Experts, believe they were probably derived from mastiffs and hunting dogs, bred by the Persians and the Romans. Indeed, they have been previously known as German Mastiffs and Boarhounds.
The great Dane became very well established in Europe, particularly in Germany, where they were known as German mastiffs. Prince Otto Von Bismarck, kept many Great Danes as personal pets. As a result, they became popular with many other members of elite society of the time.
These dogs are huge in size – one of the biggest in the world. While they may not have the bulk of some breeds, such as St. Bernard’s, they stand extremely tall. The tallest dog ever was a Dane called ‘George’ living in the U.S. This dog stood over seven feet tall when standing on his hind legs. Sadly, George passed away, just before his eighth birthday.
Temperament and health.
While the origins of the dog suggests a fearless and aggressive hunting dog, the modern great Dane is generally mild mannered. Some say they have ‘clownish’ personality, especially when puppies. As well as this, despite their athletic looks, do have the tendency to be clumsy – a point to bear in mind if you have small children, or smaller pets.
Their size also means their food requirements can impact quite heavily on the household budget. Everything they need has to be bigger – and potentially more expensive. Beds, collars, and vet’s bills are likely to cost more than they would for the average sized dog. In addition, a great Dane might not fit into an average sized family car. Ideally, these giant dogs need a fair amount of space, but people do keep them successfully in modest sized houses.
While Danes will enjoy long walks and a good amount of exercise, they are not as energetic as you might think. They are quite clever dogs and some even compete in obedience. As with all dogs, exercising their brain is just as important as physical fitness.
Unfortunately the breed does suffer from hip-dysplasia and bloat. It is also recommended great Danes are heart screened (cardiomyopathy). It is important to check your chosen breeder carries out these important health tests.