Breeds 101: The Great Dane

Great Danes are gigantic, but good companions.

Great Danes were the 14th most popular breed in 2017 (most recent stats available as of this writing), according to the American Kennel Club.

They are a colossal breed, with females standing around 28-30 inches at the withers (shoulders) and weighing anywhere from 110-140 pounds, while males typically stand around 30-32 inches and weigh anywhere from 140-175 pounds.

The AKC Breed Standard states that the ideal Great Dane “combines, in its regal appearance, dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well-formed, smoothly muscled body.”

Furthermore, the ideal Great Dane is the “Apollo of dogdom” and must be “spirited, courageous, never timid; always friendly and dependable,” according to the Breed Standard.

Like many other breeds, they came from Germany, arising in part from English Mastiffs, and were originally used to hunt big game like boars and large deer.

About halfway through the eighteenth century the term “Great Dane” became attached to the breed instead of the more common “German Mastiff” or “German Boarhound,” due to poor relations between Germany and other European countries.

They’re classified into the Working Group in AKC dog shows. Their coat is short and comes in a variety of colors.

Because of their enormous size, Great Danes live fairly short lifespans, around seven to 10 years. They do take quite a while to finish growing, until several months after their first birthday.

While they generally get along well with children and other pets, they also make good watchdogs of their territory, and their size alone will scare off many potential intruders.

Scooby-Doo and McGruff the Crime Dog are both Great Danes, and the University of Albany uses the breed as the mascot of their sports teams.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles is often thought of as a Great Dane, as is Hagrid’s dog Fang from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels.

Also, Julian the Great Dane is a main supporting character in Robert Elmer’s young-adult historical fiction Promise of Zion series, appearing in all six novels.

For more general canine news, information and tail-waggin’ fun, be sure to interact with Dog O’Day on our Facebook and Twitter pages.