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Breed profile: Great dane

People always ask if my mutt is part great dane. I was at a dog show in Fargo last weekend and saw black great danes that looked exactly like a large version of my mutt, and now I’m convinced he is part dane. It explains his smooth, shiny coat and long legs.

Although klutz is probably a more accurate description, I always hear danes referred to as gentle giants. And these dogs really are sweethearts. They are big dogs with big hearts.

The AKC recognizes the great dane in the following colors: brindle, black-masked fawn, blue (solid gray), black, harlequin (white with random black patches) or mantle (black with white collar, muzzle, chest and tail tip), although there are other color combinations such as the blue merle great dane (below). Great danes were used in the fourteenth century to hunt big game in Germany, according to the Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds by D. Caroline Coile. They are anywhere from 110-180 pounds.

Blue merle great dane Piper sleeping on the kitchen floor

Advantages to owning a great dane:

1. Great danes have a very mellow personality. They don’t need a ton of exercise.

2. They are generally gentle around kids and other animals.

3. No one is going to mess with you and your 150-pound, huge-ass dog.

4. Their short coats are very easy to maintain. They shed, but they don’t require much brushing.

5. Great danes are beautiful dogs, tall and sleek, and always causing heads to turn.

Disadvantages to owning a great dane:

1. Um, their size. You have to think twice about everything with a dane, from how you are going to fit it in your vehicle, your house, how much food it will eat, the big kennel you will need, etc. Many landlords will not allow a giant breed.

2. They draw unwanted attention. Everyone on the street has to comment on how big your dog is. Everyone wants to touch it. And then there are also kids and adults who are scared of such a big dog.

3. Although danes are not high-energy dogs, they require extra training just because of their power. In my opinion, they are not the smartest breed or the easiest to train.

4. Great danes rarely live past 8 years old.

5. Health issues common with the great dane include gastic torsion, heart failure and bone caner, according to Coile.

Through knowing and reading about danes, I am beginning to become more of a fan of this breed, especially if there’s a possibility my mutt has some dane in him. What do you think? Is Ace part dane or not?

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