As you may have already guessed the Great Dane is one of my favorite breeds of dog. I would even go so far as to say that they are my number one most favored breed! I’m not 100% sure of exactly why they’re my favorite mainly because there are so many reason to love them. It’s hard to pick any one single reason. Maybe it has to do with the silly fact that Scooby Doo was my favorite cartoon as a child? Who knows?! Whatever the reason, I just adore them! So comical, goofy, loving, loyal, fierce when necessary, grand, and regal all wrapped up into a single very large canine.
After I fell in love with the breed, and we decided to get one ourselves, I started researching and learning about them. In doing so I, discovered that though they’re most often called a Great Dane here in America, there’s absolutely nothing Danish about them. They’re believed to have originally come from Germany and are thought to be a cross between an English Mastiff and an Irish Wolfhound, though dogs that closely resemble the Great Dane have been seen on Egyptian momuments dating as far back as 3,000 BC. The French naturalist, Compte de Buffon, gave them the name “Great Dane” after he first saw them back in the 1700’s while traveling in Denmark. The name was apparently popular to the English since it stuck, though the Germans still preferred to call them Deutsche Doggen.
Great Danes come in many various colors, but only six are considered “show acceptable”. Fawn, Brindle, Blue, Black, Harlequin, and Mantle are all acceptable colors at dog shows. Blue Merle, Fawniquin, Merlequin, Merle, White, and Fawn Mantle are a few of the unacceptable colors – unacceptable in dog shows at least. My sweet fella, Streifen, is one of the Blue Merles and we love him regardless of the fact that his color isn’t accepted by the AKC. 🙂
Great Danes are often referred to as Gentle Giants because of their usual sweet nature. However, if not properly socialized, or if they have too many negative experiences when they’re young, they can become overly fearful and that sweet nature will “hide” when around strangers. It’s been my experience that when you have a Great Dane puppy that’s showing fear of a situation, it’s best to get them where they’re comfortable and allow them to choose when to move closer. They’re very sensitive and often won’t do well with forcing them a scary situation on them.
The title of Tallest Dog in the World is often given to Great Danes. Currently, a Great Dane named Zeus is the World’s Tallest dog (as of 2011), measuring in at 44 in from paw to shoulder. When he stands on his back legs, he’s 7’4″ – Can you imagine?!? And we thought Streifen being able to steal items from the top of our refrigerator was impressive!
Because he held the record when I first fell in love with Great Danes, I feel the need to recognize Giant George in this post too. Giant George was officially verified by Guinness World Records on February 15, 2010 as the World’s Tallest Dog.
There are so very many things I love about Great Danes, but there’s one thing I don’t like… bloat. Also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Bloat is the second leading killer of Great Danes. Cancer is first. Bloat can kill a Great Dane within an hour and is extremely painful. Be sure to learn about Bloat and know who you should take your dog to in the event of an emergency. If you know me, you know that I HATE BLOAT.
Even with the risk of heartbreak when you are the parent of a Great Dane, they are more than worth it. I’ve never had as much fun with, or enjoyed a breed of dog more than I do our Great Danes. They are the most loving, amazing breed of dog in the world – at least to us 🙂
What’s your favorite breed? I would love to hear about it in the comments section!