Great Dane – Breed Information
Also called the Deutsche Dogge and German mastiff, the Great Dane is one of the largest dog breeds in the world. Despite its large size, however, the breed is known to have a very friendly personality which earned it the nickname the “Gentle Giant” and made it one of the most popular breeds in the United States.
History of the Great Dane
The Great Dane is one of the oldest dog breeds around. Large dogs similar to the Dane date back to at least ancient Greece. However, the modern breed was developed only a few centuries ago in Germany, while the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the breed in 1887.
Great Dane Appearance and Physical Characteristics
As mentioned earlier, the Great Dane is a huge breed. Males reach up to about 34 inches and usually weigh 120 to 200 pounds. Females are slightly smaller both when it comes to weight and height although they can weigh as much as 130 pounds as well. Due to their size, the Great Danes have a relatively short lifespan which is in average 8 to 10 years although some also live up to 13 years.
The breed has a short and thick coat. According to the AKC, there are 9 standard colors: black, white, black and white, brindle, blue, mantle, merle, harlequin and fawn. Very common is also chocolate and variations of chocolate which, however, is not a recognized color.
Great Dane Personality and Temperament
Aside from their large size, dogs of this breed are also known for their gentle personality, calm temperament and friendly character as well as for being very obedient, sensitive and well behaved. But it is highly important to have them properly trained at an early age. The breed gets along well with kids but due to the large size and tendency to seek attention, the Dane can be very difficult to manage by young children.
Great Dane Grooming and Care
The Great Dane’s short coat doesn’t require any special care other than regular grooming and periodic bath. Just like other breeds, the “Gentle Giant” should also be regularly cleaned his ears, trimmed his nails and brushed his teeth. This can easily be done at home but you may want to ask your vet to show you the best techniques.
Great Dane Diet and Exercise
Just like other breeds, the Great Dane needs a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet to live a long and happy life. For help in selecting the best formula, determining the amount and frequency of feeding, turn to a vet who will also help you develop an optimal diet based on the dog’s age, weight, health and other specific requirements.
The “Gentle Giant” doesn’t need much exercise. In fact, he mustn’t be over-exercised, especially in puppyhood. Due to the rapid growth, puppies are at increased risk of developing problems with bones and joints. And exercise makes these problems only worse.
Great Dane Health
In comparison to crossbred dogs, the Great Danes are more likely to develop health problems such as hip dysplasia, bloat, eye problems and cardiac disease. To both reduce the risk and manage these health issues, it is crucial for the dogs to get proper diet, exercise and care as well as regular vet checkups and all the recommended vaccines.
Things You May Not Know About the Great Dane
– Zeus, the largest Great Dane ever recorded was 44 inches tall
– Great Danes don’t need a large fenced backyard to get the necessary exercise
– the breed is very popular with people who live in apartments
– Scooby-Doo is a male Great Dane