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Great Dane Facts

Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 7-10 years
Breed Group: Working
Coat Type: Short and thick
Coat Colours: Various Colours including fawn, brindle, blue, and more
Temperament: Gentle, Friendly, Dependable
Height: 71-76 cm (28-30 inches)
Weight: 54-90 kg (120-200 lbs)


The Great Dane, a magnificent purebred dog hailing from the Working category, stands as a testament to courage and gentleness in the world of canines. These friendly giants are known for their patient and affectionate nature, making them excellent family companions. However, their imposing size means they quickly outgrow any lapdog aspirations, opting instead to lean against your leg or share the couch.

In return for your commitment and love, the spirited and loving Great Dane promises unwavering loyalty and a willingness to socialize with other dogs and animals. This breed thrives in an active lifestyle, relishing daily walks and full participation in family activities.

A Brief History

Originating in Germany, the Great Dane, or Deutsche Dogge in German, has a history as impressive as its stature. Despite its name, the breed’s roots can be traced back to ancient Greece and Egypt, where depictions of similar dogs were found on relics and artefacts. It wasn’t until the 16th century in Europe that the breed began to take the form we recognize today.

Ancestral Origins

The Great Dane’s heritage is a fascinating tale that weaves together various breeds and civilizations. Its ancestors include crossbreeds between British mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds. These dogs made their way into Europe alongside the Romans and were further refined by the hunting aristocracy of Germany.

The Zoological Museum at the University of Copenhagen holds canine skeletons dating from the 4th century BC to 1000 AD, offering glimpses into the history of large hunting dogs. Additionally, ancient Greek frescoes from the 13th century BC depict a strikingly similar dog to today’s Great Dane.

Development in Germany

The Great Dane, as we know it, took shape during the 15th and 16th centuries in Germany. This period coincided with the abundance of game in the German forests, including bears, deer, and wild boar. As hunting wild boar gained favour among the nobility, they actively bred and maintained large dogs specifically tailored for this purpose.

These dogs, known as “boarhounds,” were meticulously bred for their endurance, strength, and formidable size. Even as the forests diminished, and game populations dwindled, the German aristocracy continued to hold the Great Dane in high regard.

During the height of hunting season, the Great Dane was a beloved companion of kings, princes, and lords. When not engaged in hunting, these regal dogs had a unique role – guarding the bedchambers of nobles to protect them from potential assassins. Dressed in royal, gilded collars, they were aptly named “Kammerhunde,” which translates to “chamber dogs.”

Spread Across Europe

Great Danes found favour not only in Germany but also among nobility in other European countries during the 16th century. These large, long-legged hunting dogs were imported from England with the primary purpose of seizing and holding bears or boars until the hunters arrived to dispatch them.

These dogs made their way to Ireland through trade and migration, where they left an indelible mark.

Emergence as the Great Dane

Great Danes made their debut at the inaugural German dog show in 1883, and shortly thereafter, they found their way to the United States. In English-speaking nations, the breed was initially referred to as the “German Boarhound.” However, due to rising tensions between Germany and other countries, the “German” prefix was dropped in favor of “Great Dane.”

Recognition by Kennel Clubs

The Great Dane gained recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1887 and the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1923. Through the centuries, these courageous and friendly giants have retained their gentle temperament, endearing themselves to dog enthusiasts around the world.

Great Dane: Did You Know?

  • Also known as “Deutsche Dogge” and “German Mastiff.”
  • Revered as the “Gentle Giant” for their gentle nature.
  • The tallest living dog title consistently goes to Great Danes.
  • The Guinness World Record holder was “Zeus,” measuring 44 inches (112 cm) at the shoulder.
  • In Pennsylvania, a Great Dane named “Snowy” gave birth to an astonishing 19 pups, twice the average.
  • Famous Great Danes include Scooby-Doo, Astro from the Jetsons, and Marmaduke from a famous comic strip.
  • “Giant George” weighed a staggering 245 pounds (111 kg) and held two Guinness Book World records.

Great Dane Puppies

Great Dane puppies are undeniably adorable, with their floppy ears and endearing expressions. If you’re considering adding one of these gentle giants to your family, it’s essential to understand their needs from an early age.

When bringing up Great Dane puppies in Ireland, it’s important to ensure they have enough space to move around. Counties like Kerry, Galway, and Cork, known for their picturesque countryside, provide the ideal environment for these large dogs to grow and thrive.

Great Danes are known for their rapid growth rate. In just a matter of months, they transform from tiny, clumsy puppies into towering giants. Be prepared to provide them with nutritious meals, regular exercise, and ample socialization to ensure they develop into well-rounded adults.

Size and Weight

The Great Dane’s most prominent feature is its colossal size.

Height and Weight

Great Danes typically stand between 76 to 86 cm (30 to 34 inches) at the shoulder and can weigh anywhere from 54 to 91 kg (120 to 200 lbs). Their impressive stature can be both a source of awe and a practical consideration when providing them with living space and transportation, especially in Ireland’s diverse landscapes.

Great Danes in Irish Counties

When it comes to accommodating Great Danes, Irish counties offer a variety of living conditions. For example, in Dublin, where urban living prevails, having a Great Dane may require spacious apartments and nearby parks for exercise. In contrast, counties like Clare and Donegal, with their wide-open spaces and rural charm, are more suitable for these giant canines.

Coat & Colors

Great Danes boast a short, smooth coat that is easy to maintain. Despite their grand appearance, their grooming needs are relatively straightforward.

Coat Characteristics

Their coat is sleek and lies flat against their bodies, making it easy to care for and clean. Regular brushing helps remove loose hair and keeps their coat in good condition.

Colour Variations

Great Danes come in various striking colours, including:

  • Fawn
  • Brindle
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Harlequin

These colour variations add to their visual appeal and make each Great Dane unique.


Fawn is amongst the most prevalent colours in Great Danes. It spans from a light, pale yellow to a deep, rich golden hue. Fawn Great Danes may exhibit a black mask on their face, creating a striking contrast against their coat.


Brindle Great Danes feature a base colour of fawn or yellow, adorned with dark, vertical stripes traversing their body. These stripes can appear in black, brown, or a mix of both, with variations in intensity, resulting in a distinctive and eye-catching appearance.


Black Great Danes boast a sleek and solid black coat without any markings, lending an elegant touch to their majestic stature.


Blue Great Danes showcase a dilute black coat, bestowing upon them a bluish-grey hue. This colour variation arises from a dilution gene affecting the black pigmentation. The shades of blue can range from a light steel grey to a deeper slate blue.


Mantle Great Danes sport a captivating black and white coat pattern. Their predominantly black bodies feature white markings on the chest, neck, legs, and the tip of the tail, reminiscent of a mantle or cape.


Harlequin Great Danes flaunt a white base coat adorned with irregular black patches. These patches are typically well-distributed and create a striking contrast against the white backdrop. Harlequin patterns can vary in size and shape, resulting in a unique and attention-grabbing appearance.


Merle Great Danes exhibit a marbled coat pattern marked by patches of darker colours (black or grey) on a lighter base colour. This distinctive pattern creates a mottled or speckled effect, with variations in patch size and distribution. Merle Great Danes often display intricate and stunning coat patterns.


Gentle Giants with Loving Hearts

The Great Dane’s imposing size might lead some to believe they are fierce and intimidating, but in reality, they are one of the gentlest and most affectionate breeds.

Temperament in Ireland

In the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of Ireland, Great Danes fit right in. Their friendly disposition and sociable nature make them excellent companions for families and individuals alike. Whether you live in the bustling city of Dublin or the tranquil countryside of Waterford, a Great Dane can be your loyal and loving friend.

Spacious Living

Irish counties like Cork, known for their vast countryside, or Wicklow with its beautiful landscapes, provide the ideal backdrop for your Great Dane’s home. These regions offer the space these dogs need to move freely and comfortably.

Daily Exercise

A fully grown Great Dane requires daily exercise to maintain a happy disposition and a healthy weight. In Ireland, where you can enjoy the lush greenery of Galway or the rugged terrain of Donegal, taking your Dane for at least three good walks of 30 minutes to an hour each day becomes a delightful adventure.

Mental and Physical Stimulation

The Irish landscape, from the scenic shores of Kerry to the historical sites of Meath, provides the perfect backdrop for both mental and physical stimulation. Disciplined walks through these enchanting locales, combined with play and exercise, will keep your Great Dane content and fulfilled.

An Active Lifestyle

To ensure their happiness and balance, Great Danes thrive when they are actively involved in their family’s activities. In Ireland’s vibrant communities, taking them everywhere with you not only enhances their socialization but also exercises their intelligent minds.

Avoiding Boredom

Leaving your loving and affectionate Great Dane alone for extended periods can be challenging for them. In the tranquil surroundings of Waterford or the bustling city life of Dublin, a lonely Great Dane may resort to destructive behaviour or excessive barking and howling as a way to cope with boredom.

Living with a Great Dane in Ireland

The Great Dane, being a magnificent and sizeable breed, thrives best in larger living spaces with access to a backyard. In Ireland, where counties offer diverse living conditions, it’s essential to provide them with an environment suitable for their needs.

Pros of Great Dane Ownership

  • Loyal, Intelligent, and Loving: Great Danes are known for their unwavering loyalty, intelligence, and affectionate nature.
  • Easy-Going and Mild-Mannered: These gentle giants have an easy-going and mild-mannered temperament, making them excellent family companions.
  • Low-Maintenance Coat: Their short coat is easy to care for, requiring minimal grooming.
  • Good with Children and Seniors: Great Danes are generally good with children and seniors, making them versatile family pets.
  • Moderate Exercise Requirements: Daily walks and playtime are usually sufficient to meet their exercise needs.
  • Sociable and Good with Other Pets: When properly socialized, Great Danes tend to get along well with other dogs and pets.
  • Important Consideration for First-Time Owners: It’s worth noting that Great Danes may not be the best choice for first-time dog owners due to their size and specific care requirements.

Cons of Great Dane Ownership

  • Space Requirements: Great Danes need a significant amount of space to move comfortably.
  • Gas, Drool, and Slobber: They are known for being gassy and prone to drooling and slobbering, which may not suit everyone.
  • Shedding: Great Danes shed and may not be suitable for individuals with allergies.
  • Strong-Willed: These dogs can be strong-willed and require consistent training.
  • High Food Costs: Due to their size, Great Danes have substantial food bills.
  • Escape Artist Tendencies: Some Great Danes exhibit escape artist tendencies and need secure enclosures.
  • Separation Anxiety: They become anxious and destructive if left alone for long periods.
  • Health Concerns: Great Danes are prone to various health problems and have a relatively short lifespan.
  • Need for Experienced Owners: Owning a giant breed like the Great Dane requires an experienced owner who can provide proper training and care.

Great Dane for Sale Ireland

Finding Your Perfect Great Dane Companion

If you’ve fallen in love with the idea of having a Great Dane as a part of your Irish household, you’re in luck. Our classified ads offer opportunities to find your perfect furry friend.

Tips for Buying a Great Dane in Ireland

  1. Research: Start by researching reputable breeders or rescue organizations in your area.
  2. Meet the Breeder: Arrange to meet the breeder in person, and ensure they follow ethical breeding practices and prioritize the well-being of their dogs.
  3. Health Screening: Ask for health certificates and inquire about any genetic health issues that may affect the breed.
  4. Visit the Puppy: Spend time with the puppy before making a decision. Ensure it’s a good fit for your family and lifestyle.
  5. Prepare Your Home: Before bringing your Great Dane home, make sure you have the necessary supplies, such as a large dog bed, food bowls, and toys.

By following these steps and exploring classified ads across Irish counties, you’ll be well on your way to finding your perfect Great Dane companion.