Breed Type: Molosser
Country of Origin: Germany / Denmark
Size:  Giant
Also known as : Dogue Allemand, Deutsche Dogge, Dänische Dogge
Males Height: 76-110 cm, Weight: 65-110kg
Females Height 71-100cm, Wight 55-90kg
Exercise Requirements: Low
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 6-8 years
Best Suited as: Family Pet

The Great Dane is best known for its height it is the tallest dog species in the world.(Editor’s note – the tallest dog on record ever, and the tallest dog presently is the Great Dane though when reading the breed standard of the Irish wolfhound it appears they are meant to be a taller species. Some breeders of the Irish wolfhound claim they are on average taller than Great Danes and the record height great Danes are the exception rather than the rule)

There are many famous Great Danes seen on the small and large screen and in cartoons, the two most famous likely being Scooby Doo and Marmaduke.

Appearance
To anyone familiar with the appearance of the mastiff breeds the Great Dane is clearly a mastiff, if somewhat taller version of slight build.  Even so they are powerfully built dog of great strength.  The face and stands is both dignified and elegant.

Allowed coat colours include Black, Blue, Fawn, Brindle, Harlequin(white with black or blue patches) and mantle(black-and-white coat, with the body of the dog completely black giving the appearance of wearing a coat or blanket. The most favoured version of mantle is black skull, white muzzle, a white collar and chest, white or partly white for an hindlegs like black nose with the remainder of the dog black. Nose must always be black with dark eyes and nails.) Are the colours of Great Dane are seen her they cannot be registered on the main Great Dane register the AKC, only on the limited register.

They have naturally flopping ears, (triangular not pendulum) though many screen and cartoon characters still exhibit the artificially pricked ears of these characters were created when it cropping the still popular in legal. In a time when the dogs were used as hunting dogs they are cropping may have been warranted to make them less susceptible to injury but the continued practice after the dogs became far more popular as family pets or show dogs was deemed unnecessary and cruel in Australia and now the practice is banned.(Editor’s note – we think will be some time till cartoonists catch up with this and cartoon character great Danes will likely continue to have pricked ears for some time.)

History
Throughout the ages hunters have kept dogs to assist them, these dogs ranging from large loss type dogs such as mastiffs, the sight hounds that a fleet of foot, to scent hounds that will run for ever after scent, the Terriers the brave, dogged and fierce, many willing to chase prey down into an enclosed space.

Some like the Rhodesian Ridge back in the Redbone Coonhound are usually dogs combining both moderate size, with moderate speed and moderate stamina.

In creating the Great Dane breed, breeders sought to combine the massive power of the English mastiff with the size and speed of the Irish wolfhound to create a dog of power and speed. It is not clear whether breeding program originated likely to happen is in Denmark and Germany more or less at the same time.

Temperament
Despite their large size great Danes are generally far from aggressive and are known as the gentle giants of the canine world. Though bred to hunt and with sight hounds genetic history the curiously lacked much hunting instinct at all and are generally good with other pets the site hound would instinctively chase.

They are however, large powerful dogs and it’s very important they receive obedience training and socialisation when young. Even without intending harm their large size can create problems for the very small or the infirm.

Exercise Requirements
The Great Dane will require and desire a daily walk however they do not require the vigourous exercise than herding dogs and site hound dogs demand. Most will be happy to trot along beside you on a lead.  As you might expect with a fast-growing breed is most important to ensure stress is not placed on their bones and joints during their youth as this can lead to skeletal structural problems sooner rather than later which will sentence them to a life of pain.

Whilst some individuals specially teenagers will enjoy bolting around at the beach or the park, older individuals will be more content to spend most of their time lazing around.

They are not fully grown until almost 2 years old.

Health
great Danes are susceptible to both gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) and bloat, both of which relate to the ingestion of air into the stomach causing problems with their digestive system. For a human this is no great drama as we burp and Fat the excess air out but with a large deep chested dogs this becomes impossible to much air is ingested. Food cannot pass through their system and neither can they vomit. It is very painful and most of them will result in the death of a dog unless emergency veterinary care is provided.

It is vital to ensure you never place your Great Dane in a competitive food environment such as two dogs feeding from one bowl as this will prompt them to drop their food thus making them swallow more air.

Like most of the large breeds they are susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia. They are also more susceptible to different types of heart disease and cancer.

Always buy from a registered breeder and make sure you see the hip and elbow scores of their breeding pairs as well is their puppies.  They should also be able to provide a detailed history of any other health problems their breeding stock has experienced such as heart disease or early death from cancer.

Never buy a puppy without seeing the parents, noted temperaments of both parents, and your puppy should be curious confident but not overly aggressive.

The average lifespan of Great Dane is only 6 to 8 years mainly due to death by disease or heart failure rather than old age.  There are several breeders in Australia to claim their dogs average over 10 years in age because of their low rates breed specific health problems. Certainly if you are looking for a Great Dane I would be seeking out such breeders.

Again, beware the puppy Miller or backyard breeder of Great Danes offering a pure bred Great Dane with no papers. You’ll be sorry.

Care and Grooming
Their short the coat never tangles that will require weekly brushing to remove dead hair and skin in a bath every week or so will keep them from getting on the nose.  As they are relatively low activity dogs their nails tend to overgrow quickly so trim them every 10 days or so.

Pigs ears and the like will be well received and help keep their teeth clean as will a weekly bone.

Suitability as a Pet
Regardless of their large size your Great Dane should be to evolve as a companion animal. More than likely they will seek to be with you most of the time.  Since they don’t require lots of exercise and are not flighty they make quite good indoor dogs even in fairly limited spaces.

They are not for novice dog handlers because improper care of such a powerful animal will lead to problems for you, your dog, and those that interact with it.

It is most important to research the temperament that your Great Dane is likely to have as they will differ greatly depending on their  parentage.

Great Danes have the infamous position of being one of the most popular dog breeds that is also one of the most frequently abandoned due to owners buying them on a whim and then realising they are unable to meet the needs of their Great Dane. Don’t buy one on a whim, know what you are in for a make your decision to one or not responsibly.