Great Dane

logo dac 2.png


The dog we know today as the Great Dane begins its history with "mastiff" type dogs depicted in sculptures, images and writings dating back to 3000 BC These dogs were used​​ as fierce hunters and feared as dogs of war, being highly valued for their strength, daring, and loyalty. As time passed, these dogs began to be selectively bred in several countries at the same time and were known by many names. In Germany, where they originally served as hunting dogs and guard dogs for baronial estates, they were called the “Deutsche Dogge” and became the national dog in 1870.

Only in 1879, these dogs of similar morphology were recognized and registered under the name “Deutsche Doggen”. This recognition, coordinated by Dr. Bodinus, was the cornerstone for the creation of an autonomous German dog breed. The first standard for the Great Dane was drawn up the following year, on the occasion of a dog show held in Berlin, which has since been in the care of the “Deutsche Doggen Club 1888 e. V.” (Club of the Great Dane 1888). A series of standards were being adopted and a more refined looking dog was being developed; in England, with crosses between these dogs and greyhounds. Meanwhile, in the mid-1800s, some fanciers in the United States began to import dogs, mainly from Germany. A special breed club was organized in 1889, which evolved into The Great Dane Club of America in 1891.

Today, the Great Dane performs a variety of roles. As companions, protectors, hunting or working dogs. The Great Dane's versatility, intelligence and adaptability have made it extremely popular, as well as its size, elegance, symmetry and posture result in the beautiful animal we call The Apollo of Dogs.



      The Great Dane combines, in its noble appearance, dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well-formed and smoothly muscular body. It is one of the giant working breeds, but it is the only one in that its overall conformation must be so well balanced that it never looks clumsy and must move with long reach and powerful momentum. A Great Dane must be witty, courageous, never shy; always friendly and reliable. This physical and mental combination is the trait that gives the Great Dane the majesty that no other breed possesses.

A Great Dane is always a unit - the Apollo of dogs - and the absence of the true type of the Great Dane as defined in this standard is the most serious fault. It is particularly true of this breed that there is an impression of great masculinity in males, and an impression of femininity in females. The male should be bulkier than the female, with a larger frame and heavier bone. Both a coarse appearance and a lack of substance are equally undesirable.

The Great Dane must be square, in proportion between length and height. In bitches, a slightly longer body is allowed, as long as she is well proportioned for her height. The male must not be less than 80 cm at the withers, the female must not be less than 72 cm at the withers. Dogs below the minimum height must be disqualified.



In harmony with the whole; elongated, narrow, striking, but not wedge-shaped; expressive, finely chiseled (particularly the region below the eyes). The distance from the nose of the truffle to the stop and from there to the slightly pronounced occipital bone should preferably be the same. The upper lines of the muzzle and skull should be parallel. Viewed from the front, the head should appear narrow, with the dorsal aspect of the nasal bridge (nasal bridge) as wide as possible.


Skull - Superciliary arches well developed, but not protruding.

Stop - Clearly defined.


Nose - Well developed, more broad than round and with well-opened nostrils. It should be black, with the exception of harlequin dane (black and white spotted dane), where a black truffle is desirable, but a pink truffle with black spots ("butterfly nose") or full flesh color (pink) is tolerated. In blues, the truffle is steel blue.

Muzzle - It should be deep and as rectangular as possible, without being pointed or lacking in lips, nor with excessively pendulous lips ("floating lips"). Lip edges and labial commissure (corner of the mouth where the upper lip continues with the lower lip) clearly visible.

Lips with dark pigmentation. In harlequins, partially pigmented or flesh-colored lips (pink lips) are tolerated.

The bridge of the nose should never be concave (“saddle nose” or “plate nose”), convex (“Roman nose” or “mutton nose”) or falling towards the tip (“eagle nose” or “Drop nose”). Off"). The masseters must not be prominent.


Eyes - Should be of medium size, set deep and dark, with an intelligent and lively expression. The eyelids are almond-shaped and relatively narrow, with well-developed eyebrows. Hawk eyes and Mongolian eyes are serious faults. In Harlequins and Merles, eyes must be dark, but blue eyes and eyes of different colors are allowed.

In blues, eye color ranges from lighter shades of brown to greenish. Loose eyelids, which deform the almond shape of the eye (droopy eyes) are undesirable.


Ears - They should be set high, of medium size and of moderate thickness; bent forward next to the face. The top line of the folded ear should be level with the skull. If cropped, the length of the ear should preferably be proportionate to the size of the head and the ears are carried evenly erect.


Jaws / Teeth - Jaws wide and well developed. Strong, healthy and complete bite (42 teeth according to the dental formula), scissor-jointed (i.e. the upper incisors overlap adjusted to the lower incisors and are set squarely to the jaws).

Any deviation from a complete scissor bite is absolutely undesirable. In the cheeks (infraorbital region) the muscles should be only slightly marked, and by no means too prominent.



The Great Dane's neck should be long, without excess loose skin (jowls) or dewlap, muscular and should not be short or thick. From its well-built insertion, it tapers smoothly towards the head, with the nape of the neck (dorsal neckline) arched. Carried upright, with a slight forward lean.



Withers - It is the highest point of its robust torso. It is formed by the dorsal margins of the scapulae, which extend beyond the spinous processes of the thoracic vertebrae.

Back - Composed of the thoracic and lumbar part.

Its thoracic part is short and firm, falling, in a practically straight line, almost imperceptibly backwards (towards the croup). In no way does it appear backwards or very long. It follows with the Lumbar part Slightly arched, wide, with vigorous musculature.


Croup - Broad, with strong muscles, gently sloping from the beginning of the sacrum to the base of the tail, merging imperceptibly with the tail set. It must not present a sharp slope or in a flat position.


Chest - Chest with good width and depth and with its underline (formed by the convex sternum and pectoral muscles) reaching the elbow joints. Forechest well defined (pronounced), without being excessively projected to the tip of the sternum.

Rib cage - With well sprung ribs, extending well back. No flat or barrel-shaped ribs.


Underline and belly - It is the line that continues from the sternum. Belly well tucked back, forming a gracefully curved line with the lower part of the rib cage (sternum + pectoral musculature). In Great Danes, a slightly tucked up belly is undesirable, as well as insufficiently retracted breasts.

Tail - Reaching hocks and set high and wide, but not quite level with the back, as a continuation of the spine. The tail should be wide at the base, tapering evenly to the hock. At rest, it hangs down in a natural curve; when the dog is excited or moving, the tail curves slightly in the form of a saber, but it must not be carried in a hook or ring shape (curled), nor should it significantly exceed the dorsal line, nor be turned laterally (twisted towards the side). A brush-shaped tail is not desirable.



The forelimbs should be well angled, with strong muscles and bones.


Shoulders - Strongly muscled. The long, sloping scapula forms an angle of approximately 100° to 110° with the humerus.  The line from the top of the shoulder to the back of the elbow joint should be perpendicular. The ligaments and muscles that attach the scapula to the ribcage must be well developed, firm, and securely attached to prevent loose shoulders. The scapula and upper arm should be the same length.


Arms - Strong and muscular, well adjusted to the chest; should be slightly longer than the shoulder blades.


Elbows - Neither turned in nor out, should be halfway between the withers and the ground.


Forearms - Strong, muscular, perfectly straight when viewed both from the front and in profile.


Carpals – Strong and firm, standing out only slightly from the structure of the forearms.


Pasterns – When viewed from the front, they are strong and straight; seen in profile, they present a slight forward inclination.


Feet - The feet (front) should be round and compact with toes well arched, neither turning in nor out, neither rolling in nor out. Nails should be short, strong and as dark as possible, except on Harlequins, Mantados and Merles, where they may be lighter.



The entire skeleton of the hind limbs must be covered by strong muscles that make the croup, hips and thighs appear wide and rounded. Viewed from behind, the hind limbs (pelvic) are parallel to the forelimbs (thoracic).


Thighs - Long and broad, very muscular.


Knees - Strong, positioned almost vertically below the hip joint.


Legs - Long, about the same length as the thighs, well muscled.


Hocks - The hocks should be strong, firm, neither turning in nor out.


Metatarsals - Short, strong, almost perpendicular to the ground.


Paws - Rounded; well-arched and tight toes (cat's feet). Short, strong nails, in the darkest color possible.



The Great Dane comes in 4 basic colors.

  • Black - Deep black color;

  • Gold - From light gold to dark gold;

  • Brindle - The base color ranges from light gold to dark gold, with blackish stripes as uniform and clearly defined as possible, positioned towards the ribs.

  • Blue - The color should be a pure steel blue;

A number of pattern combinations and color markings can come with these 4 basic colors. For a better understanding, see the color guide on the Dogue Alemão Clube do Brasil website.


Gait denotes strength and power, with long, easy strides resulting in no movement, rolling, or bulging of the topline or body. The top line should appear level and parallel to the ground. The long range should hit the ground below the nose as the head is carried forward. Powerful rear-wheel drive must be balanced within reach. As speed increases, there is a natural tendency for the legs to converge towards the center line of balance below the body. There should be no inward or outward twisting of the elbow or hock joints.



  The Great Dane should be witty, courageous, always friendly and trustworthy, and never shy or aggressive.



Any deviation from the terms of this standard should be considered a fault and penalized in exact proportion to its severity and its effects on the health and well being of the dog.

  • Head - “Stop” very little marked;

  • Muzzle - Curled lip (lower lip is positioned between the incisors of the upper and lower jaws);

  • Jaws / Teeth - Individual misalignment of any of the incisors, but provided that the bite remains predominantly correct; very small teeth, partially pincer bite, lower P1 tooth missing;

  • Eyes - Prominent or set too deeply;

  • Forearms - Arched. Prominent above the carpus;

  • Carpals - Prominent. Considerably sagged or flexed (bent) forward;

  • Hind limbs - Very open or very closed angulations;

  • Feet - Flat, splayed (“slippered” feet), long; spurs (fifth fingers or “ergôs”);



  • Temperament - Lack of self-confidence, shy, nervous;

  • Head - Apple head, very prominent masseters;

  • Eyes - Eyelids loose, eye conjunctiva excessively red;

  • Cow hocks;

  • Hocks too far apart (“Bow” or “Barrel” leg);

  • Back - Sealed or riveted;

  • Croup - Very sloping (“fallen”);

  • Tail - With open wounds, thick at the tip or amputated;

  • Movement - Continuous camel step;

  • Tooth loss of P2, P3, 1 of the incisors;

  • Shoulders - Loose, overloaded;

  • Scapula in a straight position (vertical, slightly inclined);

  • Elbows – Loose.



  • Aggressiveness or excessive shyness;

  • Dogs that show obvious physical anomalies or behavioral disorders must be disqualified;

  • Temperament - Fear biting, low tolerance threshold;

  • Truffle - Liver color, split truffle.

  • Eyes - Ectropion, entropion, macroblephary. Different colored eyes in monochromatic (solid-colored) Great Danes. Porcelain blue eyes.

  • Jaws / Teeth - Prognathism, retrognathism, crossbite (jaw twist), pincer bite (tweezers). Missing P4, Molars and Canines. Missing more than 2 teeth even if included as mild or severe missing, or 2 incisors.

  • Tail – Broken;

  • Hocks too close together (leg in “X”);

  • Color - Double merle (MM), white (MMHh), albino;

  • Size/Height - Below minimum height