Great Dane | Information & Dog Breed Facts


The Great Dane dog breed also known as German Bulldog is a very popular dog breed due to its large size and delicate personality, which is considered by the International Cynological Federation as the “Apollo of Dogs”.

Great Dane

A giant dog, is the description of a Great Dane dog. At first glance, the Great Dane may seem aggressive and dangerous. In fact, these dogs are gentle and affectionate, only if the owners are in danger, they turn into brave, reliable defenders.

Interestingly, the first purpose of the dogs was to hunt wild boars. It just turned out that the representatives of the breed are too aristocratic and kind, it is not in their nature to run through the forest for game. Now the Great Dane is a pet that gets along well with both adults and children.

Breed history

The Great Dane breed belongs to the very ancient. 3000 BC in Egypt, during excavations, drawings were found, which depict dogs very similar to Great Danes. The same drawings are found in ancient Babylonian temples, these temples arose 2000 years BC. Ancient manuscripts dating back to 1121 indicate that the Great Danes were kept by Tibetan monks. They were engaged in their breeding, exchanging pedigree dogs between monasteries for this, so that new blood would flow in the puppies.

The ancestors of Great Danes are Irish wolfhounds, English mastiffs, Irish greyhounds. There are suggestions that this is not a complete list of the breeds that participated in the formation of the Great Dane. During the time of the Assyrians, who were engaged in the trade of dogs around the world, mastiffs interbred with many other species, so it is impossible to compile an exact list of ancestors of the Great Dane.

Initially, Great Dane dogs, due to their enormous growth and power, were tried to be used as hunting dogs. Specifically, they were intended for baiting wild boars. It was at that time that the decision was made to dock the ears so that a wild animal could not tear the dog’s ears with its fangs during a fight. But breeders and owners of Great Danes had to admit that they were not adapted to hunting skills.

Therefore, in the late 1600s, the Great Dane took a place near the fireplace of its noble owner. It has become prestigious to keep such a large pet in your home. The rich owner did not spare money for the collar for his dog, they were decorated with precious stones, which indicated the wealth and high place in the society of the owner of a huge dog.

The modern appearance of the Great Dane was formed thanks to the great contribution of German breeders. It is thanks to their work that the Great Dane looks somewhat extravagant, this dog is tall, slender with a proud gait. During the formation of the breed, they achieved not only a beautiful appearance, but also a certain form of behavior. As a result, the Great Dane has a friendly and docile character, the high level of aggression that was present in the ancestors was tamed.

In 1880 at the Berlin conference the name of the breed “Great Dane” was officially approved. The first Great Dane Club was also founded in Germany. Then the representatives of the breed gradually spread to all countries of the world and gained popularity.

Great Dane Molosser dogs

Physical characteristics of the Great Dane

A large, but at the same time elegant dog is a Great Dane. He has a harmonious physique and well-developed musculature. The growth of adults is 72-90 cm, the weight can reach 90 kg.

A long, narrow head is set on a long, powerful neck with a slight bend. The ears are set high, not too large, hanging (natural option), cropping is allowed. Rounded eyes of medium size. In most cases, they are dark, discord is allowed in marbled dogs.

The muzzle is deep, the nose is wide, black with large nostrils. In marbled dogs, a white nose with pigment spots is allowed. The jaws are wide, powerful with large canines. Scissor bite.

The croup is wide, sloping slightly down to the base of the tail. The loin is slightly curved, wide, the back is elastic, short.

The chest is well defined. The belly is well tucked up, a beautifully curved line. The tail is set high, wide at the croup, tapering towards the end. If the dog is agitated, hold it like a saber, but not above the back line.

In a calm state, the tail of the Great Dane hangs down freely. The limbs are long, straight, strong, with well-developed muscles. The thighs are wide and long. The ankle is short, the paws are “cat”, have a rounded shape, well arched.

The coat is very short, smooth, dense and shiny. Acceptable Great Dane colors are divided into three groups:

  1. Blue.
  2. Marble and black.
  3. Fawn and brindle.
Great Dane

Personality and character of the great dane

The great size of the great dane can give a bad impression of its temperament and its character. In general, these dogs are very friendly and affectionate with their own, although they can be booked with strangers. They are generally not aggressive, but it is important to socialize them as puppies because of their tendency to be reserved with strangers. Well-socialized dogs get along well with people, other dogs, and even other pets. In this case, they are particularly good friends of children, even if they are young dogs, they can be annoying for the youngest.

Many believe that it is difficult to train a great dane. This idea stems from traditional canine training methods. The great dane is very sensitive to abuse and does not respond well to traditional training. However, with positive training (clicker training, rewards, etc.), you can achieve spectacular results.

This dog needs frequent companionship. He is generally not a destroyer, but the great dane can be when he is left alone for a long time or if he is bored. It can also be destructive due to its large size, especially when it is a puppy and young dog, but it is not very active inside the house.

Great Dane

Great Dane Health

On average, the Great Dane can live 6.5-7 years. We can say that nature has awarded these dogs with good health, but a predisposition to some diseases is still observed:

  • Gastrointestinal problems – bloating, volvulus, diarrhea.
  • Dysplasia of the hip joint – accompanied by pain, lameness and immobility.
  • Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin.
  • Lymphoma is a type of malignant cancer.
  • Pyoderma – accompanied by an accumulation of pus. With a superficial form, the outer layers and hair follicles are affected. The deep form of pyoderma is accompanied by skin lesions throughout the entire thickness.
  • Instability of the cervical spine.
  • Demodecosis is a parasitic disease. Caused by microscopic mites of the genus Demodex, which feed on skin and loose fiber.
  • Congenital idiopathic megaesophagus – disorders of contractility and dilatation of the esophagus.
  • Osteochondrosis of the shoulder is a serious disease that affects the joints. It is characterized by cartilage degeneration. It is manifested by ossification of cartilage with further destruction of the joint.
  • Twisting, eversion of the eyelids is eliminated by surgery.
  • Obesity.

The disease is easier to prevent than to treat it later. Therefore, it is important to regularly undergo preventive examinations with a pet in a veterinary clinic. Also, timely vaccination and treatment against skin parasites is mandatory.

Great Dane


A healthy adult will need about two hours of exercise a day. He likes walks and will be happy to accompany the family in their outdoor activities, but he also likes to spend time in front of the fire and enjoy all the comforts available. During your dog’s growth stage you should exercise moderately, since excessive exercise can cause serious bone, muscle and joint problems.

Basic care

It is difficult to keep such a huge dog as Great Dane in an apartment, but at the same time, this pet does not tolerate cold. It is not recommended to keep it outdoors in winter, unless it will be an aviary with a booth equipped with heating. At the same time, both the booth and the aviary must be large enough.

The ideal option for keeping a Great Dane is a large private house with an adjacent fenced area. In this case, the dog will be able to move freely around the house and walk in a private yard. After all, such a large dog needs a lot of physical activity. When keeping a pet in an apartment, it is necessary to walk daily for several hours a day. In cold and wet weather, it is recommended to shorten the walking time.

Be sure to train your dog from puppyhood to a place in the house. Otherwise, due to its large growth, the dog will calmly master the master’s bed or sofa. Also, be sure to set aside a feeding area by placing bowls for water and food there. Never allow to eat anywhere.

Great Dane

For the beauty and health of a Great Dane, the following procedures must be carried out:

  • Once every 6-8 days, comb out the coat with a stiff brush.
  • Do not bathe frequently, as needed. This procedure is rather complicated, you can’t bathe a huge dog in a basin, he needs a bath. Therefore, many owners of Great Danes use the services of groomers. If you decide to carry out water procedures yourself, teach the dog to them from puppyhood.
  • The ears are checked once a week for signs of inflammation, trauma or excessive ear discharge. Such a check is done while cleaning the ears with a solution specially designed for this.
  • Teeth requires weekly brushing. Instead of a toothpaste and a brush, you can buy special long-lasting bones designed for cleaning a dog’s teeth.
  • Cut the claws as they grow, if the pet does not comb them off while walking on the road surface.
Great Dane puppy


With regards to feeding, the Great Dane will need large portions. More than half of the diet consists of protein foods. It is worth noting that the Great Dane needs a special diet. You need to discuss it with a veterinarian, who will advise both the feeding norms and the components of the diet.

The Great Dane, like other dogs, needs a balanced diet, so you need to focus on professional premium products and remember to change food depending on the age of the dog.

Feeding mode by age:

  • From 1 to 2 months – 5-6 times a day
  • From 2 to 6 – 4 times
  • From 6 to a year – 3 times

Then it all depends on physical activity and circumstances, usually 2 times

The natural diet should contain the following:

  • Lean meat (scalded) and offal (cooked);
  • Saltwater fish (scalded or cooked, freed from large bones);
  • Chicken or turkey meat (boiled and deboned);
  • Milk and fermented milk products;
  • Vegetables and fruits – up to 15% of the diet, with the exception of potatoes and legumes;
  • Groats (everything except barley, corn and wheat, which are poorly digested).
Great Dane

Training and education

The socialization of the Great Dane must be started from 3-4 months. Such a dog, already in puppyhood, is distinguished by its large size, therefore it requires serious education and discipline. It is important to suppress all manifestations of aggression in a puppy, since an uncontrollable huge dog can become dangerous to others.

The correct approach, perseverance and confidence of the owner will help to raise an obedient, friendly, adequate pet. The Great Dane always strives to please the owner, so it is not too difficult to train him. Representatives of the breed have an average intelligence; they have proven themselves in agility and in other competitions.

The dog must obey all basic commands unquestioningly. After the dog has mastered the simple rules of behavior in the home and in public places, you can proceed to more complex and serious training courses. If you are not confident in your skills and knowledge, use the help of an experienced dog handler.

Great Dane

Mating a Great Dane

Mating is carried out on the 11-14th day of estrus, when the bitch willingly admits the dog to her. There is no need to feed the dogs 12 hours before this action.

It is better to organize mating itself in the morning and on the “male” territory.

At the end of the process, clumping often occurs, lasting from a few seconds to an hour.

We must wait and under no circumstances separate the dogs by force.

To remember:

  • The average litter size in Great Danes is eight puppies.
  • A Great Dane male dog is mature for mating possibly from 4 months onwards, but generally, it is considered at around 6 months.
  • Great Dane females have their first estrus (or heat) after six months of age, although it can occur as late as 18 months to two years of age.
Great Dane

Great Dane Fun Facts

  • Different types of Great Danes had different names in the past: Great Dane, Ulm Great Dane, Boar Dog, Hunting Great Dane. In 1978, in Berlin, it was officially decided to give the listed species one name – Great Dane.
  • Italians don’t like the name “Great Dane”, so they call these dogs “Alano”.
  • The Guinness Book of Records includes a Great Dane named Giant George, who lived in America. Its weight was 111 kg., With a height of 110 cm. If the dog was put on its hind legs, its height was 2.2 m.
  • The Great Dane breed differs in that its representatives have the lowest life expectancy (6.5-7 years).
  • Great Dane is a talented artist, representatives of the breed have become heroes of many films and cartoons: “Marmaduke”, “Ugly Dachshund”, “Silver Fang”, “Once upon a time there was a doggie”, “Scooby-Doo”.
Great Dane

Great Dane Dog Breed Highlights

The Great Dane is not suitable for every person as a pet. For example, a child or an elderly, weak person will find it difficult to maintain, educate and care for such a large dog. The Great Dane requires a lot of attention. With him you need to walk a lot and he needs a lot of food. Before you decide to buy a puppy of this breed, really assess your capabilities and strengths. Check out the main pros and cons of the Great Dane to help you make the right decision.

Positive points

•             The Great Dane is extremely loyal and affectionate towards his family.

•             It is a very intelligent dog.

•             In the right hands, the Great Dane is easy to train.

•             Little maintenance on the grooming front.

•             It is a dog with a moderate coat.

•             The Great Dane is very playful and crazy by nature.

Negative points

•             This dog breed is not the best choice for dog owners for the first time.

•             The Great Dane is an extremely big dog and needs enough space to express itself.

•             It is known to drool (a lot).

•             This dog suffers from separation anxiety when left alone.

•             Its tail can cause a lot of damage when it is excited.

•             The Great Dane can be stubborn when the mood takes it.

•             This breed is likely to suffer from certain health problems that may result in higher veterinary bills.

•             The Great Dane being a large breed has a short life span.

•             It is expensive to feed and requires a lot of exercise.

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