Great Danes are large and impressive dogs. But the only thing most people seem to be familiar with is the breed’s giant size. However, there is much more to these gentle giants than just their sheer size. Below are several facts about Great Danes that you may not know:

1. Their name has nothing to do with their origin.

The breed is called the Great Dane, so one would assume that they originated in Denmark. However, the breed was actually of German origins. The name is attributed to the French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, in the early 1700s. It’s said that he called the dog “le Grande Danois” or Great Dane in French, and the name just sort of stayed. 

2. Great Danes once hunted boars.

These large dogs were once used to hunt wild boars. The Great Danes have been around since ancient times, as many depictions of them have been found in ancient Egyptian art as far back as 3,000 BC. There have been other depictions of them in art and literature from other ancient cultures in places like Tibet, Greece, and China. However, it wasn’t until about 400 years that they became a distinctive breed.

3. Great Danes had gentleness bred into them.

Nowadays Great Danes are called “gentle giants.” That wasn’t always the case since they were used for hunting many years ago. Eventually, as the need for hunting dogs diminished, the need for aggressive canines went down as well. As a result, the aggression was bred out of the breed.

4. Scooby Doo was a Great Dane for a reason.

Great Danes were once believed to be ward off ghosts and other spirits, so it made sense that when created, Scooby would end up being a Great Dane. During the show’s creation, there was a debate as to what Scooby’s breed should be, with the two choices coming down to sheepdog or Great Dane. The choice of Great Dane was ultimately chosen so as to avoid an overlap with Hot Dog, the sheepdog from the Archie comics.

5. Great Danes aren’t the tallest breed.

There is no denying that these pooches are big. But they’re not the biggest out there. While they can average 2.5 to 2.8 feet in height, the Irish Wolfhounds actually grow taller than Great Danes. However, the current titleholder for the tallest dog in the world is Zeus, a Great Dane.

6. One Great Dane was awarded two Blue Cross Medals. 

In 1941, a bomb fell on a house that had a Great Dane, Juliana, living in it. The bomb didn’t detonate straight away, and this gave Juliana a chance to pee on it. The dog’s urine ended up diffusing the bomb which earned her a Blue Cross Medal. Her second one was earned three years later when she raised the alarm to a fire that had broken out in her owner’s shoe shop. 

7. The Great Dane is a state dog.

The official state dog of Pennsylvania happens to be the Great Dane. In fact, there is a painting of William Penn, the state’s founder, hanging in the Governor’s reception room. And yes, the painting includes Penn’s Great Dane in the picture. 

8. Great Danes grow quickly.

When they’re born, these dogs only weigh 1-2 pounds. But within six months, they can grow to be as much as 100 pounds. These dogs will then continue to grow until they’re about two or three years old. 

9. A Great Dane and a goat became best friends. 

Back in 2010, a goat and a Great Dane were found in a Dallas, Texas chapel. The goat named Minnelli had unlatched his gate and had gone on an adventure with Judy, the Great Dane. The two animals were eventually returned to their original owners. However, their original owners later decided they could no longer care for the two dogs, along with a yellow Lab named Lucky, and they put them all up for adoption. The trio was later adopted by Norman and Sandy Williams.

What do you think of these Great Dane facts? Did you know any of them already? Do you have any to add? Let us know!

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