If you’re looking for a big, intelligent dog that’s a good guard dog, consider the Great Dane. This giant, slender dog – also known as the German Mastiff – is thought to be a German cross between a mastiff type dog and a greyhound. The Great Dane has been used for hunting since the 16th century.
This is a very large, strong and muscular breed. Adult Great Danes stand at least 76 cm at the withers and weigh about 54 kg (71 cm and 46 kg for females).
While large in size (and some people would suggest they are as big as a small horse!), its slim, streamlined body gives the Great Dane a noble and gracious appearance. Great Danes have a short, smooth coat in any of the following colours: black, fawn, blue, brindle or harlequin.
A fast-growing dog, the Great Dane requires socialisation and a regular training regime from when it’s still a puppy. This is a smart and friendly dog that can show great loyalty to its family and their friends, but as a natural guard dog, will alert you if it detects strangers on its territory. Great Danes get along well with children and with other household pets, including other dogs.
The Great Dane enjoys exercise and loves to participate in family activities. However, too much exercise at a young age, when it is still growing, can actually harm this dog. Be aware that Great Danes require a lot of food, so they are not cheap to keep. Because of his size, apartment living would not be appropriate!
Known health problems include hip dysplasia, bloat, eye problems and issues with the joints and bones. Their average lifespan varies between 5 and 10 years or sometimes a few years more.