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Strength, intelligence, boldness, and agility are all traits that apply to the powerful Working Group breed known as the Great Dane. But if you ask the average person on the street to name the most striking feature about these dogs, the answer will likely be: “They are so tall!” That's true. The breed standard specifies males should be no smaller than 30 inches at the shoulder, and taller is better, as long as the overall physique is balanced and graceful.

Their legs give Great Danes the appearance of an animal more likely to have hooves than paws, which is why owners of these giants must learn to smile and nod politely, no matter how often they hear the question, “Hey, where's his saddle?”

Long legs, however, are not the only thing that makes the Great Dane a towering presence. Here are just a few other reasons why this breed stands above it all:

  1. Great Danes have the coolest nickname—The Apollo of dogs. Some people say that this is because of their ancient lineage, which stretches back to Julius Caesar. Seriously, though, isn't it more likely that it came about because these breathtaking creatures could have only have originated on Mount Olympus, the birthplace of gods? And isn't it fitting that the name reflects one of the most graceful and powerful of deities, the god of the sun, music, poetry, healing, and truth? 

    Great Danes Apollo of Dogs

  2. They can play fetch with a pumpkin.

    Dane Pumpkin
    Photo courtesy Eileen Edelblute

  3. These dogs can fight crime just by standing up. Longtime Great Dane fancier Paddy Magnuson discovered this in the 1950s, when she was traveling the country with just her four-legged companion, Michael. One evening she had stopped at motel, put Michael in the room, and was unloading her luggage for the night, when a man came out of the shadows, clearly up to no good. Suddenly, Magnuson wrote later, she heard “the sweetest sound ever—a loud, rumbling, snarling growl. … Michael was standing in the light of the doorway, his lips drawn back, showing every tooth in his head. My gentle giant looked like the Hound of the Baskervilles.” The man fled.

    Dane Michael Magnuson
     Photo courtesy Paddy Magnuson

  4. They can take your breath away, by just lazing in the sun.

    Great Dane lying down
    Photo courtesy Eileen Edelblute

  5. Great Danes never fail to attract spectators in certain dog sports, especially agility. They will get cheers and applause every time they perform the miracle of squeezing those long limbs and massive bodies through a tunnel.

    Great Dane agility tunnel

  6. They will make you laugh, just by sitting, crouching, trying to lounge on a lap, or doing any number of movements that would go unnoticed by beings of lesser stature. 

    Great Dane lap dog via GIPHY

  7. Everything about a Great Dane is larger than life, especially their hearts.

    Great Dane Sara Rachel Chant
    Photo courtesy Sara Rachel Chant

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Is the Great Dane the right breed for you? For more information, visit the Great Dane Club of America's website.
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