great-dane.jpg
Breed Group Group 3: Molossoids and Mastiffs Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country Germany
Weight Males: 119-200 pounds. Females: 99-130 pounds.
Height Males: 30-34 inches. Females: 28-32 inches.
Other Name(s) Deutsche Dogge, German Mastiff
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD
meet the...

Great Dane

Breed Group Group 3: Molossoids and Mastiffs Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country Germany
Weight Males: 119-200 pounds. Females: 99-130 pounds.
Height Males: 30-34 inches. Females: 28-32 inches.
Other Name(s) Deutsche Dogge, German Mastiff
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Breed Spotlight

Origins

Although the name indicates that the Great Dane hails from Denmark, the name is the only Danish element of the breed. In fact, the exact origins of the Great Dane are unclear to this day. It is believed that this magnificent breed is descended from the ancestors of the modern-day Old English Mastiffs, Irish Wolfhounds, and the ancient Alaunt Mastiffs.

For centuries, ancient Germans and Celts used large and powerful boarhounds to take down large game, such as wild boar and cattle. These dogs were also used to defend home and country during war times. Being impressive in size and talent, the dogs were soon claimed by German dignitaries to guard their estates and serve as a status symbol of power and nobility. In fact, the ancestors of the modern Great Dane were so loved by their statesmen, that in 1876 the Deutsche Dogge—as they are called in their homeland—was declared the national dog of Germany.

The first Deutsche Dogges were imported to the United States in the middle of the 1800s, where its inaccurate reputation as a malicious guard dog preceded it. Just as in his home country, the Deutsche Dogge’s impressive size, attractive physique, and numerous talents caught the eye of many dog enthusiasts who quickly set to work on correcting unjust breed stereotypes by producing sound and even-tempered ambassadors of the breed. The breed is now one of the most easily recognized dog breeds in the world thanks in part to such celebrity personalities as Scooby Doo and Marmaduke.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat dolichocephalic in skull-type, moderately long, and large in size. It is rectangular and in proportion to the rest of the body. In profile or from above, the head appears angular and blocky, as if formed by rectangles. From above, the head appears somewhat narrow in comparison to length. There is no taper to the head from any angle, as all planes are as parallel as possible. The topskull is long and level when viewed from the side and narrow and level when viewed from the front. The occiput is slightly developed. The superciliary ridges are well-developed, but never protruding. The plane of the topskull sits well-above the plane of the muzzle. The brow is well-defined, but not prominent. The head finely chiseled, clean-cut, and without excess skin or wrinkle
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and medium to dark (preferable) brown in color. Amber to hazel eyes is permissible in dilute and non-standard varieties. Blue eyes, bi-eyes, marbled, or flecked eyes are permissible in merle and harlequin varieties. The eyes are deeply set with well-fitted and well-pigmented eye rims. Excessively loose or excessively tight eyelids, or obliquely set eyes, are incorrect. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull, and may be naturally drop or cropped long. Natural drop ears break level with the plane of the topskull when viewed from front or in profile. They are broad at the base and V-shaped, featuring rounded tips. The inner edge and tip hang close to the head. The ears are never long, overly large, or fly-away. Cropped ears are long and carried erect; however, poorly or improperly cropped ears should not detract from the overall quality of the dog.
Muzzle: Broad, long, full, deep, and a strong feature of the head. The plane of the muzzle is long and straight, running on a horizontal plane. It is strongly rectangular in profile, with the top plane running parallel to the lower plane. It has no taper, and should never appear wedge-shaped. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length and have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipy, weak, concave (dished), or convex (Roman). It should also be set well below the topskull.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat in non-standard color varieties. The nostrils are well-opened. Butterfly nose is permitted in harlequin and merle varieties.
Neck: Moderate to somewhat long in length to allow for proud head carriage and powerfully muscled and well-arched. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed, but without an overly pronounced sternum.
Body: Solid, full, deep, and of good substance throughout. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. It is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually level with the topline. It is never tucked or carried up over the back. The tail is of a moderately long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. It may be straight, gently curved, or with a curve toward the end. It should never appear ringed or docked.
Movement: Effortless, efficient, powerful, agile, slightly springy, and well-coordinated. Strides are powerful and long, never exhibiting rolling or bouncing of the topline. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: Regal, composed, not easily provoked, confident, and devoted to his family. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
Click Here to View Full Standard

Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 3: Molossoids and Mastiffs Breeds

Proportions: Square to off-square with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump being equal to or just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is between 1:1 and 10:9. Females may be slightly longer. The body is well-put together, with sturdy substance and strong, solid bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type. Preference should be placed over soundness and quality, as opposed to sheer size alone. A lesser-sized specimen can be given preference if all of the elements of quality and soundness are present.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat dolichocephalic in skull-type, moderately long, and large in size. It is rectangular and in proportion to the rest of the body. In profile or from above, the head appears angular and blocky, as if formed by rectangles. From above, the head appears somewhat narrow in comparison to length. There is no taper to the head from any angle, as all planes are as parallel as possible. The topskull is long and level when viewed from the side and narrow and level when viewed from the front. The occiput is slightly developed. The superciliary ridges are well-developed, but never protruding. The plane of the topskull sits well-above the plane of the muzzle. The brow is well-defined, but not prominent. The head finely chiseled, clean-cut, and without excess skin or wrinkle
Expression: Regal, attentive, cordial, confident, composed, observant, and powerful.
Stop: The stop is angular and strongly pronounced.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:1, with the topskull being equal in length to the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel.
Muzzle: Broad, long, full, deep, and a strong feature of the head. The plane of the muzzle is long and straight, running on a horizontal plane. It is strongly rectangular in profile, with the top plane running parallel to the lower plane. It has no taper, and should never appear wedge-shaped. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length and have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipy, weak, concave (dished), or convex (Roman). It should also be set well below the topskull.
Lips or Flews: Lips are thick, clean, and fit rather well over the teeth and jaws. They are just loose enough to add depth to the muzzle and head profile, only loose enough to produce the rectangular appearance of the head. They are never tight and close fitting, or pendulous and fluttering.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat in non-standard color varieties. The nostrils are well-opened. Butterfly nose is permitted in harlequin and merle varieties.
Cheeks: The head and face are well-chiseled, with only slightly pronounced smooth-muscled cheeks and temporalis muscles. The face does not exhibit prominent or excessive padding under the eyes, on the cheeks, or anywhere else on the head.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and medium to dark (preferable) brown in color. Amber to hazel eyes is permissible in dilute and non-standard varieties. Blue eyes, bi-eyes, marbled, or flecked eyes are permissible in merle and harlequin varieties. The eyes are deeply set with well-fitted and well-pigmented eye rims. Excessively loose or excessively tight eyelids, or obliquely set eyes, are incorrect. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull, and may be naturally drop or cropped long. Natural drop ears break level with the plane of the topskull when viewed from front or in profile. They are broad at the base and V-shaped, featuring rounded tips. The inner edge and tip hang close to the head. The ears are never long, overly large, or fly-away. Cropped ears are long and carried erect; however, poorly or improperly cropped ears should not detract from the overall quality of the dog.

Body and Tail

General Description: Solid, full, deep, and of good substance throughout. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the forequarters.
Neck: Moderate to somewhat long in length to allow for proud head carriage and powerfully muscled and well-arched. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed, but without an overly pronounced sternum.
Topline: Straight and level, or slightly sloped from prominent withers to croup. The back is short, broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat and level. The back is never overly long, swayed, roached or rising toward the croup.
Croup: Broad, gently sloped. It is never steep, flat, horizontal, or higher than the withers.
Underline: Moderately to somewhat well-tucked-up. Never excessively tucked-up or “wasp-wasted.” The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped. Never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. It is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually level with the topline. It is never tucked or carried up over the back. The tail is of a moderately long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. It may be straight, gently curved, or with a curve toward the end. It should never appear ringed or docked.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, strong, of solid bone, and parallel to one another. The upper arm bone may be equal to or slightly longer than the shoulder blade.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of good bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The coat is short, dense, close-lying, smooth, and lustrous. It is never coarse, harsh, dull, or double-coated.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Great Dane breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety. Large patches or amounts of white indicating homogenous merle or harlequin genotype/phenotype are undesirable.
Standard coat color variety: Fawn or apricot (various shades of tan all with a black mask), blue, black, harlequin (white with black patches), black, mantle (also called “Manteltiger”), black with white tuxedo markings, and brindle. Large patches or amounts of white indicating homogenous merle genotype/phenotype is undesirable.
Non-standard coat color variety: Merle (referred to as “Grautiger”), dark brindle, as well as all variations and combinations of harlequin (any color other than black harlequin is referred to as “Porcelaine”), fawn, blue, black, and mantle. These include, but are not limited to: Merlequin, Brindlequin, Fawniquin, blue fawn, blue mantle, brindle mantle, fawn mantle, merle mantle, brindle merle, fawn merle, and all colors and patterns listed with or without white markings, or “Plattenhund”). Large patches or amounts of white indicating homogenous merle genotype/phenotype are undesirable.

Movement

Effortless, efficient, powerful, agile, slightly springy, and well-coordinated. Strides are powerful and long, never exhibiting rolling or bouncing of the topline. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

Regal, composed, not easily provoked, confident, and devoted to his family. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.