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Posts Tagged ‘Great Dane’

The Gentle Giant – Great Dane

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

The Great Dane, classified in the working group, is a breed known for its exceptional size, friendly personality, and its reputation as the “king of dogs.” The breed, often called gentle giants, is one of the tallest dogs in the world.

A brief history of the Great Dane

Great_DaneDog breeds which resemble the Great Dane can be found in recorded history as early back as 3,000 B.C. Historians believe that the Great Dane breed originated in Germany, and that it may have originally been developed as a cross between the English Mastiff and the Irish Wolfhound, although its exact early origins are unknown. A French naturalist traveling in Denmark first noted the existence of these dogs in the early 18th century, when he named the breed “le Grande Danois,” or the Great Dane. The English name for this breed has stuck throughout the years.

It is generally believed that the modern Great Dane has its history in the work of 18th and 19th century German dog breeders, who selectively chose traits which would make the Great Dane differ from similar dogs, such as English Mastiffs, creating a breed which had longer limbs, a more elegant gait, and more distinctive ears.


The Great Dane is one of the largest dogs in the worlds. A male Great Dane, in adulthood, should reach no shorter than 30 inches at the shoulders and should way at least 120 lbs. once it is past the adult age of 18 months. Female Great Danes should, in adulthood, be no shorter than 28 inches at the shoulders and weigh no less than approximately 100 lbs. The breed is known for its large, triangular ears; it is still common in some areas for their ears to be cropped, although this was traditionally done for hunting purposes and is banned in many European countries. The breed comes in a number of different colors. The colors which are considered to be “show acceptable” are fawn, blue, black, mantle, harlequin, and brindle.

Although the Great Dane has an imposing appearance, they are well known for their relaxed and gentle disposition around people and most other animals, including other dogs, cats, non-canines, and people. However, because of their size and strength, it is very important for Great Danes to receive proper training and socialization at an early age to curtail aggression and fearful or defensive behavior, which may cause them to lash out at strangers or new situations.

Great Danes, like most dogs, require a daily walk or daily exercise to keep them healthy. However, many owners make the mistake of over-exercising their Great Dane, believing that because they are larger in size that they require an excess of exercise. It is actually potentially harmful to exercise Great Dane puppies too much because of how fast the puppies grow into large dogs. This fast growth puts the breed at a higher risk for joint and bone problems, which mean that extra care, should be taken to minimize physical activity during the growth process to avoid stress and wear on the joints and bones.

Did you know? Trivia

  • The design for the popular TV character Scooby-Doo was based on a Great Dane.