History of the Great Dane

Very muscular, strongly though elegantly built with a look of dash & daring, of being ready to go anywhere and do anything. Alert expression, powerful, majestic action Displaying dignity. Kindly without nervousness, friendly and outgoing. He has a kindly disposition, affection for children and is devoted to his family.

The Great Dane is properly called the Deutsche Dogge or German Mastiff. However, there is no evidence that the dog developed anywhere but Germany and there is no reason for it to be named after the country of Denmark. The breed originated from dogs of the mastiff type for size with the influence of the greyhound type for speed, and was developed to hunt wild boar, guard castles, pull carts and participate in battle.

"There is nothing like a Dane" is often heard from fanciers of this breed. And while size alone makes him unique, the Great Dane's personality is the quality that most find so appealing. The Dane is a 'people dog' - a sensitive and affectionate companion. They can be elegant and dignified one moment, and 'then playful and silly the next. They do not make good 'yard' dogs or "home alone' dogs because when segregated from human companionship, they can become very unruly and destructive.

Regular and frequent controlled exercise and training is essential for the Great Dane, as is special care and feeding for a growing puppy. Help and advice from an experienced breeder is invaluable

Very minimal grooming is needed for a Great Dane; They get by with a bath, nail trim and teeth cleaning and a much appreciated brushing when doing what little shedding they do.

The Great Dane is unfortunately not a long-lived breed. Their lifespan is generally 7-10 years. Longevity can be promoted by breeding healthy individuals whose ancestors were long-lived and by practicing good health management. Even though the Dane is not long-lived, lovers of this breed would agree that they'd rather have seven years with a Dane than fifteen with another breed.

Dogs of many breeds may be affected by disease, some of which are genetic or partly genetic in origin. Among those that have been known to affect Great Danes are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Bone Cancer
  • Cardiomyopathies
  • Cherry Eye
  • Entropion
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoina
  • Stockards Disease
  • Cervical Vertebrae Istability (Wobblers)
  • Osteochondfitis Disecans (OCD)
  • Megaesophagus
  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV /Bloat)
  • Calcinosis Circumscripra
  • Von Willebrands's Disease
  • Central Core Myopathy (Muscle wasting disease)
  • EosinophilicPailosteitis (Wandering lameness)

This list is not exhaustive - If you wish to acquire a Dog of this Breed, I strongly advise you to consult your Veterinary Surgeon to discuss this breed and any problems that it may have, before purchase.

In order to compete in the show ring an adult dog over the age of 16 months must be of a minimum height of 76 cms (30inches), bitches 71 cms 28inches).Weight: Dogs 54kg (I7O lbs.). Bitches 46 Kgs 12Olbs.). In my experience as a breeder , both at Open and Championship Show level, I find that most Danes today are considerable larger and heavier. My own adult Dogs & Bitches often reaching 90kg (200) LB &.. 64kg (l401b) respectively. We have been very fortunate in that bloodlines that we have combined have always produced Dogs &. Bitches of excellent size and substance, combined with grace and elegance. The Dogs being unmistakably masculine &. the Bitches characteristically feminine.

Beware of breeders putting too much emphasis on size (particularly height). It is no good having a measurement of 38"' to the shoulder if the animal is very upright and under angulated through the front or the animal is too narrow in frame. Quality, soundness, temperament & overall balance of conformation are far more important.

Although the Great Dane is a single breed, it is often divided into five Colours:

1. FAWN: Colour varies from lightest buff to deepest orange, dark shadings on head and ears acceptable, eyes and nails preferably dark.

2. BRINDLE: Bridles must be striped, ground Colour from lightest buff to deepest orange, stripes always black, eyes and nails preferably dark, dark shadings on head and ears acceptable

3. BLUE: Colour varies from light Grey to deepest slate, the nose and eyes may be blue.

4. BLACK: Black is black. In all the above Colours, white is only permissible on chest and feet but it is not desirable even there. Nose is always black except in blues and harlequins. Eyes and nails preferably dark.

5. HARLEQUIN: Harlequins should have pure white underground with preferably all black patches or all blue patches, having appearance of being torn. Light nails permissible. Wall eyes, pink or butterfly noses are permissible but not desirable.

MERLE, BLACK & WHITE, & BOSTON are also Colours that often present themselves in the course of Harlequin breeding and like any other Dane, make ideal family pets &. companions - MERLES: themselves have no higher incidence of genetic defects than any other Colour of Great Dane. However, breeding from Merle Danes may result in mostly all deaf or blind pups, due to a double recessive gene, which is a 'semi-lethal' combination.

Ethical Dane breeders follow a strict code to assure the purity of their Colour lines. Fawns are bred only to fawns or brindles; harlequins are bred only to harlequins or blacks from harlequin parents; and blacks from black parents to blue, black or harlequin. Mixed Colour breeding should only be entered into by the most experienced & knowledgeable of breeders.

The price of a well reared Dane of good breeding will be in the region of £600 - £850. Prices are influenced by area and availability. Be prepared to pay substantially more for a well-marked harlequin.

Please do not ask for a discount. - Please remember that :-

A. Most of us only breed a litter now and then in order to keep our own line going.

B. We exhibit the ones we keep, involving expensive entry fees and the cost of travelling all over the country.

C. We pay stud fees; we feed the bitch and pups regardless of expense, often "running a few on" for several months

D. We incur veterinary fees and we sell the pups we are not keeping at prices, which seem far too cheap (it costs just as much to rear a pet as a Champion).

E. We keep our bitches and dogs from the day they are born to the day they die.

F. Most of the bitches will not have more than two or three litters and some litters may only produce one or two pups (in which case an expensive caesarean is likely).

G. We take responsibility for every pup we breed and occasionally have to take them back and feed and care for them for many weeks or months until a suitable new home is found.

If you do your sums on those sort of figures you will soon see that financial gain is the last thing we can look forward too.

I personally have been extremely insulted by prospective purchasers out to purchase a Great Dane for as little as £200 - £300 who then inform me that they also have a toy breed that they have paid the same or even more for. Toy breeds &. small dogs are often not weaned until 4-5 weeks and sold at 6-7 weeks, the pups and the dam consuming a very small amount of food meantime. With the giant breeds, weaning is started at 3 weeks and because of the difficulty in finding the right homes, the pups are often with the breeder for many weeks or even months. Each rapidly growing puppy consuming more food than its parents. Also the dam will have given everything to her pups and will require a lot of building up before she gets back to her former condition. All of which adds up to quite a considerable sum in comparison.

When budgeting for a Dane you should include the price of insurance against loss &. veterinary fees, the premiums vary depending on the company but are in the region of £120-£150 per year. The breeder should be able to set this up for you.

Beware of 'Cheaply priced Danes, it is very expensive to breed &. rear a litter of Danes correctly, so unless there is a genuine reason for the price being low, corners must have been cut somewhere. Never be tempted to purchase a puppy from a 'Puppy Supermarket", Pet Shop or 'Puppy Farm'. 'Puppy Supermarkets and/or Pet Shops' are commercial outlets that-buy in litters of farmed puppies of dubious parentage. As no caring responsible breeder will ever sell to these places, the puppies often do not cane up to the standards of size, conformation, health &. Temperament that are vital to the well being of a developing puppy, especially the giant breeds. Also, the cross infection from buying-in so many puppies from different sources are virulent and many diseases can incubate for quite some considerable time before the puppy shows any signs of illness.

Don't go 'bargain hunting" you'll actually find that these places are far from cheap, they have often been found to be charging prices well in excess of those charged by well known &. Successful breeders. They are geared solely for fast turnover and high profits. - 'Puppy Farms' and 'Commercial Breeders' are often responsible for supplying Pet Shops & Puppy Supermarkets. They do not have the interest of the breed at heart and have no sentiment for either dog or owner should any problems arise. They treat animals purely as a commodity that is easily disposable if it fails to make a profit.

Danes are very slow to mature and breeders often have puppies that have been 'run-on' for several months. There is a lot to benefit from having an older puppy, they are usually house, lead and car trained expertly reared and will be fully immunized. Although already of quite substantial weight &. size, a Dane is very much still a puppy at 6, 9 or even 12 months of age.

BE PREPARED - Taking a Dane into your family will change your life. Apart from needing a lot of attention, your youngster will chew, be dirty and noisy, have periods of high activity and times when he will need quiet and rest. - Meals will be required three to four times daily; your pup will have to be taken out every hour or so to toilet and then there's the exercise, handling, socialization and training. A dog is a very important member of the family and it is everybody's responsibility to become involved in helping the puppy adjust to his new home. It's only fair to give your puppy his own quiet area, where he will sleep overnight and be left during the day when alone. As much thought needs to be put into planning this area as you would devote to planning a child's nursery. It must be safe and secure, free of hazards such as accessible electrical cables or wires, chemicals, sharp objects, easily opened cupboards or food storage racks. It needs to be dry, draught-free, light and airy; in sunny weather it must not get too hot (conservatories are not suitable). Ideally, you want a non-porous floor surface too, there will be accidents and muddy paws.

Indoor kennels or puppy pens are ideal. They are portable, fold flat when not in use and can be tailor made to suit your needs. A puppy soon gets used to his "den" and will go there to rest. The breeder should be able to supply details of how to obtain these .

Once you bring the puppy home you will need to devote plenty of time setting up a routine with him so it's important that nothing else is going to make demands on you. Someone must be with the puppy for most of the day, so you may need time off work or cancel other time 'consuming activities for a while. He will need to investigate his new home quietly and in his own time. Do not invite the whole neighborhood round for a puppy welcoming party. Arrange to collect you puppy at a time that convenient for the breeder earliest is best. How you travel with the puppy is again important; you must make the journey as quiet and comfortable as possible the breeder will advise you.

Don't he tempted to take home the first puppy you see - Remember - Your decision to acquire a Dane, is a decision that -will affect you (and your Dane) for a lifetime.


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