Description & History

The Great Dane is German in origin (not Danish) and is known in its home country as "Deutsche Dogge" (German Hound) or German Mastiff.

It is thought by experts that the precursors of the present day dogs were brought to Germany by the Roman legions.

During the Middle Ages, royalty and aristocracy from Germany and other European countries used these fine muscular and athletic animals for hunting stag and wild boar. Consequently the breed was also called the German Boarhound. Today's Great Danes are more refined and graceful than their ancestors. This is due to German breeders having developed the breed in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

A number of people of note have owned this intelligent breed. The German Chancellor Prince Bismarck owned a Great Dane called Tyras, which is said to have been his constant companion. In the 193O's the late Duke of Kent was the owner of a dog named Midas, which won the appropriate number of Challenge Certificates under Kennel Club rules to make him a champion. Midas was the first dog belonging to a member of the British royal family to reach championship status since the time Queen Alexandra successfully showed a number of her dogs.

In 1883 the Great Dane Club was founded in England and a year later the breed was recognised by the British Kennel Club.

Rosamund Walters.

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