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About Great Danes
- Great Dane breed pictures
- Great danes are they for me?
- Great Dane FAQs
- How do I choose a Great Dane breeder?
- What should I give my Great Dane in return?
- Great Dane history/origin
- Great dane standard
The Great Dane is an intelligent and affectionate dog. They can become very close and loyal to the family and close family friends that are frequent visitors. They do get on well with other dogs, household pets and children. They are ideally suited to the active family. They are quick to alert the family of any strangers approaching their territory, as they are excellent guard dogs, although they do not bark very much. They should be socialised and training started at an early age.
Exactly how and where the Great Dane – “the Apollo of dogs” – originated and which was the original colour is not clear. Most people accept it was Germany, although there are some who believe the breed as we know it today originated in England - indeed one of the many names by which the breed has been known is “English Dogge”.
There are five colours recognised by the Kennel Club in this country: Fawn, brindle, black, blue and harlequin (which exists in both black and blue). A sixth colour – the mantle or boston is currently being considered for registration by the Kennel Club in conjunction with the various breed clubs. “Mismarked” harlequins are also accepted for registration but these cannot be shown.
Each and every Great Dane is a truly unique individual with his or her own distinct personality traits and once you have owned one you will quickly become hooked and unable to live without one – at least – in your life! Generally, however, it can be said that Great Danes are supremely loyal, mostly showing a preference towards one particular member of their household, and whilst they will protect their family members, their temperament does not make them suitable as guard dogs.
Not so plus points!
The major downside is that Great Danes, in common with other giant breeds, do not have a very long life, although you should hope for around 8 – 10 years. They can suffer heart problems at a prematurely early age and are also prone to bloat, also known as gastric torsion. While some precautions can be taken against the latter, it is by no means certain as to what makes any particular Dane susceptible and you can never be certain this condition will not strike without warning. If it does, veterinary help must be sought immediately to save the dog's life. On a lesser note, Great Danes – particularly males – generate an awful lot of slobber which they delight in freely dispensing around the home and amongst their loved ones and strangers alike – be prepared!
How big will my puppy grow?
The Great Dane is a giant dog – the name Great is in the breed for a reason! A large male can easily weigh 14 stones while the smaller bitch is usually around 9 stone. There can be NO excuse for any Great Dane ending up in rescue because “he got too big for the house/kids” or “we didn’t realise how big she would grow”.
(Above: "Just clicked on to your website and really enjoyed your description of the Great Dane breed. I own a dog called Harley. Just thought id send you a picture. He has had a very hard day-walking, playing, eating and now having his belly tickled, which is his favoriate position. We adopted him from a rescue centre nearly two years ago. He turned from a very shy, scared and nervous dog, into a confident, healthy, happy boy who character is larger than life" -Lynsey)
How much exercise/food?
The common assumption is that a Great Dane needs more exercise because it is a bigger dog but this is misfounded. Danes should not be given any exercise apart from lead/show training until they are at least six months old because of the massive rate of growth they undergo and the potential for damage to their growth plates and joints. A puppy should be given free roam of the garden, while an adult will be quite content with a couple of half hours walks with some free running twice a day.
A large male can consume up to 6 lbs. of meat and biscuit daily – but this need not be fillet steak! A smaller bitch will probably be happily maintained on around 1 lb. with biscuit. With shopping around you should be able to feed an adult bitch a correct diet for around £1 per day. A supply of clean water should always be available.
Are they good with children?
Excellent – but as with any large dog Danes should not be left unattended with small children because of the danger of them accidentally knocking the child over. As with any dog, all children should be taught from day 1 to respect the dog as an individual member of the family and not antagonise or mistreat the dog in any way.
Unless you are specifically interested in a show dog, let the puppy choose you – but always go to an established breeder who has a well earned reputation to protect. Your breeder should be happy to answer any question at any time about your Dane and be happy for you to see preferably both parents, but certainly always the mother, and other relations to see the “family” temperament. If your circumstances change and through no fault of his own the Dane needs to be rehoused your breeder should always be the first person to contact regarding rehousing your Dane. Your puppy should preferably have been raised I a home environment, which will help his socialisation. He or she will also probably have his KC registration papers “endorsed” to say that any progeny will not be eligible for registration and also that the progeny are not elible for the issue of an export pedigree. A new owner should not feel slighted by this as most reputable breeders use this procedure to protect from overbreeding by irresponsible and/or unknowledgeable owners and it is possible for the breeder to remove the endorsements at a later date providing certain conditions are met.
Love first and foremost – but that will not be difficult!
Adequate food, drink and shelter – A Great Dane should never be kennelled in isolation and I firmly believe they are
much happier as family companions, living in the home.
Training – firm but gentle training should start as soon as you take your puppy home. Never forget he is likely to grow to be as big – or bigger – than you are and if you let him become the boss now he will never forget when he is fully grown!
A securely fenced garden safe from harm for him to roam.
You should ensure that you can afford the maintenance! Apart from food, he will need toys, accessories, bedding etc. Is your car big enough to transport an adult dog in comfort? Your puppy should come with a free period of insurance from your breeder and you should continue this – vets’ fees are increasingly frightening! Proper boarding whey you are away can also be costly, although I for one am always happy to board any puppies I sell given sufficient notice.
You should never consider giving a Great Dane – or any other puppy for that matter – as a surprise present. No matter what your thoughts are it may not be welcome!
You should also consider giving a home to an unwanted Dane – there are an increasing number of organisations who take in “rejects” and these dogs make wonderfully grateful and loyal pets, but may require a little more patience and training in the short term due to the circumstances of their abandonment.