You have probably heard the Great Dane known as a “gentle giant” and it’s the truth. These dogs may be large, but they’re all heart. Fantastic Danes are among the most magnificent dog breeds with the listing holder standing 44 inches tall from paw to shoulder. Initially referred to as the German Boarhound, this breed took on its current name sometime during the mid to late 1700s. Today, the Great Dane is well known for his friendly, affectionate nature. This breed makes a great family pet, as likely to get alongside children as he is with cats, dogs, dogs and other pets.
Fascinating Truth About the Great Dane
- The Irish Wolfhound only surpasses the Great Dane’s height, and the only breed likely to reevaluate him is a full-grown male Mastiff.
- Despite his massive size, the fantastic Dane is a good option for apartment or condominium life due to his low exercise demands and his mostly inactive nature.
The Great Dane comes in a broad range of different colors and designs such as an exceptional harlequin pattern and also a brindle coloration.
Primarily for his size, the Great Dane is among the most recognizable dog breeds out there. These dogs possess a strong and regal appearance as well as an attitude of silent strength. As a working breed, they got a balanced appearance with a brave soul. Great Danes have a square ratio of height and length with men being more massive in frame and heavier in bone compared to females. The AKC breed standard takes a height no less than 30 inches with 32 inches preferable — females can be 28 inches tall or longer with a great ratio.
The eyes are deep-set and moderate in size, dark but with a lively expression. The ears are set high, moderate in size, and they can be brushed or resized. The nose must be black except in the blue Great Dane in which it’s a dark blue-black color. The body is strong and well-muscled using a well-defined tuck, the ribs well sprung and the chest deep. The tail is set high and tapers to a point. The gait is sturdy and long with no awkwardness.
This strain has a short, thick coat that typically has a smooth, glossy look. Concerning color and pattern, there are many options, but the AKC sets specific criteria for show dogs. Some of the unique colorations will be the brindle and harlequin designs. Brindle dogs have a yellow gold base color with powerful black stripes arranged in a chevron pattern with a black mask. The harlequin pattern consists of a pure white base with black torn patches dispersed irregularly within the entire body using a pure white neck favored. Other colors for this strain might include fan blue, blue, and black.
History of the Breed
The origins of the Great Dane likely date back to ancient Greece when big boarhounds were featured in frescoes dating back to the 14th and 13th century BC. In the centuries that followed, these boarhounds were crossed with other ancient breeds such as the Suliot dog along with also the Molossian hound to increase the breed’s prestige. Throughout the centuries before the 5th century AD, big dogs were depicted on runestones in Scandinavia and featured in Old Norse poems. Skeletons of big hunting dogs have been found dating from the 5th century AD all of the ways around 1,000 AD.
There was not any formal breed type, and most dogs were hybrids, exhibiting different sizes and various phenotypes. They were known simply as “British puppies” and, finally, the term “dog” really came to be the English word used for a molossoid-type dog in Germany and France.
They had been used primarily as capture dogs, used to hold a boar or bear set up after other hunting dogs had captured it until the hunter could come finish it off. The breed took on the German name Boarhound during the 19th century but, as tensions with Germany rose, it came to be called the Great Dane. The strain was refined through the late 1800s and, though its arrival from the U.S. is undocumented, the Great Dane Breed Club of America was formed in 1889. The AKC accepted the breed in 1887, which makes it the fourth largest strain to be taken.
READ ALSO: Discover What Foods your Dog Can and Can Not Eat
Temperament and Personality
The Great Dane is not anything if not tender. He’s by far one of the easiest moving breeds on the market, absolutely happy to laze the day with you on the couch as you binge-watch your favorite TV show. This breed might not be one of the cuddliest breeds on the market, but they can be affectionate with family, and they tend to be quite relaxed around children. They do, however, need early socialization to ensure that they develop from curious dogs into well-adjusted adult dogs.
This strain was developed for hunting large game, but they’re by no means an aggressive breed. This strain will be happy to greet strangers as long as they do not pose a threat, but he won’t hesitate to defend his family if need be. Great Danes rise to well over 100 pounds, so they retain their puppy-like attitude for much longer than many breeds — they usually don’t reach maturity until two or three decades of age. This can sometimes be a challenge, but most of the Great Dane’s wonderful qualities more than make up for this.
Great Danes are occasionally described as being big and dumb with a heart of stone. The center of gold is unquestionably true, but these dogs are not dumb. This breed intends to please so as long as you help him determine what it is you want him to do, he’ll be pleased to do it. It does not hurt if you’re willing to give him a few treats for his difficulty. Positive reinforcement training works best with this particular breed — there’s not any need to become harsh or to use punishment as a teaching tool. You ought to, nevertheless, maintain your authority as chief of the home.
One of the biggest challenges in training this breed is accommodating for his size. As puppies, Great Danes incline to knock over little pieces of furniture (and children also, if they are not paying attention). As adults, they could knock over a small table with a swipe of their massive tail. As a result of their size and how they retain their puppylike attitude for as many as three years, it is a good idea to register your dog for puppy classes from a young age. Not only will this help you learn how to best train your dog, but it will help him understand from a young age.
Given its size and the length of its legs, you may expect the Great Dane to be a rather active dog. In reality, however, it has very low exercise requirements and can even be kept in an apartment or condo. These dogs, when properly socialized and trained, can get by just fine on one daily walk of just 10 to 20 minutes. Even though they don’t demand a great deal of exercise, some exercise is suggested to prevent obesity and to keep the dog in good form.
Since the Great Dane’s coat is short and smooth, it’s very easy to groom. These dogs shed fairly, even though it could seem like they shed an above average amount simply because their size means that they have much more hair than a bigger dog. Brushing your Great Dane daily is a good way to maintain shedding under control and to keep his coat in good condition. You should also clip your dog’s nails twice a month, brush his teeth daily, and clean his ears once a week.
Nutrition and Feeding
As a giant strain, the primary concern with feeding a Great Dane is keeping him from growing too quickly in the transition between puppy and adulthood. Because this breed grows to well over 100 pounds, it might take him two or three years to accomplish his full size. During that time, you want to promote slow and steady growth — developing too fast can cause your dog to create musculoskeletal issues as an adult. The best way to handle your Great Dane’s growth would be to feed him a high-quality dog food formulated for large-breed dogs and then change to some large-breed adult formulation when he reaches roughly 80 percent of his expected adult size.
Even though the excellent Dane is a huge breed, you must remember that he’s also a mostly inactive breed. The average dog requires about 30 calories per pound of bodyweight — little breeds need more due to their rapid metabolisms and large breeds need less. The excellent Dane may need as few as 20 calories per pound of bodyweight. However, that may fluctuate according to his age and activity level. The best thing you can do is choose a protein-rich, high-quality large-breed formula and stick to the feeding recommendations according to his age and weight. Keep track of your dog’s bodyweight and state to be sure he’s growing steadily, but he isn’t gaining too much weight. Your vet will be able to assist you to determine what is a healthy body weight for the dog.
Common Health Problems
The Great Dane is a beautiful breed but, sadly, he’s got quite a short lifespan averaging just 7 to 10 years. In fact, these dogs are occasionally known as the heartbreak strain which is apt for two reasons — the strain’s short lifespan and its own high risk for a heart condition known as cardiomyopathy. A number of the additional health problems common to the breed include bloat, hip dysplasia, hypertrophic dystrophy, bone cancer, congenital deafness, entropion/ectropion, and Wobbler’s syndrome. Here’s an overview of all these conditions:
The cause is unknown, and therapy involves drugs to improve heart function and to dilate blood vessels.
- Bloat — Also called gastric torsion, bloat is a dangerous condition where the stomach fills with air and twists on its axis, cutting off blood flow into the rest of the human body. This happens if the puppy overeats at the same time, drinks a lot of water too fast, or exercises vigorously after eating. It’s a life-threatening condition which needs emergency veterinary care. In most cases, dogs do not show outward signs of discomfort except when the bone is out of place, though some show pain or lameness in one or both legs. This condition can increase the risk for arthritis since the dog ages. Lameness is usually the first sign of bone cancer, and it may be confirmed by x-ray. Treatment often involves amputating the chemotherapy and limb, however, in spite of therapy, the expected lifespan is only 9 to 24 weeks.
- Congenital Deafness — Frequently an inherited condition, deafness is one which many dogs adapt to well. You may need to be more careful with your puppy since he may not be able to hear an approaching car or your voice should you call him, but it can be accomplished.
- Entropion/Ectropion — Two common eye conditions, entropion, and ectropion affect the eyelids. Entropion is a condition where the anus curls inward and ectropion is one in which the eyelid rolls out. Both conditions can lead to irritation, discharge, and watery eyes. They can usually be handled with medicated drops or corrected with surgery. It often triggers a wobbly gait as well as fatigue, short stride, and difficulty rising. Treatment may involve surgery to repair the spinal compression.
Since this breed is prone to numerous health issues, the vast majority of which may be inherited, responsible breeding practices have the utmost importance. Be sure to get your Great Dane puppy out of an AKC-registered breeder who does DNA testing on all breeding stock. As soon as you receive your puppy home, it is your choice to keep up with routine veterinary exams and a healthy, nutritious diet.
These fun facts about Great Danes were sourced from Pawster.