A brief history of the Great Dane
Submitted by yoga8247 on 2011-01-30
"A courageous powerful hunter, capable of great speed and swift attack."
As portrayed by Great Dane history, the Dane of old is
certainly not the affectionate companion of today, yet it still
maintains some physical traits and instincts of its ancestors.
Great Dane history, the 14th century forward, reveals that the early
Dane was a courageous powerful hunter, capable of great speeds and swift
This muscular dog was developed primarily in England and Germany
by combining speed of the Greyhound, with the muscle and strength of the
Many canine historians further link the Irish Wolfhound to early breed lineage as depicted by ancient Great Dane history.
Europe's Wild Boar were the most powerful, savage, and well-armed
of the Continents big game. To tackle this animal, the Germans needed a
dog that was fast, agile, strong, and super tough. That is exactly what
they created with the early Dane, a super Boar Hound.
Ear cropping soon followed as many dogs would suffer shredded ears
from the razor sharp tusks of the wild Boar. Cropped ears were
originally cut short and pointy, unlike the long show cut often seen
Recently, ear cropping has become a very controversial subject and ironically, it is now illegal in Europe.
Boar hounds of the past were physically different in size
and structure than today's Great Dane. As detailed by Great Dane
history, the early Dane dog was shorter, heavier, stocky and muscular,
resembling more a Mastiff than a Great Dane.
About the mid 1600's, these super Hounds were being bred in great
numbers. Many German noblemen would take the biggest, most intimidating
dogs and keep them at their estates. These select dogs would enjoy the
spoils of noble life and were referred to as Kammerhunde, or Chamber
Dogs. Wearing collars lined with velvet, this era of Great Dane history
began the metamorphosis of the breed from mighty hunter, to companion
In 1880, a meeting was held in Berlin where judges and
breeders agreed that the German breed was now distinctly different,
taller, leaner, and more chiseled than the imported English Mastiffs.
Eventually, importing Mastiffs ceased and the Germans now
concentrated on there own newly recognized breed. More similar in
apperance to the Great Dane of today, this breed was named "Deutsche
Dogge", or "German Dog". The Deutsche Doggen Club of Germany was
founded, and the new breed name spread across Europe.
Germany was proud of its Great Dane history, in 1876, the Deutsche Dogge was elected the Countries National dog.
Interestingly, the name "Grand Danois" was given by French
naturalist Comte de Buffon during his travels in Denmark. French were
also calling it dogue allemand, or "German Mastiff." Although the
Danish made no contribution to the breeds development, for some reason
the name stuck.
The rest is history!
Today's Great Dane
Over time and through selective breeding, Danes have been transformed
into the regal, chiseled, well-mannered Giants we know and love today.
Great Danes can still be found in Germany pacing the
grounds of estates and mansions. Germans take great pride in the Dane,
locally referred to as the "German Mastiff",or "Deutsche Dogge".
Although classified by the AKC as a working breed dog, the Great Dane is primarily a companion animal.
"With great confidence a Great Dane remains calm and respectful, even in a classroom full of admiring fourth graders"
In addition to companion dog, the Great Dane is also used for therapy and service work.
The gentle confidence the breed exhibits helps it remain calm and easy even among large groups of people.
This solid sturdy giant also serves well as an assistance
dog. The Dane's well-mannered personality, along with its tall, sturdy
foundation, make it a wonderful candidate to assist people with mobility
There are some Great Dane clubs that run the Dane in agility
trails and lure coursing. The occasional dog has even been know to
excell in schutzhund training, however, I wouldn't recomenned it :)
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