It’s no secret that owning a dog is worthwhile for the bond that’s created between human and animal and often they become more than a pet. Dogs are friends, companions, protectors who look out for their family and want nothing more than to be loved in the same way they pour love into their owners. One of the most affectionate dogs (and a personal favourite of mine) is the Great Dane, a lovable canine that is one of the tallest breeds in the world.
Like many big dogs, the Great Dane has a history of being used as a hunting companion. Known also as a Boarhound, the dog has been used to hunt boars and bears throughout the ages. In fact, the Great Dane was known as a German Boarhound up until the 19th century in English speaking countries. The name was changed due to increasing tensions with Germany and takes inspiration from grand danois, as recorded in French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon’s Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière in 1775.
Measuring at a colossal 76 cm or more, the Great Dane might look intimidating to first time dog owners. But the breed can be considered a gentle giant, having a friendly disposition. They enjoy leaning against their owners, earning the reputation as the world’s largest lapdog. Great Danes are usually friendly to other dogs and don’t have a high prey drive. With the proper training they’re excellent around children, but should be socialised early on to stop them being fearful of new environments.
A example of a Great Dane’s gentleness around children can be seen from the recent story about 11-year old Bella Burton who suffers from a bone disease called Morquio Syndrome. Her Great Dane, George helps her walk and she’s able to lean against his bulk to support herself.
Great Danes have an average lifespan of eight years but are known to live up to ten years or more. When raising them from puppies it’s important not to over exercise them because they grow quickly. Excessive exercise puts them at risk of bones and joint problems. They have a slow metabolism and suffer from health issues like bloat and hip dysplasia. Dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart disease, is also common in the dog, leading to the nickname ‘Heartbreak breed’ due to the short lifespan.
You can make life comfortable for your Great Dane by giving him or her an annual booster as well as deworming twice a year. Older dogs will appreciate a big, comfy bean bag to stretch out on and it’s advisable not to have laminated flooring in the house because it can lead to leg injuries for big dogs.
Organisations that promote the welfare of Great Danes include The Great Dane Adoption Society, founded in 2000. They are based in the UK and are known to help other giant breeds like Irish Wolfhounds and Mastiffs. Help them out by adopting a Great Dane and giving the dog a loving home!
The Great Dane Club, founded in 1883 is also based in the UK and unites Great Dane enthusiasts around the world. They run lots of events, including open shows that will give you the chance to display your dog proudly.
Great Danes are marvelous and majestic dogs that are deserving of a loving family. In return for your affection they’ll make loyal companions who’ll give many happy memories.