The Great Dane has existed for many years as far back as the 5th Century B.C. The Persians, Greeks and the Romans kept Dane like dogs and mated the heavier ones, probably at that time crossed with a mastiff, and they were called Boar Hounds. These were used for chasing and bringing down wild boar. They also crossed the lighter boned ones with Irish Greyhounds for speed when hunting. So Dane like dogs has existed in many parts of the world for a great many centuries.
In the 14th and 15th century pictures of hunting scenes show those dogs quite typical of the Danes we know today.
In the 16th and 17th century they were known as the Lyme Mastiff and were prized in England and the rest of Europe.
Known as the Gentle Giants and the Apollo of dogs. They have a sensitivity surpassing any human understanding and pick up immediately the moods of its owner, trying hard to please. This giant breed should be ready to go anywhere, anytime, and be full of dash and dare. When moving, his muscles should ripple with a long springy stride covering the ground well. He has an alert expression, powerful action but all with elegance. He should be friendly and outgoing without nervousness.
Head; square back skull narrow, strong jaw with foreface longer or of same length as from the stop to the occiput. Flat straight bone with no sign of roundness, eyes fairly deep set, dark and not round. Medium sized ears carried forward, neck long and swan like with no loose skin.
Well sprung ribs, deep brisket, good tuck up and tail thick at the root.
This noble breed comes in 6 colours, Fawn, Brindle, Blue, Black, Harlequin and Mantle. Whatever the colour he must look strong, powerful and elegant.
As with all breeds, there are hereditary faults, but with careful responsible breeding, they can mainly be kept under control. There is a lot of work going on at the moment aiming to get on top of cardiomyopathy.
Hip dysplasia and ostiocondrsis are also present in the breed, but no more so than other breeds, and again it can be kept at bay with careful breeding.
They are on the whole a very fit dog and never seem to spend much time at the vets throughout their lives.
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