Great Dane


Great Dane, Apollo, Danish Gallant, Deutsche Dogge, Boarhound, Grand Danois or German Mastiff is a breed of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) known for its giant size.[2] The breed is commonly referred to as the "Apollo of all breeds."[3] The Great Dane is one of the world's tallest dog breeds, with only the Irish Wolfhound being taller on average. The last Great Dane to hold the world record as tallest living dog was Gibson, who was 3½ feet (107 cm) tall at the withers and 7 feet 1 inch (215.9 cm) on his hind legs.

Coat Colour Inheritance

There are six show-acceptable coat colors for Great Danes

  • Fawn: The color is yellow gold with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears.
  • Brindle: The color is fawn and black in a chevron stripe pattern. Often also they are referred to as having a tiger-stripe pattern.
  • Blue: The color is a pure steel blue. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable and considered faults.
  • Black: The color is a glossy black. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable and considered faults.
  • Harlequin: The base color is 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 consistent with a Merle marking) or a white base with single black hairs showing through, which tend to give a salt and pepper or dirty effect. (Have the same link to deafness and blindness as Merle and white danes.)
  • Mantle (in some countries referred to as Bostons due to the similar coloration and pattern as a Boston Terrier): The color is 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.

Other colors occur occasionally but are not acceptable for conformation showing, and they are not pursued by breeders who intend to breed show dogs. These colors include white, fawnequin, merle, merlequin, fawn mantle, and others. Some breeders may attempt to charge more for puppies of these "rare" colors. However, the breeding of white and merle Danes is particularly controversial, as these colors may be associated with genes that produce deafness. Although they cannot be shown, white or merle Danes can usually still be


The Great Dane's large and imposing appearance belies its friendly nature; the breed is often referred to as a gentle giant. Great Danes are generally well-disposed toward other dogs, other non-canine pets and humans. Some individuals may chase or attack small animals, but this is not typical of the breed



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, including gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) (a painful distending and twisting of the stomach). This is a critical condition that can affect Great Danes and other deep-chested breeds, and which may cause death if not quickly addressed. Drinking large amounts of fluid in a short period of time can provoke GDV in Great Danes, as well as other larger breeds of dogs. It is a commonly recommended practice for Great Danes to have their stomachs tacked (Gastropexy) to the right abdominal wall during routine surgery such as spaying or neutering if the dog or its relatives have a history of GDV, 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 GDV by regulating the amount of air that is inhaled while eating, although one study suggests that they may increase the risk.[12] Refraining from exercise or activity immediately before and after meals may also reduce risk, although this has not been validated with research. Signs that GDV may have occurred include, but are not limited to, visible distension (enlargement of the abdomen) and repeated retching that resembles repetitive non-productive attempts to vomit. GDV is a condition that is distinct from another condition referred to as bloat; though, bloat may precede the development of GDV. GDV is a surgical emergency; immediate veterinary evaluation should be sought if a dog demonstrates signs of this condition.

Major issues can include hip dysplasia and gastric torsion. Minor problems include obesity, osteosarcoma, and cystinuria. Problems only occasionally found include cardiomyopathy, allergies, vaginal hyperplasia, cruciate ligament rupture, hypothyroidism, OCD, entropion, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and persistent pupillary membranes (PPM).

Another problem common to the breed is 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.

Great Danes generally live 8–10 years, but with responsible breeding and improved nutrition they can live to be 12-14.

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and many congenital heart diseases are also commonly found in the Great Dane, leading to its nickname of the Heartbreak breed, in conjunction with its shorter lifespan. Great Danes 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, deaf, or both.[


Historians claim that there are drawings of dogs that resemble the breed on Egyptian monuments from roughly 3000 B.C. It is also reported that the Great Dane was developed from mastiff-like dogs taken to Germany by the Alans. The Bullenbeisser may be its direct ancestor, composing about the 40% of its make-up.

According to Barbara Stein, "The breed originated in Germany, probably from a cross between the English mastiff and the Irish Wolfhound." However, other sources maintain that the breed originated in Denmark[unreliable source? and still others report the question as controversial and unsettled.In 1749 Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffonused the name ”le Grand Danois,” (translated by William Smellie (encyclopedist) as ”Great Dane”). Up until that time the hound was referred to in England as ”Danish dog

In 1878 a committee of seven, consisting of committed breeders and judges with the chairman Dr Bodinus, decided in Berlin to unite all varieties of the above-mentioned types under the term "Deutsche Dogge" (German Mastiff). Through this the foundation for the first German dog breed has been laid. In 1880, on the occasion of a dog show in Berlin, a standard for the Great Dane was determined for the first time. Since 1888, the "Deutsche Doggen Club 1888 e.V." is in charge of this standards and repeatedly modified since. Today's edition fulfills the demands of the F.C.I.


Other names

Grand Danois
(Old German: "Great Dane"
the modern French is
Dogue Allemand
("German Mastiff").
Deutsche Dogge
("German Mastiff")
Dänischer Hund ("Danish Hound")

Nicknames Dane
Gentle Giant