A Great Dane is truly a great dog breed — large and noble, commonly referred to as a gentle giant or as the “Apollo of dogs.”
There are TOP 10 interesting facts about Great Dane.
In Germany, where they were originally bred, Great Danes were called Englische Docke or Englische Tocke, and eventually German Boarhound. They were used to hunt Boar, Bear and Deer at the royal courts, and protect the sleeping Princes from assassins. In the 19th Century, some German breeders tried to change the name to German Mastiff to take away the notion that it was a working dog, and that it was a dog of luxury instead. However, due to many tensions with Germany and other countries at the time, it eventually became the Great Dane, even though it has no Danish ancestry.
Despite being called the Great Dane, these dogs have ties to Germany, not Denmark. Some believe the name came about when French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon happened upon the breed while traveling in Denmark in the early 1700s. He called the large dog "le Grande Danois" or Great Dane, and the name just stuck.
Do you get how truly large this dog is? He stands at least 30 inches at the shoulder (and many 32 inches and more!) and on his hind legs, he may be taller than you. An adult male can weigh up to 175 pounds. That's a lot of dog! He'll take up the sofa, the bed, the kitchen floor, and most of the room in your car.
4) Gentle Giants
Today Great Danes are known as gentle giants. As hunting became less popular, the breed evolved from vicious killers to show dogs. The fight has been bred out of the canines, and now modern day Danes prefer a more leisurely lifestyle. In fact, the docile pooches make good additions to families and are rarely aggressive.
Although not a high-energy breed, the Great Dane does need exercise. They enjoy a few good walks a day and some playtime. Just remember, they were bred to hunt and tend to follow their nose to prey, so a fenced yard is a must.
6) Living With
Described by the AKC as “dependable, friendly, and patient,” these pups tend to be fairly easy to train and good with kids. (However, it must be said that children should always be monitored around any dog, especially ones of this size.)
The Great Dane is the official state dog of Pennsylvania. You can find a painting of the state's founder, William Penn, and his Great Dane hanging in the Governor's reception room.
8) World Record
A Great Dane named Zeus held the Guinness World Record for being the world’s tallest dog. Sadly, he died in 2014, at the age of 5. This mammoth dog was described as a “gentle giant,” and stood 44 inches tall and was 7-foot-4 when he stood on his hind legs.
Just Nuisance, the Great Dane, remains the only dog to be officially enlisted in the Navy. The dog was born in the late 1930s and grew up in the United Services Institute. There he befriended the Navy sailors that commanded the base. Just Nuisance liked to take the train with his new friends, but the train conductors were less than thrilled with having a dog stowaway (it’s not easy hiding a Great Dane on a train). The railways threatened to put down the dog if he continued to ride on the train without paying his fare.
As a general rule, smaller dogs tend to live much longer than large breeds. Chihuahuas can live up to 20 years while most Great Danes don’t live to 10. The average lifespan of a Great Dane is 6-8 years.