The Dane, a Great Choice …..
The Great Dane is a German domestic dog breed which is known around the world for its size. The Great Dane or German Mastiff is one of the largest dog breeds in existence. If you’re considering getting a Great Dane as a pet, you definitely want to understand the breed and what they need from an owner.
History Of The Breed
The early Great Danes would have been used as hunting dogs. They were crossbreeds between the English Mastiff and the Irish Wolfhound. There was no formal breeding in the 16th century when these dogs were becoming popular which resulted in different sizes and features. It was only in the 17th century when these dogs were bred in the courts of German nobility that the Great Dane as we know it started to form.
The dogs were used primarily to hunt bears, boar and deer at the courts. They were favorites for staying in the bedchambers of their owners as well. These dogs were generally fitted with a gilded collar and would help to protect the princes of the courts from assassination attempts. When used in hunting, these dogs would seize the animal and hold it in place until the hunter was able to kill it.
The Great Dane is a tall dog breed with an average height of up to 35 inches. The height range for the females will be 31 to 33 inches and the males have a height range of 33 to 35 inches. The Great Dane will typically weigh between 100 and 180 pounds which put it among the heaviest of dog breeds.
The life expectancy of the Great Dane is much shorter than the average giant breed. The minimum life expectancy is 6 years and the maximum is 8 years. The Great Dane will reach full maturity in 12 months and will reach its full height and weight at this time.
There are 3 varieties of coats for the Great Dane and contain 5 to 6 coat colors which are acceptable for purebred dogs.
Fawn & Brindle
The first is fawn and brindle where the fawn coat is a yellow gold with a black mask. The mask will be around the eye rims and the eyebrows as well as the ears. The brindle coat is fawn and black with a stripe pattern.
Harlequin & Black
The second variation is harlequin and black. The black coat will be a glossy black, where white markings on the toes and chest will be considered faults to the coat. The harlequin coat will have a base color of pure white with torn black patches over the entire body, but should not be large enough to be considered a blanket or small enough for a dappled effect. Gray Merle coats are also accepted with this depending on the combination. Another coat in the second variation is the mantle coat. This coat is black and white with the black being a solid blanket that extends over the entire body. The skull will be black with a white muzzle and a whole white collar is preferred.
The last type of coat is the blue coat. This is a pure steel blue color and marketing in white across the chest and toes would be considered faults.
Temperament Of The Great Dane
The large and imposing figure of the Great Dane does not match with the gentle and friendly temperament these dogs have. Great Danes are known to seek physical affection from their owners and are often called gentle giants who adore sitting on anything, including objects or people that are too small! Their friendly and gentle nature makes them good with other dogs, animals and children.
Great Danes do not generally have aggression problems or a high prey drive. They are gentle and with the proper training and care would be great around children. However, if the Great Dane is not socialized correctly or properly trained they could become aggressive and/or fearful of new situations such as new environments and strangers.
Great Dane Health
There are a number of health problems that these dogs suffer from that are common to large breeds including bloat. To avoid this you want to allow the dog to rest for up to an hour after meals before taking her/him out for exercise.
Other health problems that Great Danes suffer from include an increased risk of canine hip dysplasia. Heart diseases are also commonly found with Great Danes.
If you’re considering a Great Dane, they’re a great addition to a family provided you have the space they require and the ability to exercise them regularly. They can be a gentle and loyal companion, as well as a great source of entertainment with their goofy mannerisms. As a personal owner of several Danes over the years I can attest to their fun loving nature.