Great Dane is not from Denmark; rather, this breed was developed in Germany, although artwork in Egypt dating back to 3000 B.C. shows dogs looking remarkably like Great Danes. The Germans used this breed to hunt wild boar. In the late 1800s, the Germans decided that the breed was to be named the Deutsche Dogge. Where the name Great Dane originated has been hotly debated.
This is a giant breed, standing taller than 28 to 32 inches and weighing between 125 and 180 pounds. He has an elegant, regal yet strong appearance, with a rectangular head, medium-sized dark eyes, and a black nose. The Great Dane has either folded ears or cropped upright ears. The chest is deep and the body strong and balanced. The tail is long, reaching to the hocks.
The Great Dane coat is short and may be brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin, or mantle (black and white). The short coat should be brushed twice weekly. Great Dane puppies are clumsy, silly, and playful and need regular, easy exercise and several play sessions a day. Great Dane puppies should not over-exercise; doing so can cause problems with growing bones. Adult Great Dane dogs are calmer, although they appreciate a walk morning and evening and a chance to play.
Early and continued socialization and training for all Great Dane puppies is recommended. A Great Dane puppy grows very rapidly (owners and trainers need to know that these dogs are very large physically while mentally still puppies), and training not only teaches the Great Dane what is expected of him at home and out in public, but also teaches the owner how to control the dog.
Training should be firm and structured, yet kind and fun. The Great Dane does best with an owner who understands the needs and characteristics of a giant dog. The breed is good with children who treat the dog with respect, although puppies can be quite rough. Great Danes are usually good with other dogs. This dog breed has a number of health concerns, including cardiomyopathy, bloat, cancer, hip dysplasia, and wobbler’s syndrome.