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Great Dane Appearance
The majestic size and regal appearance of the Great Dane clearly reveals how they earned the nickname “Apollo of dogs.” Just like the Greek god of the sun, this powerful dog stands high above the pack and has a dignified presence. This breed has a square shaped build and powerful, muscled body. The head is slightly rectangular shaped with a long, chiseled muzzle. The ears are naturally floppy and triangular, but are often cropped in puppyhood along with their long tails. This is merely an aesthetic choice and is becoming a banned practice in several countries. Danes have short, thick coats that are naturally glossy and come in a variety of colors. Puppies can have fawn, brindle, harlequin (black and white irregular patches,) mantle (black and white with solid black blanket marking over the body,) and blue colored coats. They will stand at an impressive 24-34 inches tall and weigh in between 100-200 lbs., relative to their height. Danes will usually live to be 7-10 years old with proper care.
Great Dane Grooming
Grooming a Great Dane can be as easy as a walk through the dog park. Their short coats shed slightly throughout the year but is still relatively easy to maintain. Regular brushing with a firm bristle brush will keep their short coats neatly groomed. They stay relatively clean and only require an occasional bath, unless they get into a messy romp. Giving the Great Dane a bath early in puppyhood will help make the process easier than trying to introduce the process to a 200 lb. adult dog. Handling their paws to trim their tough nails and cleaning their ears while they’re young will also help get them accustomed to being groomed later in life.
Great Dane Temperament
These people-oriented pups are eager to please and easy to housetrain, making them excellent family companions. Danes are very good-natured and tolerant of children and other animals. They have a naturally pleasant disposition and do not exhibit any of the aggressiveness and high prey drive some other large dogs have. They are also highly sociable, thriving on attention and interaction with their families. These loving dogs will not do well when left alone for long periods of time, so only owners with enough time should consider adopting this breed. Great Danes can seem almost oblivious of their immense size and will often climb into their owner’s lap for a cuddle or jump into bed with them. Having a large yard for them to play in and taking them for fun walks are crucial to ensuring they get enough exercise. Great Danes love free, unstructured playtime that lets them burn off their energy and socialize with others. Having a moderate level of energy and an eagerness to please mean that these pups will almost always be up for a romp, but it’s important to limit their exercise in puppyhood. These gentle giants have fast growing bones and muscles, both of which are sensitive during growth spurts and can be easily damaged by vigorous play. Their massive size will naturally deter most criminals, making them excellent watchdogs.
Great Dane Training
Beginning obedience training early as well as teaching socialization skills are both equally important in establishing acceptable behavior for the Great Dane. Puppies, especially those who are eager to please, are much easier to teach than an older dog set in their own ways. The Great Dane will grow to be of considerable size and has an excitable personality; funneling their energy into positive training sessions will help yield the best results. Obedience training will definitely be necessary for a dog of such substantial size and character. Great Danes will often tear through the house at top speed, wiping coffee tables and other surfaces clear with one tail wag. Establish ground rules early to ensure proper behavior.
Great Dane History
The Great Dane of today is thought to have been developed as a boar hound in 16th century Germany; some speculate that the Great Dane’s ancestors can be traced back even further than that. Depictions of dogs resembling Great Danes have been found on Egyptian artifacts dating back to 3000 B.C. and in Chinese literature dating back to 1121 B.C. In Germany as boar hounds, these dogs were utilized as hunting companions and were an excellent match for taking down massive European boars. Ears were traditionally cropped to avoid ear tearing from the boars’ powerful husks, but the Great Dane began spending more time indoors during the late 1600s and less time hunting. German nobles began pampering their Danes with glided collars and even sharing their beds with the dogs. The immense size and intimidating appearance of the Great Dane led nobles to also utilize them as watchdogs. The breed was continually refined throughout the late 1800s and the ferocious temperament that made them excellent hunters was carefully phased out to make them the loving family companions of today. The direct ancestors of today’s American Great Dane are unknown, but the Great Dane Club of American was formed 1889 and was the fourth breed club allowed to join the AKC (American Kennel Club.)
Deutsche Dogge, German Mastiff