Breed Organization Great Dane Club of America Website:
http://www.gdca.org Native Country Germany Other Names Great Dane, German Mastiff, Grand Danois Life Expectancy Approximately 8-10 Years Litter Size Average 5-12 Puppies Breed Group AKC Working
Breed Appearance Height and weight requirements for show dogs
vary from one kennel club's standards to another, but generally the
minimum weight falls between 100 to 120 lb (46 to 54 kg) and the
minimum height must be between 28 and 32 inches (71 to 81 cm) at the
withers. Most standards do not specify a maximum height or weight.
However, a male great dane will weigh up to 200 lbs (91 kg). In
August 2004, a Great Dane named "Gibson" from Grass Valley,
California was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the
world's tallest dog, measuring 42.2 inches at the withers.
There are six show-acceptable coat colors for Great Danes: Fawn: Yellow gold with a black mask. Black should appear on the
eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears and tail tip. Brindle: Fawn and black in a chevron stripe pattern. Often
also referred to as a tiger-stripe pattern. Blue: The color shall be a pure steel blue. White markings at
the chest and toes are not desirable. Black: The color shall be a glossy black. White markings at the
chest and toes are not desirable. Harlequin: Base color shall be pure white with black torn
patches irregularly and well distributed over the entire body; a
pure white neck is preferred. The black patches should never be
large enough to give the appearance of a blanket, nor so small as to
give a stippled or dappled effect. Eligible, but less desirable, are
a few small grey patches,(This grey is a Merle marking) or a white
base with single black hairs showing through, which tend to give a
salt and pepper or dirty effect. Mantle: The color shall be black and white with a solid black
blanket extending over the body; black skull with white muzzle;
white blaze is optional; whole white collar preferred; a white
chest; white on part or whole of forelegs and hind legs; white
tipped black tail. A small white marking in the black blanket is
acceptable, as is a break in the white collar.
Breed Description Head: Finely chiseled. Elongated,
narrow. Very expressive. Always carried high. Strongly pronounced
stop. Well developed superciliary arches. Broad nose bridge. Deep,
rectangular muzzle. Black nose (lighter in the harlequin). Ears: Set on high, naturally drop. Cropped to a point, carried
rigid and erect. Eyes: Medium size. Round. As dark as possible. Lighter eyes
permissible in blue Danes. Lighter eyes or eyes of different color
permissible in harlequin Danes. Body: Square outline. Long, dry, muscular, well arched neck.
Prominent forechest. Ribs well sprung. Wide croup sloping slightly.
Belly well tucked up. Tail: Medium length reaching the hocks. Set high, broad at the
root tapering to a narrow tip. Curved slightly in the form of a
saber when in action. Hair: Very short, thick, smooth, shiny, lying close to the
History This large mastiff is thought to be descended
from the Tibetan Mastiff introduced in Europe by the Phoenicians,
then by the nomadic Persian Alans. In the Middle Ages, there were
two varieties of this mastiff: A smaller Alaunt, powerful, agile,
streamlined dog that hunted in packs for boar, wolf, and bear, and a
heavier, more compact Alaunt used for guard duties. The immediate
ancestors are the Bullenbeisser (now extinct) crossed with large
hunting dogs descended from the more streamlined Alaunt. Later,
names such as Ulm Dog, Great Dane, and Siberian Dog were used to
indicate the different types of this breed. In 1878, all varieties
were placed under the one name, Great Dane. The standard was written
around 1890 in Germany. The French Doggen Club was founded in 1923.
Behavior The Great Dane may be the most peace-loving of
all the mastiffs. He is a gentle, tender, kind, sensitive, and
affectionate dog, particularly with children. This stable, calm dog
rarely barks and is never aggressive unless the situation warrants.
He is alert, protective of his territory and his owners property,
wary around strangers, and not easily swayed. His formidable size is
enough to dissuade almost anyone. Training must start early. It
should be firm, but undertaken with patience.
Health Great Danes, like most giant dogs, have a
fairly slow metabolism. This results in less energy and less food
consumption per pound of dog than in small breeds.
Great Danes have some health problems that are common to large
breeds. Bloat (a painful distending and twisting of the stomach
(Gastric volvulus)) is a critical condition that can affect Great
Danes and results rapidly in death if not quickly addressed. It is a
commonly recommended practice for Great Danes to have their stomachs
tacked (Gastropexy) to the interior rib lining during routine
surgery such as spaying and neutering if the dog or its relatives
have a history of bloat, though some veterinary surgeons will not do
the operation if the actual sickness has not occurred. Elevated food
dishes are often believed to help prevent bloat by regulating the
amount of air that is inhaled while eating, although one study
suggests that they may increase the risk. Refraining from exercise
or activity immediately before and after meals may also reduce risk.
They can live between 8-12 years.
Another problem common
to the breed is in the hips (hip dysplasia). Typically an x-ray of
the parents can certify whether their hips are healthy and can serve
as a guideline for whether the animals should be bred and are likely
to have healthy pups.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and
many congenital heart diseases are also commonly found in the Great
Dane. Also, some Danes may develop yeast infections, when not fed
all needed nutritional requirements. The yeast infection may also
lead to minor recurring staph infection(s).
also suffer from several genetic disorders that are specific to the
breed. For example, if a Great Dane lacks color (is white) near its
eyes or ears then that organ does not develop and usually the dog
will be either blind or deaf. Many pure white Danes are deaf.
Advice The Great Dane can be content living in an
apartment, but he must get out daily to stretch his long legs. This
athletic dog needs space and exercise. However, he should not
exercise too vigorously until he has stopped growing, or he may
damage his joints and ligaments.