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Great Dane Breed Information

Great Dane

Recognized By: ACR , AKC , ANKC , APRI , CCR , CKC , CKC , FCI , KCGB , NKC , NZKC , UKC
AKA: Deutsche Dogge, German Mastiff
Mispellings: Greatdane

Living with a Great Dane

Temperament: The Great Dane is a courageous, spirited, affectionate dog. They are dependable dogs who are always friendly and should never show signs of shyness or aggression. The Great Dane is kind-natured and commonly referred to at the 'Gentle Giant'.

Family Dog: The Great Dane is patient and playful with children. They love attention and being around people.

Shedding: The Great Dane is an average shedder.

Grooming: The smooth coat of the Great Dane is easy to groom. It should be brushed regularly with a firm bristle brush and cleaned with a dry shampoo when necessary. Bathing this large dog is a huge undertaking; with proper daily grooming bathing frequency can be reduced.

Training: Great Danes should be thoroughly obedience trained when young due to their large size as adults. This breed may be slightly difficult to train.

Barking: The Great Dane is not known as a barker.

Exercise: Great Danes require plenty of daily exercise. They should be taken on long daily walks. It is important not to jog with this breed until they are at least one year of age to ensure their bones are fully developed.

Living Conditions: Great Danes can do okay in an apartment provided they get ample time for exercise. They are relatively inactive inside and really need a large yard.

Great Dane Appearance

Appearance: The Great Dane is a large dog with a strong, dignified and elegant appearance. The body is smoothly muscled and well balanced never appearing clumsy.

Size: A male Great Dane should be at least 30 inches tall at the withers and preferably over 32 inches. The height of a female Great Dane should exceed 28 inches at the shoulders and preferably 30 or more.

Head: The Great Dane's head is long and rectangular in shape. It is finely chiseled below the eyes. When viewed in profile the forehead is sharply set off from the bridge of the nose. The top of the skull and muzzle should be straight and parallel to each other. The head of a male Great Dane should appear much more masculine than the head of a female, which should be more delicately formed. When viewed from the top, the sides of the face are parallel with a wide nose bridge and undefined cheek muscles.

Nose: The Great Dane's nose should be black in color, except in the blue Dane, where the nose is dark blue to black in color. The harlequin may have a black spotted nose.

Eyes: The Great Dane's eyes are medium in size, dark in color and set deeply in the skull giving a lively intelligent expression. The eyelids form a tight almond shape around the eyes. The brows are well developed.

Ears: The ears of a Great Dane should be medium-sized, moderately thick and set high on the head. The ears should be carried folded forward handing close to the cheek with the top line of the fold level with the top of the skull. If the ears are cropped, they should be proportionate to the size of the head and carried erect.

Muzzle: The length of a Great Dane's muzzle should be approximately equal to the length of the head.

Teeth/Bite: The Great Dane's teeth are strong and well developed meeting in a scissors bite.

Neck: The Great Dane's neck is long, firm and muscular, gradually broadening down it well arched slope toward the shoulders.

Body: The body of a male Great Dane should appear more massive than that of the female having both a larger frame and heavier bone. The overall body proportion is square with the height approximately equal to the length of the body. The shoulders slope gently into the back. The chest is broad and deep. The forechest is well developed with a very pronounced breast bone. The ribs are well sprung with the brisket extending to the elbow. The underline appears muscular with a well-defined tuck-up. The croup is broad with a slight slope.

Forequarters: The Great Dane's forequarters are strong and muscular. The strong shoulder blades and the upper arm are approximately the same length forming almost a perfect right angle with each other. The muscle and ligaments adjoining the shoulders and the ribs should be firm and well developed to prevent any looseness of the shoulders. The elbow splits the height of the dog approximately in half. The pasterns are strong and slightly sloping.

Hindquarters: The Great Dane's hindquarters are broad, strong and well muscled. The form a deep angle with the well let down hocks. When viewed from the rear the hock joints appear perfectly straight.

Gait: The gait of the Great Dane portrays its power and strength. The Great Dane moves in long, easy strides maintaining a level topline. The front feet reach as far forward as the nose during each stride balanced by the powerful rear drive. The legs converge toward the centerline with increasing speed.

Feet: The feet of the Great Dane should be round and compact with well-arched toes. They should always face straight forward. The nails should be strong, short and very dark in color. The removal of dewclaws is completely optional.

Tail: The tail of a Great Dane should be set high but not quite level with the topline. The tail is broad at the base, gently tapering toward the end. When at rest, the Dane's tail should hang straight. When in motion the tail curves slightly, but should never curve above the level of the back.

Color: The coat of the Great Dane comes in many different colors and patterns. The Blue Dane should have a pure steel blue coat. The Black Dane should have a shiny, glossy black colored coat. The Fawn Dane should be a yellow gold in color with a black mask, black eye rims and eyebrows and possibly black on the ears and tip of the tail. The coat of a Brindle Dane should be predominately yellow-gold in color with strong black cross stripes in a chevron pattern, a black mask, black eye rims and brows with black possibly occurring on the ears and tip of the tail. The coat of a Harlequin Great Dane should have a base color of pure white sporting irregular black torn patches distributed throughout the entire coat. The black patches should be of moderate size never giving a blanket appearance or dappled effect. The coat of the Mantle Dane should be black and white with a solid black blanket covering the body. The skull should be black with a white muzzle and preferably a white collar. The chest should be white with white on the legs and tip of the tail.

Coat: The Great Dane's coat is thick and short with a smooth glossy appearance.

Great Dane Facts

Category: Mastiff, AKC Working

Life Expectancy: Great Danes have an average life expectancy of 10 years or less with some living up to 12 to 13 year.

Characteristics: The Great Dane is a dependable, brave and loyal dog that makes a superb tracking, carting and watchdogs. Some Danes do show signs of aggression with other dogs, as a result it is recommended to raise any other dogs together from a very young age.

Great Dane Health

Health: The Great Dane has a tendency toward hip dysplasia, bloat, tumors, heart disease, and tail injuries.

Great Dane History

History: Dogs resembling Great Danes were found on Greek money dating back to 36 B.C. In 407 A.D. German Gaul along with parts of Italy and Spain were invaded by the Asiatics who brought dogs resembling the mastiff with them. Selective breeding between them and the Irish Greyhounds began leading toward today's Great Dane. In Germany, these dogs were used for overcoming bears and wild boars.

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