Description: Bred as a hunting dog for large game, these dogs have been around since 400 A.D. and may go back as far as 35 B.C. This may explain why there are some differences in character and temperament between the varieties of the breed.
Generally, these incredibly strong, powerful, affectionate, intelligent, loyal, sensitive and curious dogs donít bark much but make great watchdogs. Great Danes donít appear to be aware of their awesome power and try real hard to mimic human behavior. Still, some will try to dominate if thereís any confusion as to who is in control.
Fawn: This variety tends to have the sweetest disposition. Because they are more active than the other types, fawn Great Danes need more exercise. Thatís pretty easy since fawns usually want to play. No problem if theyíre kids around. The males tend to be more obstinate.
Black: Black Great Danes are most conscious of where they stand in the pecking order and are more prone to dominate. Thus, itís especially important for the family/owners/handlers to establish control Ė quickly
This variety has the most natural protective instincts. Black Great Danes will be even better guard dogs when they realize whoís in charge. Train with a firm but kind hand.
Brindle: If, by looking at their coat color, you said these dogs love to get dirty, you would be correct. Teach your brindle Great Dane to wipe his paws before he come in the house.
Otherwise, this variety is good-natured, fun loving, a little squirrelly and a little unpredictable. Be patient training a brindle, because it may take longer for it to learn.
Harlequin: Though impressionable and vulnerable as youngsters, avoid being too hard on this variety of Great Dane. As a harlequin matures, it will become much more sure of itself.
These dogs are probably the proudest of Great Danes and have the independence streak to match. With such a strong guarding instinct, these dogs fare pretty well as latchkey dogs. But donít let the dog get too serious. Make sure it gets some playtime.
Blue: These polite and obedient dogs are very patient. Occasionally, blue Great Danes will be argumentative so be prepared to show that your way of doing things is better. These dogs still may insist on having their way as to where they sleep and eat.
Blue Great Danes love to learn so use a kind hand
Other Names: Deutsche Dogge, German Mastiff
Height: 30 - 32 inches
Weight: 100 - 120 lbs.
Colors: Brindle, fawn, blue, black or harlequin.
Coat: Short, dense, sleek.
Temperament: Alert, lively
With Children: Excellent with children, but should be supervised.
With Pets: Supervision is recommended.
Special Skills: In the past, a hunting dog. Now a watch dog and family pet.
Watch-dog: Very High
Care and Training: Minimal grooming of his shorthaired coat is needed. Comb, brush and dry shampoo when necessary. Keep nails trimmed. He needs plenty of exercise, minimal is a long daily walk.
Learning Rate: High intelligence, High trainability as long as with positive emphasis because he is sensitive.
Living Environment: Despite his great size he is a house dog, not a kennel dog. Large backyard with at least a six foot fence.
Health Issues: Prone to bloat, hip dysplasia and some genetic heart problems.
Life Span: 7 - 10 Years
Litter Size: 5 - 12
Country of Origin: Germany
History: There is evidence that suggests that there were similar dogs as the Great Dane in ancient Greek and Roman times. Originally developed from the boarhound he was used to hunt boar in the Middle Ages. The Germans are given credit to have developed the breed as it is known today. Some suggest he was crossed with the ancient Mastiff and Irish Wolfhound.
First Registered by the AKC: 1887
AKC Group: Working