The Great Dane
The Great Dane, also known as the Apollo of dogs, is a giant dog breed, originated in Germany. Great Danes descend from mastiff-like dogs and were used to protect German nobility. They were also used for hunting wild boars, stags, wolves and other large game. Today, their instinct to hunt is bred out and Great Danes are primarily family pets.
Great Danes are massive, muscular dogs, whose size terrifies some people, but, on the other hand, they are elegant, gentle and sweet. Great Danes are quiet and calm creatures, very people oriented. They are highly devoted to their family and are eager to please them whenever they can. Great Danes demand a lot of attention from their people.
Male Great Danes can stand up to 30-31 inches (76-79 cm) tall and they weight 110-180 lb (50-82 kg). Female ones are usually 28-30 inches tall (71–76 cm).
FUN FACT: Currently the tallest dog is a Great Dane named Freddy. Standing on its hind legs, Freddy is 7 feet 6 inches tall giant that loves chicken and peanut butter. Just for a comparison – NBA star LeBron James is “just” 6 feet 8 inches tall. Freddy weights nearly 200 pounds.
Because of their size, Great Danes need a lot of space just to move around. If you are getting a Great Dane, you should adjust interior design of your house/apartment to its size. Your Great Dane might accidentally knock over your furniture with its tail.
Great Danes have a short, smooth coat that can come in variety of colors (fawn, brindle, blue, black, harlequin, and mantle). The Great Danes’ coat sheds moderately but require little grooming. These dogs need regular brushing to keep the coat clean and healthy. Brushing should be more frequent in spring and fall. The rest is basic care. Trim the nails when needed, brush the dogs’ teeth, and keep the ears dry and clean, in order to prevent ear infections. Ears can be cropped or left natural. Cropping was usually done in the past times, when these dogs were used for boar hunting. Shorter ears were harder to torn in a fight.
FUN FACT: Great Danes are unusually tall dogs, but they’re not always the tallest. Irish Wolfhounds tend to grow a hair taller.
Although being huge, Great Danes are sweethearts. They are often called “gentle giants”. A lot of them will consider themselves lapdogs and will keep trying to sit on their owner whenever there is a chance to do so. Great Danes are affectionate and easy going. They love to play and are relaxed with children.
Great Danes don’t need a lot of exercise. They require daily walks to maintain their health and love to go along with their family on their outdoor activities. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t over exercise this breed, especially when the dog is still a puppy. Great Dane puppies grow very big, very fast (in only one year they can go from only two pounds heavy puppy to a dog that weights as much as 100 pounds) and are in danger of having joint and bone problems.
FUN FACT: Despite their sweet nature, Great Danes are alert home guardians. Usually they don’t bark a lot but are quick to alert the family of any strangers approaching their territory.
Great Danes, as most dogs do, need early socialization. Providing enough socialization helps ensure that your Great Dane puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Without careful socialization some of them can become suspicious and/or aggressive towards new stimuli, such as strangers and new environments. Great Danes are considered easy to train and they respond well to training using positive reinforcement. As they grow into a very large dog really quickly, the training should start immediately and should be consistent.
FUN FACT: Great Danes drool a lot, especially after eating or drinking.
The Great Dane Health
Great Danes are generally healthy but are prone to certain health conditions. Development issues that occur while the puppy is growing into a dog are common. Therefore you should feed your Great Dane puppy with appropriate food, not too high in protein, calcium or supplements and also shouldn’t over exercise the puppy while it is still growing and its bones and muscles are developing.
Hip Dysplasia is also common (you can read more about hip dysplasia here). Gastric torsion or Bloat can occur causing the dogs’ stomach to twist on itself, cutting off the blood supply. Gastric torsion is the number one killer of Danes, and they bloat more often than any other breed. Bone cancer and various heart diseases also can affect Great Dane dog. The biggest downside of this breed is its short life span – only 6 to 8 years.
FUN FACT: One female Great Dane named Juliana was awarded two Blue Cross Medals. First time she was awarded was in 1941. Juliana was awoken when she heard that something fell on the house she lived in. That something was an incendiary bomb that was dropped during The Blitz (a German bombing campaign against Britain). Juliana went to that object and peed all over it, thus extinguishing the fire and preventing it from spreading. Juliana was awarded a second medal three years later when she alerted her masters’ family that there was a fire in their shop, saving them yet again.
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