Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Breed Profile: Great Dane

The history of the Great Dane is slightly murky.  We are reasonably sure it was fully developed in Germany some 400 years ago.  However, there is some discrepancy in what went on prior to that.  Some say a Great Dane-like dog was seen and described in China around 1100 BC.  Some say there are pictures of dogs resembling Great Danes in Egyptian tombs.

The Dane is thought to be a product of crossing the now extinct Molossus war dog (believed to be the progenitor to the English Mastiff) and a Greyhound or an Irish Wolfhound or both. 

One look at the Dane of today, Mastiff qualities are obvious -especially the head and Sight Hound qualities are obvious -especially the deep chest and tucked waist.

Why is a dog from Germany called a Dane, you ask?  It was called German Boarhound for a while, but later, somehow Great Dane stuck.  One theory is that the name came from the French "grand Danois" which means big Danish.  Of course, that still fails to explain why a dog from Germany is called a Dane.
Great Danes were originally used to hunt wild boar.  Later they were used to guard estates.  After that, they took the job they hold today:  companion.
Some Great Dane Facts
-  height:  28-36 inches
-  weight:  110-180 pounds
-  life span:  7-11 years
The short haired Great Dane comes in a variety of colors/patterns: fawn, brindle, black, blue, harlequin, mantle.  The coat is easy to care for, requiring occasional brushing and bathing as needed.  The ears are naturally droop.  Some Great Dane owners crop the ears into an upright point. 
Great Danes are affectionate, friendly, calm dogs that prefer to be inside the house with their people.  They are intelligent enough to be trained, but not so bright that you have to forever entertain and challenge their minds.
Great Dane Manifesto
-  yeah, I'm a Gentle Giant.  That's why I'm asking you politely to move over so I can take over the couch
-  the cat and the other dogs can squeeze in next to us


  1. Wonder if they'd be afraid of Fiona?

  2. I've always though they're so amazing. Mastiffs too! But I can hardly handle my German Shepherd.

  3. Great Dane. I think they are so fun. We have one in the park (the one I'm monitoring for change) and he is such a friendly guy. Huge and elegant. I love to see him with his family.