WATCH NOW: Great Danes Are Big Dogs
Great Danes are the tallest dog breed, often towering over adult humans when standing on their rear legs. Originally bred as boar hounds, the breed was perfected and revered in Germany; there is no real connection to Denmark, but the name comes from Grand Danois which means "Big Danish." These dogs are known for their long strides in pursuit of quarry, mostly boars or bears, and are thought to have descended from English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds.
Great Danes were known as German Boarhounds and slowly became dogs only owned by royalty due to their elegance and regal stance. They are docile dogs but do best with lots of exercise. They are kind and gentle with children but should be monitored around small kids due to their size.
Great Danes should also be monitored during exercise as puppies since their bones can be delicate before they are fully developed. They are also susceptible to bloat, which can be avoided with rest periods during activity after meals.
Their size does mean that Great Danes only live between six to eight years, with records of some living until 10 years old.
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Great Danes are most noticeable because of their size, some standing over seven feet on their hind legs. They are also a a very recognizable breed, most people can identify a Great Dane. Generally docile dogs, they still need adequate exercise.
The Great Dane head is blocky and large like a Mastiff. The purpose of a large head was to subdue large quarry such as boars or bears. The ears are naturally floppy but can be clipped to stand straight on top of the head to avoid hunting accidents. The practice of clipping ears is still done for cosmetic and traditional reasons.
The eye lids are not droopy like a hound's, but close to the eye. The jowls are relatively loose like a hound's but not "fluttering," according to the AKC.
The Great Dane stands tall and proud. The front legs stand straight while the back legs are slightly angled. The chest is broad in the front as it tucks into the pelvic region from the ribs. The tail drops between the hind legs.
The Great Dane coloring can range from black to blue, brindle, fawn, merle, mantle, white, chocolate, or silver and some combination of these colorings. The most popular coat color is harlequin, which is a pure white base with black patches.
Because of their size, Great Danes have short lifespans. They are also prone to bloat, dilated cardiomyopathy, and some types of congenital heart disease. The merle coloring, including harlequin, can also bring upon health issues like deafness and blindness.
Talk to your vet about Great Dane care, and large dog care in general.
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