There is a regal quality to the Great Dane. Not only are they large in stature, but they have a stoic look that gives them an air of sophistication. While Great Danes are known mostly for their size, there is much more to learn about this awesome animal. They are a wonderful companion and so is the Blue Great Dane, an offshoot of the Great Dane. Every bit as regal, the Blue Great Dane maintains its puppy looks a little longer. This isn’t a commonly known dog, but we are up to the tall task of telling you all about them!
History of the Blue Great Dane
While many people believe that Great Danes are from Denmark, that is not the case. This breed is rumored to have originated in Egyptian times. Early hieroglyphics seem to show them as hunting dogs and dogs used for protection, though the depictions are unclear.
More conclusive evidence of their origin points to Germany, where this dog was considered a god among dogs. Only owned by royals, the Great Dane was specifically bred to live in the lap of luxury. In the late 1600s, they were donned with golden collars and velvet jackets, their only job being to look as fabulous as possible. Back then, they were known as the Kammerhunde, which directly translates to “Chamber Hound.”
So, where does the name come from? Part of this breed actually did originate in Denmark. A traveler going through Denmark saw a Great Dane and, thinking it was a Greyhound, commented that the Danish climate “must’ve really gotten to the dogs!” He nicknamed the breed, the Grand Danois, though they were more commonly referred to as Danish Mastiffs from then on.
This irked Germany enough that they attempted to reclaim the breed for themselves in the 1880s, starting a campaign to name the dog, the Deutsche Dogge. They also accepted the German Mastiff. The breed is still known as that today, but in most English-speaking countries, it is still referred to as the Great Dane.
Call them whatever you want, they are now known as wonderful family pets and guard dogs with a sixth sense. This is a breed that loves to lounge on the couch and is great with children, but the moment that danger is posed to their loved ones, they spring into action. Great Danes have received negative press at times because of their ability to protect those they love, but breeders and owners alike marvel at the ability of this breed to sniff out danger and stop it — they are not the type to randomly attack anyone.
They are, however, the type to think that they can somehow ball up perfectly in your lap, even though they are twice your size!
The first and most obvious thing that people notice about the Great Dane is how tall they are! Even standing on all four legs, this dog can easily be over three feet tall. Keep in mind that they like to greet their owner at the door by jumping on them! As such, training to make sure they don’t do that is encouraged.
Their faces look old and large — or rather, they look wise. Their jowls are floppy, but not sloppy, and while their eyes droop a bit, they don’t look tired. Some Great Danes have perky ears that stick straight up (clipped* or not), while others have ears that adorably flop down. One of the reasons this dog is so impressive in size is that it is proportional all the way through. Everything about this dog is just big.
As for the Blue Great Dane, it generally has floppy ears and looks a bit softer than standard Great Danes. The term “blue” comes from their pure silver coat. This happens when both parents have the recessive “blue” gene. You can mate two Blue Great Danes a million times and never get another, or you can mate two regular Great Danes and get a litter of Blues. It’s completely random. Regardless, Blue Great Danes go for a pretty penny.
With a short coat of hair, they require little maintenance and grooming, but you’ll probably want to bathe them regularly, and they will be more than thrilled to get a good thorough coat massage every now and again.
While famous for their size, Great Danes have famous personalities as well. Called “gentle giants,” Great Danes have endeared themselves to families for centuries. They can be playful, but not overly so. They are wonderful with children, especially when raised together. They are also amazing at adapting to other pets and have a high frustration threshold for younger pups or cats.
The Great Dane has an average amount of energy and needs to be played with a good amount, but they aren’t hyperactive. Great Danes typically prefer a casual stroll to a game of catch but are fine with either. Great Danes also love playing with other dogs and are surprisingly aware of their own size in relation to those they are playing with.
One thing many people don’t know is that Great Danes are amazing protectors. Once they become loyal to you and your family, you have a guard dog who is hard to match. Great Danes can be vicious toward those threatening the ones they love. This is not a breed that has ever been known for random attacks. Great Danes possess what many call a sixth sense. They can tell if a person is good or bad, and they can also sense danger. It is truly an uncanny ability.
While Great Danes are good at being aware of their size around other dogs, they might want to sit on your lap like the puppy they feel that they are. This is an easy-to-train breed that can be stubborn at times.
Health Care and Common Health Issues
It is a common misconception that Blue Great Danes are more at risk for skin disease than other Great Danes. However, because of their size, they are susceptible to the common health issues of bigger dogs. Hip dysplasia is one such issue, so you will want to make a plan with your to keep your Great Dane healthy for as long as possible. Another issue related to size is hypertrophic osteodystrophy, which is hard to regulate and detect because the beginnings of it can happen during the rapid puppy growth phase.
Your Great Dane is also at risk of gastric torsion, or bloat. If this happens to your beloved pup, it can no doubt happen again, so it is best to take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect that this is happening. There are many things that could signal that your Dane is suffering from this, and while it might seem overwhelming and scary, the best resource you have is knowledge, so look out for changes in behavior, attempts to go to the bathroom that fail, or changes in eating habits. Even if you feel like you are being paranoid, it is always best to have your dog looked at by your vet.
Another issue that Great Danes can have is tricuspid valve disease, where the left side of their heart stops functioning as it should. If your dog seems fatigued, has a hard time breathing, or just isn’t acting themselves, you should have them checked for this.
Great Danes are also prone to dental disease, so you will need to brush their teeth at least once every day. On the bright side, this could make for awesome photo ops!
Despite all this, there are many ways to keep your dog in great health! A great diet and regular vet visits can go a long way. Let’s look at diet first.
When your Great Dane is a puppy growing into an adult, they eat like nobody’s business — and they need to because they go from 2 lb. to 120 lb. in one year! Don’t worry, though, their appetite will slow down as they grow into adults. Great Danes need roughly 3,000 calories a day in protein-rich foods. Most vets recommend that food for a Dane should have up to five quality proteins in it (human-grade meats).
Since bloat is such an issue with Great Danes (the number-one cause of death), a grain-free diet is recommended by many vets. Some Greats have stomach sensitivities, so you will want to confer with your vet on this matter too.
Fun Facts About Blue Great Danes!
- The recessive “Blue” gene is actually just a discoloring of a black Great Dane’s fur.
- Blue Great Danes and Great Danes both get separation anxiety. Just because they are big doesn’t mean that they don’t miss cuddling you!
- The Great Dane isn’t Danish at all.
- Great Danes should be trained as puppies, as once they are older, they are set in their ways.
*The clipping of a dog’s ears or tail is falling out of popularity because people are realizing how inhumane it is. Done in the guise of preventing infection, this practice has been used for dog shows for some time but is hopefully going to be eliminated.
Feature Image Credit: Wikipedia