Temperament of the Great Dane:
The Great Dane is often described as the “Gentle Giant” because despite its large size it has a very sweet disposition. In fact a quick glance at the table above clearly shows that the Great Dane has a very high affection level and is very tolerant of strangers.
The Great Dane was not always the gentle giant it is today. In fact it was bred as a powerful, aggressive and very fearsome hunter developed to track and kill large game.
However that fearsome dog of yesteryear has little place in modern society and would in fact constitute quite the menace in today’s world. Thus years of careful and selective breeding have eradicated that aggressive and combative nature and left in its place the gentle giant of today!
The Great Dane gets on famously with children but you must always bear in mind that this is a very big dog and thus adult supervision is imperative when the dog is around smaller children.
Although friendly towards strangers when the need arises the Great Dane will aggressively protect its family. This is a dog breed that doesn’t bark much but still makes an excellent watchdog as well as a great protector. It is only the bravest of souls (bordering on foolish) who would attempt to antagonize a dog this size, its good nature notwithstanding!
As with all dog breeds some Great Danes may exhibit strong dominance issues and be aggressive with other dogs, people and pets. That is why it is very important that a dog this size should be timely and well socialized.
Appearance of the Great Dane
According to the breed standard as designated by the AKC (American Kennel Club) the Great Dane should be square relative to its length and height proportions. In appearance its muscular well-toned body exudes a dignified strength and regal elegance.
Great Danes naturally have floppy ears but when they were still used for hunting often the dogs would return with torn and mauled ears if indeed they made it back. So it was common practice for the dog’s owners to crop their ears. Ear cropping is a simple surgical procedure where the ear leathers are trimmed and then trained to stand erect.
In the UK, Denmark, Germany and New Zealand the practice has been banned for several years but is still commonplace and allowed in the United States.
Six coat colors are accepted for Great Dane show dogs and they include:
- Fawn: A fawn dog has a yellowy-gold coloration with a black mask.
- Brindle: These dogs are often described as having a tiger-stripe pattern because of their typical fawn and black striped lines.
- Blue: A blue Great Dane should be a uniform steel-blue throughout. Any white markings are undesirable and qualify as faults.
- Black: This dog should be a uniform glossy black all over and white marks anywhere are undesirable and considered faults.
- Harlequin: Such dogs have black patches randomly distributed across a white base background. The black patches shouldn’t be too large as to look like a black base background but neither should they be too small as to give a cheetah-like spotted appearance.
- Mantle: These dogs have a solid black base extending over the entire body except for the chest, collar and the black head with white muzzle. In some regions these Great Danes are referred to as Bostons due to their similar coloration to the Boston Terrier.
The Great Dane does occur in other colors but such coat patterns are not accepted for showing and are generally not pursued by Great Dane breeders intent on producing show dogs.
Having said that you should note that dogs in these colors still make excellent pets; such colors include the following:
- Fawn mantle
Also it is worth noting that some breeders may attempt to charge more for these colors on the basis of their rarity. But in truth the breeding of white Great Danes is very controversial as dogs with these colors are strongly predisposed to deafness and blindness.
More about the Great Dane