Unlike popular belief, the Great Dane is of German origin and not Danish. The breed is thought to have been around for more than 400 years. Great Danes are descendants of mastiff-like dogs that used to be bred by German nobility to keep their country estates protected.
The Great Danes were prestigious guardians of carriages and estates and popular among the upper class for sport. German noblemen were breeding them in large numbers by 1680 to keep their homes and estates safe. They were used for hunting wild boar as very few other dogs could bring down the wild boar.
Great Danes, similar to those we know today, were developed in the 1800s. In 1880 the name “Great Dane” was banned by the Germans, who called the breed “Deutsche Dogge,” meaning German Mastiff. However, the breed is still known as the Great Dane in English-speaking countries. The name did originate in Denmark, with a man known as Buffon noticing that the boar hound has similarities with the Greyhound. The dogs later came to be known as the Great Danish dog. Larger Danes were known as Danish Mastiffs making Denmark responsible for the name but not the breed’s development.
Great Danes were bred from an Irish Wolfhound and an English Mastiff, resulting in a huge and powerful dog we know today. The Great Dane’s beginnings can be traced as far back as Ancient Egypt with monuments that date as far back as 3000 B.C. displaying the drawings of dogs that resemble the Danes. In the early days, only royals and the very wealthy could own the dogs. The dogs were pampered properly and wore gilded collars that were velvet padded and trimmed with fringe
The Great Dane has many health problems. These include bloat, which is the most common illness found in the Great Danes. It is a deadly condition that should be taken care of by a veterinarian immediately. It happens whenever your dog eats too quickly or drinks large amounts of water at a time.
The Great Dane is also prone to Hip Dysplasia, which is also found in many other large dog breeds. Cardiomyopathy, a deadly heart disease, is common to Great Danes. It is a genetic condition where both chambers of the heart become enlarged. In many cases, one chamber gets affected more severely than the other, which is likely to impact the lifespan of the dog.
Great Danes also have skin allergies, and whenever they have itchy skin, you will notice irritation. They will not be comfortable whenever they develop skin allergies, which will be evidenced by discomfort and uneasiness. After the symptoms start showing up, treating them is very important for their well-being and keeping them comfortable.
Osteosarcoma or bone cancer is common for the Great Dane. It is an extremely aggressive form of bone cancer and spreads very rapidly. It is one of the common causes of death in the breed, and treatment is very complicated if the conditions are not noticed early enough.
These are some of the common health conditions that might affect the Great Dane:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Wobbler Syndrome- a serious disease of the neck
- Bone cancer
- Non-tumorous skin growths
- Seizures and epilepsy
- Von Willebrands disease or blood clotting
These health conditions might affect the Great Dane so treat them early ensure that you keep a healthy pet. Knowing what ails your Dane early enough enables the vet to take it through the correct treatment course.
The Great Dane is one of the easiest recognizable dogs in the world. They are huge, powerful, and very strong. Their friendly nature makes them one of the most popular family dogs.
They require a lot of room to exercise owing to their large size. In case you live in an apartment, you should be ready to take them out for a long walk several times each day. As such, you can blow off some steam while you exercise them outdoors. If you have a big yard, this is enough space for the Great Dane.
The dog should be kept indoors since their skin does not have a fat layer underneath or fur to help with the weather. They are not meant for extreme heat or cold temperatures, and as such, they should not be kept outdoors. The dogs are loud and massive and require obedience training to keep them in line. If they are untrained, they will develop destructive tendencies that are avoided by being steady and consistent with them.
Training them is easy enough, and early socialization makes them grow into calm adults. Puppies require at least 90 minutes of exercise per day to promote healthy development and active growth. By slowly introducing the puppy to friends, family, and other pets, you will train them to behave well around others and become friendly pets.
Grooming them once a week ensures there is no buildup of hair in your carpet. Other than the shedding seasons in the fall and spring of each year, you will find that caring for the Great Dane is quite easy. You can bathe them as often as you like with no damage to their coat. Nails should also stay trimmed every few weeks and teeth brushed regularly to keep them sparkling and neat
- Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane. He was originally named “Too Much” in the production history of the television show. The Great Dane plays a large cowardly dog that has different encounters with ghosts and evil spirits. Scooby-Doo was drawn with a number of odd physical characteristics in the show, which made him even funnier. For instance, he used to play the Bongos in the show and was known to hide a lot from ghosts and other strange spirits.
- Great Danes are the tallest dog in the world. The pups measure 2.5 to 2.8 feet tall, which means they are a massive family member. However, some debate still exists about their tallest dog status. The Irish wolfhound can be a bit taller, depending on the breeder. However, the debate is settled by Zeus, who is a Great Dane that is the tallest dog on record.
- Even though the dogs were originally Boar hunters and vicious killers, they have been gradually bred into gentle giants. Modern-day Danes prefer a leisurely lifestyle, are rarely aggressive, and make an excellent addition to families. Gentleness was bred into them and not one of their original characteristics. They have become an improvement over their ancestors that were vicious characters used to defend homes from thieves and hunt down wild boars.
- A Great Dane was awarded two Blue Cross medals for peeing on a bomb and alerting the authorities about a fire in a shoe shop. Her name was Juliana, and her owner owned the shoe shop where this fire was raging. Another one named Nuisance joined the navy and trained with the rest of the sailors. He was awarded full naval honors when he died.
- They are known to grow very fast. They can grow from two pounds to 100 pounds in just half a year.