Great Dane

...who needs a horse when you have a Great Dane!

Great Danes are huge, short haired dogs with well defined muscles. They stand at least 70cms tall and weigh over 45kgs. They were originally bred for hunting large animals, but are now owned solely as companions and sometimes guard dogs.

Great Danes are wonderful with children but remember, a 6 month old Great Dane weighs more than a 6 year old child, so supervision is needed with very small children. These dogs are also great with other household pets but any neighbours' animals may be considered fair game and hunted down.

Exercise, preferably running, is needed every day, but it must be on lead. Because they grow so rapidly up to 12 months, get advice from the breeder about how much exercise to give them before maturity. Also, be careful with their diet. Their rapid growth in the first 12 months means too much or too little of anything can have a profound effect on their adult life. Get expert advice. Do not give supplements or change the breeder's recommended diet without advice.

They are not the easiest dogs to train, but because of their size it is imperative that they have a reasonable level of obedience training. House training is not a problem.

Great Danes love their food and their big appetite means higher than normal food bills. Don't give in to tit bits and too many treats - this is a dog that will keep begging for more and will try to take food if you don't offer it. Definitely don't leave the birthday cake unattended around this breed!

Finally, make sure before you buy a Great Dane puppy that the breeder has screened for hip dysplasia, bloat and eye problems. Other significant health problems that cannot be screened for include heart ailments and Wobbler Syndrome.

If you buy a healthy puppy and put in the time and energy required for training, you will be rewarded with a gentle giant - loyal, loving and protective of your family.

<ul> <li>Very large Dog.</li> <li>Good guard dog.</li> <li>Needs regular exercise.</li> <li>Gentle and good with children.</li> <li>Prone to some hereditary health problems.</li> </ul>