Max the Great Dane just wants to go swimming on a scorching summer afternoon, but his human mother refuses to allow him in the pool with his jacket on. Max is not having it, and let’s her know about how unfair this policy is. We’re hoping she took off the jacket and let him swim after she stopped filming.
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In our doggy kingdom, the Great Dane lives up to its name — this dog sure is great! In fact, the American Kennel Club (AKC) notes the top three characteristics of this breed as friendly, patient, and dependable. What more can you ask for?! Though we dogs like to think we are all great in our own way — just like each of our hoomans are too — today we are going to focus all on the Great Dane!
Want to learn more about this large and in charge pup? Read on for some interesting facts about Great Danes!
1. Great Danes are one of the largest breeds of dogs in the world
Standing as tall as 32 inches (over 2 1/2 feet!) just at their shoulder, these tall puppers look down on most other dogs (just literally and not figuratively, of course!).
2. They are in the ‘Working Class’ Group
The AKC groups all breeds of dogs into seven distinct categories based on their function, heritage, and a few other factors. The Great Dane belongs in the Working Class categorization, along with other dogs such as Doberman Pinschers, and Siberian Huskies. This group of dogs is known to have dogs who are strong, quick to learn, smart, alert, and watchful.
3. Great Danes have some great nicknames
Often called gentle giants, Great Danes also have the nickname of the “Apollo of dogs” after the Greek god Apollo for their stature and grace. Additionally, their actual name comes from a rough translation of the breed’s name in French, which means “big Danish.” Is anyone else drooling over here?
4. Their best-known coloring has a special name
Though the Great Dane comes in a variety of colors including brindle, fawn, blue, black, perhaps its best-known coloring is the black-and-white patchwork. This pattern, seen in the paw-some pup below, is known as “harlequin.”
5. The Great Dane is quite an old breed of dog
Great Danes have been cultivated as a breed for over 400 years and was recognized by the AKC in 1887, becoming its 34th breed. Yet, their history is thought to go back much further than that. Carvings from Egyptian tombs depicting an earlier version of a type of Great Dane have been found that date back as early as 3000 BC!
6. They can’t exercise too much for their first two years
Sounds like a great life of naps in the sun spots to me! Since this breed is such a large dog, it’s important not to over-exert Great Danes or exercise them too much until they are two years old as to not damage their growing joints. After that, these dogs are some of the strongest you’ll see! Many enjoy agility training, weight pulls, and other sporting events, as well as the simple walk or hike with their owner.
7. Great Danes live up to 10 years
Great Danes are here for a good time but, compared to some other breeds of dogs, not necessarily for a long time. The average lifespan of a Great Dane is about 7 to 10 years.
8. These gentle giants are people pleasers
While most of us doggos aim to make our owners happy, the Great Dane is known for his or her extremely affectionate and obedient personality. They don’t only aim to please people, but to be loved by people, too! If you feel the nudge from a big head, just soak up the love and give the Great Dane some great pets.
9. This breed hails from Germany
Though Great Danes have become associated with Denmark for some reason, they are actually a German breed. In Germany, they are referred to as the Deutsche Dog, or “German dog.”
10. Great Danes were designed as hunters
The Great Dane is thought to have Irish Wolfhound, Greyhound, and Mastiff in its background, as these large dogs were bred to hunt wild boar, as well as bears and bulls. For such lovers, they know when to be a fighter! With the characteristics from these other breeds, Great Danes were large and tough enough to be able to obtain their strong prey.
11. The Great Dane grows fast
From the time that a Great Dane puppy is born to its first birthday, this large pup will grow as much as your human child will grow in 14 years! That means consistent training and early socialization are super important for this bumbling brute.
12. Great Danes have a few predisposed health conditions
An ethical breeder will let you know of any specific diseases in their breeding stock, but you should be aware that Great Danes do have some specific health conditions that you may need to deal with in their lives. We never want to even think of the idea of our beloved doggos passing over the rainbow bridge, but know it is an inevitable fact of life.
The number one killer of Great Danes is gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), known more simply as bloat. Additionally, these dogs may inherit hip dysplasia because of their large joints, and/or cancer, cataracts, hypothyroidism, as well as some other possible health conditions.
13. These pooches have a penance for flatulence
Well, with such a large body and a predisposition to bloat, what do you expect? Better out than in, I always say. Though you may gain a smelly best friend, you also gain a friend that can’t speak to blame your smelly toots on.
14. Don’t exercise Great Danes right after a meal
Just like Aunt Susan told you that you had to wait 15 minutes to go swimming after eating, a Great Dane should not be active around mealtime. The issue of bloat that we mentioned earlier is the cause for this important rule!
15. Great Danes love kids
Not only is the breed man’s best friend, but children’s best friend, too. Especially for dogs raised in a household with children from an early age, these patient pooches have no problem being around kids. Remember — they are still large dogs that may not always have the best sense of self-awareness, so be aware of possible knock overs!
16. No high-maintenance grooming required
These short-haired dogs have a thick, smooth coat of fur that doesn’t require a lot of grooming or shed too often. Though there can be moderate shedding (and a bit more with the changing of their coat during different seasons), typically a good brush now and then is enough to keep the Great Dane’s fur under control. Give your Great Dane a bath when he or she gets dirty or when you feel they are due for some suds, and make sure to regularly trim their nails every few weeks!
17. They respond well to crate training
A crate should be a happy place to retreat to, not to be confined to all day! Having a really large crate to crate train a Great Dane puppy in is great so that they will not have (possibly rather large) accidents in the house. As they age, they’ll see their crate as a sort of “den” to retreat to when they want some quality alone time.
Hey, I think I left snuffles in my crate earlier…I think it’s time to go snuggle him. I hope you enjoyed these Great Dane facts!