Hello and Happy New Year from everyone here at Rover.com. Hopefully everyone has been having a safe and merry time as 2011 came to and and 2012 began. In this segment of our blog series about popular dog breeds we are going to be covering the Great Dane. Ask anyone who has experience with Great Danes as a dog owner, dog sitter, or Seattle dog boarding facility owner and it quickly becomes apparent why this dog breed is so popular. I can speak from personal experience that this dog breed really does fulfill its reputation as a “gentle giant” that is a friendly, mellow, and loyal companion.
The history of the Great Dane breed is very unique and quite old. Everyone usually agrees that the ancestors of Great Danes first appeared on Egyptian monuments with man around 3000 BC. How Great Danes got to Europe is still a highly debated issue. Some historians claim Roman soldiers brought the dogs back to Italy during campaigns across Northern Africa. However, others think the dog breed was first introduced to Europe during the Mongolian invasion around the 5th century. Either way, once the breed got to Europe it was likely crossed with the English Mastiff and Irish Wolfhound in Celtic settlements to make the modern body of the Great Dane.
The last major change in the Great Dane breed came in the 16th century. By this time the Great Dane had gained a reputation as a boar hound dog in Britain and the Germanic states. The large size of the Great Dane caught the attention of dog breeders as a prime candidate for making the ultimate guard dog. The only problem was boar hound dogs were breed to be extremely aggressive for hunting. Over the next 300 years dog breeders focused on breeding a gentle temperament into Great Danes. By the 1800s the Great Dane was official recognized as the modern breed today.
Ok Rover-ites, please make sure to keep an eye out for next time when we talk about potentially owning one of these “gentle giants” in Part II.
Post by Rover-ite Danny