Despite the name, the Great Dane dog breed is not a Danish dog. He is a very old German dog breed. In ancient times, the Great Dane was used as a wardog and as well as for hunting boar. In fact, the Great Dane has been called a German Boarhound. The Germans, however, call him Deutsche Dogge.
The Great Dane is a big dog yet proportionately very graceful and elegant in appearance. Standing 28” to 35” tall and weighing 110-180 pounds, the Great Dane is truly a large dog breed but mostly very gentle. While the Great Dane dog breed was bred for courage on the hunt, he is only a good guard dog in the intimidation of his size. Otherwise, he is generally friendly to strangers. The Great Dane can be very affectionate and easygoing with people but may not get along well with other pets.
Although the Great Dane is not as eager to please as a Labrador Retriever, he is moderately easy to train. He can be a bit sensitive in training so use mostly positive reinforcement methods for maximum response.
You would think that such a large gallant dog would require a lot of exercise. But the Great Dane dog breed only needs moderate daily exercise. He is not overly energetic or playful. His easy nature makes him a great house dog but he needs a big bed and enough room to stretch out his long legs. Grooming for a Great Dane is even easier. Occasional brushing during shedding season or after baths may be all that is required. The only major upkeep concern for the Great Dane is his tendency to drool.
Health concerns for the Great Dane dog breed are relatively few, but require serious consideration if you want to buy one. As with most large breed dogs, the Great Dane has the risk of developing hip dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia is also a concern. Both of these can be tested and a good dog breeder will be willing to provide proof of such testing. Since a dog doesn’t develop hip or elbow dysplasia until after a year or more, do not accept any 1 year guarantees that an unscrupulous breeder may offer.
Other health concerns common with the Great Dane dog breed include gastric torsion, cardiomyopathy, and bone cancer. Gastric torsion is where the stomach twists and traps contents – a very dangerous situation which can cause death. Gastric torsion is not necessarily genetically inherited health risk like hip dysplasia. It is a health risk associated with large dogs in general. Cardiomyopathy is where the chambers of the heart enlarge and cause congestive heart failure. This health issue can also be inherited.
Besides his great size, features of the Great Dane dog breed are quite recognizable. If you have ever heard of the comic character (now movie character) Marmaduke, then you are already familiar with how the Great Dane looks. He has a long rectangular head, square jaw, and a thick heavy muzzle. Overall, his body is equally proportioned – his chest is neither too deep nor too narrow, his legs are long but not so long as in comparison to his body. The ears of a Great Dane are medium sized and droop. However, when his ears are cropped they stand erect.
The Great Dane dog breed comes in a variety of interesting and unique colors. The Great Dane which is white with irregular patches of black is called a Harlequin Dane. The term ‘harlequin’ for a black and white dog is unique to the Great Dane. The Great Dane dog breed can also be brindle in color. Brindle is a light color with black cross stripes, like a tiger but the stripes are much smaller. A fawn colored Dane is a Great Dane which is golden-yellow or tan color and has a black mask on his face. A blue colored Dane is a Great Dane which is a solid gray-blue. And finally, the Great Dane dog breed can also be a solid black in color.
The Great Dane is a great dog. Except for the dog food bill, his easygoing nature makes him generally easy to care for. He is perfectly content being an indoor dog and does not require a big yard – or any yard as long as he gets regular walks. If you want to purchase a Great Dane, be sure to research breeders thoroughly in order to avoid any unscrupulous dog breeders who don’t breed quality dogs and don’t check for inherited health issues like hip dysplasia, cardiomyopathy, and bone cancer. You can also check online or at your local animal shelter for Great Dane rescue groups. A Great Dane rescue group rescues and adopts out Great Dane dog breeds who might have been displaced, neglected, or given up by their owners for various reasons.
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