Towards the end of the 19 th Century, however, the Great Dane was refined by breeders in Germany (for the wealthy and elite). A naturalist from France went to Denmark and saw this dog breed, which he thought was similar to a Greyhound, but was a Danish version of the Boar Hound. If you have a Great Dane or are planning on bringing a Great Dane into your home, I encourage you to help achieve his/her full potential! Just by looking at body of these dogs, it’s easy to see why they were chosen as a wild boar hunter. 4. These dogs stand over 30 inches tall and can weigh up for a staggering 200 pounds. Their imposing size (many are as tall as 32 inches at the shoulder) indeed made them particularly suitable for the task they were originally bred for, that is, hunting ferocious wild boars. Additionally, they’re one of the biggest dog breeds ever. Soon after the renaming of the breed, the Great Dane Club of Germany was formed, followed by the Great Dane Club of America. You can see how these dogs changed significantly already. Let’s have a further look into the Great Dane breed and what they were initially bred to do. Great Danes were originally known as Boar Hounds. This diffused it and she was awarded a Blue Cross Medal! Great danes descend from crossbreeds between old English mastiffs and Irish wolfounds. TheSmartCanine.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As we’ve briefly mentioned, the Great Dane was originally bred to hunt wild boar. Because of their size, they’re one of the few that can even attempt something like this on the field. In other words, people discovered boar hounds (Great Danes) would make for great guard dogs! Great danes were bred to be long-legged for some good reasons. The largest dogs in the breed then became known as Danish Mastiffs, which is a name that stuck despite having nothing to do with Denmark. Since the days of boar hunting and guarding the wealthy have passed, the Great Dane has evolved as a breed. Commonly called the "Gentle Giant", the Great Dane is one of the largest dog breeds in the world and were originally bred to hunt wild boar. It has a massive, square-jawed head and body lines that give it an elegant appearance. They’re fantastic with children and make excellent nanny dogs. Many Great Danes enjoy participating in agility, obedience, tracking events, weight pulls, and sports such as flyball. Many champion dogs are bred with other champions in their bloodlines. The dogs depicted have the same massive body and long, powerful legs as today's Great Dane. Over time and through selective breeding, Great Danes have been transformed from the fierce hunting dogs depicted by Great Dane history, into the regal, chiselled, well-mannered Giants we know and love today. Generally, Great Danes live to be between 7 and 10 years old. Oh no, it’s much more complicated. By the 18th century, the name “Great Dane” was finally used for these dogs. The Great Danes of old were, however, slightly shorter, heavier, stockier, and even more muscular than the ones that exist today. But there once was a time where dogs were bred for utilitarian purposes. Instead, they’re mainly family companions and dogs. Killing a wild boar means coming face to face with an incredibly dangerous … Hunters believed that the naturally long droopy ears of the Great Dane were not ideal during boar hunts. Many dog breeds are bred specifically for certain tasks. Great Danes drool and slobber and lumber around in a rather bumptious manner. But despite their massive size, Great Danes can also come in handy for families with kids. The history of breeding Great Danes has changed both their purpose and the breed itself. We often hear Great Danes being referred to as “gentle giants” but they were certainly not gentle from the very beginning! These dogs were used for guarding property and for hunting big game, primarily wild boar in central Europe, and both sight hounds and mastiff-type dogs are part of their ancestry. We also participate in programs from eBay, CJ, Bluehost, Clickbank, ShareASale, and other sites. Sure, they may be sweet dogs, but the intruders don’t know that! However, the Great Dane Club of America began in 1889. These dogs were pampered and loved immensely by their owners, being given velvet lined collars and expensive foods. At least they’re not a large double coated dog, right? Health. Only the top dogs of the breed are show dogs. They rely on their guardians to love and protect them. Ancestors of the English Mastiff were probably involved in the Great Dane dog breed development, and some Great Dane breeders believe that the Irish Wolfhound may have played a role. They have gone from hunters, to royalty, to champions and family dogs. This means they require the same physical exercise needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I would always correct him for it, but now realize it might be just as instinctive as a Pointer pointing. Drawings of dogs resembling Great Danes were found on Egyptian monuments dating from 3,000 B.C., and artifacts found in Babylonian temples built about 2,000 B.C. Here are a couple of additional reasons why breeders chose Great Danes: Great Danes have had a long history. That’s when the Navy stepped in and enlisted him so that he was allowed to ride with them! He later returned home with the dog to call him the Great Danish Dog or Grand Danois (as it was in French). German royalty and the elite upper class began adopting the boar hounds because of their friendliness in addition to the security they brought into the homes of the royal. Honing a breed takes generations and generations to perfect. While the breed's giant size is often intimidating, the Great Dane is actually very well mannered, sweet, affectionate, and gentle with children. Wild boars are fairly ferocious and so the Great Dane had to be too. What Great Danes Were Originally Bred For As we’ve briefly mentioned, the Great Dane was originally bred to hunt wild boar. These dogs are the ultimate nanny dogs and can become a great playmate for older children. This breed was, then, soon renamed the “Deutsche Doggen” or Great Dane. In fact, because they are protective of owners, they are often bred to be guard dogs in homes. Later that century, many nobles of Germany began to keep to most handsome and largest of these dogs in their home. link to Are Jack Russell Terriers Good Family Dogs?  =  They were also used for sport. Today, a Great Dane would be perfect for any family. Great Danes are, when well bred, the best-natured dogs in existence. Although Great Danes are considered working dogs and were bred to work, most Great Danes do not work today. Furthermore, the Great Dane Club was also the 4th breed club given permission to join the AKC (American Kennel Club), making them one of the oldest “official” breeds. Great Danes are one of the few exceptions. German Shepherd, to herd sheep. These German breeders focused on improving the Great Dane’s temperament. The potential of these beautiful animals is at risk. So, when you see a Great Dane out on the street, he or she could be a top competitor for best in show. Prices of Great Danes based on their color and bloodline can raise the price up to $5,000 or more! Looking at the history of both of those families we see the mastiffs as guardians since ancient times - war dogs, home guards, etc - and the sighthounds as hunters. And while they’re “engineered” to be much more gentle than they were in their wild boar days, Great Danes still carry many of the features that once made them great at hunting such animals. It is uncertain when and how Great Danes came to the United States. It’s said that they combined a Mastiff Irish Wolfhound and a Greyhound type dog to produce a super dog. Danes were Boar Hounds – used for hunting and protection. The six usual color… Hank, her Great Dane, realized what was happening and rushed in to save her. They were bred to perform certain tasks and do certain jobs. These new huge boar hounds were so marvelous that they were adopted by the richest in the area. The average Great Dane will not be found in the competitions, however. Great Danes have been around for thousands of years in various forms, across Egypt, Europe, and China. Great Danes originally were called Boar Hounds, because boars were what they were bred to hunt. Young Great Danes (up to three years old) can be boisterous, and unless supervised, will … New Pet / Dog Breeds / Great Dane Dog Breed: Facts, Temperament and Care Info Huge in stature as well as heart, the Great Dane is appropriately referred to as a gentle giant. They’re extremely friendly and can be the perfect fit to nearly any family. Most people wouldn’t mess with a dog of this stature. (Cropped ears are common in the U.S., but in other countries, ear-cropping is banned.) The gigantic canines were probably bred from the Irish wolfhound and the old English mastiff. Not only do they love... We are passionate about pets and love sharing everything we learn about them. It’s why they’re so easy to train! There are 7 different colors that you find Great Danes in now. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Males are usually between 30 and 34 inches tall with a weight of between 120 and 200 pounds. The breeders of the Egyptian and Chinese Great Danes were more concerned with performance than looks, so the dogs don’t look as good as today’s Great Danes. Their great size and brute strength helped them enormously in this task. Is this the end of the story for the Great Dane? The earliest writings of dogs that sounded like Great Danes were in Chinese literature dating back to 1121 B.C. Great Danes were bred to be fierce hunting dogs and protectors because of their muscular build and great speed, initially serving as the wealthy German elite and royals' companions. There are many stories of Great Danes putting their owner’s life before their own in order to protect or save them out of love. Embora Pets is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. Ear cropping is a surgical procedure in which the ears are partially cut to maintain a pointy and erect ear. In the 14 th century, Great Danes were bred to be some of the most ferocious hunters. Many breeds were considered, but ultimately the magnificent Great Dane proved to be suitable for the task at hand. The modern Great Dane is everything you would want in a large dog breed. In the 18th century, Great Danes were prestigious guardians of estates and carriages. This site is owned and operated by Jenco Digital LLC. Soon after realizing the defensive capability of Boar Hounds, German dog breeders began breeding them and training them to be friendlier and more protective of humans. From its earliest days, these dogs have been known for their distinct blue tongue and … Exercise, train, play with, and most of all, love your Great Dane! Many breeders throughout North America have selectively bred Great Danes in order to produce the most beautiful, healthy, and strong champion show dogs. Read More. Great Dane, breed of working dog developed at least 400 years ago in Germany, where it was used for boar hunting. Towards the end of the 19th Century, however, the Great Dane was refined by breeders in Germany (for the wealthy and elite). Aa alert as any breed, the Great Dane also makes a great guardian and watchdog. At this point, they were referred to as Chamber Dogs, or Kammerhunde, in German. Boar hounds were used for many years like this along the side of hunters. I believe there is much more to these creatures. Over time, the boar hound became much more accustomed to human companionship. Clyde when chasing his two lab friends in play would mouth them right on the back of the neck in mid stride. These dogs weren’t always called Great Danes. Let’s examine these physical qualities of the Great Dane and how they made these dogs such formidable hunting dogs in the past. Since Great Danes have become more popular as show dogs, the color of their fur has become a significant selling point to breeders and judges. This is just one of the reasons as to why Great Danes are bred most often for families. If you didn’t know, wild boars are highly aggressive and dangerous animals. In other words, Danes may unintentionally knock over or hurt a little toddler. A Great Dane can live from 7 – 10 years, and some lucky ones might live up to 12 years of age. This included the Irish Wolfhounds for their height, Mastiffs for their muscle mass and Greyhounds for their speed. The last and most common purpose of Great Danes today is simply their purpose as a member of one’s family. Eventually, people came to realize that a dog of this size and physical capability could be bred to show defensive characteristics rather than the offensive ones. The boar hounds hold the prey down until the hunter could catch up and finish the job. One such example is Juliana who, in 1941, urinated on a bomb that had fallen on her house. Today, Great Danes are most often bred as show dogs or family companions. The Great Dane was primarily bred for hunting wild boar and later bred as a form of guard dog. These dogs were great hunters but as hunting became less and less popular, the breed was forcibly evolved so that the once vicious boar killers became soft show dogs and all-around companions. Their beautiful coats and exceptional size is a big reason as to why they have become very popular in the show dog business! But now we think of our dogs as cuddly buddies. Germans take great pride in their Danes which are locally referred to as "German Mastiff", or "Deutsche Dogge". Ancient dogs resembling Great Danes were bred in ancient Egypt and China. Besides being used as a hunter, they were also used as estate guard dogs. Embora Pets is the ultimate resource for learning everything about your new pet, or information when trying to find the right one. Historically, certain dog breeds like the Great Dane have their ears cropped. The history of breeding Great Danes has changed both their purpose and the breed itself. What Great Danes Were Originally Bred For. display: none !important; Dogs that engage in exercise immediately after eating are more likely to get it. Great Danes are in the Mastiff family, but also kind of sighthounds (almost)? They expertly hunted down prey with their German and English human companions. They have become wonderful pets, and one dog was actually enlisted as a morale booster in the Royal Navy back in World War II. In the end, the name was shortened to “Great Dane.” Since then, we’ve been calling this breed by that name. So, what were Great Danes bred to do? Three years later, she was awarded a second Blue Cross Medal when she alerted the authorities to a fire. 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