The Great Dane
A giant breed of dog that can stand as tall as 7 ft when they are up on hind legs. A fully grown Great Dane can place their paws on the shoulder of a man and tower over him. A very impressive breed, the Great Dane is agile having been bred to hunt wild boars on estates in German. It is a German breed, not Danish as many mistakenly believe due to the name. Great Danes have been around for at least 400 years, making them a fairly old breed.
Great Danes average 100 to 120-pounds for both males and females. The male will reach 32 inches at the withers and the female at 30 inches. They make good guardian dogs. They have a high tendency to drool but don’t have a high tendency to bark.
The coat of the Great Dane can be solid black, black on the top with a white belly and legs (known as mantel), fawn, blue, and harlequin. Their ears are floppy if left natural. They tend to be very playful. They are sweet and loving dogs, known for being wonderful with children.
They are descended from mastiffs and require big meals and need a lot of activity. They should not, however, exercise after eating for a few hours. They are highly prone to a condition called bloat. Great Danes are not cheap dogs to own, as they eat more than a smaller dog would. They also require the typical things that you would expect with any dog – shots, bathings, nail clippings, regular heartworm, and flea treatment. You should also use a flea treatment that is formulated to treat ticks as they are known to carry many diseases for dogs.
A Bit About Pit Bulls
Pit bulls have often received bad press but the breed itself isn’t the problem. Pit bulls are known to be good with children, earning the nickname of “nanny dog” back in the early 1900s. They are loyal, powerful, incredibly strong, and agile. Many people believe that the breed was designed to strictly be a fighting breed but this isn’t true.
Pit bulls are descended from bulldogs, which were bred to grab and hold onto a bull or a bear, for purposes of hunting the animals. This made them a working breed with a true purpose. Eventually, this type of hunting was outlawed and considered a baiting tactic that was not ethical. People then turned to fight the dogs against each other and using bait dogs or other bait animals to bring out the instincts of the bulldog in the pit bull genes. The bigger bulldogs were bred with terriers to make a breed that was smaller, faster, yet powerful for fighting.
Sadly, this has encouraged some bloodlines that may be a bit more instinctually prone to grabbing and holding, leading to fighting. When left to their own devices, without any training, pit bulls can be a bit bossy, and they do need lots of socialization and training at an early age to ensure that the positive personality traits are encouraged while the other potential traits are never encouraged. The vast majority of pit bulls are sweet, friendly, wonderful family dogs.
The Pit Bull/Great Dane Mix
No one can ever tell exactly which traits from which breed will be most prevalent in a mix. Genes from each parent will compete with each other and sometimes it is simply a roll of the dice that determines which traits will show up in puppies. Some will take after the Dane parent and some will favor the Pit Bull parent. The first breeding, or first-generation, of puppies is a complete crapshoot.
What breeders do to ensure they get more of the traits that they want is to keep the puppies that have the best size, personality, color, markings, intelligence, health, etc. They will then breed a second-generation pup to a pup from a different litter, that both have positive traits they are looking for. They then continue to selectively breed in this way. Nearly every breed of dog that is recognized by groups like the American Kennel Club (AKC) was started in this very way.
Sometimes, if a particular trait is getting lost that they wish to maintain in the bloodline, breeders will breed back to one of the original breeds to bring that genetic characteristic back. Eventually, a whole new breed is established. Many people breed Pit Bulls to Great Danes for a few reasons.
- Pit Bulls have a longer life span in general than the Great Dane. By mixing the two, the crosses tend to have a longer lifespan.
- Pit Bulls are smaller in stature and very stocky. Great Danes tend to be tall and lanky. By mixing the two breeds, a more medium-sized dog is attained, which is not tall nor squatty, with longer legs.
- Pit Bull jaws, which are known for locking down on prey, can be bred out of the line in favor of the Great Dane jaw.
- Both dogs are wonderful with families and children in particular. A mix of both is a wonderful family pet candidate.
- Both breeds are intelligent, agile, and protective, making them good guardian animals for estates and around the home.
Mixes of these two breeds can be a fantastic way to preserve the best traits of each breed while creating a breed that is even more family-friendly without the stigma that the poor pit bull has found based on the way mankind has used the breed.