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Known to be the mighty “Apollo of Dogs,” Great Danes tower over most other breeds – a picture of elegance and balance. Alert home guardians, these breeds are also considered gentle giants, a total joy to live with yet a commitment not to be taken for granted.
See the fact file below for more information on the Great Dane or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Great Dane worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- As early as 3000 BC, drawings of dogs that look like Great Danes were seen in Egyptian monuments. These dogs used to be Boar Hounds that hunt and protect settlers of the early civilizations.
- In the 16th century, most German noblemen imported strong, long-legged dogs from England, which were descendants of crosses between English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds. They were named “Englische Docke or Englische Dogge” which simply means “English Dogges,” acting as catch dogs, together with other hunting dogs, to hold captive bears or boars.
- Since the emergence of firearms, hunting practices changed and most of the dogs used for hunting disappeared. The English Dogges declined in popularity and turned into only a dog of hobby or luxury. Germans named them Kammerhunde, meaning Chamber Dog. Only those of royalty and wealth owned the original Danes, spoiling them with gilded collars trimmed with fringe and covered with velvet.
- A traveller named Buffon noticed slimmer varieties of the Boar Hound, with great resemblance to the Greyhounds. He believed that the Danish climate resulted in the Greyhound becoming a Grand Danois, thus coining the name Great Danish Dog. Larger Danes were known as Danish Mastiffs.
- Since then, the name Great Dane originated in Denmark but had absolutely nothing to do with the development of the breed.
- These dogs vary in size based on breeding. Ideally, males should be approximately 30-32 inches in height and 140-175 pounds, and females should be 28-30 inches at the shoulders and 110-140 pounds.
- Great Danes have rectangular, long, and finely chiseled heads, with foreheads that strongly set off from its sharply pronounced stop.The masculinity of male Danes is very evident in the head structure.
- Females, on the other hand, are more elegantly formed.
- Their medium-sized ears are high set, folded forward close to the cheek. Cropping of ears on a Dane is permitted and is usually done when puppies are approximately 8 weeks old.
- They have well-curved and firm necks, with deep and broad chests and tightly muscled bodies. They have long, powerful, and well-angulated forequarters and hindquarters, round and compact feet, with short and dark nails.
- Danes have smooth and glossy short coats, which vary in six standard colors: brindle (black mask with a base color of yellow gold covered with black strips in a chevron pattern), fawn (just like brindle but without the black strips), blue (pure steel blue coat), black (glossy black coat), harlequin (white base coat with black torn patches), and mantle (black head with white muzzle, black and white with a solid black blanket covering the body).
- Other colors include: merle (black, white, and gray), fawnequin (harlequin with brown patches), merlequin (harlequin with black, white, and gray patches), and white (solid white and are prone to sunburn, often blind or deaf).
TEMPERAMENT AND GROWTH
- Known to be amiable, Great Danes are generally protective when needed. They are sweet breeds that love companionship and seek physical affection from their owners, thus often referred to as “gentle giants.” They love to lounge around, especially sitting on the sofa while their owners are busy watching television.
- They adore children very much, so it is important for owners to teach them how to be gentle around small kids. Their wagging tails can easily knock over a toddler – supervision is advised.
- They naturally get along well with other dogs and non-canine pets.
- Danes do not possess too much aggressiveness or a high prey drive.
- Their growth patterns differ from other dogs, as each Great Dane has its own unique development, which are affected by a number of factors such as neutering and feeding habits.
- Great Danes undergo a four-staged process. Each dog enters a phase marked with continuous gain in stature. Some hit fast growth spurts at 3 to 5 months of age, while others have to wait 11 months to experience prompt growth.
HEALTH AND CARE
- Bloat. Also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus, this condition is the number-one cause of Great Dane deaths. This involves gas buildup and twisting of the stomach, a common health problem of giant-breed dogs. To prevent this, owners should feed them two or three small deals a day instead of one full meal, and allow Danes to rest for at least an hour after taking meals.
- Cardiomyopathy. A condition where in muscles contract, causing an enlarged heart. Owners should get their Danes checked at least once a year, and have any murmurs or similar symptoms examined by the veterinarian.
- Cancer. This is another leading cause of death, especially bone cancer. Danes are susceptible to a number of skeletal, vision, and major and minor neurological problems.
- Hypothyroidism. Underactive thyroid glands that are believed to cause epilepsy, hair loss, obesity, lethargy, dark patches on the skin, and other skin disorders.
- Hip dysplasia. An abnormality in the hip socket, causing crippling lameness and painful joint inflammation, such as arthritis.
- Danes are expected to live for about 8 to 10 years.
- As big dogs, they need daily moderate exercise, which can include a good walk or romp.
- The iconic Scooby-Doo character, designed by Iwao Takamoto, is a Great Dane. The animation designer based his design from the sketches of an employee of the American animation studio Hanna-Barbera, who bred Danes.
- In Walter Lantz’ animated series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a Great Dane named Elmer was featured.
- A Great Dane named Marmaduke also starred in Brad Anderson’s comic strip.
- In 1965, it was named the state dog of Pennsylvania.
- Before coming up with a Hawkeye mascot, the University of Iowa had been represented by two Great Danes, Rex I and Rex II.
- The University at Albany’s nickname is the “Great Danes,” thus having a Great Dane mascot.
Great Dane Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Great Dane across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Great Dane worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Great Danes which tower over most other breeds – a picture of elegance and balance. Alert home guardians, these breeds are also considered gentle giants, a total joy to live with yet a commitment not to be taken for granted.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Great Dane Facts
- Apollo of Dogs
- Breed Standards
- Great Dane Colors
- Growing Up a Great Dane
- Big Facts
- Great Dane Check
- Other Big Dogs
- Pros and Cons of a Dane
- Taking Care of a Gentle Giant
- Scooby Dooby Doo
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Link will appear as Great Dane Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 16, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.