Compiled from the : www.AKC.org
The Great Dane combines, in its regal appearance, dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well-formed, smoothly muscled body. It is one of the giant working breeds, but is unique in that its general conformation must be so well balanced that it never appears clumsy, and shall move with a long reach and powerful drive. It is always a unit-the Apollo of dogs. A Great Dane must be spirited, courageous, never timid; always friendly and dependable. This physical and mental combination is the characteristic which gives the Great Dane the majesty possessed by no other breed. It is particularly true of this breed that there is an impression of great masculinity in dogs, as compared to an impression of femininity in bitches. Lack of true Dane breed type, as defined in this standard, is a serious fault.
Size, Proportion, Substance
The male should appear more massive throughout than the bitch, with larger frame and heavier bone. In the ratio between length and height, the Great Dane should be square. In bitches, a somewhat longer body is permissible, providing she is well proportioned to her height. Coarseness or lack of substance are equally undesirable. The male shall not be less than 30 inches at the shoulders, but it is preferable that he be 32 inches or more, providing he is well proportioned to his height. The female shall not be less than 28 inches at the shoulders, but it is preferable that she be 30 inches or more, providing she is well proportioned to her height. Danes under minimum height must be disqualified.
The head shall be rectangular, long, distinguished, expressive, finely chiseled, especially below the eyes. Seen from the side, the Dane’s forehead must be sharply set off from the bridge of the nose, (a strongly pronounced stop). The plane of the skull and the plane of the muzzle must be straight and parallel to one another. The skull plane under and to the inner point of the eye must slope without any bony protuberance in a smooth line to a full square jaw with a deep muzzle (fluttering lips are undesirable). The masculinity of the male is very pronounced in structural appearance of the head. The bitch’s head is more delicately formed. Seen from the top, the skull should have parallel sides and the bridge of the nose should be as broad as possible. The cheek muscles should not be prominent. The length from the tip of the nose to the center of the stop should be equal to the length from the center of the stop to the rear of the slightly developed occiput. The head should be angular from all sides and should have flat planes with dimensions in proportion to the size of the Dane. Whiskers may be trimmed or left natural.
Eyes shall be medium size, deep set, and dark, with a lively intelligent expression. The eyelids are almond-shaped and relatively tight, with well developed brows. Haws and mongolian eyes are serious faults. In harlequins, the eyes should be dark; light colored eyes, eyes of different colors and walleyes are permitted but not desirable.
Ears shall be high set, medium in size and of moderate thickness, folded forward close to the cheek. The top line of the folded ear should be level with the skull. If cropped, the ear length is in proportion to the size of the head and the ears are carried uniformly erect.
Nose shall be black, except in the blue Dane, where it is a dark blue-black. A black spotted nose is permitted on the harlequin; a pink colored nose is not desirable. A split nose is a disqualification.
Teeth shall be strong, well developed, clean and with full dentition. The incisors of the lower jaw touch very lightly the bottoms of the inner surface of the upper incisors (scissors bite). An undershot jaw is a very serious fault. Overshot or wry bites are serious faults. Even bites, misaligned or crowded incisors are minor faults.
Neck, Topline, Body
The neck shall be firm, high set, well arched, long and muscular. From the nape, it should gradually broaden and flow smoothly into the withers. The neck underline should be clean. Withers shall slope smoothly into a short level back with a broad loin. The chest shall be broad, deep and well muscled. The forechest should be well developed without a pronounced sternum. The brisket extends to the elbow, with well sprung ribs. The body underline should be tightly muscled with a well-defined tuck-up.
The croup should be broad and very slightly sloping. The tail should be set high and smoothly into the croup, but not quite level with the back, a continuation of the spine. The tail should be broad at the base, tapering uniformly down to the hock joint. At rest, the tail should fall straight. When excited or running, it may curve slightly, but never above the level of the back. A ring or hooked tail is a serious fault. A docked tail is a disqualification.
The forequarters, viewed from the side, shall be strong and muscular. The shoulder blade must be strong and sloping, forming, as near as possible, a right angle in its articulation with the upper arm. A line from the upper tip of the shoulder to the back of the elbow joint should be perpendicular. The ligaments and muscles holding the shoulder blade to the rib cage must be well developed, firm and securely attached to prevent loose shoulders. The shoulder blade and the upper arm should be the same length. The elbow should be one-half the distance from the withers to the ground. The strong pasterns should slope slightly. The feet should be round and compact with well-arched toes, neither toeing in, toeing out, nor rolling to the inside or outside. The nails should be short, strong and as dark as possible, except that they may be lighter in harlequins. Dewclaws may or may not be removed.
The hindquarters shall be strong, broad, muscular and well angulated, with well let down hocks. Seen from the rear, the hock joints appear to be perfectly straight, turned neither toward the inside nor toward the outside. The rear feet should be round and compact, with well-arched toes, neither toeing in nor out. The nails should be short, strong and as dark as possible, except they may be lighter in harlequins. Wolf claws are a serious fault.
The coat shall be short, thick and clean with a smooth glossy appearance.
Color, Markings and Patterns
Brindle–The base color shall be yellow gold and always brindled with strong black cross stripes in a chevron pattern. A black mask is preferred. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears and tail tip. The more intensive the base color and the more distinct and even the brindling, the more preferred will be the color. Too much or too little brindling are equally undesirable. White markings at the chest and toes, black-fronted, dirty colored brindles are not desirable.
Fawn–The color shall be yellow gold with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears and tail tip. The deep yellow gold must always be given the preference. White markings at the chest and toes, black-fronted dirty colored fawns are not desirable.
Blue–The color shall be a pure steel blue. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable.
Black–The color shall be a glossy black. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable.
Harlequin–Base color shall be pure white with black torn patches irregularly and well distributed over the entire body; a pure white neck is preferred. The black patches should never be large enough to give the appearance of a blanket, nor so small as to give a stippled or dappled effect. Eligible, but less desirable, are a few small gray patches, or a white base with single black hairs showing through, which tend to give a salt and pepper or dirty effect.
Mantle–The color shall be black and white with a solid black blanket extending over the body; black skull with white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole white collar is preferred; a white chest; white on part or whole of forelegs and hind legs; white tipped black tail. A small white marking in the blanket is acceptable, as is a break in the white collar.
Any variance in color or markings as described above shall be faulted to the extent of the deviation. Any Great Dane which does not fall within the above color classifications must be disqualified.
The gait denotes strength and power with long, easy strides resulting in no tossing, rolling or bouncing of the topline or body. The backline shall appear level and parallel to the ground. The long reach should strike the ground below the nose while the head is carried forward. The powerful rear drive should be balanced to the reach. As speed increases, there is a natural tendency for the legs to converge toward the centerline of balance beneath the body. There should be no twisting in or out at the elbow or hock joints.
The Great Dane must be spirited, courageous, always friendly and dependable, and never timid or aggressive.
Danes under minimum height.
Split nose. Docked Tail.
Any color other than those described under “Color, Markings and Patterns.”
Approved March 8, 1999
Effective April 28, 1999
Dealing with a reputable breeder
While many dogs bought from newspaper ads and yard signs are healthy and happy, far too many are ill, poorly socialized, genetically flawed dog-catastrophes waiting to happen.
When you are trying to screen prospective breeders, here are some questions that might be useful.
How long have you been in the breed? What others have you bred?
You probably want to avoid anyone who has “switched” breeds every couple of years, from popular breed to popular breed. Otherwise, look for someone with some experience with the breed you are interested in. If they are new to your breed, do they have experience with a similar breed?
Also, be very wary of people who have multiple dog breeds. It is not uncommon to find people breeding more than one kind of dog (for example, quite a few Akita breeders are also interested in Shibas), but a breeder producing litters of many different breeds of dog is not going to be your best source, and probably should be suspected as a puppy-mill or disreputable breeder.
What kind of congenital defects are present in this breed? What steps are you taking to decrease these defects?
Avoid anyone who says “none”, or “not in my dogs!”. There are genetic problems that are present in almost every breed. Do some research here, and make sure you know what kind of answer you should be getting from the breeder.
A reputable breeder should be able to tell you what kinds of problems might be present in the particular breed (for example, hip dysplasia, entropian, thyroid problems, etc) and what kind of testing is available to find it. It goes without saying that the breeder should be doing those tests on all their breeding stock. Any dogs that are showing signs of any of these problems should not be bred — avoid anyone who is breeding dogs with genetic problems, or who is not testing their dogs and bitches.
I can’t stress enough that you need to have a good idea of what the correct answers are here. Get any good dog book, call the breed club, find out what to expect before you fall in love with that cute puppy face! A breeder that can’t tell you what kinds of things affect their dogs isn’t going to be breeding to avoid them.
Do you have the parents on site? Can I see them?
This is kind of a trick question – most breeders will not own both dogs. They will own the mother (and you should be able to see her), but the best match for that bitch probably belongs to someone else. So, if you can see both parents on site, you should be a little suspicious. It may mean that the breeder has a large pool of dogs and is carefully matching them – or it can mean that they had two attractive dogs in their backyard and had either a planned or unplanned breeding just because they had a male and female at the same time.
You should be able to see the mother and any other dogs on site when you visit. If the breeder hesitates, you should wonder why – are the dogs kept in clean, healthy conditions? are they too aggressive to let loose? You should be very comfortable with any reason not to see the dogs.
However, remember that you should not be interacting with very young puppies, and might be prevented from seeing puppies that are less than 4 weeks old. This is ok, and is simply the breeder trying to eliminate any chance of illness in the puppies – they don’t know what kind of dog diseases you may be carrying, and don’t want the litter to get sick.
What are the good and bad points of the parents? What titles to they have?
Usually, breeders will start to gush at this point and enumerate all the wonderful qualities of their dogs – and the best I’ve talked to also will point out their flaws. What you’re looking for here is temperament, possible aggression, how they deal with people, how they’re not “perfect”.
As for titles, reputable breeders show their dogs, and they should be carrying points towards a championship, if not champions already. This is important – while there are many wonderful dogs out there that haven’t seen the inside of a show ring, if the breeder is truly trying to improve the breed, they will be comparing their dogs to other breeders and trying to breed dogs that match the standard. The only way to do that is to show their dogs.
Many breeders compete in obedience as well, and will have Companion Dog (CD) or other obedience titles for the parents. Often, this is a good benchmark for temperament and behavior.
Can you explain the puppy’s pedigree?
A good breeder should be able to tell you something about dogs on your puppy’s pedigree. Have them explain the often cryptic letters and titles awarded, and get a good feel that they know the lines they are breeding from. At the very least, they should be able to provide you with a 4 generation pedigree and be able to tell you about the dogs.
Where were the puppies raised? How have you socialized them?
What you’re looking for here is an indication of what kind of socialization the puppies have had. Ideally, you want the breeder to have raised the puppies in the house, around the normal daily activities of a household so they are used to the noises and activity of humans.
Someone who says “in the garage” or “in the kennels” can also have well socialized puppies, but you need to be more careful. Have they spent enough time with the puppies?
Socialization is so important to getting a well-adjusted, well-mannered dog. Puppies should have been exposed to people, other dogs, new situations, normal household sounds and activities in order to learn. A puppy raised without this important social interaction can be shy, fearful, aggressive, or have other problems as they get older. Dogs need to know how to play, how to handle new situations, how to relate to people
What guarantees do you have for this puppy?
At the very least, the breeder should guarantee the puppy against any debilitating genetic problems, and insure that the puppy is in good health.
A breeder should be prepared to take any dog back for any reason – part of being an ethical breeder is making sure that the puppies have a good home and that it stays that way.
When can I take the puppy home?
Puppies usually go home between 8 and 12 weeks. Avoid anyone sending tiny puppies home.