Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
A Great Dane on a sofa.

Known for their large size and gentle disposition, the Great Dane has been featured in media across the United States for many years. Whether that be Scooby-Doo, Marmaduke, or Astro from the Jetsons, this giant breed has been in the American eye. There are many interesting facts you might already know about the Great Dane, but do you really know a dog if you don’t know where it originated?

A Great Dane in the woods.

1. The Great Dane is not actually Danish.

The Great Dane originated in Germany as a boarhound. It was only when a French naturalist named Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte of Buffon, found dogs of similar description in Denmark that the new name was given. Calling them “le Grande Danois” or Great Dane in French, in his 1781 book, Natural History: General and Particular, Leclerc helped cement their new name.

2. Great Danes are great at hunting wild boars.

Bred to be strong, swift, and ruthless, Great Danes made their presence known by being excellent at tracking and eliminating wild boar in Europe. This efficiency almost caught up with them in a bad way when they over hunted their prey, but the German aristocracy bred out their predator mentality in the 1700s. This allowed them to escape the same fate as their diminished prey.

Two Great Danes running in the snow.

3. Great Danes are natural athletes and competitors.

Active and eager to please, the intelligent and strong Great Dane excels at many canine sports. Be that agility courses to test their athleticism or tracking events to challenge their sense of smell, these gentle giants will always strive to be the best.

4. The great in their name could easily refer to their size.

While Irish Wolfhounds are seen as the tallest breed due to a small variance in height, the Great Dane is no slouch. Standing 28-35 inches tall at the shoulder on average, the tallest dog ever was a Great Dane named Zeus. He stood a whopping 44 inches at his shoulders and ate more than 30 pounds of food every two weeks.

A black Great Dane puppy with clipped ears.

A black Great Dane puppy. Photo by: Melissa (CC BY-SA 2.0)

5. Great Danes need to learn to walk before they should run.

Despite their active and playful nature, it is dangerous for your Great Dane puppy to run and play rough before fully grown. In these important young years, their bones are still developing and a Great Dane is at risk of injury if they play too rough too fast.

This isn't to say that your Dane can't play at all! Check in with your vet regularly to make sure your pup's growth is appropriate, and make sure that he or she is on a high-quality diet for large breed puppies.

Dr. Erica Irish

6. Evil spirits and bad omens shrink away before Great Danes.

Thought to ward off evil spirits and nightmares, Great Danes were permitted to roam freely around their owners’ estates and lands during the Middle Ages. Their affinity for keeping away negative energies would also give the Great Dane a positive image when appearing in dreams. They carried with them the strength to let the dreamer stand up to ridicule and manipulation.

A Great Dane in a park.

7. Great Danes grow up quickly.

Born at only 1-2 pounds, a Great Dane puppy can reach nearly 100 pounds in their first six months. Due to this massive leap in size and the fact people will not want to be knocked over, it is important to teach your puppy not to jump up on its hind legs and into people.

8. There is a coat color for everyone.

Great Danes come in a variety of colors, including black, white, brindle, and fawn. Some will even have a “black mask” over their face and snout.

A brown Great Dane puppy.

3.5 month old Great Dane puppy. Photo by: Lilly M (CC BY-SA 2.5)