Great Dane

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The Great Dane

Great Dane dogs have a magnificent stature that is both elegant and powerful and have a noble bearing. Its short smooth coat may be blue, brindle, fawn, black, harlequin, or mantle and takes very little maintenance.

Origin of the Great Dane

A large dog similar in type to the dog that we call the Great Dane was around at the time of the ancient Egyptians. Wall reliefs in Babylon depicted men walking dogs of a similar stance and build, 2000 years BC. As with any ancient dog its precise history has been lost. The Great Dane was bred in Germany.

Some zoologists believe that the Great Dane is mentioned in Chinese literature in 1121BC, and think it originated in the Tibetan Himalayas. It appears that the Tibetan mastiff looked very similar to the Dane like dog of ancient times, and the Assyrians sold the breed of dog to the ancient Romans. The Romans interbred the Assyrian dog with the English mastiff producing the Great Dane's ancestors.

A famous French naturalist Count Buffon felt that the Irish wolfhound was also a progenitor to the Dane as the Celts had taken some of the dogs crossbred by the Romans to Ireland. These dogs, resembling the Great Dane both in stature and size, were called boarhounds, and were used to hunt prey. By the end of the Sixteenth Century they were generally known in Europe as the "English" dogs. While Buffon was traveling in Denmark he saw a slimmer version of the boarhound and named them the "Grand Danois", or the Great Dane, at the same time the heavier dogs were known as the Danish Mastiff.

What is certain is that the Germans imported the English boarhounds in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They admired the animal's capacity to overcome bears and boars and they began a serious program of selective breeding of Great Danes. They bred them with their own stocks and developed a more streamlined different dog, which is the dog we know today in English as the “Great Dane”. It would be differentiated, from the English mastiff by being known as the Deutsche dog or the German dog.

Despite the fact that this new slimmer dog did gain a hold in Europe and despite its popularity the name deutsche dog never did stick. The Italians called it the Alano, which translates as mastiff. It is only in a few English-speaking countries that it is referred to as the Great Dane.

However the Danes do claim the dog as their own! Frederick II of Denmark sent to England for some English mastiff puppies given to him by Queen Elizabeth I of England. The Danish Royal tapestry of 1585-6, on show at the National museum of Denmark, depicts King Frederik II. with his new "English” puppy. For many years the Great Dane dog was bred in Denmark as two distinct lines, eventually they were blended and form the forefathers of the dog we know as the Great Dane.

The development of the modern pure-bred Great Dane began in the middle of the 19th century as breeders worked to turn the highly aggressive dog into a gentle giant.  Great Danes have developed into loyal and devoted companions.

Temperament

The Great is a very gentle giant that rarely barks or shows signs of aggression. It is a giant of a dog in every respect; it is affectionate and loves children. It is a dependable solid dog that does not do things rashly. It is a brave and loyal companion that makes a better watchdog than guard dog, but it does have excellent tracking abilities. As adults some Great Danes are not good with dogs of the same sex, but they are better if they are raised together as puppies. It is a people dog and despite the space it takes up it likes to be in the house.

Many of the Great Dane puppies tend to be clumsy as they are never quite sure where there legs are, but the adults are remarkably sure footed and rarely clumsy or ungainly.

Exercise

Family support and an active life style breeds contentment in your puppy. Getting up and going places, walks, the park, will help keep your puppies mind happy and stimulated. The more tired he or she is, the easier they will be to manage. It is not healthy for your puppy to be cooped up 24 hours a day. You should be willing to walk your puppy at least once a day.

Like children Puppies thrive on structure. Obedience training gives structure to your puppy's life. We recommend that you take your puppy through some sort of formal training. This is for you and your puppy. Getting out, meeting other dogs, learning how to make your puppy behave, learning to read signals and body language is just a few of the benefits. Going to class is also a great way to socialize your dog, socialization is important for any breed of dog. Dogs need to learn about different people and things in life. The more they see and do when they are young the more sound an adult they will become.

Grooming

Their short coats need little maintenance.

Special Traits

Do not jog with a Great Dane as a young puppy; Great Danes need to be at least a year old to be able to jog. They can have inherent hip problems and this is why the young puppies should not run.

Like a lot of large dogs they suffer from stomach bloat and some Great Dane owners recommend three smaller meals a day rather than the more normal canine once a day feed.

Ideal weight: 90-120 pounds / 40-55 kg
Average height: 28-34 inches / 71-86 cm
Life expectancy: It is not a long living dog. Usually their life span is only 10 years and that is with a healthy dog.

Here is a chart showing what to expect in your puppy's growth. This height and weight chart should be used as a “rule of thumb guide”. Genetics and nutrition play the most important roles in the growth rate and health of a Great Dane. All adequately fed Danes will eventually reach their genetically predisposed height & weight.

Birth weight 1 - 2 lbs.
Week 1 2 - 3 lbs.
Week 2 3 - 5 lbs.
Week 3 4 - 7 lbs.
Week 4 5 - 8 lbs.
Week 6 12 - 20 lbs.
2 Months 18 - 27 lbs   Height   13"-17"
3 Months 30 - 45 lbs   Height   17"-22"
4 Months 50 - 65 lbs   Height   21"-25"
5 Months 65 - 85 lbs   Height   25"-30"
6 Months 70 - 100 lbs   Height  27"-32"
7 Months 75 - 110 lbs   Height  27"-33"
8 Months 80 - 115 lbs   Height  27"-34"
9 Months 85 - 120 lbs   Height  28"-34"
1 year 90 - 135 lbs   Height  28"-36"
18 months - 2yrs - Adult   100 - 190 lbs   Height  28"-38"
Typical Dogs 140 - 170 lbs.  Height:  33"-36"
Typical Bitches 110 - 140 lbs.  Height:  30"-33"

 

 
     
     


Great Dane
Apollo of Dogs

 

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