solid black, solid white, black with white face and legs (mantle), irregular black patches (Harlequin), solid blue (dark gray), fawn (tan with dark mask and legs). Typically white is not permitted on most patterns unless white is in the color.
27 to 29 inches (68.58-73.66cm)
120 -200 pounds (54-90 kg.)
25 to 27 inches (68.58-73.66cm)
100-130 pounds (45-59 kg.)
The Great Dane is an amazingly adaptable large breed of dog that can tolerate smaller living spaces such as apartments provided they have lots of regular outdoor exercise. They will also do well in a house with a medium to large sized yard.
The Great Dane is a giant breed of dog that is both regal and powerful in appearance. They have oven been considered the Apollo of dogs due to their size, strength and proud carriage. They are solidly build and very athletic although calm and reserved in their behavior. The Great Dane is often called the German Mastiff and even thought they are called a Dane, the breed was actually developed in Germany. The Great Dane is often used as companion dog, cart dog, packing dog and a watchdog.
The head of the Great Dane is very noble in appearance and is carried very high on the neck and shoulders. The head is broad and well developed with a pronounced stop and a large, rectangular shaped muzzle. The jaws are well developed and pronounced and the nose is very noticeable and black. The eyes are well set, lively and very intelligent in appearance. They can vary from lighter brown colors in tan and blue coat colors. The ears are either left long and natural and fold over, or are cropped to stand upright. Typically ear cropping is only done in the United States and very rarely in other countries. Overall the head is very refined and chiseled in appearance and while the lips are slightly pendulous they are not extremely loose. The Great Dane can be a drooling dog although in some lines this is not a concern.
The neck of the Great Dane is long and well muscled, arched and placed high on the shoulders. The neck tapers slightly to the throat and flows into well developed withers as well as a deep, wide and broad chest. The rib cage is well developed and solid, with a noticeable tucking up at the abdomen. The front legs are straight, well boned and very muscular while not appearing heavy or too small. The brisket extends well down to the elbows and should be proportionate to the overall length of the body.
The back of the Great Dane slopes slightly from the withers to a rounded rump. The tail is long and tapers from a thick base through to a point at the tip. The tail is carried close to the hind legs and curls upwards at the hock. The read legs are well formed and the feet and legs are straight when viewed from the back. When viewed from the side they have a slightly crouching appearance that enhances the look of strength and ability.
The feet of the Great Dane are round and compact with thick pads. They are well arched with strong nails. The Great Dane moves with an easy flowing stride that is capable of covering great distances with minimal effort. The back should remain level when the dog is in motion and there should be no noticeable rolling or shifting of the weight of the dog through any gaits. The coat is very sleek and short with a natural shine. The Great Dane can have several colorations including Harlequin (white with black irregular patches), solid black, solid white, mantle (black blanket with white markings), fawn with black points and solid blue. Merle is often seen in Harlequin Dane crossings but is not a recognized color.
The Great Dane has a short, dense and fine coat that is very close to the body. There is no long hair or feathering on the body and the uniformly short coat is very easy to care for. The coat of the Great Dane has a natural deep sheen in all color variations.
A dog very similar in appearance to the Great Dane has been found on Greek coins dating back to the year 36 B.C. They were considered the dogs of royalty and were very highly prized and regarded. These dogs were brought into what is now Europe and were heavier, larger and less refined that what we now know as the Great Dane.
The modern Great Dane was first developed in Germany, likely as a cross between Mastiffs brought by the Asiatic people and Irish Wolfhounds. They were originally bred as dogs of war and for hunting large game. The Great Danes were valued for their strength, obedience and ability to work independently. In the fourteenth century the Germans began to actively use the Great Dane as dogs to hunt wild hogs. The Great Dane became popular with English hunters and was originally known as the German Boarhound.
The German Boarhound at some point in time became known as the Great Dane, although there is little information on why the name change occurred or why they were connected to Denmark instead of Germany. In the year 1880 the German government officially decreed that the Great Dane should only be called the Deutsche Dogge within the country.
In more recent times the Great Dane is typically used as a carting dog as well as a companion. They can also be an excellent show dog and watchdog.
The Great Dane is a very calm and gentle tempered dog that is loyal to its family and will be strong protector even though they are not normally an aggressive breed. The Great Dane is a good dog with children although he or she will sometimes not understand its large size and must be taught not to jump up or lean against people as it can easily knock someone over.
The Great Dane can be a terrific companion dog if properly socialized and worked with from a young age. The Great Dane needs to have lots of time with other dogs and males especially should be well socialized. Occasionally male Great Danes that are not neutered will become dog aggressive, especially if females in season are present. It is recommended that Great Danes be neutered or spayed if not in breeding programs. It is a great idea to raise Great Dane puppies with cats and other pets if they are to be kept in houses with other animals.
The Great Dane is a rather reserved dog with strangers when mature but will also be very playful with the family well into their adult years. They are moderately active and will require training to help them learn how to behave in a variety of situations. Training the Great Dane may be somewhat challenging but they do respond well to their owners. They may be somewhat aloof with strangers and will take a while to get to know new people, at which time they will welcome them into the house and the family.
The Great Dane is a natural watchdog and its large size and imposing stare will usually result in strangers leaving the area immediately. They can, however, become aggressive if they feel that the family is being threatened although this is not common or a natural tendency of the breed.
The Great Dane has several Health conditions that may be problematic in some lines. Buying from a reputable breeder as well as ensuring the puppy and the parents were health checked before deciding to buy is very important. The common issues with the breed are:
Gastric torsion - also known as Bloat, is common in large, deep chested dog breeds. Feed several small meals and limit Exercise after eating to prevent this condition.
Skin Allergies - this can be a very big problem with the breed. Carefully select any skin products or dog shampoos and watch for any signs of irritation.
Skin tumors - this may be benign or malignant but do need checking and treatment.
cardiomyopathy - heart conditions leading to possible heart attacks and respiratory problems.
Canine hip dysplasia - ensure both parents are certified as free from CDH
CVI - also known as Wobbler's Syndrome. Poor coordination and painful movement, may be corrected by surgery and Aggressive medical treatments.
The Great Dane has few grooming requirements although they do benefit from regular, routine grooming. All that is required is a bristle brush or a rubberized grooming mitt that can simple be stroked along the soft, short coat. To keep the coat looking as glossy as possible consider following up grooming with a rub down with a chamois cloth to bring out the natural luster.
The Great Dane is a moderate shedder but is not prone to the seasonal heavy shedding of some breeds. Grooming on a regular basis and using dry powder shampoo is recommended as opposed to a full bath. Fully bathing a Great Dane is both difficult as well as potentially damaging to the coat, especially if the shampoo is not completely rinsed out of the coat. If you are fully bathing consider using a professional groomer that has equipment that is specially designed for large and giant breeds of dogs.
It is very important to carefully care for the nails of the Great Dane. Keep nails short and level with the ground so they do not push up or into the foot as the dog moves. Use a guillotine type nail clipper specially designed for large breeds. In dark nailed dogs such as the Great Dane it is important to be very careful to not cut into the quick or never and blood center of the nail. This is the same as the cuticle in a human nail, and will bleed profusely as well as hurt the dog if it is cut. In addition there is always a chance of infection with any open injuries on the feet.
The Great Dane is a normally inactive dog indoors but will self-exercise if left outside. They do best with regular, structured exercise and once mature and over one year of age they can make excellent jogging companions. Prior to maturity it is very important to limit the amount of exercise, especially running or any strenuous types of exercise to prevent joint and muscle development problems as the breed matures.
The Great Dane loves to be with people and will happily go for runs and romps in the backyard with the kids. Without proper exercise the Great Dane will become rambunctious and somewhat independent, often choosing to ignore the owner's commands. The Great Dane does prefer several hours a day outside in moderate temperatures and climates but is very intolerant of long periods in cold or damp conditions.
The Great Dane is not prone to weight gain if given enough exercise and fed the correct balance of food. Any signs of weight gain should be immediately monitored and additional exercise time provided as well as careful monitoring of food intake. Exercise such as long walks, hiking or long off leash times are better for the breed than sort, intense periods of exercise.
The Great Dane is a gentle and calm dog that is typically very easy to train when training is started when they are very young. Older Great Danes may be more challenging to work with if they have not had foundation training when they are young. This is very typical of all dog breeds, but the large size of the Great Dane makes it very important to get the foundation training.
Obedience training is highly recommended for this breed to incorporate both training and socialization at a young age. The Great Dane should be trained using only calm and positive training methods never aggressive or harsh punishment should ever be used. The Great Dane is a very sensitive breed and will quickly become attuned to the handlers and owners emotions and approval or disproval. Usually a sharp "no" and a lack of attention is all that is required to let the Great Dane know that they have done something wrong.
The Great Dane should be leash or lead trained and should be kept in a fenced yard or on a leash when outside. Even though they are not aggressive they are intimidating and can really frighten people that are not familiar with the breed. The Great Dane needs to be socialized with other dogs and non-canine pets and this should be part of the regular training program.
The Great Dane is usually relatively easy to train but occasionally a Great Dane can become somewhat dominant, requiring a firm and consistent owner. In these cases a professional trainer can also be used to help the dog and owner learn to work together and prevent dominance issues from becoming a problem. Since the Great Dane is so large it is critical to deal with behavior issues as soon as they occur, never allow bad habits to become established.
Often very excited and happy to see owners come home after a long day, they have to be taught not to jump up. Teaching the Great Dane to sit when he or she approaches someone is a great idea and helps to prevent anyone from being nervous when first meeting the dog.