Great dane

A breed from the Scooby Doo movie. It is the Guinness record holder for the tallest dog ever — 111 cm. It is an affectionate and faithful dog that will be loyal to its owner.

Energy level
Level of affection
Level of friendliness
female: 50—63 kg
male: 72—84 kg
female: 72—84 cm
male: 80—90 cm
requires little time
Gives birth to
Gives birth to:
8—11 puppies
in 1878
Life span
Life span:
8—10 years


Despite being large and having a formidable appearance, Great Danes are affectionate. They are called intellectuals. These pets are reasonable and attentive. Great Danes can feel the mood of people. They love taking care of family members: protecting them from danger, trying to solve conflicts, babysitting children. It is important to consider the large size of the dog. Because of it, the pet might accidentally hurt the kid. Therefore, it is better not to leave them alone until the child turns 10 years old. It is hard for dogs of this breed to get through loneliness. That is why Great Danes are not for busy people.

Great Danes treat strangers with suspicion. They need time to get used to a new person. They will not start a fight without thinking about it, like Rottweilers or Caucasian Shepherds would do. However, if Danes need to protect their territory or owners — they will do that.

Great Danes are calm dogs. They are active only in the young age, especially before they turn 6 months old. They might chew on wires, damage furniture and other things. However, these dogs become reasonable by the time they turn 1,5–2 years old. They get on well with other animals, even with cats. Great Danes like protecting animals that are weaker than them.


Great Danes need to be trained, especially taking their size into consideration. A disobedient pet will cause problems. Great Danes have a well-developed memory. They can easily learn new commands and enjoy pleasing their owners. These dogs understand well what is needed from them. It is crucial to find a way to get on well with the pet. It is recommended to train the dog when it is young. It is hard to teach an adult Great Dane do something that it is used to in a different way.

The puppy needs to accepts house rules starting from the first day after its purchase. It has to realize what is allowed to be done, and what is not, for example, chew on shoes, damage furniture. It is crucial to teach your Great Dane not to jump on people, as well as not to sleep in bed with the owner. Otherwise, you will feel uncomfortable when the dog grows up.

Start working on your pet`s socialization when it is between 3 and 6 months old. That is how it will get used to the street and other animals. Start training your Great Dane at the same time. It will be enough to teach it basic commands like «no», «go to your place», «come here», «sit», «stay», «lay» and others. When you work with the pet, it is important to show your respect to it. Rudeness and aggression cannot help you. It is also pointless to make a Great Dane do something. Nice games with treats make up the best way to train a pet. However, if you do not manage to get on well with the dog, you should take it to a general course of training.


Great Danes are large animals. Their body is graceful and elegant. According to the standard, males cannot be lower that 80 cm, females — not lower than 72 cm.
Short, lays closely to the body, feels soft when touched.
Acceptable colors are: brindle, fawn, black, blue and marble. 
Long and thin, with noticeable superciliary arches and a stop.
Small, oval. Dogs of brindle, fawn and dark colors have dark eyes. Blue and marble Great Danes have eyes of a bright color.
Long, triangular-shaped, high-set, can be either floppy or cropped.
Long and muscular, slightly leaning forward.
Strong and straight. Front legs form strong shoulders.
High-set. It is wide at the base, gets thinner down to the tip.

Basic Care

Great Danes do not require much time to be groomed. Their short hair needs to be brushed once a week. During the molting period — in spring and fall — twice a week, using a soft brush and a massage glove. Then pet your dog with wet hands to take away left hairs.

A Great Dane needs to be given a bath no more than once a month, using a hypoallergenic shampoo. Otherwise, its protective skin layer can be washed off. If a Great Dane got dirty with something during a street walk, you can wipe it with wet wipes without flavorings. Clean dog`s long ears once a week, using cotton pads soaked in a special solution. Check eyes of your Great Dane every day and wipe them when needed, using cotton swabs. Clean your pet`s teeth once in 10 days, using a zoo-paste and a special brush, so that tartar does not develop. Trim its claws once a month. Great Danes do not like this procedure. That is why they need to get used to it starting from a young age. It is important to realize that when the pet grows up, it will be even harder to trim its claws.

Great Danes eat a lot: 50 calories correspond to 1 kg of body weight. This fact should be taken into consideration before purchasing the dog. These pets can be fed with either high-quality dry or natural food. The first option is better. Dry food of premium quality contains vitamins and minerals, needed for dogs`s health. Such natural products can be given to the pet: boiled not greasy meat — chicken, beef, rabbit meat and mutton; vegetables — corn and beet; grains — buckwheat, pearl barley, millet; fruits — apples, pears, apricots and melon. In one day, an adult Great Dane needs to eat 600–800 g of meat. Dry and natural food can change one another. However, they cannot be mixed into one portion. A puppy under the age of 3 months needs to eat 6 times a day, under 4 months — 5 times a day, under 6 months — 4 times a day, under 8 months — 3 times a day, then — twice a day: in the morning and in the evening, preferably at the same time. It is important to remember that Great Danes have a slow metabolism. They digest food slowly. That is why you need to walk the dog 1–2 hours after it ate.

Great Danes need to live inside. Because of having short hair, they are sensitive to heat and coldness. These large dogs will not feel comfortable living in a small flat. It is better to keep dogs of this breed in a private house with a spacey yard. Great Danes need to be walked for 30 minutes twice a day. These pets like active walks.

Health and Illnesses

Great Danes can live up to 10 years if treated well. Most often, they live for 8 years. That is because of their large size. Because of it, these pets get affected by disorders of the musculoskeletal and the digestive system.

Volvulus is a pathology that leads to twisting of internal organs and bowel obstruction. Because of it, gases and food leftovers accumulate in it, and blood stops circulating. For that reason, it is very important to control your dog`s diet: do not overfeed it, do not walk the pet right after it ate. Main symptoms of volvulus include abdominal bloating, vomiting, epilepsy and fever. If you notice one of them in your pet, you need to consult a vet. Because of volvulus, the pet might die in 20 minutes.

Hip and elbow dysplasia are most often hereditary pathology. However, they can also be acquired. The disorder destroys structure of joints. Most often, Great Danes suffer from dysplasia because of their large sizes. Main symptoms include lameness, inactivity, pain and swelling of limbs. It is impossible to cure dysplasia. However, if it is diagnosed in time, its development can be slowed down.

Osteosarcoma is bone cancer. In 80% of cases, dogs, older than 8 years, suffer from it. It develops because of injuries and excessive pressure put on the bone tissue. The disease has 4 stages:

  1. Tumor is present, but there are no signs of limping.
  2. Tumor is noticeable, the pet feels pain.
  3. The bone breaks. The dog starts limping and feeling much pain.
  4. Metastases appear. They get transferred to other organs. Pet’s limb gets swollen. It stops walking and eating.

Stages 1–2 can be cured with chemotherapy. Less commonly, with radiation. In addition to therapies, donor bone marrow can be given to the pet. It will delay the onset of metastases. Stages 3–4 are treated by implantation of the irradiated bone. Pet’s paw gets amputated. It is then placed in liquid nitrogen, which kills cancer cells. Then, they are inserted back into pet`s body. After that, the dog undergoes rehabilitation and an additional course of chemotherapy.

Aortic stenosis is a cardiac pathology. It is the second most popular disorder after cardiopathy. It narrows the aorta either at, below, or above the heart valve. Most often, it happens under the valve. It leads to disrupted outflow of blood from the ventricle. The pet develops heart failure. Symptoms of stenosis include: shortness of breath, low level of activity and frequent fainting. It can be treated with medications.

Cardiomyopathy is the most commonly diagnosed heart disease. It expands all chambers of the heart. Because of it, the heart enlarges and becomes rounded, which leads to a cardiac wearout. The disorder can be of 3 types:

  1. Dilated cardiomyopathy enlarges heart cavities. It leads to heart failure and a disrupted heartbeat.
  2. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy makes walls of the left ventricle (less often, right ventricle) thicker. It leads to a chaotic location of muscle fibers in the myocardium.
  3. Restrictive cardiomyopathy affects functioning of the myocardium. It disrupts the blood flow into ventricles of the heart.

Most often, cardiomyopathy is inherited. If it develops, it might reduce the length of dog`s life to 30%. Main symptoms include shortness of breath, weakness and low level of activity. Treatment depends on when the diagnosis was made. Often, a pet needs a heart transplant. At the same time, the probability that the dog will die during the operation is higher than 50%.

Addison’s disease leads to a deficiency in the production of hormones of the adrenal cortex: cortisol and aldosterone. It disrupts the immune system. The problem of the disease is that its symptoms are hard to be noticed. The main one is a hypovolemic shock. It reduces blood circulation in the body, which makes the dog feel weak. It starts vomiting. The disorder can be treated with medications and therapies.

History of the Breed

Great Danes are in the group of Masiff-like dogs. Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, Dalmatians, Rottweilers, Newfoundlands and Leonbergers are also in this group. These dogs have a common ancestor — a Tibetan Mastiff. These animals were first mentioned in the 12th century BC. They were used for service in and guarding of mountain monasteries, hunting for prey, and participating in fights. The skeletons of Tibetan Matiffs, found during excavations, prove that these dogs participated in the campaigns of the Persian king Xerxes. Alexander the Great was a big fan of the breed.

It is not known for sure how and when Tibetan Mastiffs appeared in Europe. Back then, they were called Malossian Hounds. The Romans used Great Danes for dog fighting. They also took them on military campaigns. That is how these pets ended up living in France, Germany, Scandinavia and the British Isles. They set a start for the rising popularity of breeds that differed in size, weight and coat colors.

In the Middle Ages, Great Danes were used for hunting. It changed their appearance, because, in order to chase the game, any dog needs speed and endurance. English people gained the most success in breeding of these pets. They crossbred Great Danes with Bulldogs and Irish Wolfhounds. Appearance of dogs changed: their legs became longer, and their bodies got elongated. Great Danes started hunting for deer and wild boars. Later, they were used not only for hunting, but also for protection. They lived in palaces of wealthy and influential people. By the 18th century, different types of Great Danes appeared: «English», «German», «Hunting», «Boar dog», «Large» and «Danish». But, in fact, it was only one breed.

Danes were the first who decided to aim for pureness of the breed. In 1866, they registered the first standard for Great Danes. German breeders started doing that only in 1878. A year later, in Berlin, they introduced the first standard for Great Danes. And in 1888, they opened the «National Dog Club of Germany».