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Great Dane

The Great Dane is often called the “Apollo of dogs,” after the Greek god of the sun, which is the brightest fixture in the sky. Great Danes are gentle giants whose imposing appearance contradicts their sweet, friendly, loving nature. They are known for craving physical affection from their owners, nudging them with their big heads to be petted. Some even think they are lapdogs!

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Animalia Team
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    Country of Origin

    Germany

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    Breed Group

    Working Group

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    Height

    Male 30-32 In

    Female 28-30 In

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    Weight

    Male 140-175 Ib

    Female 110-140 Ib

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    Life Span

    7-10 years

In a Nutshell

Great Danes are incredibly eager to please, making them easy to train, and they love to play with kids with whom they are gentle. They are excellent house dogs but need a lot of indoor space to move around. Their tails may sweep your coffee table clean; remember, they can easily reach the kitchen counter. They need exercise but not a huge yard – although they’d enjoy one. If you have a yard, don’t fret, they’re not big on jumping, so a 6-foot fence should keep them in.

 

If you’re worried they’ll eat you out of your salary, they don’t eat that much considering their size. Two things to consider, because of their size, they have relatively short life spans, so they will take up massive space in your heart, but sadly, not for too long. Secondly, although they’re a pure breed, you can find them in rescues and shelters, so adopt, don’t buy!

Life With a Great Dane

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Energy level

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Trainability Level

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Amount of Shedding

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Tendency of Barking

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Exercise Needs

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    Home Alone

    Couldn’t care less

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    Living Arrangements

    Apartment will do

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    Kid Friendly

    Yes

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    Pet Friendly

    Yes

Looks & Personality

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The Great Dane is a short-haired dog with a regal presence, elegant bearing, and considerable strength. The breed has a well-formed, powerful, and smoothly muscled body. Never seeming to stumble or appear clumsy, Great Danes move with a powerful, galloping gait. 

 

Great Danes generally get along with other dogs, non-canine pets, and familiar people. In fact, these are loving animals that are not aggressive and do not have a high prey drive. However, like any dog, they can become fearful or aggressive towards strangers and new environments if they are not properly socialized during their puppy years. 

 

The bottom line? Great Danes want to be where the family is, enjoy time spent people and children, and tend to happily welcome visitors. Keep in mind that they may strike a protective posture if they think you’re being threatened. Their scary, powerful bark is often enough to scare away a would-be threat.

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A tip from a vet

Since it takes a while for the joints and bones of Great Danes to finish growing and become stable, it is not recommended to neuter Great Danes before a year of age as it can increase the risk of joint disorders. Make sure to adhere to the special dietary requirements for giant-breed dogs to excess weight gain and related orthopedic issues from developing. Avoid exercising with your Great Dane 30 minutes before or after a meal and make sure they eat twice a day.
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A tip from a trainer

While Danes are naturally gentle, it's best to teach them manners and attend obedience training classes while they're young. Their size alone could make them impossible to control when they're adults but luckily, they are mostly friendly and eager to please’ making training pleasurable (though beware the odd stubborn streak).
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Did You Know

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    Animation designer Iwao Takamoto based the famous cartoon character Scooby-Doo on a Great Dane. His design was derived from sketches given to him by a Hanna-Barbera employee who bred Danes and then tried to make Scooby the opposite of a breed standard specimen.

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    Just Nuisance is the only dog who has ever officially been enlisted in the UK’s Royal Navy, “fighting” during World War II. The pup was mainly enlisted to boost morale for troops, but he left a lasting legacy. A statue of Just Nuisance stands in his native Simon’s Town, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa.

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    Great danes tend to follow their noses- they were bred to hunt boar, and if they get a scent, they’ll want to follow it.

In The News

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The tallest dog ever recorded was a Great Dane named Zeus. Standing 111.8 centimeters (44 inches!) tall, Zeus was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records before passing away in 2018.

Famous Great Dane Owners

Cameron Diaz, Greg Louganis, Harold Lloyd, Kate Moss, Adam West, Vanessa Williams

The History Behind the Breed

Great Danes descend from hunting dogs bred in the Middle Ages to guard German aristocrats and hunt game like deer and wild boar. The ferocity needed to track down such a large, cunning animal was ultimately bred out of the Dane over the years. Today, the dog has a gentle soul, loves humans, and mostly gets along well with other animals and dogs.

If a Great Dane Could Talk…

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"What? I’m not a lapdog?"

A Quick Anatomy Lesson

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Great Danes are generally healthy, however, as with all breeds, they are prone to a number of specific health conditions. It’s always important to familiarize yourself with potential health problems you should watch out for.

Common Health Problems

What about your Great Dane?