Great Dane adult in black and white

Great Dane

Great Danes combine pride, power and poise in one package.

About the Great Dane

With their harmonious build and expressive face, Great Danes are gentle giants. Great Danes are happy, loving and fond of their human companions, particularly children, although they are wary of strangers.

A self-assured, calm and receptive Great Dane is a highly tolerant family dog with little in the way of aggression.

Source: key facts and characteristics sourced from Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)

Breed specifics

FCI Group 2, AKC Working Group
Size category
Very large
Avg life expectancy
8–10 years

Friendly / Loving / Loyal / Reserved / Confident / Resilient / Calm / Even-tempered

Key facts

  • Makes a great family dog
  • Needs moderate training
  • Makes a great guard dog
Breed origins illustration

Origins of the breed

The first Great Dane standard was published in 1880, on the occasion of a show in Berlin. A breed club was established in 1888, which has tweaked the standard a number of times.

By the mid 18th century there was a profusion of different varieties with names including Ulmer Dogge, English Dogge, German Dogge, Hatzrüde, Saupacker and Grosse Dogge, which were very similar dogs of different coat colours and sizes. In 1878, a committee of seven judges and breeders, under the presidency of Dr Bodinus, met in Berlin to classify all of these varieties under the name Deutsche Dogge in their own language, which rather confusingly becomes Great Dane in English.