Great Danes are not from Denmark. They're from Germany.
Their beginnings can be traced back into Egyptian times. Monuments dating as far back as 3000 B.C. display drawings of dogs resembling the Great Dane. Danes were Boar Hounds – used for hunting and protection. After the 16th century, they became know as English Dogges and by 1680 German noblemen were breeding them in great numbers to keep in side their homes. They were considered to be the biggest and most handsome of dogs. The Germans called them Kammerhunde, meaning Chamber Dog.
Only royals and the very wealthy owned the original Danes. They were pampered and wore gilded collars trimmed with fringe and padded with velvet.
The name Great Dane did originate in Denmark, as a man by the name of Buffon noticed during his travels that the slimmer varieties of the Boar Hound, shared great similarities with the Greyhound. He remarked that the Danish climate had caused the Greyhound to become a Grand Danois. Thereafter, the dogs were known as the Great Danish Dog. Larger Danes were often called Danish Mastiffs. The Danish name stuck, though Denmark had absolutely nothing to do with the development of the breed.
Behavior: Great Danes are extremely people oriented, and generally very calm creatures and tend not to bark. They will be playful and entertaining, elegant to watch, and highly devoted to their family. They goal is to please you and are very good with children.
Size: Great Danes are classified as a Giant Breed. Like people, they vary in size based on breeding. Standards for the breed however, indicate a male will be approximately 30-32” and a female will be 28-30” at the shoulders. Weights also vary, but can reach nearly 200lbs in a large male. Averages will be in the mid to upper 100’s.
Color: Great Danes are bred in 6 approved / standard colors:
Brindle – yellow gold base color with black strips in a chevron pattern, with a black mask.
Fawn – yellow gold with a black muzzle.
Blue - The color shall be a pure steel blue.
Black - The color shall be a glossy black.
Harlequin - white base with black torn patches irregularly and well distributed over the entire body;
Mantle - black and white with a solid black blanket extending over the body; black skull with white muzzle;
You may see other colors in rescue dogs. Sometimes these colors are much more attractive and unique!
Merle: Black, white, and gray
Fawnequin: A Harlequin with brown patches instead of black.
Merlequin: A Harlequin with black, white and gray patches
White: Solid White (Albino) - -susceptible to sunburn and are often deaf or blind.
Cropping Ears: Cropping ears on a Dane is optional. It generally done when they are approximately 8 weeks old. Cropping should be done only by a highly experienced veterinarian and cared for by a committed parent. It takes a lot of work to make those ears stand up properly after cropping. Cropping began when Danes were used for boar hunting. Shorter ears meant less ear to get torn in a fight. Today, many people forgo cropping to avoid unnecessary pain for the animal.
Life Expectancy: Life expectancy of a Great Dane is 8 to 10 years, but like their humans... some live much longer than the average! Healthcare and love are major factors to their well-being.
Exercise: Great Danes love to sit on the sofa and you’ll often find them lounging around. But they should get a nice long walk and some play time every day!
Medical Concerns: Great Danes can suffer from hip dysplasia, bloat or wobblers syndrome.