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Great Dane

The Great Dane truly deserves the nickname “gentle giant”. These dogs are indeed giant, muscular and strong, but they have a friendly expression and a genuine desire to please everyone around them, humans or pets. They can be easily recognised due to their large stature as well as their long, rectangular head. Their short, sleek coat comes in a range of colours.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys walking one to two hours a day
  • Giant dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks, alerts and it's physically protective
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 8–10 years
Weight: Ideal weight should be 54kg. Females should be 46kg
Height: Over 18 months of age, the minimum height of dogs should ideally be 76cm. Females of the same age should be a minimum of 71cm
Colours: Fawn, black, blue, brindle and harlequin
Size: Giant
Kennel Club group: Working


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 5/5


The Great Dane is an affectionate dog, ideally suited to the active family. They can become very close and loyal to their family and even to frequent visitors. They are quick to alert the family of any strangers approaching their territory, as they are excellent guard dogs and can sometimes be territorial and not welcoming of canine intruders. Puppy socialisation and puppy training is of particular importance in such a canine giant.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Germany

Despite their name, the Great Dane is a German breed and has been known as the German Mastiff or the Deutsche Dogge. The ancestors of this breed have been known since ancient times but they were far heavier and more mastiff in appearance. In the Middle Ages they became popular as high-status hunting dogs of royalty often working in a pack to hunt wild boar. The Great Dane as we know it today however didn’t come into being until the 19th century when it had become both taller and more lightweight - possibly with the inclusion of Greyhound or other large hounds. While they have worked as guard dogs, the modern Great Dane was bred for docility and so his impressive bark is far worse than his bite!

Ideal Owner

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Great Danes

Training Great Danes

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • The Great Dane holds the record for being the tallest dog breed in the world, and while in its present form it has only worked as a guard dog, the ancestors of this canine colossus have been war dogs, fighting dogs, and high-status hunting dogs. They are now gentle giants, bred for their docility. Their deep powerful bark being far worse than their pretty much non-existent bite.
Dog with red collar looking out the window
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