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.
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The Great Dane is typically a gentle giant, easygoing and mild-mannered.
He needs only moderate exercise, but does need space and shouldn’t be cramped into studio apartments and postage-stamp yards. Above all, this sociable breed needs companionship. He doesn’t do well when left alone.
With his deep, resounding voice, a Great Dane won’t fail to announce visitors, but guarding and territorial instincts vary. Some lines and individuals are friendly with everyone, some are sensibly protective, while others are standoffish or skittish.
To build their confidence and promote a stable temperament, young Great Danes must be taken out into the world more frequently than most other breeds.
Some Great Danes are peaceful with other pets, while others are dominant and pushy.
Because he is so huge and can be bossy if undisciplined, obedience training is essential, but Great Danes are also very sensitive and should be trained with cheerful methods. Harshness only confuses them and makes them distrustful.
Great Danes drool and slobber and lumber around in a rather bumptious manner. They are not good choices for fastidious housekeepers, or for those with no sense of humor.
Young Great Danes (up to three years old) can be boisterous, and unless supervised, will dismay you with the magnitude of their destructiveness.