Fast Facts

  • Size: Large; 45 to 90kg.
  • Colours: Black, fawn, blue, harlequin, brindle, mantle merle, and white.
  • Grooming frequency: Low; weekly brushing of fur.
  • Exercise: Moderate energy level; needs daily walks of 20 to 30 minutes
  • Temperament: Devoted, gentle, reserved, loving, friendly, easy-going, and patient.
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years.
  • Health issues: Bloating, gastric dilation volvulus, cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, and hypertrophic osteodystrophy
  • Suitable for first time owners: No.
  • Suitable for families with children: Yes.
  • Suitable alone: No.

Most people have heard of Scooby-Doo but are unware that the comedic cartoon canine is actually a Great Dane. Great Danes are also known as the ‘King of Dogs’ or the ‘Apollo of Dogs’ because there are noble, friendly, patient, and dependable.

History

The original Great Danes were a far cry from the gentle giants seen today. The first Great Danes were bred in Germany to hunt the European wild boar for sport. Those dogs needed to be swift, agile, ferocious and aggressive, and even had their ears cropped in order to prevent boar tusks from tearing them. Eventually they became guard dogs for German nobility and ultimately their companions.

Today, Great Danes are no longer used to hunt boards but instead have been selectively bred by German breeders to incorporate soft and gentle temperaments, making them the perfect companion dog.

Personality & Temperament

With their sweet natures, theses furry giants love to play and are extremely family-oriented. They are reputed for their goofiness, and love to entertain and be entertained. They adore humans and will welcome any stranger with open paws. Eager to please, these dogs are easy to train and will quickly learn what their paw-rents like and dislike. They are excellent around children as well, and calm enough for apartment living.

Health

With such a large physique, this breed requires a lot of food to compensate for its size. However, because of this, it is also susceptible to several health conditions. Great Danes bloat more often than other dogs and can suffer from gastric dilation volvulus (the number one kill of Great Danes), cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, hypertrophic osteodystrophy (because of their rapid growth as a puppy), bone cancer and wobbler’s syndrome. To prevent bloating and gastric dilation volvulus, don’t feed your dog immediately before or after walks.

Although they have moderate levels of energy, they should be taken for 20 to 30 minute walks daily to maintain overall health. Grooming is relatively fuss-free as they have short and close coats, so once-weekly brushing is all that is required. Baths can be given once to twice a month as tehy have very little odour.

Friendliness

Great Dane puppies are unsuitable for first time owners as they are rambunctious and require a lot of training. They are unsuitable alone and would be happier in households with other dogs and cats that they are socialised with, and where the owners are at home most of the time. When left alone, they can become stressed, leading to destructive behaviour as a coping mechanism. Because of their size, interaction with children and smaller pets have to be supervised as they may get accidentally knocked over.

Adapted from Pets Magazine

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