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not mastiffs

well, no surprise there…

Look what the DNA is telling us:

According to the Genetic Structure of the Purebred Domestic Dog analysis (which you can read here) the Great Dane is not a mastiff-type breed!



Instead, the Great Dane is (surprise, surprise) a Hunting breed. You can see the structure analysis figure (it’s a cool graphic) here and the Canine Genome paper, where it’s included,  here.

There is another very cool large size infographic here where you can see where the Great Dane is situated among the dog breeds; the graphic is from the largest genome-wide study to date, which you can read about here; you can also read about the History and Relationships of Dog Breeds, with more graphics that include our breed  here

And you will notice something – the Great Dane is nowhere near the mastiff breeds: not surprising, for some of us, I guess. We already knew this – from the old standards, that said:  neither a mastiff nor a greyhound but in the middle between the two extremes.

Now, these studies didn’t come out yesterday – the UCLA study is from 2010, the Canine Genome was published in 2005 and the History and Relationships of Dog Breeds in 2004. More than ten years ago.

Look where the mastiffs are, in the pie chart – on the right
and look where the sighthounds are, on the left:


Phylogeny 3

and look where the Great Dane is. Smack in the middle.

Neither a mastiff nor a sighthound but in the middle between the two. 
So I drew these lines to show you, on the chart, ’cause it’s such a cool way to visualize it.

Now, since we have this scientific information for quite some years now, and the DNA has revealed to us, unequivocally, where our breed is, among all the others, isn’t it about time the FCI classification was revised accordingly ? Isn’t it about time to correct this error ? The DNA doesn’t lie !

So, no excuses no more: we know, for certain, as we have it from a good source – the best – from the dogs’ own DNA, that the Great Dane is NOT a Mastiff. We have it from numerous scientific studies, and is unquestionable and irrefutable. It’s a fact, folks!

The FCI classification of the Great Dane breed among the mastiffs in the Group II, is incorrect. Our breed is not related to them, morphologically, historically or genetically. The FCI classification is supposed to group related breeds together. Related by morphology (type), use and genetic heritage. Since the evidence has been published for a good number of years now, and science shows this classification is wrong, the obvious thing to do is to change it. As new evidence comes along, we should revise and correct past mistakes. We are supposed to accept the scientific evidence and facts. We are supposed to tell the truth.

The genetic analysis conducted in numerous studies, peer-reviewed, repeated and cross-checked numerous times beyond doubt, has concluded that our breed is not a mastiff. Therefore including it in the mastiff sub-group is wrong. The scientific evidence confirms what the original breed standards were telling us all along – to those that cared enough to study them , at least.

I’m surprised that the evidence and the research has gone unnoticed so far, or so it seems, by the FCI. But this error is costly to our breed – the Great Dane is suffering a lot of damage because of this mistake. So the earlier it is redressed, the better. I’m sure the standards commission and the scientific commission will rectify this error as soon as possible.

Let’s see now…