|Country of origin:||Germany|
|Registries:||AKC, UKC, CKC|
|Size:||28 to 32+ in; 125 to
|Longevity:||8 to 10 years
|Colors:||Fawn, black, blue, brindle, harlequin|
This majestic and truly grand dog – the tallest of all dog breeds – was called the Grand Danois by the great French naturalist the Comte de Buffon, because he felt the strongest examples came from Denmark. It was not until 1880 that its other name, the Deutsche Dogge, was established at a dog show in Berlin. It is now Germany’s national dog. Like all mastiffs, the Great Dane’s origins are in Asia, and it is very likely its ancestors, the Alaunts (mentioned by Chaucer in the 1200s), were brought to Europe by the Alans, a Scythian tribe that originated in what is now Asian Russia. The Great Dane, as we know it today, was developed in the 1800s by crossing the regional northern European mastiffs with local greyhound stock. Great Danes are enormously gangly as pups and then develop into dignified and surprisingly gentle adults, some of whom love to sit on their owner’s laps. A heart condition, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), can be passed by unaffected females to half of their pups. Gene testing will eventually make it easier to reduce the risk of this fatal condition from developing. As one of the deepest-chested of all breeds, it is prone to life-threatening rotation of the stomach.
While adult Great Danes are typically moderate in their desire for frenetic activity, during their youth they can be enormously vigorous. A racing Great Dane like this one is wonderful to watch, but needs considerable space for manoeuvring. Care must be taken when exercising young dogs to prevent injury to dog and bystanders.