The Great Dane: The World’s Largest Lapdog

Breed History

Contrary to his name, the Great Dane actually originated in Germany! The Great Dane is believed to be descended from the Irish Wolfhound, the Mastiff and the Greyhound, as he was bred to hunt boar and guard estates. In the last couple of centuries, breeders have opted to keep the size and focus on calmer and sweeter temperaments. That’s why the modern-day Great Dane has the nickname, “The World’s Largest Lapdog.”

As a result, this breed became well loved early on and was officially recognized by the AKC in 1887. He is now the 14th most popular purebred dog in the United States!

Large Stature, Big Heart

The most distinctive trait of the Great Dane is his size. These gentle giants can measure up to 34 inches tall and weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. They were initially bred to be hunting dogs, and while they still have that size and speed, you’re more likely to find them next to their owners on the couch.

That said, the Great Dane still needs to exercise and use his strength daily. These large dogs may not easily fit into an apartment, so it’s important to make sure you have a large, fenced yard where your Dane can run around and stretch his legs.

Health Concerns

As lovable as Great Danes are, they can be prone to health issues and generally live for 8 to 10 years. One particularly heartbreaking health issue in Great Danes is bloat. Bloat is a condition that can sometimes result from a full stomach and heavy exercise. Like all dogs, a Great Dane’s stomach is not attached to the rib cage, so when it’s full, it can move more freely. Bloat occurs when the stomach flips and blocks the gastrointestinal tract. It’s very important for Great Danes to rest after mealtime. Talk to your vet about specific feeding recommendations. You can also look for a food that provides all the energy Great Danes need in a smaller portion size to help prevent overloading the stomach.

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