The Great Dane or German Mastiff, which is the other name by which this breed is known and the one most often used,  is a huge dog, one of the largest in the world, and of that type that attracts attention there. where is it going

Despite its imposing appearance, the truth is that it is a kind and noble animal, ideal as a companion as long as we have plenty of space and we don’t mind spending money on its maintenance.

  • Size: 76 cm for females and up to 81 cm for males.
  • Weight: the range goes from 45 to 59 kilos, but males reaching 80 are not rare.
  • Hair type: short, very easy to care for.
  • Character: Affable, with little tendency to bark, and very dependent on its owner. Health: we can classify it as regular. Very conditioned by its enormous size.
  • Life expectancy: from 6 to 8 years, although specimens that do not reach six are not rare

History of the Great Dane

As in most breeds, some say that paintings can already be seen in Egypt in which dogs similar to Great Danes appear, although the truth is that they had little to do with this breed, apart from being thin and large.

The most credible story tells us that its origin dates back around four centuries in an area that encompasses both Germany and Denmark and hence the name by which it has been known for years, and by which it is still named especially in the Anglo-Saxon countries.

Its characteristic appearance comes from the cross between mastiffs and greyhounds, with the idea of ​​being able to have a powerful and fast dog, something that is still done today in rehalas, where mastiffs and podencos are mixed.

The first news that we have of a dog that already resembles the current German Mastiff, dates back to the 18th century when the nobility used them to guard their estates and even their carriages when they traveled, which was a sign of prestige.

Already in the 19th century, we can see the first representations of the Great Dane similar to the current one, and there were famous people such as the Chancellor of the German Empire, Otto von Bismark,  who had dogs of this breed for about six decades.

Becoming an animal related to the nobility is what saved it from disappearing, as it happened with other breeds when firearms became general and dogs became less and less necessary in the guarding and defense of property.

Linked to this is the fact that there has not been any “refounding of the breed” as it was not necessary, something that has happened in other breeds that have survived to this day after searching for the last specimens and making crosses.

As for the name German Mastiff, it seems that it comes from an exhibition that was held in 1876 and in which the judges proposed it, something that has been generating controversy since then since in many places it is still known as a Great Dane.

In any case, the truth is that the union of Germany with this breed is very close since this was where the first club of the breed was born in 1888.

Characteristics of the Great Dane

It is a perfect companion dog, a calm animal, and very affectionate with its master, so much so that it is not a dog that can be alone for a long time, since it always seeks the company of its owner.

They tend to be a bit stubborn and due to their size, it is convenient to educate them very well from a very young age, which will help us in handling them.

With strangers, it is reserved, but never aggressive and the same happens with other dogs since we could say that it is aware of its size and does not need to bark or show its teeth to command respect.

There is no problem living with children or other pets, because they tolerate games very well, having their ears pulled, etc., although here you have to be careful with their size, especially when they are puppies and they do not measure well. forces.

We can use it in custody, although it is not a dog that has instincts for it. Here his great asset is his size, so much so that it is not uncommon for people to cross the sidewalk when they see us “just in case”, although this dog will never attack anyone for no reason.

Appearance

Its appearance is what defines it since the males can weigh 90 kilos and measure 80 cm at the withers, which means that from their head to the ground they can be close to a meter in height.

When people do not know the breed and see it, how it moves attracts their attention, because it is not a molosser of the type of mastiffs with clumsy movement, but rather it has the elegance of a greyhound and we are not mistaken in saying that it is majestic.

Regarding the colors, the standard recognizes three coats that should not be mixed. One is the brindle fawn, the other is dotted and black, where we find what is the most spectacular variety of the breed, the Harlequin Mastiff, and finally the blue, with much the tone that gives it greater elegance.

Until a few years ago, their tails and ears were cropped, which gave them an aggressive appearance that does not correspond to the character of the breed, while now these mutilations are prohibited and that makes this huge dog seem more friendly.

Great Dane Health

If we look for a weak point of this breed, it is in health, since 30% of the specimens do not live more than five years and very few exceed 10, although the latter is common to all large breeds. size.

Hip dysplasia is the most frequent problem, again as in all large and giant breeds, so it will be necessary to be very attentive to this aspect and acquire certified dogs, with which we minimize the risk, although it is always there.

It must not be forgotten that dysplasia, in addition to being hereditary, can also arise for environmental reasons, so that veterinary control must be strict during the growth stage.

We will also have to be careful with stomach torsion, an acute and very serious problem in which the stomach turns over. It can lead the dog to death and it is prevented by putting the food at the right height and dividing the rations.

It is prone to bone cancer and heart problems, although this should not scare us when buying one, since all breeds, even the smallest, have their diseases or tend to suffer more frequently.

To have a dog that is as healthy as possible, it is best to buy it from a breeder that gives us the maximum guarantees, such as that the ancestors are free of dysplasia and that they can provide us with DNA tests which we can see that there are no latent genetic diseases.

breeding of this breed

When it comes to raising him, the first thing to take into account is his health above all else, controlling genetic diseases very well and giving up some characteristics such as a strong jaw, if we know that with this we favor the Bulldog getting conjunctivitis permanently.

Aggressive dogs must be ruled out, although they do not usually appear because they have been selected for more than a century to be close to people, as a companion dogs of enormous size.

Its breeding is not complicated, and those who are dedicated to it tend to say that it is easier than with mini-breed dogs, although you do have to be very on top of the female, because due to the size of the puppies it is normal for them to be born by cesarean section.

Due to the weight of the mother and the puppies, it is a very expensive breeding, which as future owners of a German Mastiff is very good for us, since only true fans raise them since it is almost impossible to earn money with them.

In any case, if we want to buy one, we should go to the Spanish club since they can advise us here and even have a DNA record of their dogs to control the appearance of diseases as much as possible.

How do I train a Great Dane?

A Great Dane has to start his education as soon as he gets home since he is very stubborn and his size does not help to try to handle him by force because we will not be able to pull him or lift him.

Thus,  from an early age, you have to teach him to get into the car by himself, to get into the bathtub, and above all not to pull, for which we can use an anti-pull collar (never with a punishment collar or throttle).

We must not forget basic education, with orders such as sit, lie down, stay still or come when called, insisting that he walk on the leash without pulling and always at our pace.

You have to stop completely from violence, and although you should never use it to train a dog, it is not convenient for us when we talk about animals with this physical power. Our best ally will be sweets, especially at the beginning, to reward with caresses over time.

They can be somewhat “stubborn”, so we have to arm ourselves with patience and be firm, seeking professional help if we see that the situation is beyond us because of how stubborn it is, it is best to do short sessions so that it does not get tired or distracting