Great Danes

Great Danes

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Breed Notes:

Pictures of Great Dane type dogs may be found on the pyramids of Egypt and on ancient Greed coins. The breed as it is known today was most likely created from mastiff type dogs in Germany that were crossed with the English Mastiff, Irish Wolfhound and the Greyhound. The breed is also known as the German Mastiff, the Deutsche dogge, and the German Boarhound because of its use during the 1800s for hunting wild boar as well as stag and wolves. It was at that time that ear cropping of this breed became typical in order to protect the ears during the hunt. There is nothing Danish in the origins of the breed. He was declared the national dog of Germany in 1876. The English breed club was established in 1885, while the American club was founded in 1889.
The Great Dane is a very affectionate dog that is capable of great loyalty. He is very good with children, Although a gentle animal, the Great Dane requires plenty of room to exercise due to its great size.
The Great Dane is both a massive and elegant dog. The head is long with a flat, narrow skull, pronounced stop (slope from skull to muzzle between the eyes) and broad, deep muzzle that shows great strength. The bite is scissors. The length of the head from the stop to the top of the skull is equal to the length from the stop to the tip of the nose. The eyes are medium-sized and dark in color. The ears are medium-sized, set high and either cropped or folded forward if uncropped. The neck is long and arched and the shoulders are well muscled. The body is deep-chested with a strong, short back. The dog is square when comparing length of body to length of leg. The legs are straight, long, powerful and well muscled. The toes are well arched. The Great Dane must move with a long, easy, springy stride. The tail is long and tapering with a slight curve toward the end. The coat is short and glossy and comes in colors of black, blue, brindle, fawn or harlequin (large splotches of black or blue-gray coat on a white background). Average weight is 100 to 130 pounds or more and average height at the withers is between 28 and 32 inches.

Name withheld by request of Texas writes:

Great breed, but not for everyone.
We have had Great Danes for years. They are a wonderful breed, but definitely require a dedicated owner who will take the time to train them. They are very loyal and sweet. Ours like to go running and hiking with us, but their favorite thing is to lounge around the house. They definitely prefer being indoors and leading a pampered life! The downside of Great Danes is that they can be territorial and suspicious of strangers. We have always socialized our dogs well from an early age, but have still sometimes seen aggressive tendencies towards unknown people. This comes from the fact that they are a guarding breed. They can also be very dominant, so I would not recommend them to inexperienced or timid dog owners. The breed is so wonderful, but requires special care that not everyone is qualified to give. of U.S. writes:

Great with kids and loves family.
I own a Great Dane and they are great with kids and family. They are BIG, but fun and very playful, protective of their people.

Name withheld by request of North Carolina writes:

Sweet, gentle angels.
We were fortunate enough to adopt one of these sweet, gentle giants, and we have vowed that we are now officially Dane fans. We just love our big girl (all 115 pounds of her), and cannot imagine life without her. Danes truly are very "great" friends &shyp; loyal, affectionate, loving, naturally protective and extremely tender and tolerant with children. Ours just takes life as it comes and gives back nothing but love and goodness. She has changed our lives for the better.
Danes also will change your life in other ways. HOUSEKEEPING: Danes shed year-round, so slipcovers are a wise investment. Be prepared to vacuum (A LOT). They also slobber (mainly when they eat or drink). Also be prepared to find mucous on the walls (from when they shake their heads and jowls). Often couch potatoes, Danes love to sit on the nearest couch. BUT they respect boundaries if you show them where they are (firmly but nicely &shyp; no yelling).
They like to be one of the family, and will join you at the table if you let them. They are extremely inquisitive and love to sniff (EVERYTHING). They love to be around their people, so they are definitely inside dogs (despite their size). They also are very graceful &shyp; considering their mass &shyp; and never overturn plants or tables (even when galloping through the house in play). Keeping plenty of toys around keeps them from getting bored. Ours tends to favor a giant hickory bone.
TRAINING: Any new owner to this breed should budget for a professional training course on the basics (sit, stay, "bed," come, heel, etc.). Danes have a giant desire to please. A little bit of training goes a LONG way with these dogs as they catch on quickly and (the best part) retain the knowledge. Training and practice are the best ways to refine this breed's natural intelligence and willingness to please &shyp; and a must to avoid turning one of these giants into a large, willful carnivore. The best investment we made was a LARGE-dog steel cage (in which we kept our Dane during the day). This helped in housebreaking and kept a set of giant, curious teeth confined to one area until she learned her boundaries and established a routine. Now she roams free in one room (with her own loveseat, toys, and little dog to keep her company).
VET BILLS and MEDICATIONS are MUCH larger than usual.
This breed is not for everyone. They require (and deserve) a great deal of love, attention and time. If you're willing to give all of those things to this breed, you will find it reflected right back at you every time you look at your Dane.

Name withheld by request of North Carolina writes:

The BIGGEST friend you will ever have.
There are several things to consider when getting a Great Dane: Do you have the room for a Dane? While my Dane is pretty inactive, she still needs exercise and needs room to lay down, play, and stretch out. Do you have the time? While our dog is low maintenance she is very dependant on spending a lot of time with us. There is also a great responsibility involved in making sure you keep their food elevated, to prevent bloat, training, and house-training. Do you anticipate the size of the Great Dane. I recommend that you find a local Great Dane rescue and become a foster parent. These rescues have plenty of full grown dogs that need homes. You are able to get a dog to make sure that the living situation is going to be acceptable and you may also find your companion. A Dane's diet is EXTREMELY important. You have to make sure that they are getting the right amount of nutrients and absolutely no supplements unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian. A Dane's stomach is ultra-sensitive and there is nothing worse than a Dane that weighs as much as an adult who has an upset stomach. Make sure you can find a vet who is experienced in Great Danes and knows a lot about the breed.
Once you have made your mind up that a Great Dane is right for you select a reputable breeder. There is nothing worse than having a big-footed little puppy to only find out that it has hip dysplasia, or something worse. Upon selecting the breeder and the puppy make a trip to your preselected vet. Have the puppy's hips x-rayed and a full physical done to make sure that this puppy has the best possible chance for a long and happy life with you. Make sure you also have a big car because they love to ride! As far as training make sure your Dane is enrolled in a training class that at least teaches basics, voice commands (come, sit, stay) and leash training. When 115 pounds of dog wants to go this way and you want to go that way ... trust me it will win. In the presence of company the Great Dane is by nature very aloof. This is true. Our dog may bark at someone when they come in, but after she sees that they are allowed she never bothers them again. She will take her place by me and never give them a second thought. They are very good with other animals and children. I highly endorse this breed. I find them to be very low maintenance in exchange for the great friend you will get. Bathing is not very often and brushing is about once a week, but more when the transition from winter to spring. A LOT MORE! I do agree with the fact that the comments will get irritating. "Do you ride that thing to work? Is that a dog or horse? Look at its ribs! Why is its stomach sunk in?" IGNORANCE. I will never own another breed other than the regal Great Dane. of Virginia Beach, VA writes:

Very good with children &shyp; gentle giants.
My sister owns a Great Dane and they are very good with children. Our mom has two Standard Poodles and they get along great. Also, our neighbor has a Labrador and they play together all the time. I love her loyalty and companionship.

Name withheld by request of Texas writes on 8./9/01:

Great dogs.
Great Danes are wonderful dogs! Even though they are massive, they can be trained to live and flourish in households with little children and pets. Males usually are 32 inches and females 30 inches. They come in many many colors. The qualifing colors for a dog show are Fawn(tan-yellow with a black mask) , Brindle(light and deep golden yellow with dark stripes) , Harliquin(white with black spots) , Blue(pure steel blue) and Black(glossy black). There are many other colors though, like merle(mousy gray) and mixes. They are actually inside dogs(hard to believe). They do best inside a house. They need a lot of attention, and if you don't have much time for your pet this breed is not recommended. They are short haired dogs and only need brushing once a week. Their ears come either natural(like a Labordor) and cropped(erect up), both are excepted and it's mainly depends on the owner's likes. Some vets hesistate or even refuse to crop a dog's ears. It is usually done when the puppies are very young. Their tails can also be docked(shortened) but it disqualifies a dog and makes the tail blunt looking. They are very trainable and smart. Again, they must have attention and if you are a busy person this dog isn't for you. they don't like to be left alone for very long and require frequent walks on regular schedules. Make sure everybody in your household and next door are okay with having a big dog around. They live from 7-10 years due to their size but many have been known to live longer. The most often killer of Great Danes is bloating which then the dog must be immediatly rushed to a vet. Before getting a Great Dane, be sure you are prepared for it! of North Carolina writes on 10/11/99:

A special breed with special needs.
Great Danes are called the Apollo of Dogs for a good reason. They stand heads and shoulders (literally) above most other breeds. But do not let their size fool you. This breed lives as well in an apartment, as it does on an estate, or a suburban home. But living chained outside or in a pen will break a Great Daneís spirit. They are homebodies, and love their human family above all else. They do not tolerate extreme weather, and require a warm place by the family health in the winter, and a cool spot on the kitchen floor in the summertime. But beware, once you have one Great Dane in your family, you will want another one.
If a Great Dane puppy is in your future, do your research first. Join a Great Dane emailing list, and talk to people who own Danes. Dane puppies have special requirements in the nutrition they receive.
The protein/fat/calcium requirements for a growing Dane puppy are not the same as a smaller breed puppy. Puppy chow, with itís high protein/fat/calcium content should NOT be fed to a Dane puppy. Even though a puppy appears large and hardy, they are extremely delicate. DO your homework, and find out which foods other Dane owners are feeding. Feeding your puppy supplements and puppy foods can make him ill, and cause him extreme pain should he develop nutrition related diseases. An excellent choice of food to feed a Dane from puppyhood through the senior years, is Eagle Pack, which has a protein level of 23% and a fat content of 12%.
While your puppy is young, do not let him play roughly with other larger dogs. Supervise his play times, since injury to a Dane puppy can be serious at their young age. Likewise, always supervise playtime with children, and educate them on the proper way of handling a puppy. Do not exercise the
puppy excessively, such as taking him jogging with you, or hiking great distances. To do so may injure his growing bones. And remember that a Dane matures later than smaller breeds, at around 18 months of age. Although the Dane puppy appears huge, you need to be an aware owner and care must be taken through his growing stages. An untrained small breed dog can be a nuisance; difficult to walk, constantly barking. An untrained Great Dane can be a nightmare. Because of his potential size and formidable strength, training should begin shortly after you bring your new puppy home. Many Dane owners Crate tran their Danes.Training should begin as soon as possible. This will save you the headache of losing couches, mouldings, chairs, books, etc. Crate training when begun at this early stage may come in handy later on, should your Dane have to be shipped by air. Socialize your new puppy by taking him to obedience classes, take him to shopping centers where he can see and meet new people, to parks where he can meet and play with new dog friends. Be consistent with your Dane in his training and socialization, and you will be rewarded by sharing your life with a br
ght, happy, healthy, and friendly individual.
A Dane owner's nightmare is the threat of bloat (Gastric Dilattation/Volvulus), and torsion happening to their beloved Great Dane. Researchers are not sure of what causes this deadly condition, but there are several precautions you can take to hopefully help prevent it. Be aware of the signs of bloat. An educated and aware owner may be the difference in saving the life of his Dane. A good rule of thumb is to not allow your Dane to exercise 2 hours before or after meals. Do not let your Dane drink water before or after eating. If you feed kibble to your Dane, mix it with tepid water, so that he does not want to drink afterwards. Do not feed kibble that contains Soy. Since soy has a propensity to swell when wet, you can imagine what it may do once inside your dogs digestive tract. Danes, like other giant breed dogs, may inherit heart or other serious health conditions. Make sure you talk to the breeder about your puppyís parents and what tests, i.e. Hip, eyes, heart, thyroid, have been done to lessen the possibility of inherited diseases.
Unless you are an experienced breeder, and are dedicated to the breed, do NOT breed your Great Dane. Great Dane rescues are full of Danes needing homes. Shelters around the country put Danes down everyday because their owners did not want them any longer. Why? A common excuse is, "I didnít know he would get this BIG." Duh? And finally, you will never get used to the comments, "Where ís the saddle for that thing?" and "Why don't ya just get on and ride him?" Don't worry, it wonít take long for you will think of some good comebacks :) All in all Great Danes make wonderful housedogs and companions. They are gentle, intelligent, and affectionate. However, if your desire is for a low maintenance dog, then do not consider getting a Great Dane. of Michigan writes on 9/5/01:

The biggest, most loyal friend you will ever have.
I have only owned 2 Danes so far. The first Dane I purchased was already 9 months old and his family just didn't have time for him anymore. He had never been to obedience class or crate trained. He was outside most of the time. He was a BIG and beautiful puppy, but UNTRAINED! We had him for only 1.5 months due to him not being trained and I believe was very hurt that his first family had given him away! He destroyed so many things including our carpet, deck and my youngest son's bike. At times he was even aggressive.
My second Dane is now 15.5 months old and the BIGGEST baby I have ever met! He is the sweetest most loveable dog. I have two boys age 8 and 5. The boys and I picked him out when he was only 10 days old. We visited him a couple times a week until he was old enough to bring home. He has been through obedience class and also castrated. He behaves better than my boys do most of the time. His feelings are very easily hurt. He goes everywhere with us. The only problem we have is his shedding. He sheds TERRIBLE! I would never own anything other than a Great Dane again!

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