Other Names: Deutsche Dogge, German Mastiff, UlmDog, Boar Hound Country of Origin: Germany Lifespan: 9-10 Years Male Height: 30+ Inches Male Weight: 100-120 Pounds Female Height: 28+ Inches Female Weight: 100-120 Pounds
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The Great Dane, or the Deutsche Dogge as they are called in Germany, is truly a gentle giant. He is calm, affectionate, and often curious. This is a very fast growing dog, and as such proper nutrition is very important in their growing years. It is also important not to over-exercise a growing puppy, and not to allow him to jump from high places; during the maturing years their bones are more sensitive to breaking and sprains. A young Great Dane can be rather "klutzy", and may send young children flying or may just bowl them over. It is important to start obedience training at a young age; before you realize it you will have yourself a rambunctious young dog weighing 70 to 90 pounds, and you won't want that pulling at the end of a leash!
A Great Dane is often quite sensitive to his owner's voice, and generally a friendly request is adequate for this breed. It is not necessary to train this breed to become vicious, because their deep bark and ominous presence is usually enough to ward off the unwanted from your property. The Great Dane is not very susceptible to pain, and serious injuries or illnesses may go overlooked for extended periods. Like all big dog breeds, he is susceptible to bloat. After feedings it is imperative that you do not allow any heavy exercise or romping around, for an hour or two. The Great Dane loves his "creature comforts", and will lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle if given his daily walks.
The Great Dane is actually a bit of a misnomer, as he has nothing to do with the country of Denmark. A dog very similar to a Great Dane can be seen on Greek coins dating back to 36 BC. In 407 AD, powerful mastiff-like dogs were brought over to Germany, Spain, and Italy by an Asiatic tribe known as the Alans. Their popularity grew most notably in Germany, where they were crossed with Irish greyhounds. He was originally used for battling, hunting, as a cart dog, watchdog, and a body guard.
Otto von Bismark had a deep fondness for this breed, and when he became chancellor and founder of the German Empire, he owned a much-loved Great Dane named Sultan. His love of the breed made it very popular throughout the empire and throughout the world. The first dog was exhibited at the Hamburg Dog Show in 1863, and by 1876 the two varieties of dog, the Ulmer Dogge and the Danisch Dogge, were combined into one breed known as the Great Dane, or the Deutsche Dogge as it is known in Germany. The Great Dane was heralded as the national dog of Germany in 1876. The first Danes had come to America by the 1800's, and first exhibited in Britain in 1875. The Great Dane has gone by many names over the centuries, but for good reason it is known by all as the "Apollo of dogs".