AKC Group: Working
A similar-looking dog to the Great Dane has been found on Greek coins that date back to the year 36 B.C. They were the dogs of royalty and highly prized. These dogs were heavier, larger and less refined than the modern Great Dane. Today’s Great Dane was developed in Germany and likely a cross between Mastiffs from the Asiatic people and Irish Wolfhounds. They were bred to be dogs of war and to hunt large game and were valued for their strength, obedience and ability to work independently. They caught the eye of English hunters and became known as the German Boarhound(they were first used by the English to hunt wild boar). Eventually they became known as the Great Dane, but how or why that new name came about has been lost.
Size: 25 to 30 inches; 100 to 200 pounds.
Color: Brindle; black-masked fawn; blue; black; harlequin (white with irregular black patches); mantle (black with white collar, muzzle, chest and tail tip).
Life span: 6 to 8 years.
Health problems: Deafness, heart problems, bloat, hip dysplasia, cataracts, bone cancer, hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD). Take care with your Great Dane in extreme temperatures, they are a breed that is sensitive to extreme heat and cold.
This giant dog has a patient and gentle personality. Sweet natured to the core, a Great Dane makes a fantastic family pet. These dogs are attentive and devoted to their families. They can have a tendency to be bossy or stubborn, so a family with previous canine experience is ideal. A Great Dane requires plenty of attention and devotion back to him; he does not do well with someone with precious little time to commit. A young Great Dane can be boisterous and destructive and requires much supervision. They require plenty of exercise and (due to their size) plenty of space to roam around in. He makes a fine companion for children, especially for those he grows with. In regards to other companions, he may do well or he may not. Early socialization can help with this. Likewise, his reaction to strangers is the same based on innate personality. A Great Dane is a sensitive dog but this may come across as aloofness.
The Great Dane is the tallest breed of all canines. They are well muscled and athletic. Their expression of nobility and dignity remains constant. The coat of the Great Dane is short, dense and sleek. Brush him occasionally to keep it sleek. When he sheds seasonally, he may require more help. Start his training as young as you can. He should be relatively easy to train. (Trying to train an older Great Dane will make you both want to pull your hair out; so give him the best foundation as a pup.) Obedience training is the best place to start with him. Always train him with calm and positive methods. Great Danes are extremely sensitive and quickly become attuned to your emotions and your level of approval or disapproval. If he does something wrong, a sharp “no!” and lack of attention for a short period is all that’s required to let him know he’s done wrong. When roaming the neighborhood or in a park, a Great Dane should always be on a leash. Not because they’re aggressive, but for their sheer size. A Great Dane is huge and a frightening sight to some. A Great Dane also requires a lot of socialization to other dogs and non-canine companions to learn the social rules. At times you may find that your Great Dane is trying to be dominant (especially if you’re inconsistent), you will probably need to enlist professional help. Never allow any bad habit to form with a Great Dane; you may never be able to it once established. They should also be discouraged from jumping on people. It’s much safer for everyone if you can teach him to sit first when meeting someone new.