Shoulder height: 72 – over 80 cm
Weight: 50 – 90 kg
Age: 8 – 10 years
Color: yellow, brindle, spotted, black, blue
Use: companion dog
The Great Dane belongs to the “Molossoid” breed group and, with a shoulder height of around 80 cm, is one of the absolute giants among dogs. Great Danes are considered sensitive, friendly, and particularly affectionate and are pronounced family dogs. A prerequisite, however, is a loving and consistent upbringing and socialization as early as possible.
Origin and history
The ancestors of the Great Dane are medieval hounds and Bullenbeissers – beefy, powerful dogs whose job it was to tear down bulls in battle. The mastiff initially referred to a large, strong dog that did not have to belong to a specific breed. The Mastiff and the Irish Wolfhound were decisive for the appearance of the Great Dane today. At the end of the 19th century, these different-sized dogs were combined into the Great Dane.
The Great Dane is one of the largest dog breeds: according to breed standards, the minimum height is 80 cm (males) and 72 cm (females). According to the Guinness Book of Records, since 2010 the tallest dog in the world has also been a Great Dane with a shoulder height of 1.09 meters.
Overall, the physical appearance is large and strong, while well-proportioned and elegant. The colors range from yellow and brindle to spotted and black to (steel) blue. Yellow and brindle (tiger-striped) Great Danes have a black masks. Spotted Great Danes are mostly pure white with black spots.
The coat is very short, smooth, close-lying, and easy to care for. Due to the lack of an undercoat, however, it offers little protection. Great Danes are therefore rather afraid of water and sensitive to cold.
The Great Dane is known to be sensitive, friendly, and affectionate towards its pack leader. It is easy to handle and docile, but at the same time confident and fearless. Great Danes are territorial, they only tolerate foreign dogs in their area reluctantly. They are alert and defensive but are not considered aggressive.
The huge Mastiff has enormous strength and cannot be tamed by a human being. A Mastiff at the tender age of 6 months can hardly be picked up alone. Therefore, a loving but sovereign and competent upbringing and early socialization and imprinting are necessary. Once the Great Dane has accepted and recognized your leader, it is also ready to submit and obey.
The demanding dog breed needs family contact and – just because of its body size – a lot of living space and exercise. The Great Dane is not suitable as a city dog in a small apartment – unless the apartment is on the ground floor and close to a large dog run zone. Likewise, the maintenance costs (at least 100 euros/month) of such a large breed of dog should not be underestimated.
Especially because of their size, Great Danes are prone to certain breed-specific diseases. These primarily include myocardial diseases, hip dysplasia, as well as gastric torsion, and bone cancer. Like many very large dog breeds, Great Danes rarely live past the age of 10.