Size: Very large.
Weight: 135 to 150 pounds (male); 120 to 135 (female).
Availability: Widely available.
A very large, elegant, muscular dog with a short, sleek coat. A height of 34 inches is preferred for males and 32 inches for females.The Great Dane comes in many colors including fawn and brindle with black mask, black, blue, and harlequin (white with black patches.) The body length is approximately equal to the height, giving an overall square appearance, though bitches may be slightly longer if well-proportioned. The rectangular head is long and sculpted, with a very pronounced stop. The flat forehead is on a plane parallel to the muzzle. The nose is black, except in blue Danes (dark blue-black nose), and Harlequins (black spotted nose permitted). A scissors bite is preferred. The dog can be shown with ears either natural or cropped to a point. The natural ears are triangular in shape and fold down. Cropped ears stand erect. The long tail tapers to a point.
Drawings of a large dog similar to today’s Great Dane were discovered on Egyptian monuments over 5000 years old. However, selective breeding of this type of dog began centuries later in Germany when mastiff-type dogs were crossed with Irish Wolfhounds. (Despite the name, the dog does not originate in Denmark.) The Great Dane was a favorite of the great German chancellor, Bismarck. This noble breed has been used in war, as a coach dog, boar hunter, guard and watchdog. Today the Great Dane is primarily a watchdog and companion.
A short-lived breed. Be careful to buy from a conscientious breeder, as some very poor specimens are being sold to the unsuspecting public. Teach this giant dog not to lean against people, especially children. Beware of hip dysplasia, buy only from OFA certified stock. Also prone to bloat, tumors, heart disease, and tail injuries. Costs a lot to feed. Do not jog with this dog until at least 1 year old.
Tracking, watchdog, and carting.
A gentle giant, dignified and kind. Sweet and affectionate. A steady dog, responsible and dependable. Brave and loyal. Can be aggressive if provoked. Some individuals are dog-aggressive, especially with same-sex dogs. Because of his giant size, this breed should be thoroughly obedience trained when young so he will be manageable when full grown.
Children: Excellent with children.
Friendliness: Loves everyone.
Trainability: Slightly difficult to train.
Independence: Needspeople a lot.
Other Pets: Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood.
Combativeness: Can be a bit dog-aggressive.
Noise: Average barker.
Indoors: Relatively inactive indoors.
Owner: Good for novice owners.
Grooming: Very little grooming needed.
Trimming & Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed.
Coat: Short coat.
Shedding: Average shedder.
Docking: The ears are customarily cropped.
Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise needed.
Jogging: A good jogging companion.
Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised.
Outdoor Space: Best with a large yard.
Climate: Does well in most climates.
Longevity: Short (under 10 years).