The Great Dane has no shortage of nicknames. From ‘Gentle Giant’ to ‘The Apollo of Dogs’, it’s safe to say this breed lives up to all of them. An imposing presence, sure, but never judge a book by its cover – The Great Dane is a brilliant house dog and great with families. The Great Dane has been the national dog of Germany since 1876 and is also known as the German Mastiff. It’s powerful, docile, devoted and tolerant of other animals, with a sleek coat and clean manners.
Wunderbar! The Great Dane is believed to have originated from crossing a Greyhound with an ancient war breed called a Molossus. In its native Germany, it was kept busy catching boar and other prey, as well as being prized as a watchdog for guarding the landed gentry’s estates. Nobody’s quite sure how this breed got its name. It probably has nothing to do with Denmark.
Great Danes have a relatively short lifespan of 7-10 years.
Health problems include arthritis, hip dysplasia, heart disease, bloat, and mast cell tumours. The likelihood of certain health issues varies across different colour varieties of the Great Dane.
The Gentle Giant
Great Danes are powerful dogs and therefore need a firm hand from an early age. Untrained Great Danes therefore aren’t recommended around very young children. This breed’s natural disposition is as sunny as they come though, and a well-adjusted Great Dane is a true joy to have around (as long as you don’t object to occasional drooling).
It won’t come as a huge shock to learn that Great Danes need ample space to thrive at home. A large soft bed and plenty of elbow room will keep yours happy. Gardens are recommended for playtime and you should also plan ample walkies into your weekly schedule.
The Great Dane is prized for its looks and dignified stride. The sleek coat comes in a number of colours, including brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin, and mantle.
The Great Dane is a powerful pooch and needs strict obedience training to keep it under control. Once you’ve established a good dynamic, however, you’ll find your Great Dane intelligent and easy to train.
People seem to agree that the Great Dane’s intelligence makes it easy to housebreak. This will depend on a consistent overall approach to training.
Where to find Great Danes
Great Dane Groups
Fancy sharing your Gentle Giant stories with fellow Great Dane lovers? Find a breed group below.
The Great Dane Club
Midland & West of England Great Dane Club
East of England Great Dane Club
The Northern Great Dane Club
Great Dane Owners Forum
Great Dane Breeders & Owners Association
The Scottish Great Dane Club
Adopt a Great Dane
Got a large empty corner at home that’s just begging for a Great Dane to fill it? Find an approved Great Dane breeder.