(In alphabetical order)
AKC (GDCA) Breed Standard
The Great Dane combines, in its regal appearance, dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well-formed, smoothly muscled body. It is one of the giant working breeds, but is unique in that its general conformation must be so well balanced that it never appears clumsy, and shall move with a long reach and powerful drive. It is always a unit-the Apollo of dogs. A Great Dane must be spirited, courageous, never timid; always friendly and dependable. This physical and mental combination is the characteristic which gives the Great Dane the majesty possessed by no other breed. It is particularly true of this breed that there is an impression of great masculinity in dogs, as compared to an impression of femininity in bitches. Lack of true Dane breed type, as defined in this standard, is a serious fault.
Size, Proportion, Substance
The male should appear more massive throughout than the bitch, with larger frame and heavier bone. In the ratio between length and height, the Great Dane should be square. In bitches, a somewhat longer body is permissible, providing she is well proportioned to her height. Coarseness or lack of substance are equally undesirable. The male shall not be less than 30 inches at the shoulders, but it is preferable that he be 32 inches or more, providing he is well proportioned to his height. The female shall not be less than 28 inches at the shoulders, but it is preferable that she be 30 inches or more, providing she is well proportioned to her height. Danes under minimum height must be disqualified.
The head shall be rectangular, long, distinguished, expressive, finely chiseled, especially below the eyes. Seen from the side, the Dane’s forehead must be sharply set off from the bridge of the nose, (a strongly pronounced stop). The plane of the skull and the plane of the muzzle must be straight and parallel to one another. The skull plane under and to the inner point of the eye must slope without any bony protuberance in a smooth line to a full square jaw with a deep muzzle (fluttering lips are undesirable). The masculinity of the male is very pronounced in structural appearance of the head. The bitch’s head is more delicately formed. Seen from the top, the skull should have parallel sides and the bridge of the nose should be as broad as possible. The cheek muscles should not be prominent. The length from the tip of the nose to the center of the stop should be equal to the length from the center of the stop to the rear of the slightly developed occiput. The head should be angular from all sides and should have flat planes with dimensions in proportion to the size of the Dane. Whiskers may be trimmed or left natural. Eyes shall be medium size, deep set, and dark, with a lively intelligent expression. The eyelids are almond-shaped and relatively tight, with well developed brows. Haws and mongolian eyes are serious faults. In harlequins, the eyes should be dark; light colored eyes, eyes of different colors and walleyes are permitted but not desirable. Ears shall be high set, medium in size and of moderate thickness, folded forward close to the cheek. The top line of the folded ear should be level with the skull. If cropped, the ear length is in proportion to the size of the head and the ears are carried uniformly erect. Nose shall be black, except in the blue Dane, where it is a dark blue-black. A black spotted nose is permitted on the harlequin; a pink colored nose is not desirable. A split nose is a disqualification. Teeth shall be strong, well developed, clean and with full dentition. The incisors of the lower jaw touch very lightly the bottoms of the inner surface of the upper incisors (scissors bite). An undershot jaw is a very serious fault. Overshot or wry bites are serious faults. Even bites, misaligned or crowded incisors are minor faults.
Neck, Topline, Body
The neck shall be firm, high set, well arched, long and muscular. From the nape, it should gradually broaden and flow smoothly into the withers. The neck underline should be clean. Withers shall slope smoothly into a short level back with a broad loin. The chest shall be broad, deep and well muscled. The forechest should be well developed without a pronounced sternum. The brisket extends to the elbow, with well sprung ribs. The body underline should be tightly muscled with a well-defined tuck-up.
The croup should be broad and very slightly sloping. The tail should be set high and smoothly into the croup, but not quite level with the back, a continuation of the spine. The tail should be broad at the base, tapering uniformly down to the hock joint. At rest, the tail should fall straight. When excited or running, it may curve slightly, but never above the level of the back. A ring or hooked tail is a serious fault. A docked tail is a disqualification.
The forequarters, viewed from the side, shall be strong and muscular. The shoulder blade must be strong and sloping, forming, as near as possible, a right angle in its articulation with the upper arm. A line from the upper tip of the shoulder to the back of the elbow joint should be perpendicular. The ligaments and muscles holding the shoulder blade to the rib cage must be well developed, firm and securely attached to prevent loose shoulders. The shoulder blade and the upper arm should be the same length. The elbow should be one-half the distance from the withers to the ground. The strong pasterns should slope slightly. The feet should be round and compact with well-arched toes, neither toeing in, toeing out, nor rolling to the inside or outside. The nails should be short, strong and as dark as possible, except that they may be lighter in harlequins. Dewclaws may or may not be removed.
The hindquarters shall be strong, broad, muscular and well angulated, with well let down hocks. Seen from the rear, the hock joints appear to be perfectly straight, turned neither toward the inside nor toward the outside. The rear feet should be round and compact, with well-arched toes, neither toeing in nor out. The nails should be short, strong and as dark as possible, except they may be lighter in harlequins. Wolf claws are a serious fault.
The coat shall be short, thick and clean with a smooth glossy appearance.
Color, Markings and Patterns
Brindle–The base color shall be yellow gold and always brindled with strong black cross stripes in a chevron pattern. A black mask is preferred. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears and tail tip. The more intensive the base color and the more distinct and even the brindling, the more preferred will be the color. Too much or too little brindling are equally undesirable. White markings at the chest and toes, black-fronted, dirty colored brindles are not desirable.
Fawn–The color shall be yellow gold with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears and tail tip. The deep yellow gold must always be given the preference. White markings at the chest and toes, black-fronted dirty colored fawns are not desirable.
Blue–The color shall be a pure steel blue. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable.
Black–The color shall be a glossy black. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable.
Harlequin–Base color shall be pure white with black torn patches irregularly and well distributed over the entire body; a pure white neck is preferred. Merle patches are normal. No patch should be so large that it appears to be a blanket.
Eligible, but less desirable, are black hairs showing through the white base coat which give a salt and pepper or dirty appearance.
Mantle–The color shall be black and white with a solid black blanket extending over the body; black skull with white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole white collar is preferred; a white chest; white on part or whole of forelegs and hind legs; white tipped black tail. A small white marking in the blanket is acceptable, as is a break in the white collar.
Any variance in color or markings as described above shall be faulted to the extent of the deviation. Any Great Dane which does not fall within the above color classifications must be disqualified.
The gait denotes strength and power with long, easy strides resulting in no tossing, rolling or bouncing of the topline or body. The backline shall appear level and parallel to the ground. The long reach should strike the ground below the nose while the head is carried forward. The powerful rear drive should be balanced to the reach. As speed increases, there is a natural tendency for the legs to converge toward the centerline of balance beneath the body. There should be no twisting in or out at the elbow or hock joints.
The Great Dane must be spirited, courageous, always friendly and dependable, and never timid or aggressive.
Danes under minimum height.
Split nose. Docked Tail.
Any color other than those described under “Color, Markings and Patterns”
Approved January 11, 2011
Effective March 1, 2011
CKC (Canada) Great Dane Standard
- GENERAL CONFORMATION
General Appearance: The Great Dane combines in its distinguished appearance dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well formed, smoothly-muscled body. he is one of the giant breeds, but is unique in that his general conformation must be so well balanced that he never appears clumsy and is always a unit – the apollo of dogs. He must be spirited and courageous – never timid. He is friendly and dependable. This physical and mental combination is the characteristic which gives the Great Dane the majesty possessed by no other breed. It is particularly true of this breed that there is an impression of great masculinity in dogs as compared to an impression of femininity in bitches. The male should appear more massive throughout than the bitch, with larger frame and heavier bone. In the ratio between length and height, the Great Dane should appear as square as possible. In bitches, a somewhat longer body is permissable.
Faults: Lack of unity; timidity; bitchy dogs; poor musculature; poor bone development; out of condition; rickets; doggy bitches.
Colour and Markings:
- i) Brindle Danes
Base colour ranging from light golden yellow to deep golden yellow always brindled with strong black cross stripes. The more intensive the base colour and the more intensive the brindling, the more attractive will be the colour. Small white marks at the chest and toes are not desirable.
Faults: Brindle with too dark a base colour; silver blue and greyish-blue base colour; dull (faded) brindling; white tail tip.
ii) Fawn Danes:
Golden yellow up to deep golden yellow colour with a deep black mask. the golden deep yellow colour must always be given the preference. Small white spots at the chest and toes are not desirable.
Faults: Yellowish-grey, bluish-yellow, greyish-blue, dirty-yellow colour (drab colour), lack of black mask.
iii) Blue Danes:
The colour must be pure steel blue as far as possible without any tinge of yellow, black or mouse grey.
Faults: Any deviation from a pure steel-blue colouration.
- iv) Black Danes:
Faults: Yellow black, brown black or blue-black. White markings, such as stripes on the chest, speckeled chest and markings on the paws are permitted but not desirable.
- v) Harlequin Danes:
Base colour pure white with black torn patches irregularly and well distributed over the entire body; pure white neck preferred. The black patches should never be large enough to give the appearance of a blanket or so small as to give a stippled or dappled effect. (Eligible but less desirable are a few grey spots, also pointings where instead of a pure white base with black spots there is a white base with single black hairs showing through which tend to give a salt and pepper or dirty effect).
Faults: White base colour with a few large spots; bluish grey pointed background.
- vi) Boston or Black-Mantled Danes:
A black and white dog witha black mantle extending over the body; white blaze or muzzle or both; white chest; white on part or whole of forelegs and hindlegs; part or whole white collar; white tipped tail; dark eyes; dark nose. Acceptable but less desirable – lack of collar.
Faults: Any variation detracting from the general appearance.
Size The male should not be less than 30 inches at the shoulder, but it is preferable that he be 32 inches or more, providing he is well proportioned to his height. The female should not be less than 28 inches at the shoulders, but it is preferable that she be 30 inches or more, providing she is well proportioned to her height.
Substance Substance is that sufficiency of bone and muscle which rounds out a balance with the frame.
Faults: Lightweight whippety Danes; coarse, ungainly proportioned Danes; always there should be a balance.
Condition of Coat The coat should be very short and thick, smooth and glossy.
Faults: Excessively long hair (stand-off coat); dull hair (indicating malnutrition, worms and negligent care).
Gait Long easy, springy stride with no tossing or rolling of the body. The back line should move smoothly, parallel to the ground. The gait of the Great Dane should denote strength and power. The rear legs should have drive. The forelegs should track smoothly and straight. The Dane should track in two parallel lines.
Faults: Short steps. The rear quarters should not pitch. The forelegs should not have a hackney gait (forced or choppy stride). When moving rapidly the Great Dane should not pace for the reason that it causes excessive side-to-side rolling of the body and thus reduces endurance.
Rear End (croup, legs, paws) The croup must be full, slightly drooping and must continue imperceptibly to the tail root. Hind legs, the first thighs (from hip joint to knee) are broad and muscular. The second thighs (from knee to hock joint) are strong and long. Seen from the side, the angulation of the first thigh with the body, of the second thigh with the first thigh, and the pastern root with the second thigh should be very moderate, neither too straight nor too exaggerated. Seen from the rear, the hock joints appeaer to be perfectly straight, turned neither towards the inside nor towards the outside. Paws, round and turned neither towards the inside nor the outside. Toes short, highly arched and well closed. Nails short, strong and as dark as possible.
Faults: A croup which is too straight; a croup which slopes downward too steeply; and too narrow a croup. Hind legs: soft, flabby, poorly muscled thighs; cowhocks which are the result of the hock joint turning inward and the hock and rear paws turning outward; barrel legs, the result of the hock joints being too far apart; steep rear. As seen from the side, a steep rear is the result of the angles of the rear legs forming almost a straight line; over angulation is the rsult of exaggerated angles between the first and second thighs and the hocks and is very conducive to weakness. The rear legs should never bee too long in proportion to the front legs. Spreading toes (splay foot); bent, long toes (rabbit paws); toes turned towards the outside or towards the inside. Furthermore, the fifth toe on the hind legs appearing at a higher position and with wolf’s claw or spur; excessively long nails; light coloured nails.
Front End (shoulders, legs, paws) Shoulders:
The shoulder blades must be strong and sloping and seen from the side, must form as nearly as possible a right angle in its articulation with the humerus (upper arm) to give a long stride. A line from the upper tip of the shoulder to the back of the elbow joint should be as nearly perpendicular as possible. Since all dogs lack a clavicle (collar bone) the ligaments and muscles holding the shoulder blade to the rib cage must be well developed, firm and secure to prevent loose shoulders.
Faults: Steep shoulders, which occur if the shoulder blade does not slope sufficiently; over angulation; loose shoulders which occur if the Dane is flabbily muscled, or if the elbow is turned toward the outside; loaded shoulders.
The upper arm should be strong and muscular. Seen from the side or front the strong lower arms run absolutely straight to the pastern joints. Seen from the front, the forelegs and the pastern roots should form perpendicular lines to the ground. Seen from the side, the pastern root should slope only very slightly forward.
Faults: Elbows turned toward the inside or toward the outside, the former position caused mostly by too narrow or too shallow a chest, bringing the front legs too closely together and at the same time turning the entire lower part of the leg outward; the latter position causes the front legs to spread too far apart, with the pastern roots and paws usually turned inwards. Seen from the side, a considerable bend in the pastern toward the front indicates weakness and is in most cases connected with the stretched and spread toes (splay foot); seen from the side a forward bow in the forearm (chair leg); an excessively knotty bulge in the front of the pastern joint.
Round and turned neither toward the inside nor toward the outside. Toes short, highly arched and well closed. Nails short, strong and as dark as possible.
Faults: Spreading toes (splay foot), bent, long toes (rabbit paws); toes turned toward the outside or toward the inside; light-coloured nails.
Head Conformation Long, narrow, distinguished, expressive, finely chiselled, especially the part below the eyes (which means that the skull plane under and to the inner point of the eye must slope without any boney protruberances in a pleasing line to the full square jaw), with strongly pronounced stop. The masculinity of the male is very pronounced in the expression and structure of the head (this subtle difference should be evident in the dog’s head through massive skull and depth of muzzle); the bitch’s head may be more delicately formed. Seen from the side, the forehead must be sharply set off from the bridge of the nose. The forehead and the bridge of the nose must be straight and parallel to one another. Seen from the front, the head should appear narrow, the bridge of the nose should be as broad as possible. The cheek muscles must show slightly but under no circumstances should they be too pronounced (cheeky). The muzzle part must have full flews and must be as blunt vertically as possible in front; the angles of the lip must be quite pronounced. The front part of the head, from the tip of the nose up to the centre of the stop should be as long as the rear part of the head from the centre of the stop to the only slightly developed occiput. The head should be angular from all sides and should have definite flat planes and its dimensions should be absolutely in proportion to the general appearance of the Dane.
Faults: Any deviation from the parallel planes of the skull and foreface; too small a stop; a poorly defined stop or none at all; too narrow a nose bridge; the rear of thead spreading laterally in a wedgelike manner (wedge head); an excessively round upper head (apple head); excessively pronounced cheek musculature; pointed muzzle; loose lips hanging over the lower jaw (fluttering lips) which create the illusion of a full deep muzzle. The head should be rather shorter and distinguished than long and expressionless.
Teeth Strong, well developed and clean. The incisors of the lower jaw must touch very lightly the bottoms of the inner surface of the upper incisors (scissors bite). If the front teeth of both jaws bit on top of each other, they wear down too rapidly.
Faults: Even bite, undershot and overshot; incisors out of line; black or brown teeth; missing teeth.
Eyes Medium size, as dark as possible, with lively intelligent expression; almond shaped eyelids, well developed eyebrows.
Faults: Light coloured, piercing, amber coloured; light blue to a watery blue, red or bleary eyes; eyes of different colours, eyes too far apart, mongolian eyes, eyes with pronounced haws; eyes with excessively drooping eyelids. In blue and black Danes, lighter eyes are permitted but are not desirable. In harlequins, the eyes should be dark. Light-coloured eyes, two eyes of different colour and walleyes are permitted but are not desirable.
Nose The nose must be large and in the case of brindled and single coloured Danes, it must always be black. In harlequins, the nose should be black; a black spotted nose is permitted; a pink-coloured nose is not desirable.
Ears Ears should be high, set not too far apart, medium in size, of moderate thickness, drooping forward close to the cheek. Top line of folded ear should be about level with the skull. Cropped ears; high set, not set too far apart; well pointed but always in proportion to the shape of the head and carried uniformly erect.
Faults: Hanging on the side, as on a Foxhound.
Neck The neck should be firm and clean, high set, well arched, long, muscular and sinewy. From the chest to the head it should be slightly tapering, beautifully formed, with well developed nape.
Faults: Short, heavy neck, pendulous throat folds (dewlaps)
Loin and Back The withers form the highest part of the back which slopes downeard slightly forward toward the loins, which are imperceptibly arched and strong. The back should be short and tensely set. The belly should be well shaped and tightly muscled, and, with the rear part of the thorax, should swing in a pleasing curve (tuckup).
Faults: Receding back; sway back; camel or roach back; a back line which is too high at the rear, and an excessively long back; poor tuck up.
Chest Chest deals with that part of the thorax (rib-cage) in front of the shoulders and front legs. The chest should be quite broad, deep and well-muscled.
Faults: A narrow and poorly muscled chest; strong protruding sternum (pigeon breast).
Ribs and Brisket Deals with that part of the thorax back of the shoulders and front legs. Should be broad, witht he ribs sprung well out from the spine and flattened at the side to allow proper movement of the shoulders extending down to the elbow joint.
Faults: Narrow (slab-sided) rib cage; round (barrel) rib cage; shallow rib cage not reaching the elbow joint.
Should start high and fairly broad, terminating slender and thin at the hock joint. At rest, the tail should fall straight. When excited or running, slightly curved (sabrelike).
Faults: A too high or too low set tail (the tail set is governed by the slope of the croup); too long or too short a tail; tail bent too far over the back (ring tail); a t ail which is curled; a twisted tail (sideways); a tail carried too high over the back (gay tail); a brush tail (hair too long on lower side). Cropping tails to desired length is forbidden.
- FAULTS OF THE GREAT DANE
Note: The non-disqualifying faults below are important according to their groupings (very serious, serious, minor) and not according to their sequence as placed in each grouping.
– Deaf Danes
– Danes under minimum height
– Spayed bitches
– Without visible scrotum
– White Danes without any black marks (albinos)
– Danes with a predominantly blue, grey, yellow or also brindled spots
– Docked tails
– Split noses- Merles (a solid mouse-gray colour or a mouse-gray base with black or white or both colour spots or white base with mouse-gray spots)
– Harlequins and solid-coloured Danes (except Boston or black mantled) in which a large spot extends coat-like over the entire body so that only the legs, neck and the point of the tail are white
– Brindle, Fawn and Blue Danes with white forehead line, white collars, high white stockings and white bellies.
– Lack of unity
– Poor Bone Development
– Poor Musculature
– Lightweight, whippety Danes
– Bitchy Dog- Sway back
– Roach back
– Pitching gait
– Short steps
– Undershot teeth
– Out of condition
– Any deviation from the standard on all colouration
– Deviation from parallel planes of skull and foreface
– Poorly defined stop
– Narrow nose bridge
– Snipey muzzle
– Any colour but dark eyes in fawns and brindles
– Mongolian eyes
– Missing teeth
– Overshot teeth
– Heavy neck or short neck
– Hackney gait
– Narrow chest
– Narrow rib cage
– Round rib cage
– Shallow rib cage
– Loose shoulders- Steep shoulders
– Elbows turned inwards
– Chair legs (Front)
– Knotty bulge in pastern joint (adult dog)
– Weak pastern roots
– Receding back
– Too long a back
– Back high in rear
– In harlequin, a pink nose
– Poor tuck-up (except in bitches that have been bred)
– Too straight, sloping, or narrow croup
– Steep rear
– Paws turned inward
– Rabbit paws
– Wolf’s claw
– Barrel legs
– Poorly muscled thighs
– Too long rear legs
– Doggy Bitches
– Small white marks on chest and toes – blues blacks, brindles and fawns
– Few gray spots and pointings on harlequins
– White tipped tail except in harlequins and Boston/black mantled Danes
– Excessively long hair
– Excessively dull hair
– Apple head
– Small stop
– Fluttering lips
– Eyes too far apart
– Drooping lower eyelids
– Any colour but dark eyes in blacks, blues and harlequins- Discoloured teeth
– Even bite
– Pigeon breast
– Loaded shoulders
– Elbows turned outwards
– Paws turned inward
– Splay foot
– Excessively long toe nails
– Light nails (except harlequins)
– Low-set tail
– Too long a tail
– Too short a tail
– Gay tail
– Curled tail
– Twisted tail
– Brush tail
FCI (DDC) Breed Standard
FCI-Standard N° 235
This illustration does not necessarily show the ideal example of the breed.
TRANSLATION: Mrs. C. Seidler, revised by Mrs R. Sporre-Willes, E. Peper and C. Bailey / Official version DE.
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE OFFICIAL VALID STANDARD: 08.10.2012.
UTILIZATION: Companion, watch- and guard dog.
FCI-CLASSIFICATION: Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer –
Molossoid breeds – Swiss
Mountain and Cattle
Section 2.1 Molossoid breeds,
Without working trial.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: As forerunners of the present day Great Dane, one must look at the old “Bullenbeisser” (Bulldog) as well as the « Hatz-and Saurüden » (Hunting and wild boar hounds), which were midway between the strong Mastiff of English type and the fast, handy Greyhound. The term Dogge was at first understood to mean a large, powerful dog, not of any particular breed. Later, particular names such as Ulmer Dogge, English Dogge, Great Dane, Hatzrüde (Hunting Dog), Saupacker (boarfinder) and Grosse Dogge (Great Dogge), classified these dogs according to colour and size.
In the year 1878 a Committee of seven was formed in Berlin, consisting of active breeders and judges with Dr. Bodinus in the chair, which made the decision to classify all the forenamed varieties as “Deutsche Doggen” (Great Danes). Thus the foundation was laid for the breeding of a separate German breed.
In the year 1880, on the occasion of a show in Berlin, the first standard for the Deutsche Dogge was laid down.
This standard has been taken care of since the year 1888 by the “Deutsche Doggen Club 1888 e.V.” (German Doggen Club, registered Club 1888) and frequently been revised over the years. The present Standard meets the requirements of the F.C.I.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Great Dane in his noble appearance combines a large, powerful well constructed body with pride, strength and elegance. By substance together with nobility, harmonious appearance, well proportioned outlines, as well as an especially expressive head, the Great Dane strikes the onlooker as a noble statue, never coarse or with refined elegance. Perfect in balance and always with clearly defined sexual dimorphism. He is the Apollo amongst all breeds.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: Almost square in build, this applies particularly to males. Females can be a little longer in body.
BEHAVIOUR/TEMPERAMENT: Friendly, loving and devoted to his owners. Might be reserved towards strangers, but required is a confident, fearless, easily tractable, docile companion and family dog with high resistance to provocation and without aggression.
HEAD: In harmony with the general appearance. Long, narrow, distinct and expressive. Never wedge shaped. Finely chiselled, especially under the eyes. The distance from tip of nose to stop and from stop to the slightly defined occipital bone should be as equal as possible. The upper lines of muzzle and skull should definitely run parallel. The head must appear narrow seen from the front with bridge of nose as broad as possible.
Skull: Superciliary ridges well developed but not protruding.
Stop: Clearly defined.
Nose: Well developed, more broad than round with large nostrils. Must be black with the exception of harlequins (white with black patches). In these a black nose is desired but a butterfly nose (black with pink patches) or flesh coloured nose is tolerated. In blue dogs the colour of the nose is anthracite (diluted black).
Muzzle: Deep and as rectangular as possible. Bridge of nose must never be concave (dish shaped), convex (roman nose) or falling away in front part (eagle nose).
Lips: Well defined corners of lips. Lips neither lacking flews nor being too pendulous or rolled in. Dark pigmented lips. In harlequins not totally pigmented or flesh coloured lips are tolerated.
Jaws/Teeth: Well developed broad jaws. Strong sound and complete scissor bite (42 teeth according to the dentition formula). Any deviation from a complete scissors bite (except for PM1s in lower jaw) is highly undesirable.
Cheeks: Cheek muscles only slightly defined and in no way protruding.
Eyes: Of medium size with lively friendly intelligent expression. Almond shaped with close fitting lids. Eyes not set too wide apart or slit eyes. As dark as possible, light piercing or amber coloured eyes are undesirable. Although in blue dogs slightly lighter eyes are tolerated. In harlequins pale (ice blue) eyes or two differently coloured eyes are to be tolerated.
Ears: Naturally pendant set on high, but not lifted above skull or hanging low. Medium sized. Front edges lying close to cheeks but neither hanging flat nor standing off from sides of head.
NECK: Long, clean, muscular and never short or thick. Well formed set on, tapering slightly towards the head, with arched neckline. Carried upright but inclined slightly forward, but no ewe neck. Throatiness or dewlap is highly undesirable.
Withers: The highest point of the strong body. It is formed by the points of the shoulder blades which extend beyond the spinal processes.
Back: Short and firm, in almost straight line falling away imperceptibly to the rear. Back never to be long or with top line rising towards the rear.
Loin: Slightly arched, broad, strongly muscled.
Croup: Broad, well muscled. Sloping slightly from hipbone to tail set, imperceptibly merging into the tail set. Croup must never fall away steeply or be completely flat.
Chest: Reaching to the elbows. Well sprung ribs, reaching far back. Ribs must never be barrel shaped or flat. Chest of good width and depth and must never look flat sided or shallow. Well marked fore-chest, although breastbone must not be too strongly pronounced.
Underline and belly: Belly well tucked up towards rear, forming a nicely curved line with the underside of the brisket. It is not desirable that females retain a slack belly line after maternal duties.
TAIL: Reaching to the hocks, must not be too long or too short. Set on high and broad, neither too high nor too low. Not too thick, tapering evenly towards tip. In repose tail is hanging down with natural curve. When the dog is alert or moving the tail is carried slightly sabre-like but not markedly above the backline, must never be carried above the back line. Hook tail or curled tail as well as a tail carried sideways are highly undesirable. Bristle hair on tail undesirable.
General appearance: Must be sufficiently angulated and with strong bone and muscles.
Shoulder: Strongly muscled. The long, slanting shoulder blade forms an angle of 100 to 110 degrees with the upper arm.
Upper arm: Strong and muscular, close fitting should be slightly longer than the shoulder blade.
Elbow: Turned neither in nor out.
Forearm: Strong, muscular. Seen from front and side, completely straight with vertical stance.
Carpus (Wrist): Strong, firm, only slightly standing out from the structure of the forearm.
Metacarpus (Pastern): Strong, straight when seen from the front, seen from the side, barely slanting forwards.
Forefeet: Rounded, well arched, well-knit toes (cat feet). Nails short, strong and as dark as possible.
General appearance: The whole skeleton is covered by strong muscles which make the croup, hips and upper thighs appear broad and rounded. The strong well angulated hind legs, viewed from behind, are parallel to the front legs.
Thigh: Long, broad, very muscular.
Stifle (Knee): Strong, positioned almost vertically under the hip joint.
Lower thigh: Long, of approximately the same length as the upper thigh. Well muscled.
Hock joint: Strong, firm, turning neither in nor out.
Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Short, strong, standing almost vertical to the ground.
Hind feet: Rounded, well arched, well-knit (cat feet). Nails short, strong and as dark as possible.
GAIT / MOVEMENT: Harmonious, lithe, covering a lot of ground, slightly springy. Never with a short stride or pacing. Legs must be parallel in movement, both coming and going and always well co-ordinated between front and rear.
SKIN: Tight fitting. In solid colours, well pigmented. In harlequins, the distribution of pigment mainly corresponds to the markings.
Hair: Very short, dense, smooth and close lying, glossy. Must never be coarse, dull or a double coat.
Colour: The Great Dane is bred in three separate colour varieties: Fawn and brindle, harlequin and black, and blue.
Fawn: Light gold fawn to deep gold fawn. Black mask desired. Never to be grey fawn, blue fawn or a sooty fawn colour No white markings.
Brindle: Basic colour, light to deep gold fawn with black stripes as regular and clearly defined as possible, running with the direction of the ribs. Black mask desired. Never with washed-out streaks. No white markings.
Harlequin (white with black splashed patches): Basic colour pure white, preferably with no ticking. Pure black patches well distributed all over the body, having the appearance of being torn. Grey or brownish patches or nuances of those colours in the black are undesirable as well as blue-grey ticking in the white. So called “Grautiger” occur, they are neither desirable nor to be disqualified.
Black: Jet black, white markings on chest and feet permitted. Included here are “Manteltiger” in which the black covers the body like a coat (“mantel”) or blanket and muzzle, throat, chest, belly, legs and tip of tail may be white. Also dogs with basic white colour and large black patches so called “Plattenhunde”. The black colour must never have nuances of fawn or brown or bluish black colour.
Blue: Pure steel blue, white markings on chest and feet permitted. Never with a fawn nuance or blackish blue colour.
SIZE AND WEIGHT:
Height at the withers:
Males: at least 80 cms, should not exceed 90 cms.
Females: at least 72 cms, should not exceed 84 cms.
FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
· Insufficient stop.
· Rolled in lip (the lower lip is pinched between the incisives of upper and lower jaw).
· Irregular position of individual incisors as long as the bite remains correct, teeth too small. Partial pincer bite.
· Eyes protruding or too deeply set.
· Shoulders that are loose or loaded or with upright shoulder blades.
· Elbows lose.
· Carpus bent, enlarged, or knuckling over.
· Pasterns which are markedly weak, too sloping or too upright.
· Hindquarters with too much or too little angulations.
· Hock joints that are open, enlarged or unstable.
· Cow hocked as well as rear pasterns too close together. Dewclaws.
· Feet splayed or long.
· Lacking self-confidence, shy, nervous.
· Apple head and too prominent cheek muscles.
· Slack eye lids and showing red haw.
· Sway back or roach back.
· Croup sloping too much.
· Constant pacing.
· Tail which is damaged thickened at the tip or which has been docked.
· Aggressive or overly shy dogs.
· Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
· Fear-biting, easily provoked.
· Liver coloured or split nose.
· Bite that is overshot, undershot or a wry mouth, pincer bite,
missing teeth apart from two P1 in the lower jaw.
· Ectropion, entropion or macroblepharia.
· Wall eyes or differently coloured eyes in all solid colours, except
· Tail with kink (i.e. deformed vertebrae).
· Silver blue or isabella colour in fawns and brindles.
· Fawn, brindle or blue dogs with white as blaze, collar, socks or on
tip of tail.
· Miscoloured harlequins: brindle or blue patches (‘porcelain tiger’), white with fawn.
· Albino, i.e. no pigmentation.
· Below minimum height.
N.B: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
TKC (British) Breed Standard
Last updated July 2008
A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.
Very muscular, strongly though elegantly built, with look of dash and daring, of being ready to go anywhere and do anything. Head and neck carried high, tail in line with back, or slightly upwards, but never curled over hindquarters. Elegance of outline and grace of form most essential.
Alert expression, powerful, majestic action displaying dignity.
Kindly without nervousness, friendly and outgoing.
Head and Skull
Head, taken altogether, gives idea of great length and strength of jaw. Muzzle broad, skull proportionately narrow, so that whole head when viewed from above and in front, has appearance of equal breadth throughout. Length of head in proportion to height of dog. Length from nose to point between eyes about equal or preferably of greater length than from this point to back of occiput. Skull flat, slight indentation running up centre, occipital peak not prominent. Decided rise or brow over the eyes but not abrupt stop between them; face well chiselled, well filled in below eyes with no appearance of being pinched: foreface long, of equal depth throughout. Cheeks showing as little lumpiness as possible, compatible with strength. Underline of head, viewed in profile, runs almost in a straight line from corner of lip to corner of jawbone, allowing for fold of lip, but with no loose skin hanging down. Bridge of nose very wide, with slight ridge where cartilage joins bone (this is a characteristic of breed). Nostrils large, wide and open, giving blunt look to nose. Lips hang squarely in front, forming right angle with upper line of foreface.
Fairly deep set, not giving the appearance of being round, of medium size and preferably dark. Wall, or odd eyes permissible in harlequins.
Triangular, medium size, set high on skull and folded forward, not pendulous.
Teeth level. Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Neck long, well arched, quite clean and free from loose skin, held well up, well set in shoulders, junction of head and neck well defined.
Shoulders muscular, not loaded, well sloped back, with elbows well under body. Forelegs perfectly straight with big flat bone.
Very deep, brisket reaching elbow, ribs well sprung, belly well drawn up. Back and loins strong, latter slightly arched.
Extremely muscular, giving strength and galloping power. Second thigh long and well developed, good turn of stifle, hocks set low, turning neither in nor out.
Cat-like, turning neither in nor out. Toes well arched and close, nails strong and curved. Nails preferably dark in all coat colours, except harlequins, where light are permissible.
Thick at the root, tapering towards end, reaching to or just below hocks. Carried in straight line level with back, when dog is moving, slightly curved towards end, but never curling or carried over back.
Action lithe, springy and free, covering ground well. Hocks move freely with driving action, head carried high.
Short dense and sleek-looking, never inclined to roughness.
Brindles: must be striped, ground colour from lightest buff to deepest orange, stripes always black, eyes and nails preferably dark, dark shadings on head and ears acceptable.
Fawns: colour varies from lightest buff to deepest orange, dark shadings on head and ears acceptable, eyes and nails preferably dark.
Blues: colour varies from light grey to deep slate, the nose and eyes may be blue.
- a) Black is black.
In all above colours white is only permissible on chest and feet, but it is not desirable even there. Nose always black, except in blues and harlequins. Eyes and nails preferably dark.
- b) Mantle: Black and white with a solid, black blanket extending over the body. Ideally – black skull with white muzzle, white blaze optional, whole white collar preferred, a white chest, white on part or whole of the forelegs and hindlegs, white tipped black tail. Nose always black, eyes and nails preferably dark
Harlequins: pure white underground with preferably all black patches or all blue patches, having appearance of being torn. Light nails permissible. In harlequins, wall eyes, pink noses, or butterfly noses permissible but not desirable.
Minimum height of an adult dog over eighteen months: 76 cms (30 ins); bitches: 71 cms (28 ins). Weight, minimum weight over eighteen months: dogs: 54 kgs (120 lbs); bitches: 46 kgs (100 lbs).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
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