The Great Dane is known as the Apollo of dogs, and for good reason. They are one of the more identifiable giant breeds due to their regal stature, profile, and size. They have held the "tallest dog" record for the last several years, although on average the Irish Wolfhound is taller. It is not unusual for a larger Great Dane to reach a weight close to, or even over, 200 lbs. Conversely, a smaller Great Dane can be under 100 lbs. But on average the males are around 140-170 with the females 110-140. They come in a variety of colors, although only 7 are recognized by the AKC: fawn, black, mantle, harlequin, brindle, blue, and merle.
Historically, the great dane was used in hunting—specifically, boar hunting. At some point sighthounds were bred into the dane to increase speed and agility. Once they stopped being used for hunting, they became accomplished estate guardians. Who in their right mind would dare enter a property under the protection of these massive canines?
Known for having stable temperaments, they can be prone to guarding per their heritage, so training and socialization is important from a young age. They are a sensitive breed, so caution must be taken when training to ensure one does not break their spirit as they will take every harsh word to heart. Great family pets, they are very loyal to their family, although often bonding more closely with one individual. Most Great Danes should be fine with other dogs, cats and children. They do not typically have high prey drives, but may give chase to things that run, and caution should be taken when introducing them to smaller animals.
The average lifespan is around 10-12 yrs, provided the dog is healthy. Great Danes are prone to a number of potential hereditary health concerns, including, but not limited to: thyroid, heart, cancer, cherry eye, wobblers, addisons disease, and bloat. Growing puppies need to be watched so that they don't grow too quickly and are getting the right nutrition, or they could come down with pano, knuckling, or even HOD, all of which are serious issues that require medical attention and a diet change.