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Great Danes are best known for their impressive size. They can stand up to 2 feet, 10 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 100 to 200 pounds. Great Danes are actually not from Denmark at all. They can trace their ancestry to German Mastiff breeds, Irish Wolfhounds and Greyhounds.
Great Danes may appear intimidating because of their giant size, but really, they are goofy, affectionate companion dogs who love to feel as if they're part of the family and will go to humorous lengths to insert themselves into all of their owners' activities. Their coat requires minimal care, but training, bathing and exercising them can be a challenge because of their great size.
The most imposing part of the Great Dane is his size. Really, they are sweet, affectionate dogs who can be gentle and loving around their owners and their children. Not only are Great Danes eager for affection, but they also like to get into your space. They tend to have a habit of leaning on their owners, sitting on their laps and attempting to get as close to them as possible. Many owners find this habit endearing, but you will have to train your huge dog to behave with proper manners in front of strangers by respecting their boundaries. Great Danes grow to their large size very quickly, so training should begin immediately to help them accommodate for their size and avoid dominant behaviors. Because they are so large, they often require an experienced handler.
Great Danes are mellow and easygoing, especially indoors, where they are content to cuddle and relax. They appreciate activity and exercise, but because of their huge size, moving can sometimes be a chore. They will love long walks and active play sessions, but they can have joint problems if they are over-exercised.
Great Dane's short, smooth coats shed consistently. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, including fawn (golden with a black mask), brindle, blue, black, mantle and harlequin (white with black patches throughout).
Brushing your Great Dane consistently will help keep his coat shiny and reduce the amount of hair that they lose around the house. Use a firm rubber bristle brush at least once a week.
Bathing your Great Dane may seem like a Herculean task, but if you help him become comfortable being bathed and washed as a puppy, it will make bath time quite a bit easier. Wrangling such a long dog into the bath tub is probably a scary thought, so bathe him outdoors with a hose if you can. Using a shed-reducing or gentle shampoo about every 4 months will help his coat stay healthy and tidy.
Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.
Dogs with smooth coats generally only require trims and tidying up in areas of excessive hair growth using a trimmer or blunt scissors. It's always wise to take a dog for a short walk or exercise to calm them down before trimming. Remember to brush the coat first to remove any tangles and mats. Don't forget to trim around the paws, pads, tail, chest and sanitary areas, as needed. The coat should lay flat and smooth against the body when finished.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
Check Great Danes', floppy or prick ears weekly for infection.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.