The Great Dain, also known as German Mastiff or Danish Hound, is a breed of domestic dog known for its giant size. The Great Dain is one of the world's tallest dog breeds; the current world record holder, measuring 109 cm from paw to shoulder; 220 cm from head to tail, is George.
As described by the American Kennel Club, "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." The Great Dane is a short haired breed with a strong galloping figure. In the ratio between length and height, the Great Dane should be square. The male dog should not be less than 30 in at the shoulders, a female 28 in. Danes under minimum height are disqualified.
From year to year, the tallest living dog is typically a Great Dane. Previous record holders include Gibson and Titan, however the current record holder is a blue Great Dane named Giant George who stands 43 in at the shoulder. He is also the tallest dog on record, beating the previous holder who was a brindle Great Dane named Shamgret Danzas, who stood 42.5 in at the shoulder.
The minimum weight for a Great Dane over eighteen months is 120 lb for males, lb for females. Unusually, the American Kennel Club dropped the minimum weight requirement from its standard. The male should appear more massive throughout than the female, with a larger frame and heavier bone.
Great Danes have naturally floppy, triangular ears. In the past, when Great Danes were commonly used to hunt boars, cropping of the ears was performed to make injuries to the dogs' ears less likely during hunts. Now that Danes are primarily companion animals, cropping is sometimes still done for traditional and cosmetic reasons. Today, the practice is common in the United States and much less common in Europe. In some European countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, parts of Australia, and in New Zealand, the practice is banned, or controlled to only be performed by veterinary surgeons.
There are six show-acceptable coat colors for Great Danes:
Fawn: The color is yellow gold with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears.
Brindle: The color is fawn and black in a chevron stripe pattern. Often also they are referred to as having a tiger-stripe pattern.
Blue: The color is a pure steel blue. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable and considered faults.
Black: The color is a glossy black. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable and considered faults.
Harlequin: The base color is 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 grey 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 is black and white with a solid black blanket extending over the body; black skull with white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole white collar preferred; a white chest; white on part or whole of forelegs and hind legs; white tipped black tail. A small white marking in the black blanket is acceptable, as is a break in the white collar
Other colors occur occasionally but are not acceptable for conformation showing, and they are not pursued by breeders who intend to breed show dogs. These colors include white, fawnequin, merle, merlequin, fawn mantle, and others. Some breeders may attempt to charge more for puppies of these "rare" colors. However, the breeding of white and merle Danes is particularly controversial, as these colors may be associated with genes that produce deafness. Although they cannot be shown, white or merle Danes can usually still be registered as pedigree dogs.