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Adopt a Great Dane

Great Dane Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


livestock dog, mastiff

Area of origin:


Original function:

guardian, hunting large game

Average size of male:

Ht: 30-32, Wt: 100-120

Average size of female:

Ht: 28-30, Wt: 100-120

Other names:

Deutsche dogge, German mastiff

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Great Dane Dog Temperament

The Great Dane is gentle, loving, easygoing and sensitive. She is generally good with children (although her friendly overtures may overwhelm a small child) and usually friendly toward other dogs and pets. She is powerful but sensitive and responsive to training. She makes a pleasant, well-mannered family companion.

Great Dane Dog Care

The Great Dane needs daily moderate exercise. Her needs can be met with a good walk or romp. Despite her sturdy appearance, she is not suited to living outdoors and is best suited to dividing her time between indoors and out. Inside, she needs soft bedding and sufficient room to stretch out when sleeping. Some tend to drool. Coat care is minimal.

Great Dane Dog Health

Major concerns: gastric torsion, CHD, cardiomyopathy
Minor concerns: CVI (wobbler's syndrome), cataract, elbow dysplasia, osteosarcoma, OCD, HOD
Occasionally seen: glaucoma, vWD
Suggested tests: cardiac, elbow, hip, eye, blood
Life span: 6-8 years

Interested in the history of the Great Dane dog breed?

Dubbed the "Apollo of Dogs," the Great Dane is probably the product of two other magnificent breeds, the old English mastiff and the Irish wolfhound. Her ancestors were used as war dogs and hunting dogs; thus, her ability as a fearless big-game hunter seemed only natural. By the 14th century, these dogs were proving themselves as able hunters in Germany, combining speed, stamina, strength and courage in order to bring down the tough wild boar. The noble dogs became popular with the landed gentry not only because of their hunting ability but also because of their imposing yet graceful appearance. They made gracious additions to any estate. British people familiar with the breed first referred to Great Danes as German boarhounds. Exactly when and why the breed was later dubbed the Great Dane is a mystery because, although undeniably great, she is not Danish. She is a German breed, and in 1880 German authorities declared that the dog should only be referred to as the Deutsche dogge, the name by which she still goes in Germany. The English paid no heed, and the old name stuck for the English-speaking world. By the late 1800s, the Great Dane had come to America. She quickly attracted attention, as she does to this very day. The breed has since achieved great popularity in spite of some of the difficulties that owning a giant dog entails.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Great Dane Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Great Danes ready for adoption:

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