The Great Dane!
Dog breed group: Working dogs
Average life span: 7-9 years
The ancestry of the Great Dane dates back to long, long ago. Drawings of giant dogs somewhat resembling Great Danes can be seen on Egyptian artifacts. These dogs spread through trade where they were eventually developed in Germany into a working dog called a Boarhound, as they were bred to hunt boars. Throughout the years the breed name changed a few times- German Boarhound, English Dogge, German Mastiff, then the Great Dane. The look of the dog also changed to a more slimmer version, as we know them today.
Great Danes are considered a gentle giant, but they can be protective when the time calls for it. They are good family dogs and are good around other pets and children. Children, especially small kids should be watched around Danes, as it takes nothing for this big dog to accidentally knock one over or hit them with their tail unknowingly. As puppies they are an active breed, but to tend to mellow out and become more laid back as they enter adulthood. Usually they are easy to train, however some can have a stubborn streak.
Is this breed right for you?
- Is your space large enough? Great Danes make great house dogs, but they do need space to move around and space to sleep. Table and counter tops are always with in reach for these dogs, so making sure nothing potentially toxic is left out around the house is important.
- Everything is bigger with a giant breed dog. Bigger beds, collars, feeding requirements, and of course more poop to scoop.
- Due to their large size, they take longer to grow to their full size. Caution must be taken when they are young that they don’t jump of rough house too much to avoid unnecessary stress on the growing bones.
Both pure-bred and mixed-breed dogs have varying incidences of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors. Here are some health concerns that more commonly affect the Great Dane.
Hip and elbow dysplasia is a congenital disorder where these joint sockets are abnormally loose. Dogs inherit the condition from their parents. Dysplasia will cause your dog to experience joint pain or laxity.
Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (GDV)/ Bloat/ Torsion is when your dog’s stomach twists on itself, trapping air inside. Great Danes are more prone to this medical condition than any other giant breed dog. This situation is a medical emergency and your dog needs to go to surgery immediately to relieve the torsion and save their life.
A common health problem in older giant breeds is cardiomyopathy. This is a situation where the heart becomes enlarged and is unable to function properly. This ultimately leads to chronic heart failure as the heart becomes overloaded and overworked.More