The Great Dane is a very old breed and is thought to be over 400 years old. It is believed that the breed came from a mixture of Irish Wolfhound and Old Mastiff and was developed as a ‘Boar Hound’ by the Germans. Despite their large size, these dogs are very gentle and are commonly referred to as the ‘Gentle Giants’.
Great Danes are loyal, kind, sweet and affectionate dogs. They love being around people and are very patient with children. They are very playful and require plenty of regular exercise. However, due to their large size, it is advisable to train them well when they are young before they become too strong to handle.
The Great Dane is a large, strong dog, with a long, narrow head and thick firm lips. Dogs stand at around 30 – 34 inches (76 – 86cms) and bitches at around 28 – 32 inches (71 – 81cms). Dogs weigh in the region of 120 – 200lbs (54 – 90kg) and bitches 100 – 130lbs (45 – 59kg). They have a deep chest, with a long muscular neck and long tapering tail, which is prone to injuries at the tip. The forelegs are perfectly straight, the thighs are muscular and the feet are rounded. Its short, dense coat comes in a variety of colors: Fawn, black, blue, brindle, harlequin and mantle.
Their smooth, shorthaired coat is easy to maintain and should be groomed regularly to avoid the need for bathing – as this is obviously a major chore with a dog of this size. The nails need to be kept regularly trimmed.
The sheer size of this dog can cause medical problems. They are susceptible to hip displasia, bloat, tumors, heart disease and tail injuries. This breed is not long-lived and has an average lifespan of less than ten years. However, some can live to be twelve or thirteen years old.
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