breed
breed

Great Dane

avatarChristy McDowell, LVT, VTS (ECC)

Height28 - 32"
Weight110 - 175 lbs
TypeWorking
Life Expectancy5 - 7 years
Area of OriginGermany

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

Great Danes are the tallest of the mastiff family. They were bred by the Germans as bull-baiters and boarhounds, later becoming known as guardians and companions. Though they are friendly and gentle with their families, they are fiercely loyal and protective, which may lead to aggression in poorly-trained dogs. A Dane's formidable stature gives them an air of elegance, but their awkward limbs and jovial personality make them an enjoyable family pet. Because of their unique presence, several Great Danes have been featured in movies and television, including characters like Scooby-Doo, Marmaduke, and Astro from "The Jetsons."

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

Where Are Great Danes From?

Despite the name, the Great Dane is a breed of German origin. They are the tallest of the mastiffs and known as “Gentle Giants.” There are many theories surrounding the evolution of the Dane, some of which note them as descendants of the Tibetan Mastiff, Irish Wolfhound, or English Mastiff. Regardless of origin, the Germans developed a very powerful dog that was incredibly successful at hunting wild boar.

The Great Dane has a variety of names, most of which do not refer to the breed’s German heritage. In the late 19th century, the Dane was officially given the name Deutsche Dogge (German Mastiff), but this moniker is not utilized in most countries.

Today’s Danes are much gentler and more patient than their predecessors, though they will protect their families with a fierceness that reflects their heritage.

Where Are Great Danes From?

Despite the name, the Great Dane is a breed of German origin. They are the tallest of the mastiffs and known as “Gentle Giants.” There are many theories surrounding the evolution of the Dane, some of which note them as descendants of the Tibetan Mastiff, Irish Wolfhound, or English Mastiff. Regardless of origin, the Germans developed a very powerful dog that was incredibly successful at hunting wild boar.

The Great Dane has a variety of names, most of which do not refer to the breed’s German heritage. In the late 19th century, the Dane was officially given the name Deutsche Dogge (German Mastiff), but this moniker is not utilized in most countries.

Today’s Danes are much gentler and more patient than their predecessors, though they will protect their families with a fierceness that reflects their heritage.

Care

How Much Food Does a Great Dane Need?

Great Danes require tremendous amounts of food, which can be costly. This should be a consideration before adding a Dane to the family. They are prone to gastric dilatation volvulus, so it may be helpful to feed smaller portions and avoid strenuous activity after mealtime. They are known counter-surfers as well, so keep tasty foods out of their reach.

Caring for a Great Dane

How Much Food Does a Great Dane Need?

How Much Grooming Does a Great Dane Need?

Are Great Danes Healthy Dogs?

Do You Need to Train a Great Dane?

How Much Exercise Does a Great Dane Need?

How Much Food Does a Great Dane Need?

Great Danes require tremendous amounts of food, which can be costly. This should be a consideration before adding a Dane to the family. They are prone to gastric dilatation volvulus, so it may be helpful to feed smaller portions and avoid strenuous activity after mealtime. They are known counter-surfers as well, so keep tasty foods out of their reach.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of a Great Dane?

Great Danes are tall, majestic, and graceful. The average height is 30 – 32″ for males and 28 – 30″ for females. They typically weigh between 110 and 175 pounds.

Great Danes have darker colored eyes that are expressive and exude intelligence. Their heads are long and rectangular in shape, with sharp lines and a straight muzzle. Ears are naturally floppy, but may be cropped, though this practice has fallen out of fashion in most countries.

The Great Dane body is strong and well muscled. The chest is very deep and wide, and the abdomen tucks up when viewed from the side.

The Great Dane tail is long and curls slightly near the tip. It is typically carried down, but may lift when a dog is alert.

Dane forelimbs are long, straight, and muscular. The feet are compact and dewclaws may or may not be removed.

The Dane has a short, smooth coat which comes in colors like brindle, fawn, blue, and black. Harlequin and Mantle, which exhibit unique black and white patterns, are less common.

The hindlimbs are broad, strong, and straight when viewed from behind. The feet are compact and do not turn in or out.

Great Dane Facts

1

A Great Dane named Zeus holds the world record for tallest dog, standing at 3 feet 10 inches at the shoulder!

2

Dogs similar to the Dane appear in tomb drawings dating as far back as 2200 B.C.

3

Many historical figures were fans of the breed, including William "Buffalo Bill" Cody and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Other Breeds to Explore

Bernese Mountain Dog
Boxers - Choosing a Boxer - Dog Breeds
Choosing a Bullmastiff

References

  • Millward, Adam. “Prodigious pets: five of the world’s biggest domestic animals.” Guinness World Records, 2019.
  • American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. Random House Digital, Inc., 2006.
  • Morris, Desmond. Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. Trafalgar Square, 2002.
  • Wilcox, Bonnie and Chris Walkowicz. The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World. T.F.H Publications, Inc., 1995.

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