When one thinks of a gentle giant among dogs, the first breed that comes to mind is the colossal Great Dane. This larger than life dog is sweet, gentle, and also currently the Guinness Book of World Records "world's tallest dog". Our fascination with this breed is endless. Their size, personality, and appearance are all magnetic; people can't help but be drawn to them. Where did this majestic breed come from, and what is it made of today? Read on to find out...
As far as coloring goes there are six acceptable colors for show standards. These include: fawn, brindle, blue, black, harlequin, and mantle. The fawn coat is light tan all over with a blue mask and black eyebrows and black on the tail. The brindle coat is comprised of an orange-tan base with zigzag bolts of black striping throughout. A brindle coat almost looks like tiger striping. The blue coat is a solid grey-blue color that resembles steel. Black of course is a solid coat, with preferably no white markings. The harlequin coat is made up of a base of white with irregular splashes of black. The splashes must be spread out and not look like stripes, and also must not be grey, in order to qualify for showing. Finally, the mantle coloring resembles the coat of a Boston Terrier. A solid body color is broken by white at the neck, and the face is a mask of the solid color broken by white in the middle. There are others colors bred, such as merle, white, and fawn mantle, but these are not show quality colors and are not purposely bred.
Many Great Danes in the US have their ears cropped for looks, but in Europe this practice is banned as cruel to the animal. Originally the practice was done to prevent wolves and wild boars (which were often the quarry of hunts) from grabbing onto the dog's ears, but that is no longer a consideration. Both types of dogs are accepted in showing however, cropping makes no difference as to eligibility.
Surprisingly the Great Dane is not a very energetic breed; in fact they have a rather slow metabolism. This means that Great Danes usually only need a nice, brisk walk once a day to burn off energy. Unlike some high-energy dogs, such as the German Shorthaired Pointer or the Jack Russell, a Great Dane won't tear your house apart from boredom or excess energy, which is probably a good thing. Imagine the destruction a dog of that size could wreak!
Finally, the breed also suffers from a condition known as "bloat", which is a painful distending and stretching of the intestines which can lead to death. Some vets "tack" the stomach to the right wall to prevent bloat during routine surgery such as spaying or neutering, while others only perform the procedure if the dog suffers from bloat. Like any pure bred dog, health issues are a concern with the Great Dane that reputable breeders continue to work on.
Great Danes respond best to positive reward based training methods such as clicker training. You won't be needing any harsh punishments or forceful corrections when training your Great Dane. It's a great idea to get along to some puppy kindergarten classes as soon as your Great Dane puppy is old enough.
Some training issues that are especially relevant to Great Danes are:
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Please consult the services of a Professional Dog Trainer, Behaviorist or Veterinarian before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.