Photo by Warchild

Great Dane - Breed Profile:

Origin: Denmark/Germany
Colors: Brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin, mantle
Size: Extra large
Type of Owner: Novice
Exercise: Daily
Grooming: Very little
Trainability: Somewhat difficult to train
Combativeness: Can be a bit dog-aggressive
Dominance: Low
Noise: Average barker

Physical characteristics

The Great Dane is an extra large dog with an elegant yet powerful appearance and square proportions. It is one of the giant working breeds. The rectangular head is long and sculpted, with a very pronounced stop. The nose is black, except in blue Danes (dark blue-black nose) and Harlequins (spotted nose is allowed). The dark eyes are medium size and set deep, with a lively intelligent expression and well-developed brows. Light coloured eyes and eyes of different colours are permitted by the breed standards but not desirable. The teeth meet in a scissor bite. The triangular ears fold down. They can be left natural or cropped to a point. Cropped ears are erect. That tail is long and tapers to a point. At rest, it falls straight. When the dog is excited or running, it may curve slightly. The gait is full of strength and power.
Males appear more massive and weigh 135 to 150 pounds. Females weigh 120 to 135 pounds. The height is over 30 inches for males and over 28 inches for females.

Temperament

Great Danes are gentle giants, dignified and kind. Charming and affectionate, they are playful and patient with children but have to be supervised with them because of the large size. These dependable dogs literally love everyone and need to be around people. Because of its giant size, this breed should be thoroughly obedience trained when young so it is manageable when fully grown. Obedience training and socialization had better be started at an early puppyhood because Great Danes grow up fast. Make sure to train your Dane not to jump on people. Also, make sure to achieve a pack leader status - this will help you avoid a lot of behavioural problems. A well-balanced Dane is brave, loyal, steady and responsible, never timid or shy. Some individuals may be a bit dog-aggressive, especially with dogs of the same-sex.

Coat and grooming

The short coat is thick and clean with a smooth glossy appearance. Very little grooming is necessary. Shedding is average.
The Great Dane comes in many colours including fawn and brindle with black mask, black, blue, harlequin (base colour is pure white with black torn patches irregularly covering the body, merle patches are also fine), and mantle (a solid black blanket extending over the body, with white patches).
Photo by musicisentropy

Harlequin Great Dane puppy

Health

Prone to hip dysplasia, bloat, tumours, heart disease, and tail injuries. Jogging is not recommended till the dog is at least one year old. Walking is necessary.
Unfortunately, the lifespan of Great Danes is rather short - under 10 years.

Other interesting facts

The origin of the Great Dane can be traced to the Irish Wolfhound with mixture of old English Mastiff. The breed was originally developed by the Germans to hunt the boar, a ferocious animal. When people stopped using Great Danes for hunting, the breed became a companion and guard dog.
The Great Dane is also known as the Grand Danois, Dogue Allemand ("German Mastiff"), Deutsche Dogge ("German Mastiff"), and Dänische Dogge ("Danish Mastiff").