By Dr. Watuwa JamesDr. James Watuwa Last updated: 27th November 2023

Great Dane

The calm, friendly, and dependable Great Dane is a breed of working dogs revered for its imposing size, strength, and grace. Originally bred for hunting European wild boar, the Gentle Giants have earned a reputation as one of the most patient and loyal dog breeds that is a joy to live with.

Great Dane Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesGerman Mastiff, Deutsche Dogge
NicknamesGentle Giant, Apollo of Dogs
CoatShort, thick, clean, smooth, glossy
ColorBrindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin, mantle, merle
Breed TypePurebred
GroupWorking, Non-Sporting, Hounds, Molossers, Guardian
Lifespan (how long do they live)7-10 years
Weight (how much do they weigh)Female: 110-140 lbs
Male: 140-175 lbs
Height (how big do they get)Female: 28-30 in
Male: 30-32 in
SheddingModerate to heavy, seasonal
Size of LitterAbout 8-10 puppies
TemperamentFriendly, gentle, dependable, affectionate, courageous
Good with ChildrenYes
Country Originated inGermany
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationFCI, AKC, UKC, CKC, NZKC, KC (UK)

What does a Great Dane look like

These giant working dogs are characterized by the following physical features:

Head: Rectangular, long, distinguished, finely chiseled, expressive

Muzzle: Square jaw, deep muzzle

Eyes: Medium-sized, deep-set, dark with relatively tight and almond-shaped eyelids

Ears: High set, moderately thick, medium-sized, folded forward

Body: Firm, high set, well-arched, and muscular neck, broad and deep chest, short level back

Tail: High set, broad at the base, slightly curved when excited

Types of Great Dane

The American Kennel Club recognizes different types of Great Dane based on their coat color, patterns, and markings:

Brindle: It has a yellow-gold coat with a black chevron pattern and a black mask. Black appears on its eyebrows and eye rims and occasionally appears on its tail tip and ears.

Fawn: It also has a yellow-gold base with a black mask on its eyebrows and black eye rims. Dark yellow-gold is always the preferred color, but white markings on the toes and chest or black front are not desirable.

Blue: It has a steel-blue coat, though white markings on its chest and feet are undesirable.

Black: Its coat is glossy black, however, the white chest and toes are undesirable.

Harlequin: It is characterized by a white base color with black torn patches spread over the entire body. Black pigments may appear in white areas while its neck can be fully or partially white.

Mantle: It comes with a black and white coat, as well as a black blanket that extends over its body. Its neck and legs are fully or partially white, while its skull is black with a white muzzle and its tail is white with a black tip.

Merle: It is characterized by a pale- to dark-gray merle coat and black torn patches on the body. It can be solid merle with white chest and toes or merle with the mantle pattern.

Aside from the different color types, the breeders create a variety of crosses by mixing the Great Dane with other breeds. Check out the list to find out which Great Dane cross is right for you.

Great Dane Walking and Playing with a Puppy


The ancestors of Great Dane are believed to have been developed by the Greeks and Romans who bred the Assyrian dogs with the early English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds. Since these dogs were bred for hunting wild boars, they were originally called the Boar Hounds.

In the mid-sixteenth century, they were named and spelled Englischer Hund or Dogge in Germany. During the late seventeenth century, the German nobles started breeding the Gentle Giants in their court and called them Kammerhunde (meaning Chamber Dogs) that were fitted with gilded collars. Aside from hunting boar, deer, and bear, they helped protect their loved ones from danger.

The German breeders are credited for refining the Danes to be elegant, gentle, and well-balanced. During the late 1800s, they agreed to give the breed a separate name Deutsche Dogge (German Dog) and established the Deutscher Doggen-Klub of Germany. Although it is not clear when the breed was imported to the US, the Great Dane Club of America was created in 1889.

Growth Chart of a Great Dane

Age Weight (lbs) Height (in)
Birth 1-2 N/A
1-2 Weeks 2-5 N/A
2-3 Weeks 3-7 N/A
3-4 Weeks 4-8 N/A
4-6 Weeks 8-20 N/A
Up to 2 Months 18-26 13-18
2-3 Months 30-45 17-23
3-4 Months 45-65 21-26
4-5 Months 60-85 23-27
5-6 Months 70-105 24-28
6-7 Months 75-110 25-28
7-8 Months 80-120 26-29
8-9 Months 85-125 27-30
9-12 Months 90-140 28-31
Adults 100-180 28-34

Temperament and Personality

The Great Dane, truly nicknamed the Gentle Giant, is one of the friendliest and most even-tempered dogs you can have in your household. It is a sweet, affectionate pet that has a desire to please and stays close to its people.

Because of its amiable disposition, it gets along well with strangers and greets them happily. However, it can also be fiercely protective of its family when it senses any threat to its loved ones.

The Great Dane is known to be gentle with kids and other pets in the household. Due to their large size, Danes can accidentally knock your child over easily. Make sure to keep an eye on the interactions between young children and your dog.



Being an energetic breed, an adult Great Dane requires 30-50 minutes of regular exercise, including a long brisk walk twice or thrice a day. It is known to make a good jogging or hiking companion, but you should avoid taking it out for jogging until it is 18-24 months old to prevent causing any injury to its joints.

Keep your dog on a leash while taking it out for a walk or jog and let it lose only in securely fenced areas. You may also train it to participate in obedience, agility, tracking events, and sports like flyball.


Weekly brushing using a firm, medium-bristle brush, hound glove, or a rubber grooming mitt helps in minimizing shedding. A daily brushing, however, is ideal during the shedding season. It needs a bath with a quality dog shampoo only when its coat is messy. Keep its nails from growing too long by trimming them frequently. Since it tends to drool, you can wipe up the saliva using a soft hand towel.

Health Problems

Bloating or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) is a life-threatening health issue in Danes. Some of the other health problems commonly seen in a Great Dane include hip dysplasia, developmental problems, bone cancer, and heart disease.


Being sociable, friendly, and agreeable by nature, training a Dane is easy. However, a firm and consistent approach is needed to train a large and powerful breed like the Great Dane.

Obedience Training

Teaching it commands like stop, stay, sit, wait, come, heel, and down during puppyhood is essential to keep a large dog like Great Dane from misbehaving such as jumping up and greeting visitors, reaching for foods, or accidentally knocking off cups on a table.

Leash Training

Because a Dane has a keen sense of smell and tends to follow a scent trail, training it to get used to wearing a collar and walk politely on a leash is important. It is also useful for mitigating mistakes like lunging, barking, and pulling.


Choose quality dog food for your Dane and make sure that it has a balanced amount of proteins, carbs, and other nutrients. Avoid giving your Great Dane pup regular puppy food and do not supplement with anything. The daily amounts of food, varying with age and gender, is as follows:


















Give your puppy three meals per day until it is five months old and decrease feedings from three to two once it reaches six months.

Interesting Facts

  • The animated television character Scooby-Doo, designed by Iwao Takamoto, is based on a Great Dane.
  • Dynomutt, Dog Wonder and Astro from the animated television sitcoms “The Jetsons” and “Space Stars” are Great Danes.
  • Great Danes are used as the mascots of the University of Iowa and University at Albany.
  • In the Harry Potter series, Fang is a Great Dane, but a Neapolitan Mastiff was used in the movies.
  • The comic strip character Marmaduke, created by the American cartoonist Bradley Jay Anderson, is a Great Dane.

Great Dane Attack

Although unusual, a few instances of attacks by Danes on people have been noted like a woman was attacked in January 2019, and a three-year-old boy’s ear was partly bitten off in March 2018.

2 responses to “Great Dane”

  1. Larry Brubaker says:

    I have a litter of 6 Great dane pups born October 21, 2019. adorable and 4 colors to chose from. for more info contact me at

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