NPPE Breed Library Info Page

Great Dane

Great Dane

The Great Dane is a very large dog that is muscular and strong. The head is rectangular and long in appearance. The short, sleek coat can be fawn, black, blue, brindle and harlequin in colour. Over 18 months of age, the minimum height of dogs should ideally be 76cm and the weight 54kg. Females of the same age should be a minimum of 71cm and weigh 46kg.

great dane
  • Category size: Giant
  • Grooming requirements: Less than once a week
great dane
  • Shedding: Little
  • Allergies: No
  • Noise: Not too noisy
  • Dog Group Kennel Club: Working
great dane
  • Alone: 1 to 3 hours
  • Other pets: Medium
  • Stability as a guard: High

Origin

Dogs resembling the Great Dane have been seen in drawings in Egyptian tombs dating back to 2200BC. They were shorter of leg and resembled Mastiffs in body type. These types of dogs made their way via traders to many other countries. It was in Germany that the breed was further developed into the dog that we recognise today. It is thought that the original Mastiff type was crossed with a Greyhound to give the agile, slender dog that is known as a Great Dane. They were first used as bull baiters and in 1592 they were being used by the nobility for hunting wild boar. By the 1800s it was used by estate owners for large game hunting.

Personality

The Great Dane is an affectionate dog. They can become very close and loyal to their family and close family friends that are frequent visitors, and are ideally suited to the active family. They are quick to alert the family of any strangers approaching their territory, as they are excellent guard dogs. Puppy socialisation and training is of particular importance in such a canine giant.

Health

The Great Dane is predisposed to a number of problems that are common in large breeds of dog, including a specific stomach condition (gastric dilation volvulus), heart disease, a variety of bone disorders, and a particular type of aggressive bone tumour (osteosarcoma).

Exercise

A fit adult will need in the region of a couple of hours' exercise daily. They enjoy walks and will happily go along will the family on their outdoor activities, but they also enjoy spending time in front of the fire, enjoying any creature comforts that are available. Exercise must be given in limited amounts during the growth period, as too much can cause serious bone, joint and muscle problems.

Nutrition

Giant-breed dogs, as well as having giant appetites, benefit from a different balance of minerals and vitamins, supporting different joint and cartilage needs. Great Danes are prone to bloating and stomach problems; try feeding smaller, more frequent meals to help minimise the risk.

Grooming

The short, sleek and dense coat of the Great Dane is low-maintenance and needs grooming about every week to 10 days. They can be groomed using a rubber-grooming mitt, which will remove the loose and dead hairs.

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What to Consider next

Adoption

It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.

Finding a good breeder

If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.

Welcoming your dog home

Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information