The great dane It is one of the biggest, elegant and charismatic dogs. The breed standard accepted by the International Cynological Federation (FCI) describes it as "the Apollo of dog breeds", and its well-proportioned body and bearing are in perfect harmony.
Whether you are thinking of adopting a Great Dane or if you have just done so and need information about the breed in order to offer your furry companion the best quality of life, at ExpertAnimal we tell you all about this large dog, its origin , physical characteristics, care and possible health problems.
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Origin of Great Dane
The oldest known ancestors of this breed are the bullenbeisser (extinct German breed) and the German dogs used to hunt wild boars. Crosses between these dogs gave rise to different types of bulldogs, from which the current Great Dane was created in 1878.
The curious thing about the name of this breed is that it refers to Denmark, when in reality the breed was created in Germany From German dogs. It is not known what is the reason why this dog is called Great Dane, but it is also more appropriately known as German Bulldog, German Mastiff and German Alano.
Although not many can have such a big dog, the breed's fame is huge and virtually everyone can recognize one. This fame is largely the result of the popularity of two great Danes of cartoons: Scooby-Do and Marmaduke.
Physical characteristics of Great Dane
This is a dog very large, powerful, elegant and aristocratic. Despite its large size and imposing figure, it is a well proportioned and beautiful dog.
The head of the great dane It is elongated and thin, but not pointed. Naso-frontal depression (stop) is well defined. The nose should be black, except in harlequin and blue dogs. In those of harlequin color, partially pigmented or flesh-colored nose is accepted. In blues the nose is anthracite (diluted black). The snout It is deep and rectangular. The eyes are medium, almond shaped and lively and intelligent expression. Dark ones are preferred, but they can be lighter in blue and harlequin dogs. In harlequin dogs, both eyes can be of different shades. The ears They are of high insertion, falls and medium size. Traditionally they were cut to give "greater elegance" to the dog, but fortunately that cruel custom is falling into disuse and is even punished in many countries. The FCI standard of the breed does not require ear cutting.
The length of the body is almost equal to the height at the cross, especially in males, so the profile of the body is square. The back is short and the back is slightly arched. The chest is deep and broad, while the flanks are retracted on its back. The tail is long and high insertion. The height at the cross is as follows:
- In males it is at least 80 centimeters.
- In females it is at least 72 centimeters.
Great Dane's hair is short, thick, bright, smooth and flattened. It can be fawn, brindle, harlequin, black or blue.
Great Dane character
The enormous size of the Great Dane can give the wrong impression about his temperament and character. In general, these dogs They are very friendly and affectionate with yours, although they can be reserved with strangers. They are not usually aggressive, but it is important to socialize them from puppies because of their tendency to be reserved with strangers. Properly socialized are dogs that get along well with people, other dogs and even with other pets. In this case, they are particularly good friends of children, although while they are young dogs they can be awkward for younger children.
Many think it is difficult to train a Great Dane. This idea arises from the traditional methods of canine training. Great Danes are very sensitive to abuse and do not respond well to traditional training. However, with the positive training (clicker training, rewards, etc.) spectacular results can be achieved.
These dogs need frequent company. They are not usually destructive, but they can be when they are left alone for a long time or if they get bored. They can also be destructive because of their large size, especially when they are puppies and teenagers, but they are not very active inside the home.
The care of the Great Dane's hair is simple. It is usually enough with him Occasional brushing to remove dead hair. The bath is only necessary when the dog gets dirty and, due to its size, it is always advisable to go to the dog groomer.
These dogs they need to exercise moderately and they are much more active outdoors than inside the house. Although they are very large dogs, they do not adapt well to living outside in the garden. It is better if they are allowed to live inside the home, in the family nucleus, and go out for exercise.
Because of their relatively calm temperament they can adapt to living in apartments and flats, but their size can cause problems in very small houses, since they can break ornaments without realizing it. On the other hand and also due to its size, before adopting a Great Dane you have to consider that the food costs become very high.
Health of the Great Dane
Unfortunately this is one of the breeds of dogs that has a predisposition to various dog diseases. Between the most common diseases in Great Dane The following are found:
- Gastric torsion
- Hip dysplasia
- Caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy or wobbler syndrome
- Elbow dysplasia
To prevent the development of the previous conditions or to detect the symptoms in time, it will be essential that you carry out your dog annual reviews, as well as keeping up to date the vaccination and deworming calendar. Go to your veterinarian whenever you have doubts or perceive some strange behavior in your great dane.
Characteristics of the Great Dane
You can't talk about the Great Dane dog without referring to its size. It is one of the largest known races, with an enormous height and a weight that can easily reach that of a human being. It is a race that intimidates just seeing it, but that generally gets along with everyone and does not pose any danger to people.
It is a very well proportioned dog, with long and robust legs, and very stylized considering its size. It is also agile in its movements and quite fast for its size, and needs a fairly high activity, always controlled so that no problem appears.
It is a great companion dog to live as a family, and can also fulfill the functions of a watchdog, since it tends to distrust strangers. A great example of strength and controlled power, and of a unique elegance in the animal kingdom.
Among all the characteristics of the Great Dane, its great head stands out, with small and dark, very expressive eyes, and medium-sized ears that bend and fall on both sides of the head. His figure is long and stylized, as well as very muscular, and ends in a long tail that normally leads to the ground.
Great Dane Size
The Great Dane dog is a giant in the canine world. Its size and weight have no comparison. The size of the Great Dane can easily reach a height of about 90 centimeters, which means that if it stands on its two hind legs it will reach almost two meters. Females are slightly smaller than males, although it is not a difference that is noticeable in excess.
As for the weight of the Great Dane, the figures move between the minimum 50 kilos of a female, and the maximum 100 kilos of a male, a weight that not everyone is able to master. It is undoubtedly one of the largest dogs that exist, but its size is on par with its big heart, and that is why it is one of the most valued breeds as a family companion animal for people of all types and circumstances.
Great Dane's Fur
The coat of Great Dane is very short and hard, with a rough texture to the touch. It tends to remain very bright on its own, although it may require brushing to show itself in its best condition. You can present copies in varied colors, all equally valid and recognized. These shades are:
- Leonado, a golden hue that can be pale or intense, usually accompanied by a black mask.
- Tabby, basic fawn tone accompanied by black stripes expanded throughout the body.
- Harlequin, pure white base and dotted with white spots of different shapes and sizes throughout the body.
- Black, which covers the entire body and may have some white spots on the chest and legs.
- Blue, dark steel shade that may also have some white spots on the chest or legs.
Great Dane Behavior
Over the years and selective breeding, Great Dane has become one of the most friendly, affectionate and sensitive breeds. They feel a great attachment to their owner, and value their company above all things. It is not an animal that tolerates loneliness well, so it requires a lot of attention and care every day to be happy and affectionate.
It is also a very calm and balanced race, which usually does not show nervousness in any situation. It is also easy to educate and obedient, and can be a good watchdog because of its size and because it tends to show distrust of strangers.
Well socialized, the Great Dane will be the best friend of children and other dogs, always willing to play and never leading to a fight. It is a great family pet and is considered the largest lap dog in the world. He loves physical contact with his family, so he will always be receptive to caresses and affection.
Due to its calm temperament, it adapts very well to living inside a house even though its space is reduced. It will only be necessary to offer you an adequate amount of exercise and games every day. He also has high intelligence, which makes him learn the orders very quickly, which he will always be willing to obey to please his family.
Major diseases of Great Dane
As is known, large or giant breed dogs have a lower life expectancy than smaller dogs. The average of these animals is 10 years, although they can overcome them depending on their form and habits of life. As for the most common diseases of the breed, due to its size it is prone to gastric torsion, so you have to watch your diet especially. They may also suffer from hip dysplasia, cardiomyopathy, cervical spondylomyelopathy, cataracts, or elbow dysplasia among other things. Some of these diseases can be avoided by following an adequate lifestyle, although it will always be advisable to go to the veterinarian in case the animal shows any strange symptoms.
Basic care of Great Dane
To keep your great Dane in good health, it is imperative that you follow some guidelines when it comes to care. Of course, you should keep your vaccinations and deworming up to date, but this is not the only thing you will have to control.
Due to its propensity for gastric torsion, you have to provide a quality diet, always taking care of the doses and avoiding exercise before or after eating, and also ensuring that you do not drink too much water. In addition, it is necessary to divide your meals into several shots so that you do not eat too much at once.
As for the exercise, it will require a lot to wear out all your energy, but divided into several outings a day so that the level of demand is not too high and that can lead to a problem for the animal.
For the rest, it is an easy dog to treat and educate, due to its temperament and good predisposition. It is important to socialize it as a puppy with other animals and people, in order to enjoy a balanced, calm and very friendly adult.
Its fur hardly requires any care, beyond a brushing or two a week, and baths will not be necessary too often, being enough to bathe it every couple of months.
Curiosities of Great Dane
- Within popular culture, Great Dane has had many representations that have served to give the race fame. One of the best known is the character Scooby Doo, a great brown Dane known throughout the world. Another equally known is Marmaduke, also brown and protagonist of cartoons that have even taken to the big screen.
- The International Cynological Federation has considered him as the Apollo among all races for his physical characteristics, for his balance and for his unique temperament.
- It has a tendency to move its tail vigorously, something to be careful because due to its size and strength it can be a real whip and cause damage to people or some objects.
If you want to share your life with a Great Dane, it is best to go to a trusted breeder who has experience in the breed and can offer you all the health guarantees of your puppy. In this way you will also have first-hand information about the breed, you can answer your questions and meet first-hand the parents of your new partner. Understanding the needs of your dog, you can get a balanced and affectionate specimen, with which you will maintain the best relationship for many years.
Datasheet of the Great Dane breed
|Height between 90 and 90 cm in males and between 72 and 84 cm in females|
|Weight of between 75 and 100 kg males and between 50 and 90 kg females|
| ||Very short, soft and straight hair. Black, white or mottled|
| ||Cheerful, playful, affectionate and very loyal character|
|Good health but prone to dysplasia and / or heart problems|
|Estimated life expectancy between 9 and 12 years|
A little history about the Great Dane breed
Its origin lies in Germany, so it is not known exactly why it is called Great Dane. It comes from the Bullenbeisser, a German race, already extinct, halfway between the Hound and the English Mastiff.
According to the chronology of their history it is known that the Alanos warriors were expelled from Asia and when they arrived in Europe they made crosses between their huge combat dogs and the German and French canine breeds.
Fruit of these confluences in 1870 was born the Great Dane, a race historically much appreciated by kings, nobles and artists.
Did you know that the poet Alexander Pope had a copy of this breed as a pet? His elegance, intelligence, fidelity and calm temperament are his most outstanding attributes.
In fact, he is considered the Apollo of all races, since he combines an imposing bearing and a delicate and affectionate personality, constituting a faithful life partner.
However, in its origins it did not enjoy such an affable character. On the contrary, his instinct was that of a hunter, always combative.
Therefore, he was a regular in the wild boar hunts. Successive breeding and training programs have managed to tame it until he becomes the affectionate and familiar can that is nowadays.
It receives other names such as German Bulldog, German Mastiff or German Alano and its life expectancy ranges between 7 and 10 years. Its proportions are great, as we will see below.
Physical characteristics of the Great Dane dog
Do you know that standing on its hind legs can reach 2.10 meters high? A giant if we refer to dogs.
In general, females reach 72-84 cm in height and 50-90 kg in weight while males measure about 80-90 cm in height and 75-100 kg in weight.
It is, therefore, a large breed but balanced and well proportioned. Qualities that have led to this breed Hold the Guiness record of the tallest dog and heavy of the world in several editions.
According to the International Cynological Federation, the FCI, the purity of the breed is certified if its length equals its height at the withers, without exceeding 5% in males and 10% in the case of females.
Also, you must meet these standards:
- Your neck should be long, strong and slightly arched forward. The skin should not hang in the form of a double chin.
- Your back should draw a short straight line with a subtle fall back.
- Its tail should be tall and wide, narrowing towards the tip. At rest you should simulate a natural curve while on the move you should carry it in the form of a saber.
- The lips should have their edges well defined and the jaw should be equipped with powerful jaws, with a healthy bite.
- The legs should look parallel and the narrow nasal cane.
- The cheek muscles should not protrude.
- Your head should be elongated and thin, but never pointed.
- Its ears are medium size, high insertion and fall. Formerly there was the custom of cutting them to increase their solemnity, something that fortunately in our days is no longer practiced.
- His hair is short, flattened, shiny and straight.
There are different shades for your hair:
- Tawny. It is characterized by its golden tone, soft or intense, accompanied by a black mask on the snout.
- Tabby. In this case the gold has black stripes in the area of the ribs. There is also the dark mask in the snout.
- Harlequin. We find different variants, from pure white, to white with mottled black or irregular spots on a jet black distribu>Black. Jet black is combined with white spots on the chest, snout, neck, belly, extremities>Blue. The dark steel blue is complemented with white spots on the chest and on the bottom of the legs.
As a curiosity it should be noted that in blue and harlequin shades, the nose is anthracite or diluted black. In the harlequin, it can also be pink.
The eyes of the German Bulldog are almond-shaped, dark in color and must not be excessively separated. In the shades of blue and harlequin they can be clearer, being harlequins prone to heterochromia (one eye of each color).
Temperament of the Great Dane dog breed
To his commented elegance and regal attitude, we must add a deep feeling of fidelity to his owner, he needs his company and becomes a destroyer if he is bored or remains alone for a long time. Enjoy living with other dogs, with other pets and with children.
He is an intelligent dog, since if he is disturbed he prefers to retire before falling into provocation.
Because of its large size, it demands ample spaces, but it does not adapt well to living completely outside. He prefers to do it indoors and exercise with his owner.
As for care, the Great Dane needs a copious diet, especially when he is a puppy, a stage in which you must provide 3 meals a day, as it will reach 14 kilos in just 2 months.
As an adult, it will be enough with 2 daily meals of dry feed specific for large breeds, as well as supplements to safeguard the good condition of your joints and mitigate the reach of your considerable weight.
You should brush it 2 or 3 times a week to remove dead hair and dirt. This frequency could increase during the molting season (spring and autumn). Do not abuse the bathrooms, since it could cause irritation, allergy or dry skin. Doing it once a month is enough.
Given your propensity to accumulate tartar and bacteria, responsible for dental gum pathologies and bad breath, you should brush your teeth several times a day.
As an additional measure, dental snacks and slices of cowhide are not over. While enjoying biting, your pet will strengthen its jaw thanks to its high contribution of vitamins and minerals and eliminate possible tartar.
Great Dane demands moderate daily exercise, about 30 or 60 minutes. Puppies need some more activity, about 90 minutes a day. It helps them exercise and learn while they explore.
Keep your veterinary visit calendar updated and protect it from parasites with deworming tablets, pipettes and collars that your specialist recommends.
Given its tendency towards distancing from strangers, property that makes them the best breed as a guard dog, it is convenient that if you incorporate a copy of this breed into your life, socialize it from a puppy to become habituated to humans.
The training of the drawer is appropriate to internalize from a puppy what the confinement means. In this sense, you must provide a large basket for you to understand that it is the place where you should sleep.
Positive reinforcement through praise and rewards is ideal for training this breed. You can also practice it when you go to the vet so that this experience pleases you and is not afraid.
Remember that up to 2 years your bone structure is not of the settled tone and, therefore, it is not advisable to go jogging with him.
Possible diseases of the Great Dane dog
This breed has a certain genetic predisposition to suffer the following pathologies:
- Hip dysplasia.
- Gastric torsion It is a common condition in large dogs and involves the strangulation of their stomach. To prevent it avoid copious meals, it is preferable that you distribute them throughout the day. Try the rest you need after eating and do not offer water and food before or after physical exercise.
- Osteosarcoma or bone cancer.
- Wobbler syndrome This neurological disease is hereditary and causes the dog to wobble when walking as a result of the narrowing of the spinal cord.
- Entropion and ectopion. They are two eye lesions that cause irritation in the eyeball of the can due to a bad position of the eyelid.
- Youth spots.
In all of them, surgery and / or drug treatment enjoy a good prognosis. Anyway, it is worth remembering that in case of any anomaly or strange change you should go to the veterinarian.
Now you know that the race to which Scooby-Doo or Astro of the Supersonic belong together meets the ideal qualities for you to opt for him as your new pet. He will enjoy your company and that of your family, avoid at all costs bothering you and will know how to show you how much he loves you.