History And The Origin Of The Great Dane

This wonderful canine has been around for a long, long time. There are drawings that resemble the Great Dane in great detail on ancient Egyptian drawings. There are also a number of mentions about huge mastiff-type dogs in the Greek history, ancient China as well as Roman times.

Looking at the chain of events it looks like these dogs originate either from the highlands in Tibet or from the Assyrians. It could be that the Great Dane reached the other corners of the world when they were traded by the Assyrians to the Romans and Greeks. The Romans in turn bred these dogs with the English Mastiff and hence, the Great Dane has the characteristics of both dog breeds.

The German Bloodline

Some naturalists are of the opinions that the Great Dane has also the bloodline of the Irish Greyhound since these Roman dogs were taken to Ireland during the 17th century where they were mixed with the Irish wolfhound. It seems that around the 1680 there is mention of these dogs in Germany where they were called Kammenhunde or Chamber Dogs.

The name of the Great Dane was almost stumbled upon by a remark of the French naturalist, Comte de Buffon, who commented on this breed during one his travels through Denmark. He observed that these dogs were thinner in this country and remarked that the conditions of Denmark had made these dogs “Grand Danois” after which the name of the Great Danish Dog stuck. This is how these dogs are called ‘Great Danes’ even though they have nothing to do with Denmark.

As mentioned a little earlier, these dogs were one of the most pampered species in Germany in the late 16th century. They had imported the English Boar Hounds (where they were used to help in hunting) until the end of the 18th century and developed the breed that we see today, which is quite different from the original English Mastiff. The Germans named this breed of dogs Deustche Dogge or German Dog and in the 1880s, the Deutsche Doggen Club was founded. The name was accepted widely in parts of Europe. In Italy, this dog is still known as Alano (Mastiff) while in England and US the dog kept its old name as the Great Dane.

Hence, the ancestry of this wonderful giant dog is quite mixed spanning over hundreds of years and many continents. It seems the Great Dane has come through a series of breeding, each improving the line and developing the breed to the present standard. The last addition, i.e. of the German ancestry, when it was used as indoor pets or Chamber Dog, has thrown a great deal of influence on Great Dane temperament as we see it today.

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