The Great Dane
From paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes
The Great Dane
Not quite so swift as the greyhound, deerhound, or wolfhound, the
Great Dane is more powerful than any of them and fast enough to
overtake most things that run. At his best he is a huge dog,
built on greyhound lines, but much more massive.
This is probably one of the very oldest breeds, and has been used for
ages in hunting all kinds of wild animals. In Germany this dog is still
used for hunting the wild boar, but in most places he is now
regarded as a companion and a guardian of property.
The great Dane is a typical German dog, and is in fact a synonym of
“Deutsche Dogge,” by which name he is known throughout central Europe.
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The Great Dane Weaknesses
Like all oversized dogs, the Dane is given to many weaknesses,
both of body and of disposition. The perfect Dane is a most statuesque and
magnificent animal; the ordinary one is indeed an ordinary dog.
Very seldom, and for an exorbitant price, we may get a dog that lives up to the
standard, with strong, straight legs and back, massive deep head, strong,
close feet, and, most essential of all, even and trustworthy temper.
Far more often, though, promising puppies grow up to be saggy in the
back, cow-hocked behind, and rabbit-footed in front, and while
elephantinely playful as too-pound pups, surly and really dangerous as grown dogs.
When properly housed, restrained, and exercised, they are splendid creatures.
The Great Dane Power and size
But often they outgrow the capacity of their owners to care for them,
when they become the bane of the neighborhood; for the truth is they are too
big and too dangerous to be allowed unhampered freedom, and the
fright they cause, even in play, among people unacquainted with their ways,
renders them frequently very unwelcome adjuncts to a neighborhood.
In addition to their power and size, they have a rather excitable and
impatient disposition, which unfits them at once as children’s playmates.
There are few things which have such a healthful moral effect upon a
criminal as to find a big, resolute great Dane standing squarely across his path.
If the criminal is a judge of dogs, he may read in the grim face a look which says,
“You shall not pass,” and if he isn’t a fool, he’ll “go while the going is good.”
A few years ago a burglar in Missouri met a Dane in this way, and either
failed to read the danger sign or thought the dog was bluffing.
He was strangled to death in front of the window by which he was
attempting to enter the house, and the verdict for the dog was “justifiable homicide.”