Top Level: Home | Dogs | Cats | Pet Names | Fun | About Us

About this dog

Welcome to the Great Dane dog microsite. This page contains detailed information on the breed. From this point you can use the above tabs to navigate to the other Great Dane pages.

- Kitt Killion

Great Dane Breed Information

Alternative names Deutsche Dogge ("German Mastiff") Grand Danois (in French) Country of origin - Germany (also attributed to Denmark at various historical periods)

Common nicknames - Dane, Gentle Giant

Classification and breed standards

FCI:|Group 2 Section 2 #235|Stds
KC (UK):|Working|Stds
UKC:|Guardian Dogs|Stds

The Great Dane is a breed of domestic dog (canis lupus familiaris) known for its giant size and gentle personality. The breed is commonly referred to as the "Gentle giant" and the "Apollo of all breeds". Great Danes are among the tallest dog breeds, along with the Irish Wolfhound; as of 2007, the world's tallest dog is a Great Dane.

2. Appearance

Height and weight requirements for show dogs vary from one kennel club's standards to another, but generally the minimum weight falls between 100 to 120 lb (46 to 54 kg) and the minimum height must be between 28 and 32 inches (71 to 81 cm) at the withers. Most standards do not specify a maximum height or weight. However, a male great dane will weigh up to 200 lbs (91 kg)[1]. In August 2004, a Great Dane named "Gibson" from Grass Valley, California was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's tallest dog, measuring 42.2 inches at the withers. [4]

There are six show-acceptable coat colors for Great Danes:

* Fawn: Yellow gold with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears and tail tip.
* Brindle: Fawn and black in a chevron stripe pattern. Often also referred to as a tiger-stripe pattern.
* Blue: The color shall be a pure steel blue. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable.
* Black: The color shall be a glossy black. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable.
* Harlequin: Base color shall be pure white with black torn patches irregularly and well distributed over the entire body; a pure white neck is preferred. The black patches should never be large enough to give the appearance of a blanket, nor so small as to give a stippled or dappled effect. Eligible, but less desirable, are a few small grey patches,(This grey is a Merle marking) or a white base with single black hairs showing through, which tend to give a salt and pepper or dirty effect.
* Mantle (in some countries referred to as Bostons due to the similar coloration & pattern as a Boston Terrier): The color shall be black and white with a solid black blanket extending over the body; black anus with white cheeks; white blaze is optional; whole white collar preferred; a white chest; white on part or whole of forelegs and hind legs; white tipped black tail. A small white marking in the black blanket is acceptable, as is a break in the white collar.

Other colors occur occasionally but are not acceptable in the show ring. Because they are not valid for show dogs, they are not pursued by breeders. These colors include white, fawnequin, merle, merlequin, fawn mantle, and others. These are sometimes advertised as "rare" colors to unsuspecting buyers. Any coat that includes "mouse grey" is disqualified from show.

Cropping of the ears is common in the United States and much less common in Europe. Indeed, in some European countries such as the UK, Denmark, Germany, in parts of Australia, and in New Zealand, the practice is banned, or controlled such that it may only be performed by veterinary surgeons for health reasons. Ear cropping for looks only was never done in England. The original purpose of Ear Cropping was to cut the ears so that wolves and wild boar (often the objective of great dane hunts) would not be able to grab ahold of the ear. Now, however, it is used to obtain a more regal or majestic look in showdogs. The original ear cropping can be seen on the pictures above.

3. Temperament

The Great Dane's large and imposing appearance belies its friendly nature; the breed is often referred to as a gentle giant. Great Danes are generally well-disposed toward other dogs, other non-canine pets, wild animals, and humans (including strangers and children). However, some Great Danes have dominance issues, are aggressive with other dogs of the same sex, or chase small animals.

4. Health

Great Danes, like most giant dogs, have a fairly slow metabolism. This results in less energy and less food consumption per pound of dog than in small breeds.

Great Danes have some health problems that are common to large breeds. Bloat (a painful distending and twisting of the stomach (Gastric volvulus)) is a critical condition that can affect Great Danes and results rapidly in death if not quickly addressed. It is a commonly recommended practice for Great Danes to have their stomachs tacked (Gastropexy) to the interior rib lining during routine surgery such as spaying and neutering if the dog or its relatives have a history of bloat, though some veterinary surgeons will not do the operation if the actual sickness has not occurred. Elevated food dishes are often believed to help prevent bloat by regulating the amount of air that is inhaled while eating, although one study suggests that they may increase the risk [5] . Refraining from exercise or activity immediately before and after meals may also reduce risk. They can live between 8-16 years (rarely 16 years of age).

Another problem common to the breed is in the hips (hip dysplasia). Typically an x-ray of the parents can certify whether their hips are healthy and can serve as a guideline for whether the animals should be bred and are likely to have healthy pups.

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and many congenital heart diseases are also commonly found in the Great Dane.

Also, some Danes may develop yeast infections, when not fed all needed nutritional requirements. The yeast infection may also lead to minor recurring staph infection(s).

Great Danes also suffer from several genetic disorders that are specific to the breed. For example, if a Great Dane lacks color (is white) near its eyes or ears then that organ does not develop and usually the dog will be either blind or deaf. Many pure white Danes are deaf.

5. Miscellaneous

The Great Dane is the state dog of Pennsylvania.
The Great Dane is the team mascot at the University at Albany.
Heisman Trophy winning running back Ron Dayne was nicknamed "The Great Dayne" at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Poker player Gus Hansen is known as "The Great Dane."
Famous Danish Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was known as "The Great Dane".
The Great Dane is the name and symbol of a company that manufactures semi trailers.

5. 1. Danes in popular culture

* Scooby-Doo, a Hanna-Barbera character. Creator Iwao Takamoto based this famous animal character on a Great Dane based on sketches given by a Hanna-Barbera employee who bred this dog. Technically speaking, Scooby Doo would be a Mantle. [6] [7]
* Brad Anderson's newspaper comic character Marmaduke.
* The Great Dane BendicÚ is the family pet in Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's novel The Leopard.
* Butler was a fawn Dane that belonged to Capt. James T. Kirk in Star Trek.
* Einstein in Disney's Oliver & Company (1988)
* Just Nuisance - A member of the South African Navy [8]
* Ace from Batman Beyond
* Mars and Jupiter, two Great Danes from The Patriot
* Duke and Turk, two Great Danes from Disney's The Swiss Family Robinson (1960 film), where they are able to fight off a tiger.
* Brutus from Disney's version of The Ugly Dachshund
* The Greater Dane from the 2003 movie "Good Boy!" is a blue male Dane named New Era - Valentino.
* Angie from Raimuro Senkitan
* The guard dogs featured in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater are Great Danes.
* Ben, a main character in Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin, was a fawn Great Dane. One of his sons, Ken - a Dane-Saluki mix - is prominent in the sequel Ginga Legend Weed.[2]
* Great, a character in "Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin" is a general in the Ohu army, and an aptly named Great Dane.
* Hougen and Genba/Genshin, the primary antagonists in Ginga Legend Weed, were harlequin Great Dane brothers.[3]
* Pinkerton, in books by Steven Kellogg
* Duke from Dead Ringer
* Schmeichel, pet of Chesney in British TV soap Coronation Street
* Hamlet, in the movie Head Over Heels starring Monica Potter & Freddie Prinze Jr, was a fawn Great Dane.
* In the Scrubs episode My Words of Wisdom Elliot mentioned that she once had a Great Dane named Precious who one day bit her. She didn't want Precious to be put down so said that it was her neighbor's bulldog.
* Daisy Mae in J.F. Englert's novel A Dog About Town is a Great Dane.
* Astro, in the The Jetsons, is a Great Dane.
* Pluto, Mickey Mouse's lovable companion is a Great Dane.
* Goofy, another Disney character, is a Great Dane.
* Jake, Allan's dog is A Great Dane-Harlequin in "Two And a Half Men"

Copyright (c) 2008 Kitt Killion Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

Taken or modified, in whole or part, from