Great Dane Dog Breed Information
That the type is ancient is without question. Dogs of Dane or Alaunt type are depicted in drawings in the tombs of Beni-Hassan, dating
about 2200 BC. Some of these are shown as harlequins. Other pre-Christian replicas appear on coins, on bas reliefs and in paintings.
His name is the only thing about him that is Danish. He is all German, used long ago by Germanic and Celtic tribes as a war dog, and is called Deutsche Dogge by the FCI. Only in English-speaking countries is he still a "Dane."
At first a giant bull-baiter, he was also used as a boarhound since the Middle Ages. In 1592, the Duke of Braunschweig showed up for a boar hunt with his pack of 600 male Danes! The breed was declared the national dog of Germany in 1876. A great favorite of the Iron Chancellor, Bismarck, they were his body guards and constant companions. In modern times, the Dane serves as a guardian and friend. His noble, statuesque appearance gives him the designation of "Apollo of dogdom."
An early admirer and owner was William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, when specimens were brought to American shores in the mid-1800s. Some of these early imports came directly from German estates where they had been trained in attack work. Thus the breed gained an early false reputation for ferocity. Temperament was soon "tempered." They were first shown under the name of Siberian or Ulm Dog. The Dane was introduced to British exhibitors in 1877, where his great, majestic height amazed spectators.
As a giant, it is essential for buyers to research their purchase, finding pups of strong, sound, good-natured parents. Large males may often reach as much as 180 pounds, though the tallest dog on record, a Great Dane named Shamgret Danzas, weighed 238 pounds at 41 Va inches!
Although Danes are as content living in an apartment as on an estate, it is necessary to allow them to stretch those long legs frequently. Grooming, as with most of the mastiffs, is minimal—and feeding costs are maximum! They require involvement with family activities. If bored, these giants can become destructive— and a large dog can turn a table into toothpicks in minutes. Danes' ears have been cropped for many years on the Continent and in the States; however, it is becoming more common to see natural drop ears even in the show ring.