Great Dane Puppies Are Gentle Yet Fierce Family Protectors

The Great Dane is truly great in every sense of the word: a greatly large dog breed, these "gentle giants" have a great personality, too!

Marmaduke from the newspaper comic strips, Astro from The Jetsons, and of course, everyone's favorite detective, Scooby-Doo — these are just some of the famous Great Danes from pop culture we all know and love, and what's not to love about this giant dog breed?

Known as the "Apollo of Dogs", the Great Dane is also commonly referred to as a gentle giant. Originally hailing from Germany, this large breed was developed from Mastiff-type dogs and the Great Dane dog breed tower over most other dogs; when on their hind legs, they are taller than almost anything and everyone. (Great Danes are one of the largest dog breeds in the world!) However, despite their great size, these giant breed dogs have one of the best temperaments around: this German large breed is affectionate, calm, easygoing, and loves to be with their humans. (Sometimes, you'll even meet one that thinks he's a lapdog and doesn't see a reason why he can't just jump onto your lap to cuddle with you!)

History Behind Great Danes

Now a sweet and loyal companion, Great Danes, a.k.a. German mastiffs, were once used by German nobles as hunting dogs to hunt wild boars, and later on, they got their notoriety as fearless protectors for families all across Europe, like in both Germany and Denmark.

Fun fact: this purebred dog's name, Great Dane, is the English translation of the breed name in French: Grand Danois, which means "Big Danish." In Germany, Great Danes are known as the Deutsche Dogge, meaning "German Dog".

Even as one of the best-natured dogs, Great Danes need early socialization to be well-rounded dogs. With a high energy level, they love to play, and are fantastic with children. Great Danes make excellent watchdogs, just their sheer size is enough to ward off any intruders but they're also fiercely protective and are not afraid to step in and defend their family.

Coat Colors of a Great Dane

Recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as far back as 1887, Great Danes are a giant working breed, and belong to AKC's Working Group. They have smooth, short coats that come in six colors:

? Fawn, which is a golden color with a black mask.
? Brindle, a fawn and black tiger-stripe pattern.
? Blue (or steel blue if you prefer!)
? Black
? Harlequin. Perhaps the most well-known, and most popular, color, Harlequin is a pure white base color with irregular black patches all over the body.
? Mantle, which is black and white, but with a solid black "blanket" over the body.

If you can handle the commanding size, weight, and have lots of room at your house (even though a great house dog, Great Danes are not suited for tiny apartment living!), Great Danes make fantastic pets. However, like most giant breeds, these cuddly love bugs are short-lived; they have a lifespan of seven to ten years. Some of the world's tallest dogs are Great Danes — with the average male being 30 to 32 inches, and the average female being 28 to 30 inches.

Interested in adding a Great Dane puppy to your family? Find more information on these gentle giants at the Great Dane Club of America.

Do you live with a Great Dane? Tell us about your gentle giant on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

READ MORE: 15 Affectionate Dog Breeds Always Ready to Snuggle