Courtesy - The Great Dane (S William Haas, 2004)

HISTORY OF THE NAME: Before the Great Dane inherited the name that is widely recognised and accepted around the world today, it was called many different things. Such names as Boarhound, German Mastiff, German Boarhound, English Dogge, Ulmer Doggen and Deutsche Dogge were common in countries worldwide.

HISTORY OF THE BREED: The mighty and powerful Great Dane was not always the 'gentle giant' we know and love today, in fact the breed was often depicted as an aggressive hunter and fighter, that was terribly feared because of its harsh temperament and combatative nature, historically dane like dogs have been shown in many historical ancient battle scenes.  Fortunately, through excellent breeding programmes and dedicated lovers of the breed, the Great Dane has transformed over the years into a friendly and loving working dog that is suitable for families around the world.

Reports indicated that a dog resembling the Great Dane might have existed over 2000 years ago, and it is often suggested that dogs similar to Great Danes belonged to one of the tribes of Asia called the Assyrians, this dogs was used for hunting of wild boar and other large game.  Other accounts indicate that the Great Dane may have originated from a Mastiff-like dog that was present in England during the 1500s.  The Greeks, Romans and Persians also kept these Mastiff-like dogs.  Like those of many other breeds, the Great Dane's origin is not entirely clear.  There is no formal documentation that can definitively state its origins and development.

We can however, be certain that the Great Dane we know and love today was first developed and flourished in Germany.  Throughout history, many influential dogs can be traced from German descent and today many winning pedigrees world wide are still from German-bred stock.

Although the Great Dane was originally bred for hunting and fighting, it was mainly kept as a showpiece for Europe's ruling classes.  At this time the Great Dane was valued for its tremendous build, power, boldness and endurance.  And today, the Great Dane still possess many of these same qualities.

The popularity of the Great Dane significantly increased throughout Germany when Prince Otto von Bismarck began housing many as his own personal pets.  The breed first arriving in the German show ring in 1863.  It was not until the late 1800's that the breed began migrating to other countries.

THE GREAT DANE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM: The Great Danes popularity in England was at first slow, but this would change as the years went by.  Originally, the Great Dane was referred to as the German Boarhound and was considered to be a sporting dog, in 1894 the name was changed to Great Dane in the English Stud Book.  The first breed classes began at the Alexandra Palace show in January 1879.  The breed would eventually begin to grow in popularity, and in 1883 the Great Dane Club was formed, the club was headed by Mr Petrzywalski, whose Great Dane Ch Sultan II became the first champion in the breed in 1884.  In the United Kingdom many breeders developed reputable breeding programmes that had a great influence on the breed.  Violet Horsfall and her Redgraves kennel was one of the most influential.  Many people consider Hosfall to be the pioneer breeder of the modern Great Dane in England.

TODAY: The Great Dane continues to be alive and well in the UK, the devotion towards the breed is strong and many kennels have made names for themselves in the breed, many I am privileged to say I have met and show alongside of, these include.  Yacanto, Garsak, Endroma, Selmalda, Danemoor, Dihnatron and Dornoir to name but a few.

I would personally like to thank the breeders of Danemoor Danes for helping me on my way, and giving me such a good start with our girl Phoebe, sired by Danemoor Going for Gold, (aka Brad).