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Great Dane Dog Breed Information You Must Know

Jun 26, 2008
The Great Dane breed is thought to be around 400 years old but dogs resembling the Great Dane were depicted in drawings in Egyptian tombs dating back to 2200BC. These were Mastiff type dogs and shorter of leg than the modern day Great Danes. It was the Germans who further developed the breed into the dog we recognize today.

Sources suggest that the breed was made up of the Mastiff, boarhound, Irish wolfhound and the Greyhound. At first they were used as bull baiters, and then they became popular with nobility and were used for hunting wild boar and deer. By the 1800's these were commonly used for large game hunting. The UK Great Dane club was started in 1885 and the American version in 1889.

The Great Dane has a short, thick, glossy coat which doesn't require much maintenance. It is a relatively clean dog which is handy because bathing one can prove difficult. There are six acceptable show colours for the breed which are:

* Fawn - Yellow gold with a black mask
* Brindle - Fawn and black chevron stripes
* Blue - Pure steel blue without any white markings
* Black - Pure glossy black
* Harlequin - White base with irregular black patches
* Mantle - Black and white with a solid black blanket and head and white muzzle, chest and collar

Others colours do exist but are not allowed in the show ring and therefore not encouraged by breeders.
Despite the Great Dane's imposing appearance the breed has a friendly nature; they mix well with other dogs and household pets as well as children. They become very close and loyal to there owners, family members and frequent visitors.

They are active dogs and need to be exercised regularly. These dogs are quick to alert the family of any approaching strangers which make them excellent guard dogs although they don't bark much. It is important to start training and socialising at an early age as they grow very quickly into large dogs and can become dominant and aggressive to others animals if not trained.

As with all deep chested dogs the Great Dane is prone to gastric torsion or bloat, this can be prevented by taking precautions with feeding regimes. Some suggest an elevated feeding bowl reduces the risk of bloat but other studies claim that this increases the chances of the disease. Refraining from exercise immediately before of after eating will reduce the risk. The breed can also have problems with hip dysplasia which can be controlled with exercise and nutrition.

X-rays of the parents can usually certify whether the hips of their offspring are healthy. Like all large dogs these have a slow metabolism and therefore have less energy and eat less per pound of dog than smaller breeds. As with all pure white dogs, many white ones are deaf. The breed's average lifespan is between 8 and 12 years.

Great Danes have appeared in several movies including The Patriot, Batman Beyond, Swiss family Robinson, Good Boy. Other famous Great Danes include:
The Hanna-Barbera character Scooby Do

Comic strip character Marmaduke

Captain Kirk's dog in Star Trek

Astro in the Jetsons

Schmiechel in the British TV soap Coronation Street

World's tallest dog 'Gibson' who measured 42.2 inches at the withers
About the Author
For more information on the great dane or a complete list of dog breeds visit this Dog Behaviour website.
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