The Great Dane is a breed of dog most well known for its size, as one of the tallest dog breeds ever. The tallest Great Dane ever was named Zeus, who stood 44 inches tall at the shoulder.
Scientific & Common Names
Genus, Species & Subspecies – Canis lupus familiaris
Common Names – Great Dane, Duetsche Dog, German Mastiff
Great Danes are very tall, lanky dogs with very long legs and a deep, muscled chest. They can grow over 40 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh well over 150 lbs.
Great Danes comes in many coat colors, including fawn (yellow gold coat with a black mask), brindle (striped fawn and black pattern), black, harlequin (white with black patches), mantle (black above and white below, with a white neck and muzzle), and blue (steely blue all over).
Great Danes average eight pups per litter, though ten is not uncommon. They are somewhat prone to birthing difficulties and may require surgical help with larger litters. Great Dane pups are very large, even at birth.
Despite their size and appearance, Great Danes are normally very friendly “gentle giants”. They often get along well with other dogs, pets, and humans. They typically have a low prey drive and are usually good with children if properly socialized, though they are alert and adept guard dogs.
Great Danes have been a distinctive breed for at least 400 years. Despite their name, which implies the breed comes from Denmark, Great Danes are a German breed. Long ago, Danes were used to hunt boars, bears and deer. Later, they were mostly used as guard dogs, a purpose they are still used for today.
According the the American Kennel Club, the Great Dane ranks as the 16th most popular breed in the United States. Their large size and gentle demeanor make them quite popular.
Many fictional dogs are modeled after Great Danes, including the cartoon Scooby Doo and the comic strip Marmaduke.