Albany is a Great Dane. Other famous Danes are Scooby Doo, Astro from the Jetsons, Marmaduke, there was Duke and Turk in the movie Swiss Family Robinson, and of course, who could forget the darling Great Dane that thought he was a dachshund in the Ugly Dachshund.