10 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Great Danes


If you see one of these gentle giants, it’s hard to resist giving him a pat (carefully and with the owner’s permission, of course!). A Great Dane’s size and friendliness make him a fun companion, but there are a few downfalls to owning one of these colossal canines (at no fault of their own).

Want to learn more about these majestic creatures? Here are 10 fun facts that you may not have known before!

1. Great Danes aren’t actually Danish.

It’s unclear why these dogs of German origin have a name that suggests they’re from Denmark! However, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), “The Great Dane’s name is the English translation of the breed name in French: Grand Danois, meaning ‘Big Danish.'”

Related: 10 Products Only a Crazy Dane Person Would Wear

2. They were first bred to hunt and guard.

The breed was developed to be huge so that they could hunt large prey, guard their master’s property, and even fight in wars, according to Animal Planet. Today’s versions have been bred to be calm and friendly companions, unlike their feisty ancestors.

3. They are known to be large lap dogs.

These affectionate pups love lounging with their humans, leaning against their legs and even sitting in their laps!

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4. Scooby Doo is a Great Dane.

True to the “large lap dog” stereotype, this may explain why Scooby would jump into Shaggy’s arms every time he got scared!

A photo posted by Aaron Ellsworth (@aaronellsworth30) on Aug 19, 2016 at 12:48pm PDT

5. While they’re known for their huge height, statistically they’re not the tallest breed.

On average, Irish Wolfhounds tend to be taller than Great Danes, according to Animal Planet.

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6. However, the tallest dog ever was a Great Dane.

Zeus was a whopping  44 inches tall standing on all fours, or 7 feet, 4 inches when on his hind legs.

Watch Zeus in action:

Unfortunately, Zeus passed away at the age of 5 from “symptoms of old age,” brought on prematurely by his massive size, according to Guinness World Records.

7. Despite their size and silly demeanor, Great Danes are quite graceful.

Their strong profiles and square heads make them look confident and regal. Plus, their proportionally long limbs allow them to move gracefully, not clumsily, according to Animal Planet.

A photo posted by Jenny Grinwis (@jennygrinwis) on Aug 20, 2016 at 12:00pm PDT

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8. Although they love being lazy, they also need room to exercise and sprawl! 

One can imagine that Great Danes aren’t optimal for small apartment living! Although they’re calm, these  “working breed” dogs do need their fair share of exercise, and of course, room to stretch!

9. The Great Danes’ biggest downfall is their short life expectancy. 

Dog lovers know that when you adopt a furry friend, eventually, your heart will be broken when it’s time to say good-bye. And for Great Dane owners, the heartbreak may come sooner compared to other breeds. According to Animal Planet, the life expectancy of one of these huge pups is about 7.5 years.

Additionally, they are very prone to bloat, a potentially deadly stomach condition. “It’s the number one reason why a Great Dane dies,” explains Dr. Karen Halligan, Chief Veterinarian at SPCALA, on Animal Planet.

A photo posted by Mark Burrell (@markburrell52) on Aug 20, 2016 at 11:28am PDT


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10. But generally, they make great family dogs.

Described by the AKC as “dependable, friendly, and patient,” these pups tend to be fairly easy to train and good with kids. (However, it must be said that children should always be monitored around any dog, especially ones of this size.)

For Great Dane fans, the joys of living with these gentle giants are worth the likelihood of them having a shorter life span. With their huge stature and overwhelming affection, this is a breed that is certainly unlike the rest!

Watch “Dogs 101: Great Dane” by Animal Planet:


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