The Great Dane is thought to claim descent through ancient breeds of massive boar hounds such as the extinct Molossus. Figures resembling the breed have been found in the Egyptian frescos and Greek paintings, dating as far back as 3000 B.C. Descending from the English Mastiff and the Irish wolfhound and originally bred for hunting big game, this breed was brought over from England to the European mainland, and slowly became an object of luxury due to the development of firearms. They were bred specifically for the nobility and the high class gentry, and were initially known as German Mastiff or German Boarhound. However, it was later renamed to Great Dane as the relations between Germany and other European nations soured.
Despite its huge stature, the Great Dane is very gentle and gets along well with children, familiar humans and other canine and non-canine pets. However, it requires much more socialising than other breeds and requires training at an early age to avoid issues such as fearfulness and aggressive behaviour towards strangers and new environments.
- Activity level: 2.5/5 (moderately active)
- Intelligence level: 3/5 (intelligent)
- Curiosity: 2/5 (mildly curious)
- Friendliness: 3/5 (friendly)
- Vocal: 3/5 (quite vocal)
The Great Dane has a well formed, smoothly muscled body, the overall impression being one of power, elegance and nobility. Large of frame and heavy of bone, the Great Dane is amongst the largest dogs in the world, and generally holds the year to year record for the tallest dog.
- Fur: Short hair fur with no undercoat; the common colours are fawn, brindle, black and blue.
- Eyes: Medium sized dark deep set eyes.
- Body structure: Large, square body; well muscled and proportionate. Heavily boned frame is large is stature.
- Facial features: Long, rectangular head; deep muzzle with a pronounced stop. Floppy, triangular ears.
- Weight: Male of the breed must weigh between 120 to 200 lbs, whereas the female must weigh between 100 to 130 lbs; lower weights are not recommended by breed standards.
Owing to its large stature, the Great Dane is prone to certain problems specific to large dogs such as hip dysplasia, gastric dilation volvulus (GDV) and cardiac diseases such as dilated cardiomyopathy. Hip dysplasia may also result in the development of arthritis later in a Great Dane’s life. Diagnosis of hip dysplasia is done through synovial fluid analysis, X-rays, MRI and CT scans. Gastric dilation volvulus or torsion is diagnosed through ultrasound, x-rays of abdomen and urine analysis; plasma analysis for lactate substances may also be used for diagnosis. Cardiac disorders are generally diagnosed through complete bloody profiling, electrocardiogram and echocardiogram.
Caring and grooming is comparatively easy for this breed. Being generally low energy the Great Dane has been approved for apartment living through AKC. This breed requires some regular exercise for maintaining its health, whereas being a shorthaired breed its grooming requirements are minimal; brushing twice a week is considered adequate.
We have gathered this information from our breeders based on their experience with this breed. However, remember that each animal is different with its own personality and needs (just like people!), so use this information wisely.
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