- The Great Dane probably originated in the Middle Ages as a combination of strong mastiff-like war dogs and swift greyhound-like dogs. The combination made for a big-game hunter of great speed and strength.
- By the 1300s, they were popular with nobility in Germany as unrivaled hunting dogs and imposing estate guardians.
- It's not clear when the breed made its way to England, where it was initially called the German boarhound, and later, Great Dane.
- Nobody knows the origin of the name, Great Dane, especially because the dog is not Danish. In 1880, German dog authorities declared the name should only be Deutsche dogge, the name by which it still goes in Germany.
- The Great Dane came to America in the late 1800s, where it immediately attracted attention.
- The AKC recognized the Great Dane in 1887.
- The most famous Great Danes are cartoon characters Marmaduke and Scooby-Doo.
Great Dane Behavior Concerns
- Makes a loyal and protective companion.
- Playful and gentle with children, but its sheer size can make it not the best choice as a child's playmate.
- Outgoing toward strangers.
- Generally good with other dogs, but some can be aggressive toward strange dogs.
- Generally good with other pets.
- Learns quickly, but can be both sensitive and stubborn.
- Does best with a firm owner who can combine reward-based training with good control and leadership.
Great Dane Suggested Exercises
- Makes a calm and alert housedog, as long as it receives adequate exercise.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a long walk or short jog.
- The Dane's short coat makes it intolerant of very cold weather.
- Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.
Great Dane Grooming
- Coat is short and shiny.
- It needs only occasional brushing, once every week or so, to remove dead hair.
- Shedding is average.
Suggested Great Dane Nutritional Needs
- Great Danes tend to stay in good weight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This may decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.