The “Apollo of Dogs” is not Danish as its name implies. The giant breed was developed in Germany, where it has been known since the Middle Ages. In the Fatherland, it is known as the Deutsche Dogge (German Mastiff) and was used originally to hunt wild boar, patrol estates and as a war dog. The aristocratic dog was proclaimed Germany’s national dog in 1876. The breed was first imported to North America in the mid-19th century and one of the earliest owners was the famous “Buffalo Bill” Cody.
Early imports to this continent were reported to be ferocious animals that had been used as attack dogs. American breeders are credited with transforming the breed into the even-tempered, friendly and dependable Dane of today. The Dane of today must be spirited and courageous – never timid. He is friendly and dependable.
Danes enjoy outdoor activity and daily exercise. They adapt well to city or country living but need room indoors as well as out.
The males should not be less than 30 inches (76 cm) at the shoulders, but it is preferred that he be 32 inches (81 cm) or more. The female should not be less than 28 inches (71 cm) at the shoulders, but is preferable that she be 30 inches (76 cm) or more. Both male and female should be well proportioned to their height.
The coat should be very short and thick, smooth and glossy.
Danes come in eight acceptable colours:
Brindle: golden base coat with defined black stripped laid over as chevrons (almost tiger-striped appearance)
Fawn: a golden yellow with a black mask on the face
Blue: a steel grey solid colour
Black: solid, glossy black
Harlequin: a white base coat with irregular torn black patches distributed over the body
Boston or Black Mantled: this pattern is best described as marked like a penguin; must have a white tipped tail or is not considered a true Black Mantle
Merle: a pale gray to dark gray merle base colour with irregular black torn patches distributed over the body
Mantled Merle: a white base with solid merle blanket extending over the body (marked the same as the Black Mantle with the exception that the mantle is merle with irregular black torn patches as opposed to a solid black)
The coat requires minimal grooming.