Great Danes have been called the Gentle Giants of the dog world and for very good reason. Despite being among the largest (and tallest) of the dog breeds, they are also extremely gentle and sensitive.
As the old saying goes, looks can be deceiving.
To the uneducated eye, a Great Dane (belonging to the Working Group) can appear imposing, overpowering and potentially dangerous. But in actuality, the Great Dane is more of a lover than a fighter and is known as a “Velcro dog” for their affinity to be close to their owner every minute of every day.
The majesty and beauty of the Great Dane is also enhanced by their beautiful coat color patterns including: brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin, merle, and mantle.
The “Apollo of Dogs” originated in Germany (not Denmark as the name may suggest), possibly as early as the 1300s. They were bred for their large size, hunting ability (primarily wild boars) and proud, elegant appearance.
The breed became popular with the cartoon characters of Scooby-Doo, Marmaduke, and Astro of The Jetsons. In 1889, the Great Dane Club of America was formed in Chicago and two years later, an official description or standard was adopted by the Great Dane Club of Germany.
The Great Dane is also known as the Deutsche Dogge or German Mastiff.
Why Great Danes Make Great Family Companions
Despite their massive size (males can weigh over 200 pounds); the Great Dane actually makes a wonderful family companion even with small children and other pets.
With proper training, the Great Dane is well-mannered, patient, mild tempered, and avid people-pleasers.
How to Care for Them
The Great Dane is actually very easy to care for with their short coat, although seasonal shedding can be a challenge. Regular brushing, raw eggs, coconut oil, and fish oil helps keep their coat healthy and glossy.
Although the Great Dane looks sturdy, they do not make good outdoor dogs as they are overly sensitive to excessive heat and cold.
Also, as is true with other large to giant dog breeds, Great Danes are prone to hip issues (called CHD or canine hip dysplasia). While they do require regular exercise, it’s important to not over-exercise them (especially with high impact activities like running or strenuous hiking particularly for growing puppies) to avoid aggravating hip issues.
Other Potential Health Issues for Great Danes
Before bringing a Great Dane into your family, it’s important to realize the potential of other health issues (and the associated costs) including:
- Wobbler’s Syndrome: A disease of the cervical spine, at the neck;
- Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy or HOD: Bone inflammation of the front limbs;
- Hypothyroidism: Thyroid hormone deficiency;
- Osteosarcoma: Aggressive bone cancer;
- Cardiomyopathy: Heart muscle disease; and
- Gastric Torsion or Bloat: A life-threatening condition where the stomach dilates and then rotates or twists requiring immediate surgical intervention.
For some potential owners, another drawback may be the shorter lifespan of the Great Dane, which is typically 7 to 10 years. Although with great care including a high-quality food, proper medical care, supplements, and orthopedic beds for joint support, the Great Dane can live longer and healthier.
For more resources, check out these other articles with information for adopting a dog.
About the Author:
A former corporate assistant, turned dog walker (as the owner of the first ever mobile doggie daycare in Denver in 2001), turned dog content writer, Bobbie Abdallah founded Cold Noses News: Content Services Exclusively for the Dog Professional in February of 2015. Trained as a journalist and graphic designer, Bobbie reinvented herself in combining her lifelong passion for dogs with her love for writing and marketing to support small dog businesses.
As a staunch small business advocate, Cold Noses News is founded upon the mission of paying it forward and helping other small businesses in the dog niche have access to high-quality writing and marketing expertise.