Great Dane

Working Group

Two Great Danes lying down in front of a white background

Height at Shoulders

Females 28-30 in, Males 30-32 in

Weight

Females 110-140 lbs, Males 140-174 lbs

Life Expectancy

7-10 yrs

History

The Great Dane deceivingly did not originate in Denmark, but rather Germany. During the 16th century, wild boar hunting was a popular sport, and nobles across Europe were importing hunting dogs from England. These dogs were likely a cross between Irish Wolfhounds and English Mastiffs. During the 17th century, German nobles with breeding these dogs in great numbers, refining them into the modern Great Dane. The breed was exclusively owned by nobles and wealthy folk, and could often be seen with gilded collars with fringe and velvet. The name "Great Dane" did come from Denmark, as a man named Buffon saw the dogs and believed they were just large Greyhounds. He was confident that it was the Danish climate that had caused the dogs to be so large, earning the breed their name.

Breed Characteristics

While not all Great Danes will display the exact characteristics typical of the breed, most share a personality and temperament can be generalized by the characteristic rankings below. 

Intelligence

Affection Towards Family

Friendliness Towards Strangers

Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

Exercise Needs

★★★☆☆

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★★★

Energy Level

Sensitivity

Noise Level

Prey Drive

Shedding

★☆

★☆

Intelligence

★★★☆☆


Affection Towards Family

★★★★★


Friendliness Towards Strangers

★★★★★


Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

★★★★★


Exercise Needs

★★★★★


Energy Level


Sensitivity

★★★★★


Noise Level

★☆


Prey Drive


Shedding

★★★★★

Common Traits

Friendly, sweet, and playful

Have a loud, booming bark and are naturally protective, making them good watchdogs and guard dogs

Known to "counter surf", or steal food off the counter

Many Great Danes think that they are lapdogs well into adulthood

People-oriented, eager-to-please, affectionate, and tend to demand lots of attention