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Great Dane

Country/Date of Origin: Germany/2000 BC

This breed classified as a working dog by the American Kennel Club because it is used primarily as a guard today; the Great Dane was originally a hunting dog. Great Danes, the modern examples of which are of German origin in spite of the name, were bred to hunt wild boar. Indeed Boarhound was the first name it carried. Danes were shown at some of the first dog shows given in the United States.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Deutsche Dogge, Ulm Dog

AKC Group: Working

Breed Club: Great Dane Club of America

Rescue Club: Pookie Kostuk, (203) 272-8292, Fax: (203) 272-9199, Connecticut

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Body Type:

  • A combination of size, strength and dignity
  • Height: 30-32 inches (at shoulder) This is minimum. Many are 35 or 36 inches tall
  • Weight: 100-120 pounds. Again a minimum. Many are more than 150 pounds.
  • The natural tail is long and tapering with a slight curve at the end. It is carried low and is not altered
  • The natural hanging ears are usually cropped to a tall tapering erect triangle in the US


  • Gentle and loving
  • Excellent with children
  • An alert guard but not overly aggressive
  • Moderately intelligent but highly stubborn
  • Not easily trained


  • The coat is short and smooth
  • Permissible colors are brindle or fawn with dark face or mask. Also blue, black or harlequin (which is a white ground color with clearly defined, irregularly shaped black patches)
  • Requires minimal grooming

Health Concerns:

  • Not a long-lived breed its usual life span is 8-10 years
  • Prone to hip dysplasia
  • Subject to bloat
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Possible bleeding disorder
  • Epilepsy
  • Bone diseases
  • Wobbler's Disease
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Because of the ear cropping, Dane puppies take a lot of care
  • Puppies are especially clumsy. They are wild and rambunctious and therefore not suggested for homes where little children could get knocked over. Also not suggested as a pet for porcelain collectors
  • Walt Disney's Ugly Dachshund movie did much to popularize the breed
  • Slow to mature

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