Great Dane – a Graceful Gentle Giant with an Enormous Golden Heart

07.10.2022 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Eine Deutsche Dogge sitzt vor einem Picknick-Platz.

Imposing and elegant at the same time. Great Danes are impressive with their combination of size, graceful way of impressing and respect. Humans have no need to be nervous around this dog breed since they are very gentle and sensitive.

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From Assyria to Germany

The Great Dane’s ancestors were huge fighting dogs, raised in Assyria 4,000 years ago. These dogs later came to Europe thanks to the Romans where they were initially used as entertainment in circuses. The dogs were so loved by the conquerors that they were taken with them on their campaigns to Great Britain. There they cross-bred with greyhounds and wolfhounds. This resulted in enormous dogs which were used for showing off predominantly in the courts of the upper classes and also as attack and guard dogs. In 1878 a “Great Dane” was presented for the first time at a show in Germany.

Nature and character of Great Danes

The nature of Great Danes can be summarised in one word: loving. They are consistently friendly and loyal dogs which form strong connections with humans. However, don’t think for a second that these majestic giants don’t have a wild side. Great Danes are very temperamental, they need a lot of exercise and have a lot of stamina. They only tend towards aggressive behaviour when they have been raised incorrectly and have not been taught how to socialise. If they are not kept sufficiently busy, this may also frustrate them. If your Great Dane is well balanced then you will have a well-natured dog who will show a lot of love. Great Danes are attentive to the body language of their owners.

Training and keeping a Great Dane

Great Danes are great family pets. “Working” dogs are usually watch dogs and guard dogs. Remember that to keep a Great Dane, not only do you need a lot of time, you also need plenty of space. These giants will be too constricted under the coffee table on a carpet. Alongside a large apartment, these animals will need as much exercise outside as possible. Ideally they need access to a garden or another place to run around on a property. They should avoid climbing stairs as this can damage their joints. It’s an advantage if you have sufficient size, strength and assertiveness to deal with these dogs. If a 90-kilo male decides they want to follow a scent then there won’t be a lot you can do to stop him otherwise.

Eine Schwarz-Weiß-Aufnahme einer deutschen Dogge im Winter.

Caring for Great Danes

A Great Dane’s height will start around 72 cm, a male dog can easily reach 80 cm. Depending on their size and weight Great Danes will be between 50 to 95 kg making them extremely large and heavy. Due to their slowed metabolism they can easily become overweight. Ensure you keep an eye on their food intake and that they get enough exercise. For young dogs their diet must not be too high in protein. Due to their tremendous weight Great Danes need a soft place to lie down to take the weight off their bones. This makes caring for their fur easy. Regular grooming with a soft brush is sufficient to keep their coats in top condition. Unfortunately, for Great Danes their life expectancy is less than other breeds at eight years on average. Due to their breeding and their size they tend to have problems with their bones, cardio-vascular issues and stomach knotting.

Caring for Great Danes

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Newsletter Great Dane

Breed
Great Dane
Origin
Germany
Classification
Mastiff dogs
Size
Males from 80 cm at shoulder height – females from 72 cm at shoulder height
Weight
Males 80 to 95 kg – females 50 to 65 kg
Physique
“square” noses, muscular and strong chests, very large, long tails
Eyes
average, dark, chestnut shaped
Ears
flat droopy ears
Coat and colour
Smooth, shiny, short structure; black, blue, yellow coloured, dots and flecks
Special features
strong human connection, doesn’t like to be alone
Nature
temperamental, good-natured, loving, cuddly
Care
groom regularly with a soft brush
Health
Prone to stomach knotting, predisposed to cardio-vascular problems, eye infections, hip dysplasia and bone cancer.
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