Breed Standard

The standard of any breed is the blue-print to which all breeders and judges must adhere to at all times. Never must any attempt to make the standard fit the dog be tolerated.”
– quotation from the opening paragraph of the English Standard

The Great Dane Club of Canada recommends downloading our Breed Standard document by clicking here or by visiting the CKC’s Breed Standards for Working Dogs (Great Dane begins on page 45).

Interactive Breed Standard

Click around the Great Dane illustration to read about different elements of the breed’s structure.

Head

Long, narrow, distinguished, expressive, finely chiseled, especially the part below the eyes, with strongly pronounced stop.

Ears

Ears should be high, set not too far apart, medium in size, of moderate thickness. Natural or cropped.

Eyes

Eyes are medium size, as dark as possible, with lively intelligent expression; almond shaped eyelids, well developed eyebrows.

Nose

The nose must be large and in the case of brindled and single coloured Danes, it must always be black. In harlequins, the nose should be black; a black spotted nose is permitted.

Shoulders

The shoulder blades must be strong and sloping and seen from the side, must form as nearly as possible a right angle in its articulation with the humerus (upper arm) to give a long stride.

Forelegs

The upper arm should be strong and muscular. Seen from the side or front the strong lower arms run absolutely straight to the pastern joints.

Paws

Round and turned neither toward the inside nor toward the outside. Toes short, highly arched and well closed.

Chest

The chest should be quite broad, deep and well-muscled.

Neck

The neck should be firm and clean, high set, well arched, long, muscular and sinewy.

Back

The withers form the highest part of the back which slopes downward slightly forward toward the loins, which are imperceptibly arched and strong.

Belly

The belly should be well shaped and tightly muscled, and, with the rear part of the thorax, should swing in a pleasing curve (tuck up).

Ribs

Should be broad, with the ribs sprung well out from the spine and flattened at the side to allow proper movement of the shoulders extending down to the elbow joint.

Tails

Should start high and fairly broad, terminating slender and thin at the hock joint.

Croup

The croup must be full, slightly drooping and must continue imperceptibly to the tail root.

Hind Legs

The first thighs (from hip joint to knee) are broad and muscular. The second thighs (from knee to hock joint) are strong and long.

Illustration courtesy of artist and judge Maria Gkinala.
Interactive standard inspired by the American Kennel Club and adapted for the CKC Great Dane breed standard.