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The Great Dane in 1887


The first Great Dane (Deutsche Dogge) breed standard is the German standard, in 1880. It was published in “Der Hund” (1880). In 1894-95 the “Geschichte und Beschreibung der Rassen des hundes” by Ludwig Beckman is published, and included in it is the 1891 version of the German standard. The next version appears in the first stubdook published by the Deutscher Doggen Club in 1897. The German standard is very similar in content to the British standard (see below).
The first Danish breed standard was written in 1886, for the occasion of the first dog show in Copenhagen, July 1886. The first British Great Dane standard was a verbatim English translation of the Danish standard*, adopted and published in 1887 by The Great Dane Club (UK), which was founded in 1883 (five years before the foundation of the breed club in Germany).

*source: Flemming Rickfors, Dansk Danois Klubben i Danmark



The standard of points and description of the Great Dane as adopted by the new club are as follows :

1. General Appearance

The Great Dane is not so heavy or massive as the mastiff, nor should he too nearly approach the greyhound in type. Remarkable in size, and very muscular, strongly though elegantly built, movements easy and graceful; head and neck carried high; the tail carried horizontally with the back, or slightly upwards, with a slight curl at the extremity. The minimum height and weight of dogs should be 30 inches and 120lb.; of bitches, 28 inches and 100 lb. Anything below this shall be debarred from competition. Points : General appearance, 3; Condition, 3; Activity, 5; Height, 13.

2. Head

Long, the frontal bones of the forehead very slightly raised, and very little indentation between the eyes. Skull not too broad. Muzzle, broad and strong, and blunt at the point. Cheek muscles, well developed. Nose large, bridge well arched. Lips in front perpendicularly blunted, not hanging too much over the sides, though with well-defined folds at the angle of the mouth. The lower jaw slightly projecting – about a sixteenth of an inch. Eyes, small, round, with sharp expression and deeply set, but the “wall” or “china” eye is quite correct in harlequins. Ears very small and greyhound-like in carriage, when uncropped. Points, 15.

3. Neck

Rather long, very strong and muscular, well arched, without dewlap, or loose skin about the throat. The junction of head and neck strongly pronounced. Points, 5.

4. Chest

Not too broad, and very deep in brisket. Points, 8.

5. Back

Not too long or short; loins arched, and falling in a beautiful line to the insertion of the tail. Points, 8.

6. Tail

Reaching to or just below the hock, strong at the root, and ending fine with a slight curve. When excited it becomes more curved, but in no case should it curve over the back. Points, 4.

7. Belly

Well drawn up. Points, 4.

8. Fore-Quarters

Shoulders, set sloping; elbows well under, neither turned inwards nor outwards. Leg : Fore-arm, muscular, and with great development of bone, the whole leg strong and quite straight. Points, 10.

9. Hind-Quarters

Muscular thighs, and second thigh long and strong, as in the greyhound, and hocks well let down and turning neither in nor out. Points, 10.

10. Feet

Large and round, neither turned inwards nor outwards. Toes, well arched and closed. Nails, very strong and curved. Points, 8.

11. Hair

Very short, hard and dense, and not much longer on the underpart of the tail. Points, 4.

Colour And Markings

The recognised colours are the various shades of grey (commonly termed “blue”), red, black, or pure white, or white with patches of the before-mentioned colours. These colours are sometimes accompanied with markings of a darker tint about the eyes and muzzle, and with a line of the same tint (called a “trace”) along the course of the spine. The above ground colours also appear in the brindles, and are also the ground colours of the mottled specimens. In the whole-coloured specimens, the china or wall eye but rarely appears, and the nose more or less approaches black, according to the prevailing tint of the dog, and the eyes vary in colour also. The mottled specimens have irregular patches or “clouds” upon the above-named ground colours; in some instances the clouds or markings being of two or more tints. With the mottled specimens, the wall or china eye is not uncommon, and the nose is often parti-coloured or wholly flesh-coloured. On the continent the most fashionable and correct colour is considered to be pure white with black patches; and leading judges and admirers there consider the slate coloured or blue patches intermixed with black as most undesirable.


Too heavy a head, too slightly arched frontal bone, and deep “stop” or indentation between the eyes; large ears and hanging flat to the face; short neck; full dewlap; too narrow or too broad a chest; sunken or hollow or quite straight back; bent fore-legs; overbent fetlocks; twisted feet; spreading toes; too heavy and much bent, or too highly carried tail, or with a brush underneath; weak hind-quarters, cow hocks, and a general want of muscle.

Standard Of Points


General appearance………3








Subtotal               47



Tail ……………………4

Fore-quarters …………10

Hind quarters …………10



Size (Height) …………13


Subtotal                        53


Grand total, 100.


Scale of Points for Height divided as follows:

Dog of 30 in., or Bitch of 28 in…………. Points 0

Dog of 31 in., or Bitch of 29 in…………. Points 2

Dog of 33 in., or Bitch of 31 in…………. Points 6

Dog of 34 in., or Bitch of 32 in…………. Points 9

Dog of 35 in., or Bitch of 33 in…………. Points 13

(from “A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland. (Sporting Division)”, by Rawdon Briggs Lee, published 1887.

Read: the first German standard (translated), the first American and the first Danish breed standards, also the current breed Standards (2015).