“ Animal Species: Dogs „
Great Danes are fantastic dogs, but space is a requirement. They ahve a hugely characteristic personality that is very similar accross the breed. They are stupid, there is no doubt about that. It is however an endearing trait that you come to love.
For there shear size,(anywhere up to 90 kilos) they are incredably wimpy and scared of nearly everything. A classic story is that my first Dane lost a fight to a dead rabbit because he hit himself on the side of the head with it while he was tossing it around, he yelped and ran away!
Great danes love people and attention, they crave it. it is one of the nicest feelings to know that when you return home even if you have only been gone for 5 minutes they will be ecstatic to see you.
Great danes are incredabley gentle dogs, completely deserving there nickname, Gentle Giants. i have never seen a dane harm a person in any way apart from not knowing there size or strength when playing, which they love to do. The only aggresive streak you will ever observe in a dane is over food around other dogs. The only thing they love more than people is food. This protective feeling over food occurs only very occasionaly when another dog is threatening its food, and not many do due to self preservation issues.
Great danes eat, alot. the amount of food they consume is truly gargantuan. due to a slightly dodgy digestive system then they need to be fed little and often, 3 meals a day of at least 2 mugs.
I have had 2 Great danes so far and they have both had the nicest manner of any dog. they are utterly devoted to you and will follow you everywhere if allowed. health problems do occur as in any big pure breed dog and special precautions have to be taken to minimise the risk such as feeding at height and no aggresive exercise until roughly 2 years old so there bones can harden sufficiently ( to grow by 75 odd kilos in a year means that there bones are very weak when young)
Great Danes are a lovely breed of dog that need little exercise, are very lazy, loyal and dopey. They are stupid yet loving. All in all fantastic dogs.
Initially I was very wary of this breed as I prefer intelligent dogs, however one did end up coming into my life.
Sam (the great dane), was an adorable puppy all legs and feet with far too much skin than was mean for his tiny frame and I could see why people would buy Great Dane puppies only to abandon them when they grow to their true height (Very big around 80 cm). As a puppy he required a lot of work and a lot of food with four feedings a day of two to three big scoops of puppy food. He got bored easily and was a nightmare to toilet train. As he grew older a personality started to appear one which could only be described as clueless. If he was a person he would be the sort of friend that forgets where he said he would meet you or that he had left the keys in the car or the oven on. One of the biggest challengers was that he quickly became the dominant dog due to his size rather than character and was getting in constant fights with another dog some of which were quite serious. Over time they have worked out their natural order but I think that fact that a stupid dog is more dominant than the intelligent dog just doesn't work that well, and I would recommend them with a very dominant dog or other great danes. One surprising aspect of the breed is that they don't need much exercise and in fact after 45 minutes walk he is ready to go home. You also must restrict their exercise until they are 18 months due to their bodies being quite weak as they grow so quickly.
Sam has been able to learn basic commands and preforms particularity well when there is food around although may forget half way through sitting what he was supposed to be doing. Great Danes are great with children and don't have a vicious bone in their very big body, however as they are so big then they don't know their own strength and as always children and dogs need to be supervised.
I would recommend this breed to any one with the time and money to raise one, and even though they don't need very big walks they will need a big garden to run around in when they need to. They are very conscious of their body and will often back out of a space instead of turning around. One major flaw is the lack of intelligence.
Another draw back is that they only live for around 8 years and will most probably have hip problems.
In this review, I'll first start with my own experiences with Great Danes and then give you the "low down" on the breed.
When my friend Dave (later my partner) told me he was going to get a dog for himself and his pub - I thought "ooh lovely, a nice little Spaniel would look really cosy in front of the fire". I was in for a shock when he brought home a Great Dane a few weeks later!
"A Great Dane??? What on earth do you want such a big lumox of a dog like that for? They grow too big to sit on your knee, he/she will knock you over and the punters? Well I won't repeat what I thought they would do!
How wrong I was.
Bailey - a 16 week old Great Dane black (I'll explain the colours later) arrived via car with my partner and his son complete with full sick bag. I didn't live there then and Dave found it hard to train the dog and look after the pub, after copious amounts of mountainous poo (I'm being polite here) and shredded carpet stairs, gnarled banisters, he decided that Bailey was better outside and built him a kennel out of his garage. I never believed that a dog could be happier living outside than in, but Bailey won't have it any other way.
I've watched him grow from a leggy teenager to a regal looking solid handsome brute, who would go over hot coals for me and my family. With him being 7 now arthritis is setting in and I try to get him to live in-doors but after an hour or so, he's chomping at the bit to go back outside to his brood.
Yes, as you've gathered, we didn't stick to just 1, when I moved in a few years later, we decided that with Bailey being of excellent temperament and pedigree, we wanted to breed from him and keep one of his pups, preferably a boy.
Enter - Cuba (named after one of our favourite holiday jaunts) a Harlequin bitch arrived when she was 6 months old, she's such a character, very snotty, she holds out her paw with her head held high as if she was giving you gold! She actually talks to you, she makes a noise like "Scooby Doo" but instead of just one little "errumph" hers carries on and as it does, she folds her big chops into her mouth and it looks as if she's chewing her own mouth, she's so funny.
Bailey and Cuba became proud parents of their first litter Nov 2005 - 3 girlies and 3 boys. We kept a boy who is the spitting image of his dad and has his mother's characteristics.
The boys live outside and have daily walks and when everybody has left the pub they come inside for an hour or two, it's bedlam at first but being Great Danes their energy bursts are not long lived and soon settle down. Bailey from an early age loves to play a game where I shoot down to the ground and he rushes over and lays parallel and won't move until I do, he doesn't do this for any of the other members of the family. He wouldn't let any other dog near me until a few weeks ago when he promoted his son to "left book end".
When Bailey's pups were around 8 weeks old they were transferred from indoors to the outdoor pen which had a divisional wall for pups and mum in one end and Bailey in the other. There was a board that was high enough to keep the pups in but low enough for Cuba to step over so that she could be with Bailey and have a stretch in the field.
Everything was fine until one day a pup managed to escape and got stuck in-between the board and the fence, the puppy yelped and just as my partner was rushing to free him, Bailey bounded from the field with great speed and pushed the board with his paw to free the pup, if that wasn't remarkable enough, he jumped over and pushed the board back so the puppy couldn't escape, my partner's 22 year old daughter was there at the time, she couldn't believe it.
Bailey refuses to go out if it's raining, he hates it, but when Cuba allowed him to jump over the board to be with his puppies, his back end would be stuck out of the curtain in all weather, that's where he stayed every day and night protecting his puppies until they were old enough to be in the big field with him.
When it was feeding time he waited until his woman and his pups were fed and only then would he eat, he's still the same now, yet give him a treat, there's no way any of them can share it. "Its mine, take my food, take my bed, take anything you want but the bone is mine"!
Oscar is growing up to be just like his dad - a black beauty with a heart of gold and a sense of humour just like his mother complete with "wobbly gob".
Nevaeh (where I got my Dooyoo name from) - Harlequin bitch arrived October 2005 aged 7 weeks old. We trained her to be both an in-door and outdoor dog just like Cuba. The girls stay out with the boys during the day and then sleep indoors at night time.
Great Danes are very intelligent and eager to please, if you show them the boundaries from the start, they learn very quickly, Nevaeh (which you might have noticed is heaven spelled backwards and pronounced Neeva) hates been told off, she is a terrible sulk and because she's got such a cute duck face, it's hard to stay mad with her for long. She tries so hard to please because she hates being in trouble and now rarely gets a stern "no", she's only a year old. Even today I forgot I'd left 3 lamb chops on the kitchen worktop (eye level for Nevaeh) I went into the kitchen fearing the worse, and bless her she'd left them alone, she knew they were there, she furiously wagged her tail at me knowing she'd been a good girl.
All four dogs have their own individual quirks and characteristics, but each one has two things in common - loyalty and love for their families - both canine and human- especially me (much to my partner's annoyance - he's the one that feeds them). I have four Great Danes that think my name is Mary and follow me everywhere.
LONGEVITY OF A GREAT DANE
The only big down side of this breed is that they don't live as long as some smaller breeds. They have such a big body but their heart is not much bigger than a medium sized dog and as they grow older they can suffer with heart problems, also degeneration of bones and joints is a major cause of death in a Dane. Their average life span is said to be around 7-10 years, my big boy is 7 now and I feel Old Father Time is ticking louder and louder as each day passes, saying that, I've seen on the internet a wonderful Dane of 10 years old still competing in an agility competition to raise money for charity - so fingers crossed.
Another problem for Danes is BLOAT:
Bloat (Gastric Torsion) can kill and is caused by the build up of fluid and gases within the stomach, disrupting the normal function of the heart. The reasons leading to the dilation of the stomach are not really known - some theories include the injestion of large amounts of food and water immediately after exercising (similar to horses and colic).
There are many tips to try to avoid bloat but none have been proven.
Some tips are:
Raise food and water bowls so that your Dane is not having to bend down low to eat and drink.
Keep a regular sensible diet using proper dog food and meat, without vast or sudden changes.
If you notice any of the symptoms contact your vet immediately - delays can kill.
The first symptoms are:
Attempting to vomit
Enlarging of the abdomen
Dark red gums growing dark blue/purple
High heartbeat rate.
There are surgical methods which are used to help preven the stomach from twisting for example stitching the stomach to the ribs - Gastroplexy but is still not a guarantee that it can prevent Bloat.
This disease is more common in the larger breeds including the Great Dane. It effects dogs usually starting at around the three months of age in the wrist area of forelegs, accompanied by upper-leg swelling, anorexia, fever, depression and weight loss. The cause is not known for certain but could be linked with supplementation of vitamins and /or minerals.
Speak to your vet before administering any vitamin supplementation for your Dane, as many, especially Calcium supplements can be detrimental, for example bone deformities that can cripple.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A GREAT DANE
Many things must be taken into consideration when choosing what type of dog you want. Space - enough for a big dog - indoors and out? Time to train and provide him/her with the love and companionship he/she deserves, also have you the financial resources to care and feed a Great Dane?
If yes is your answer, the Great Dane is a marvellous family friend and companion who loves children and adults alike. The breed adjusts easily to the home environment and will be unhappy if it doesn't receive the love and adoration of its family.
Most people are familiar with the Great Dane and is renown for its majestic and regal demeanor. Whenever we take our dogs for a walk or on holiday, we have often been stopped and received admiration. One time this year we took Cuba to Whitby - North Yorkshire and a Chinese couple asked if they could take a picture!
Great Danes make fantastic guard dogs, their size alone would deter any potential burglar! Our dogs are well socialised but are still unsure of strangers. Although it's size and bark is enough to frighten anybody senseless, the Great Dane is not an aggressive dog - the breed is very loving and most of them wouldn't harm a flea. Yet if provoked they will protect and defend their family to the death.
An example of which - my son was being passed a leaflet from a man outside, Cuba rushed straight over and caught his arm, she didn't bite him, she just held his arm in her mouth until she was told he was alright. She's not been trained to do this, it just come natural.
THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF CHOOSING A PUPPY
A puppy can be trained and moulded into your family regime from the beginning quite quickly. The disadvantages is the time and patience at first to achieve this. The more time you have the easier and quicker it is. Remember though to set rules and standards that you are going to keep to. Puppies don't stay puppy size for long. It's so easy to let your puppy sleep on your knee and at the end of your bed - are you willing to carry on doing this when your dog is big and sometimes weighs more than an adult human being?
THE DISADVANTAGES OF CHOOSING AN ADULT GREAT DANE
An older dog can be set in his ways and can take a long time to adjust to his new surroundings, rules, boundaries and family. Also if the Dane is a rescue you cannot determine what "baggage" he is bringing with him. He could have had a traumatic past causing him to display unwanted characteristics, not only to humans but to other dogs and animals.
WHERE TO BUY A GREAT DANE
A good place to start is the internet where many breeders advertise and give good information about their specific pedigree of Dane. WWW.Epupz.com is a good site - for all breeds. You can also contact the Kennel Club and ask for a list of Great Dane breeders in your area. A dog show is another good place to search for reputable breeders.
Nevaeh was found via the internet and the breeders were really helpful - we visited their home and must have been there for well over 2 hours, we were able to ask many questions, which we had thought about before we arrived, also don't worry about the breeders asking you questions, this is to be expected as they want to make sure that you are suitable to take one of "their babies". We were able to meet "the mum" and her other puppies. The puppies were of a varying price due to the different markings and differences in temperament for example some can be more alert or braver than others even at that early age. You can expect to pay from £500 - £1,500 for a Great Dane depending on markings, history of temperament and of course Pedigree, a Pedigree with many champions will increase the value of the puppy.
Expect your adult Dane dog to grow to a minimum of 76cms (30ins) in height and weigh at least 120 1bs. A bitch should be a minimum of 71cm (28ins) 100Ibs.
CHOICE OF COLOURS
Brindles - Black and tan to deepest orange stripes.
Fawns - Tan to deepest orange, dark shadings around head and ears.
Black - Black, sometimes white chest and paws (acceptable but not desirable for showing).
Harlequin (my favourite) - Pure white base with black or blue patches, similar to a Dalmation but larger raggier patches. In Harlequins with wall (two different colour) eyes, pink noses, or butterfly noses (black and pink pigmentation giving the nose an appearance of a butterfly) are accepted but not desirable.
Blue - light grey to deep slate, nose and eyes may be blue
Merle - Grey base with black patches, not acceptable for showing but look gorgeous.
Their coat is short and soft especially around the head and ears, they do moult, Harlequins more so than blacks.
FEEDING A GREAT DANE
The amount of times we have been asked "How much does it cost to feed your dog"? I answer just two kids a day!
Seriously - compared to some fussy little dogs, which I have had in the past work out to be cheaper.
It is personal preference and also consideration to your dog's individual requirements - for example one of our two bitches has a supplement of minced beef with her complete dried food as she is inclined to lose weight due to being a fussy eater. Our other 3 are on dried complete food alone - we mix a little warm water with it. We use Sneyds Wonderdog which is £11.00 per 15kg bag which you can buy from most large pet stores. We've used this for the last 7 years and was recommended to us by a Great Dane breeder and used it ever since, having no problems with any of our dogs diets. Usually two bags lasts two weeks, so that's £11.00 per week plus £5.00 for the meat and £5.00 for treats such as pigs ears. That makes it around £5.00 per dog per week - not bad for a horse!
On a lighter note, if you do decide to buy a Great Dane do expect some of these comments at least once a day every day:
Where's his saddle?
Who's walking who?
He must need a lot of feeding
Is it a Dalmation?
It's only a puppy??
I have lost count how many times a bloke has walked a Jack Russell or a tiny dog the size of a rat thinking his dog could take our dogs on, they actually urge their dog "go on Fi Fi go get him"! They're not joking either! Our Danes just give it a snotty look and walk on with nose in the air. One time Bailey slammed his paw down on a Chiwawa's head as if swotting a fly - really funny!
I hope you have found this useful, if you are thinking of choosing a Great Dane.
Thank you for reading. Nev x
Merlin is our second Great Dane and Just like Sacha our first; he is part of the family (Just try leaving him out). Great Danes are just about one of the most loyal and loving dogs that you can have. The problem is that think that they are lapdogs. They want to be with you all of the time and get quite upset when they cant be. We had many happy times with Sacha our first who was a black and white Harlequin a really beautiful and loving animal. He loved the children and later on when the first grandchild came along loved her as well. Sadly one of the big disadvantages with Great Danes is their life span. Because of their size they either suffer from early heart problems or Arthritis in their hips. Sacha had a heart attack aged 8 and we sadly lost him. We were so upset but eventually decided that as he was such a wonderful companion we would get another one. Off we went to a Great Dane breeder in Colchester, quite a drive for us and had a look at the litter that had not long been born. As we weren’t interested in a show dog we chose Merlin. Although to us he looked great, evidently his colour wasn’t quite right he should have had a white background (Who Cares). Merlin is what they call a blue harlequin. That is he should be white with blue grey patches. We went to pick him up when he was eight weeks old when he was already the size of a full-grown whippet (in height that is.). We were told he was going to be big even for a Dane. We had also at the same time bought a little black kitten called Louie so that they could grow up together. The feeding routine of a great Dane puppy is very important they grow so rapidly that if they do not receive the correct food at the correct intervals (6-8 times a day at first} their health and their bone structure could cause problems later. Also at that age they are not supposed to strain their foreleg joints until they have formed properly, so they shouldn’t be allowed up
and down stairs for a month or so. The same goes for exercise, very little and gentle for the first few weeks. For the first few months they also need a good deal of attention as if they become bored they can be destructive. All dogs will do this but it is not much fun to come home and find he has eaten the three-piece suit as our first Dane did. Good job it was due for renewal anyway. But we had a few nerve racking weeks after we got the new one. We found that going abroad on holiday was a problem as well. After all who wants to have a giant dog in their house for a fortnight. Our first holiday in Cyprus after having Sacha turned into a bit of a nightmare. We had selected a Great Dane breeder who also ran a boarding kennel, as we thought they would understand the needs of a Dane. On our return we collected the car at the airport car park and decided to drive directly to the kennels in Woking to collect him. We arrived just after a shift change of the staff and were beginning to get concerned when nobody could find him or knew where he was. We eventually found out that after a week he had pined for us so much that they had called in the vet because of his rapid weight loss. The vet had told the kennels that he was just on the point of no return and they had to do something quickly. Luckily for us and for the dog we had left my daughters telephone number and she had collected him and taken him home with her. She had to have him in her small flat for a week. After that if we went on holiday abroad my son stayed at home with him and we did not have any more problems. Merlin seems to have much the same sort of personality. He loves to be with us wherever we go and loves to come with us when we take the caravan away. When he was about a year old we took the caravan away with friends for a week so that we could visit Alton towers. We were not sure how we were going to cope with the dogs and asked on the gate if we could keep coming in and out to check
on the dogs and let them stretch their legs at intervals. They said that it was fine to take the dogs in with us, which was a great relief. Merlin had a ride on the train that took us into the park and even went on the overhead cars that took us around the park; He loved it and when we went back the second day couldn’t wait to get on the train, needless to say he stopped the show wherever we went. He has also enjoyed a journey on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch miniature railway from Hythe to Dungeoness. Merlin absolutely adores our 5 grandchildren and is a big softy with anybody he knows. Strangers however are a different story. He is the most wonderful housedog and we usually open the front door to find the double-glazing salesman at the end of the path with the gate shut in front of him. Merlin can stand on his back legs and look out of the window at the top of the front door. Not a pretty site when he is all teeth and deep barks. He will always let strangers in if we are there but lets them know that he is not too happy about it. After about 5 minuets he gets the message that it is ok and then he is very friendly. When they are a few months old feeding is not such a problem. Merlin has two meals a day one early morning and one at teatime. We have found the Eeukaneba dried food to be very good and we give him a bowl of this each feed mixed with a half tin of butcher’s tripe to add a bit of flavour. It is best however to raise their feeding and water bowl to chest height for them to eat comfortably, otherwise they have to splay their legs to reach the bowl which we are told is not good for them. Contrary to belief a Dane does not need miles and miles of exercise. They will happily go for 20 miles if you could take them but because they want to be with you all the time they spend a great deal of time following you around the house. And are just as happy with a short walk as they are with a long one, all they want is to be with you and they are h
appy. It costs about a pound a day to feed him although this would be a lot more if he was only fed tinned food. Danes are not greedy dogs they eat what they want and leave the rest until later we do not give him titbits and he doesn’t worry for them although he will happily accept a biscuit from our two-year-old granddaughter. He does like to wait until the cat has finished his food and clear anything that is left and the cat always leaves him a little bit and he always waits until the cat is finished before getting it. Merlin is now eight years old, he is happy and still playful but he does suffer with arthritis in his back hips. We sometimes have to help him up into the car (Quite a feat) but he still enjoys his walks. We know that the age he is for a |Dane is getting on and we don’t know how much longer we will have him, all I know is we will be heartbroken when he goes and so will our son and daughters and the grandchildren. Would we have another Dane? I don’t know, they need a great deal of attention but that wouldn’t deter me for one minute, they are such wonderful loyal and loving companions. The only thing that puts me off is the short lifespan, they become such a loving member of the family that I don’t know whether we would want to go through all the pain of losing another one at about 8 or nine years old it is not long enough when you become so attached to them. As you will have gathered having a Great Dane is not all wine and roses but if you are a dog lover and can give them the attention that they need I don’t think you would ever regret it, but if you cannot give them that attention then please forget it. UPDATE. Sadly we lost Merlin Yesterday 29/5/2001 of a Heart attack and we are both Devestated Merlin has for the past 9 years been a wonderful companion and part of the family. It hasn'nt quite sunk in yet that when we come home he will not be there to greet us. Mick Gray
Last year after a number of small dogs I finally convinced my wife to look at Great Danes. From an ad in the local free paper we identified a kennel in west wales dealing in GD's. They were very understanding of my wifes apprehension about having such a big dog and arranged for us to meet someone who lives near to us who is now on his 5th GD. The meeting went very well and we eventually ended up at the kennel. Bob was born in August and we were able to visit him and his brothers and sisters when they were just one week old - at that time they were like so many rats, fit neatly into the palm of my hand, try to suckle on my finger. A magic experience. Bob joined us at 10 weeks old and seems to be bigger every day. A real character, he has slotted in with our family from the start. To watch our 6 year old (now much smaller than Bob) wrestle with him - and win - convinces me that these are family dogs. There have been downs as well as ups. During his teething he ate the kitchen door! But my wife from being scared of dogs has now convinced herself she wants another one! The other downside are all the cracks about - you can ride him (he does not enjoy it) - I bet he costs a lot to feed (under £1 a day). It is a shame people can't be more original.