Males: at least 30 inches; Females: at least 28 inches
Hard and short. Brush occasionally. Tail hangs down; ears may be cropped or left to hang down.
Solid fawn with black muzzle, solid black, solid steel blue, brindle or harlequin (irregular white and black patches). Eyes are dark but somewhat lighter in black or blue Danes. Nose is black; nose is sometimes spotted in harlequins.
Great Danes live about 10 years.
Great Danes are quiet and clean, and they thrive on spending time with their owners. While some can do well in apartments, their sheer size makes them more suitable to a home with more room. A wagging tail will take its toll on small items around the house, so the home will need to be "Dane-proofed" and valuables placed out of reach. Calm and relaxed, Great Danes are happy to stretch out and take a nap when nothing interesting is going on in the house. A fenced yard is necessary to let them out to stretch their legs.
Great Danes can do well in activities like lure coursing, obedience and tracking. Caution should be taken with high-energy sports because these dogs tend to tire more quickly than smaller breeds and could be injured if not allowed to rest.
Oddly enough, for as large as he is, the Great Dane does not need a tremendous amount of exercise. He needs to stretch his legs of course, and a few brisk walks a day are a necessity and a pleasure. But he is calm and content indoors and is also happy simply following his family members around as they go about their daily lives.
Great Danes are big eaters and need ample high-quality, nourishing food to remain in good health.
The Great Dane can be a challenge to train. He's not exactly nimble, but he is very intelligent and obliging. He was bred to be an independent thinker, and holding his attention requires a creative repertoire of training tricks that include desirable rewards. Because of his protective instincts and large size, socializing the Dane as much as possible must start in puppyhood.
The Great Dane adores the company of children, although his desire to be close to people can lead to him leaning too closely against or sitting on a small child. He is generally well disposed to other dogs and other household pets, including cats.
The average life span of the Great Dane is 6 to 8 years. Health problems of the breed include bloat; cancer; cardiomyopathy; cataracts; hip dysplasia; hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD); hypothyroidism; panosteitis; and wobbler disease.
The short, thick coat of the Great Dane is easy to care for - although there's a lot of it! He's an average shedder and needs regular brushing or a going-over with a hound glove to loosen dead hair and stimulate the skin.
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