Great Dane

  • Temperament Devoted, Reserved, Gentle, Friendly, Confident, Loving
  • Family Friendly Yes
  • Trainability Somewhat Easy to Train
  • Shedding Average
  • Group Working
  • Color Brindle, Fawn, Black, Blue, Mantle Harlequin, Merle
  • Origin Germany (Ancient Times)
  • Height 28-34 inches
  • Weight 100-200 lbs
  • Original Function Gurdian, Hunting (Large Game)
  • Current Function Companion
  • Lifespan 6-12 years

Origin of the Breed

Great Dane is an ancient descendent of the dog breeds that appear in ancient Egyptian murals and Greek frescoes. The breed as we know it today was established in the German courts of the 17th century, as a combination of the English Mastiff, large boarhounds and the Irish Wolfhounds. They were also referred to as Kammerhunde (chamber dogs), who were trained to guard royalty by sleeping at the foot of their beds. The breed was also originally created to hunt wild boar, though the modern breed today would hardly be an aggressive match for those tusks. The breed was officially recognized in 1887.

Coloring and Size Variations

Great Danes can be fawn, brindled, blue, black, mantle (black and white, or with a blanket pattern over the body), harlequin or merle (speckled, patches, spotted, or "muddled" coat look.) They are one of the world's largest dog breeds.

Behavioral Tendencies

Great Danes are known for being compatible with most other pets, dogs and humans. If socialized properly and given a good amount of affection and attention, these dogs rarely exhibit any aggressive tendencies. They are playful, loyal and courageous, barking infrequently except in the case of intruders or strangers. Great Danes are very social, they playing with their owner or family, and are lovable and dependable companions.

Training Needs

Because these dogs become large rapidly they may be inclined to believe they are the leader of the home. It will be important to establish the proper pecking order of who has the authority, since Great Danes require guidance from a firm leader who will properly handle any exertion of aggressive or overly energetic behavior. Teaching the Great Dane not to jump or lean on people, as well as which areas and furniture are off limits will best be accomplished then the dog is still relatively small.

Health Complications

This breed struggles with heart disease, mast cell tumors, tail injuries, and hip dysplasia. These large pets are known to have a shorter lifespan than many other breeds, seldom living longer than 8-10 years.


Great Danes can find sufficient exercise if given long walks. While walking is ideal, running is not the best form of exercise as it can put too much stress on their joints, because of their stature.

Living Conditions

Often referred to as "gentle giants," Great Danes can live comfortably in an apartment as long as they receive long walks at the beginning or end of the day. An ideal scenario would present the Danes with some form of yard space, but the creatures prove moderately adaptable.


The Great Dane does not require extensive grooming. It is much easier to give them a dry shampoo and firm brushing, than to tackle the wet bath frequently. They will also need their nails trimmed.

Top 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the United States