The Great Dane is easily recognizable by its large size and friendly face. Although the breed is known for being placid now, they were bred in Germany from Irish Wolfhounds and Mastiffs to create a large breed fit for hunting boar, patrolling estates and fighting in war. Affectionately known as the world’s largest lapdogs, they make wonderful family pets.
The Great Dane is one of the world’s largest dogs. The minimum height for male show dogs in this breed is 30” and 28” for females. However, many dogs are much larger than the standard. This extremely large breed weighs between 120-200 pounds. As for height, the Great Dane comes in second behind the Irish Wolfhound. Because of its large size, this breed requires lots of space to move around.
Some large breeds are awkward and clumsy, but you won’t find that in the Great Dane. It is a strong, powerful and elegant breed. The athletic body of the Great Dane is topped with a mastiff-like head, giving it a regal appearance. The coat comes in six colors: black, blue, brindle, fawn, harlequin and mantle (black and white).
Despite their intimidating size, Great Danes are actually one of the friendliest breeds you’ll ever encounter. They are energetic, yet gentle. Their loving dispositions make them a great addition to any family, even those with children. If you decide to get a Great Dane for your family, start training as early as possible. They are obedient dogs, but an untrained Great Dane can be quite a handful due to their large size.
Great Danes need daily exercise. Wait at least 40 minutes or so after they eat to engage in heavy activity, because they are prone to bloat. They have slow metabolisms and have a tendency to be couch potatoes.
Unfortunately, this gentle giant has one of the shortest lifespans of all dog breeds at only six to eight years, with 7.5 years being the average. Like all large breeds, Great Danes are susceptible to hip dysplasia. Heart problems are common, too. One of the leading health concerns for the breed is bloat. This occurs when the stomach is full and flips during heavy activity, blocking the intestinal tract. If not caught early, this can cause serious problems and can even be fatal.
The short coat of the Great Dane makes it easy to care for. Bathe the dog regularly, and run a brush over the coat once a week. It’s as simple as that!
If you’re interested in fun stories about one of America’s favorite Great Danes, check out Giant George. As his website says, “He’s kind of a BIG deal.”