Great Dane Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue
The Great Dane did not originate in Denmark; he was developed in Germany where he is known as “Deutsche Dogge” (German Hound) or German Mastiff. In France he was known as the “Grand Danois” - “Great Danish” and this is the name that was adopted in the UK.
The Great Dane certainly originated from mastiffs, either brought to Europe by the invading Roman armies 2,000 years ago or Phoenicians traders. The Dane was refined from the Mastiff by breeding to greyhounds which gave them the length of leg and longer, less wrinkled head. This elegant looking dog was popular amongst the nobility and royals of Germany and other European countries for hunting boar and other large game and he gained the alternative name of German Boarhound. He was also used at one time, presumably when his mastiff properties were more pronounced, for bull-baiting. During the next few hundred years the Dane was further refined to create a dog with greater elegance. Since 1876 he has been regarded as the national dog of Germany. Otto von Bismarck, German Chancellor towards the latter part of the 19thC, kept a Dane as a pet to whom he was immensely attached. The late Duke of Kent owned a dog, Midas, during the 1930s who he made up to a Champion. He was the first royal since Queen Alexandra to achieve this.
The Great Dane was introduced to the UK in 1877 and the first Breed Club was established in 1885. He makes a good guard dog with his imposing size and deep menacing bark, but his voice and appearance belie his excellent temperament. He is remarkably laid back, loves his family and home comforts and is excellent with children and the family’s other pets, and his short smooth coat is very easy to keep.
Caring for the Young Dane
He is a very big dog, though and needs careful rearing. Find a caring breeder who will give you good advice and plenty of support. Follow the rearing guidelines you are given. He has a massive amount of growing to do in a short space of time and you need to get it right.
A giant breed, his height is measured as a minimum of 76cm at 18 months and a weight of 120lbs, though many dogs are substantially taller. The picture he presents is a combination of elegance, grace and strength. A lovely breed, but big; some breeds, especially the hounds tend to take up less space than you would expect. The opposite is true of a Dane.
Rescue and Rehoming
In the unfortunate event you need to re-home your dog, or you are looking to give a home to an older dog, contact the Breed Clubs for their assistance. It is always wise to speak to people who are expert in the breed so you can get the best possible help.