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Great Dane

Characteristics: , , , ,

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The Great Dane is physically the largest dog in the world. The Irish wolfhound can be taller but does not weigh as much as the Great Dane. The Great Dane is known for its gentle character and has received the nickname ‘the gentle giant’.

The breed standard describes the Great Dane in this way: A Great Dane unites pride, strength, and elegance in its noble overall impression with its large, sturdy, and completed build. The noble and harmonic figure combined with a well-proportioned body and an expressive head makes the dog resemble a statue. The Great Dane is the Apollo of the dog breeds.

History of the breed
Historically, the Great Dane was bred in both Germany and Denmark. In Germany it is called ‘Deutsche dogge’ (German dog). In 1937 the FCI (Féderation Cynologique Internationale) decided that the official country of origin is Germany but each country was allowed to call it what they wanted.

The cotemporary Great Dane is connected to the old ’Bulbider’ breed and other hunting dogs used for wild boar hunting. Typically, these dogs were a crossing of the strong English mastiff and a fast, flexible, and graceful greyhound. The experts do not fully agree upon the origin of the Great Dane. Some believe that it stems from Denmark while others believe it is a German breed. The oldest German breeder we know of stems from the Wuerttemberg region in Germany. Today, the Great Dane is used as a pet dog and as guard dog.

Character and behaviour
The Great Dane’s large and impressive physical appearance almost contradicts the friendly and gentle temper. Typically, the Great Dane is friendly towards other dogs, pets, wild animals, and people (also strangers and children). Naturally, they can become aggressive and dominating towards dogs of the same gender but it rarely happens.

Even though the Great Dane has a slow metabolism it still requires a lot of exercise. It is a widely held misunderstanding that Great Danes are lethargic and compliant and does not require daily walks and exercise.

Appearance, grooming and health
The male is minimum 30 inches tall and weighs 120 -200 pounds. The female weighs approximately 100-130 pounds. There are no maximum or minimum requirements in the breed standard regarding weight. This breed can thus weigh a lot but should still be athletic.

The coat is short, smooth, dense, and shiny. It is available in three different colour variations: Light or dark yellow with black stripes, black/white and black with white markings, and Blue (white markings allowed).

What you should know about the breed:

  • The largest dog in the world
  • Smooth coat. Does not require grooming
  • Kind and gentle temper
  • Needs moderate level of exercise
  • Looks imposing but is hardly ever aggressive towards people
  • Does not like to be alone
  • Needs early socialization
  • Strong minded – requires a firm owner
  • Drools a bit
  • Life expectancy is short


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  • This group is for anyone who owns a Great Dane or have questions to this specific dog breed.
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