Description: The Great Dane is a majestic, giant dog. The dog can reach 30 to 34 at the shoulder and weigh between 110 and 200 pounds. The bitch, as is usually the case, is smaller, being 28 to 32 tall at the withers and weighing between 100 to 130 pounds. The coat is short and shiny and comes in brindle, fawn, harlequin, blue, black, and mantle. This is a very strong and powerful dog. The Great Dane’s ears are often cropped to make them stand upright, but can be left natural. The Great Dane generally lives under 10 years. It is also known as the German Mastiff and the Deutsche Dogge.
History: References to the Great Dane can be found on ancient Greek coins. An even earlier appearance occurs in drawings from 3000BC from Egypt. The Great Dane’s origins are more reliably traced to the invasion of Germany by the Alans in 407AD. These people brought a strong, mastiff-like dog with them. This dog was superlative in hunting boar and other large and dangerous game. Interbreeding with the English Mastiff and Irish Wolfhound, and possibly the Greyhound resulted in the dog known today as the Great Dane.
Temperament: Despite the Great Dane’s large size, it is a good natured and gentle dog and is suited to living in the house with its family. The Great Dane is very oriented towards people and is kind with children, although it may be too big for a small child to play with comfortably. This dog is loyal to its family and makes a good watchdog. It should be socialized with other dogs and pets while young.
Health Issues: A very serious problem with the Great Dane is heart disease. This often shortens the life of this breed considerably. Hip dysplasia is also present, as with most large dogs. Care must be taken to keep the Great Dane inactive after eating to help prevent stomach torsion, or bloat. Because the Great Dane grows so quickly, the puppy must be restricted in its activities in order to prevent injury to the bones. Running should not be allowed in young dogs, they should be given daily walks for exercise instead.
Grooming: Being a short-haired breed, the Great Dane does not require extensive grooming. The dog can be brushed weekly to keep the coat clean and free of dead hair. It is often recommended that the Great Dane be given a dry shampooing, as giving this giant dog a wet bath can be a project in itself. Make sure the Great Dane’s nails are kept short and if the dog has natural ears, keep them dry and clean.
Living Conditions: Although the Great Dane is a very large dog, it should be kept close to its human family. This dog loves to interact with those it loves and will suffer if kept tied up in the yard. The Great Dane needs to be exercised every day, it requires long walks and a chance to run freely if this is possible. This dog can live in an apartment as long as its exercise needs are met.
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