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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Great Dane

The Great Dane truly deserves the nickname “gentle giant”. These dogs are indeed giant, muscular and strong, but they have a friendly expression and a genuine desire to please everyone around them, humans or pets. They can be easily recognised due to their large stature as well as their long, rectangular head. Their short, sleek coat comes in a range of colours.

The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Need to be aware of potential health issues
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Giant dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Quiet dog
  • Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training
This breed may encounter health problems

The Great Dane is predisposed to a number of problems that are common in large breeds of dog, including:
- Gastric dilatation volvulus
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia 
- Dilated cardiomyopathy which is a condition where the heart muscle becomes progressively weak and cannot beat properly.
- Wobblers syndrome which is a problem in the spine that causes a wobbly abnormal gait.
- Inherited myopathy of Great Danes which is a disease that causes muscle wastage in this breed.
- Osteosarcoma which is a serious type of bone cancer.
- Entropion and/or ectropion which are painful conditions where the eyelids turn inwards or outwards, this happens as a result of excessive skin around the eyes.
- Cherry eye, which is where a gland within the third eyelid pops up in the corner of the eye.
  
Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.
 

Key Facts

Lifespan: 8–10 years
Weight: Ideal weight should be 54kg. Females should be 46kg
Height: Over 18 months of age, the minimum height of dogs should ideally be 76cm. Females of the same age should be a minimum of 71cm
Colours: Fawn, black, blue, brindle and harlequin
Size: Giant
Kennel Club group: Working

Ratings

Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 5/5
Grey Great Dane lying on the grass

Personality

The Great Dane is an affectionate dog, ideally suited to the active family. They can become very close and loyal to their family and even to frequent visitors. They are quick to alert the family of any strangers approaching their territory, as they are excellent guard dogs and can sometimes be territorial and not welcoming of canine intruders. Puppy socialisation and puppy training is of particular importance in such a canine giant.

Great Dane standing on the grass

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Germany

Despite their name, the Great Dane is a German breed and has been known as the German Mastiff or the Deutsche Dogge. The ancestors of this breed have been known since ancient times but they were far heavier and more mastiff in appearance. In the Middle Ages they became popular as high-status hunting dogs of royalty often working in a pack to hunt wild boar. The Great Dane as we know it today however didn’t come into being until the 19th century when it had become both taller and more lightweight - possibly with the inclusion of Greyhound or other large hounds. While they have worked as guard dogs, the modern Great Dane was bred for docility and so his impressive bark is far worse than his bite!

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Great Dane holds the record for being the tallest dog breed in the world, and while in its present form it has only worked as a guard dog, the ancestors of this canine colossus have been war dogs, fighting dogs, and high-status hunting dogs. They are now gentle giants, bred for their docility. Their deep powerful bark being far worse than their pretty much non-existent bite.