The Great Dane, also known as the Apollo of Dogs is truly a great dog. It is a German breed of domestic dog and is distinguishable for being so big.
Though, the great size is not the only thing that sets them apart. These big creatures are regal, intelligent, and elegant. With warm behavior, they reach your heart pretty fast.
The Great Dane has been the national dog of Germany since 1878. The attractive and large dog has been an object of curiosity for a long time. Let’s dive into the world of the Great Dane and find out what makes them Great apart from their size.
- Great Dane has been around for around 400 years or more. They were developed in Germany by the German nobility.
- The ancestors of these dogs can probably be traced to different dog breeds. They are a result of the cross-breeding between the Irish Wolfhound for their size, Mastiffs granted them muscles and greyhounds granted them speed.
- The Great Dane was born with all these qualities. These dogs were employed to be boar hunters, protectors of families, and be gentle and brave at the same time.
- There is a conception that the Great Danes originated from Denmark. However, their origination is apparent to be from Germany.
- The name ‘Great Dane’ stuck to their name due to an incident. The French naturalist, George Luis, visited Denmark in the 1700s and saw a dog like a boar-hound there. He called him ‘Grande Danoi’ which means great Danish dog.
- This later through translations to English became Great Dane without having any connection with Danish ancestry.
- The Great Dane-like dog is found in Egyptian architecture dating as old as 3000 BC and even Babylonian temples of 2000 BC. A dog like that is also seen in Chinese literature of 1100 BC.
In 1878, the dog got its name ‘Deutsche Dogge’. Then it got recognized by the name of German Boarhound. The name got further developed into ‘German Mastiff’. Today, the Great Dane breed is recognized by both – The Great Dane and The German Mastiff.
These dogs have a massive head that has a flat and narrow top. Their face is rectangular with a deep muzzle.
Danes have lively dark eyes that are deep-set and an intelligent expression. Their ears are forward drooping and mostly stand erect.
Ears have mostly black color except for the blue Danes whose ears are blue-black.
The neck of a Great Dane is high, firm, and muscular and their feet are large and strong. When they stand on their hind legs, they are taller than most humans.
The size of these remarkable dogs is what sets them apart. When they are born, they weigh just 1-2 pounds. In half a year, however, they go up to 100 pounds!
They keep on growing until they are 2-3 years old. Great Danes are the tallest dogs in the whole world. Their height on average stands at 80 cm in males and 72 cm in females.
The males weigh on average around 55 to 90 kilos and the females weigh 45 to 60 kilos on average.
With a short and thick coat, they have a smooth and glassy look. They give out a clean appearance all the time.
They shed all year-round in moderation. However, shedding may increase in some months like spring and autumn.
Their coats come in many colors like fawn, black, blue, brindle, harlequin, and mantle.
The AKC standards mention the proper recognition of the colors.
- Fawn – The fawn coat should be golden yellow in shade to be recognized as such. Fawn is the most common coat color in Great Danes.
- Black – The black coat is glossy black.
- Brindle – The Brindle coat should be golden yellow with black markings all over the body.
- Blue – The blue coat is pure steel blue.
- Harlequin – The Harlequin one is white with black patches on the body.
- Mantel – Mantel however is the black and white coat with a black blanket over the body and white markings here and there.
Great Danes find their names in the most dangerous dog breeds due to their size. However, the name gentle giant is given to them for a reason.
Though very courageous and high-spirited, these dogs are very gentle and affectionate, always friendly and playful. They are never aggressive and love to please humans.
Great Danes demand attention even from strangers and especially, from children. You can always find them butting you with their great head if they want a pat.
Even though the Great Danes do not have an aggressive disposition, they are perfect guard dogs. The size of these dogs is enough to scare any trespasser away.
Though, don’t think they are some sort of Buddha. If you get on their bad side, you might have bought yourself some problems.
Due to their size, it is difficult for animals and humans to fight them off. You can frequently see Great Danes working as guard dogs around the world.
With Other Animals
The affectionate nature of a Great Dane extends to animal kind as well and they generally get along with other pets of the household. Though some individuals can be hostile to other stranger dogs.
If they are raised with other pets, they tend to be sweet and playful around them. However, due to their great size, they need a lot of room, and that sometimes creates a problem. Though if they get enough room, they are happy and playful.
Early socialization and training help a Great Dane to develop a positive attitude towards others.
With a normal level of shedding, Great Danes shed once or twice a year. Though shedding can be minimized with daily brushing with a medium bristled rubber brush.
Great Danes need occasional baths once or twice a month or more if they get into something muddy.
Their grooming needs are like a regular dog with occasional nail clipping and 2-3 times a week teeth brushing.
Due to drooping ears, their ears should be checked for ear infections every week. Their eyes should be clear and without redness or discharge.
Great Danes are drooling dogs so you need to carry a towel around with you if they drool over anything.
Though they are very calm and chill, Great Danes require daily exercise. Minimum 30-60 minutes of exercise is a must for them, adjusted according to their age and activity level.
If you have a puppy or an adolescent dog, get them 90 minutes of exercise daily. You can divide it into three sessions per day.
They are great running and hiking companions. They are playful and adventurous dogs. So they are frequently found following their nose.
You need to keep them on a leash always. Though it’s better to go with them when they go following their nose. Maybe you would find yourself some adventure too, or maybe just some dead rat they caught the scent of.
Training a Great Dane
Great Danes are very responsive to training. These intelligent dogs require firm and consistent training with obedience practice. A dog of such size requires necessary obedience training.
Human affection and socialization is the best thing for them. They need exposure to other animals and strangers to develop a habit of tolerance and adjustment.
If you want your dog to be a responsible grown-up, try to train them at a very young age. That helps them accept rare necessary confinement.
Though they are not prone to unnecessary barking, if they develop a habit of barking, they have a very scary, loud, and deep bark of all canines. Train them in such a way to curtail unnecessary barking.
Great Danes have a rather low life expectancy of 6-8 years. Though generally a healthy dog breed, Great Danes are very prone to some specific health issues.
Bloating is one of them. Bloating is the primary reason for Great Dane’s death. They tend to bloat if they eat excessively and rapidly every day.
Don’t let them drink excessive water or work out a lot after eating. Though they may also bloat when their stomach is constricted with gas or air.
Vets and experts recommend a surgery, Prophylactic Gastropaxy, to prevent bloating problems in a Great Dane.
Other than that, they can get affected by common canine diseases like hip and elbow dysplasia, cataract, and cardiac issues. Regular health checkups and vet visits can help prevent serious issues.
Some Famous Great Dane’s Cartoon Characters
Great Danes are a favorite on-screen. Many famous dog characters in the comic world are Great Danes only.
Do you know Scooby-Doo? That’s a Great Dane! The brown Dane protecting those meddling kids to scare away ghosts and evil spirits won millions of people over.
The 1954 comic book Marmaduke is another example of a Great Dane character, Marmaduke, protecting the Winslow family through his antics.
Do you remember Astro from the Jetsons? The adorable companion over there too is a Great Dane-based cartoon character.
Some Tallest Great Danes
The Guinness World Record for the tallest dog ever has gone to Zeus, a 5-year-old Great Dane. Zeus died in 2014 at the age of 5. The dog was 111.8 cm tall and 7 ft 4 inches tall when he stood on his hind legs.
Another tallest dog is Freddie who measured 103.5 cm. Freddie, though shorter than Zeus, is still one of the tallest dogs ever.
Due to their sheer size, it looks like this would be a costly puppy and quite heavy on the pocket. However, contrary to that, they cost rather less than other puppy breeds.
If taken from a responsible owner, a Great Dane puppy can cost around USD 1000-1500. Though, sometimes, you may also find one for as low as USD 600 or as high as USD 3000. It depends on the source you adopt your puppy from.
The average yearly cost of a Great Dane dog including vet and groomer visit and their nutrition may cost you around USD 2600. These big dogs have big needs.
Owning a Great Dane
There are some things that you need to take care of if you decide to get a Great Dane home.
A Great Dane is a big dog and is less suitable for confined apartments. They need a large space to play and grow up. If you are living in an apartment, a Great Dane might not be the best choice for you.
Great Danes are big-time droolers. If you are a clean-freak, you might have gotten yourself home from a trauma in the form of a Great Dane.
Great Danes are high-maintenance dogs. Even though buying a puppy won’t cost you much, their yearly expenses are much more compared to other dog breeds.
A Great Dane is called a Gentle Giant because of its innocence, its affectionate nature, and its silliness. Not only their body, but their hearts are also big. They can be perfect lapdogs, despite their size. Great Danes are famous for their guarding abilities as they exhibit danger due to their enormity.
If you choose to get a Great Dane home, you could have a perfect four-legged companion who would roll on the floor to amuse you on your tough days.
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