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Great Dane Dog Breed Origin and History

Despite its name, the Great Dane originates from Germany rather than Denmark although its ancestors span thousands of years and many countries and regions. Large dogs resembling the Great Dane dog have been depicted in art from Egypt, China, Rome and Greece perhaps as far back as 3000 BC. The origin of the Great Dane dog breed we recognize today comes to us from Germany at least 400 years ago.

The origin of the Great Dane was probably developed from a cross of the Irish Wolfhound and the English Mastiff among others and the dog breed continues to be a member of the mastiff group. The English name for the breed, Great Dane, comes to us from the translation of the French name for the breed, grand Danois which means big Danish.

The origin of the Great Dane dog indicates that the breed was used to hunt wild boar and other large game in Germany and throughout Europe and this early ancestor was first called a Boar Hound. Gradually the Great Dane became popular as more than a hunting dog throughout the 1800s in Germany.

The aristocracy and other well-to-do dog fanciers began to own the dogs as a novelty and kept them within their houses and estates. The Great Dane began to be used as a show dog by the end of the 1800s although it continued to be used as a hunting dog as well.

Great Dane Breed History Following the Great Dane dog breed’s rise in popularity in Germany in the mid-1800s, the breed also began to be standardized and breeders made efforts to adopt an official description of the Great Dane dog breed. Standards were officially adopted in 1891 by the Great Dane Club of Germany. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Great Dane in 1887 in the working dog group.

A club devoted to the Great Dane dog breed was formed in 1889 and officially became the Great Dane Club of America in 1891. The Great Dane dog continues to be a popular breed despite the dogs’ large size where males can weigh up to 200lbs and ownership can be a challenge.

According to the statistics released by the American Kennel Club recently, the Great Dane breed is in the top 25 most popular dog breeds in the United States and is easily one of the most recognizable and attention grabbing dogs you’ll find.

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