The Great Dane Standard



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.


Forequarters
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. 

Hindquarters
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.

Coat
The coat shall be short, thick and clean with a smooth glossy appearance.

Color, Markings, 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.

Merle--
Color: A pale gray to dark gray merle base color with black torn patches within.
Patterns/Markings: May be Solid Merle (white on chest and toes is permissible) or Merle with a Mantle
Pattern (solid merle blanket extending over the body; merle skull with a white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole or partial white neck; a white chest; white on whole or part of the forelegs and hind legs; white tipped merle tail. A small white break in the blanket is acceptable. (Black pigment may be seen on the skin in white areas.) Disqualification: Merlequin, a white dog with ONLY patches of merle.

Faults of Patterns/Markings shall NOT carry as much weight as faults of conformation and breed type.
Any variance in Patterns/Markings as described in the above colors, shall be faulted to the extent of the
deviation. Any COLOR other than the seven described shall be disqualified.


Gait
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.

Temperament
The Great Dane must be spirited, courageous, always friendly and dependable, and never timid or aggressive.

Disqualifications
Danes under minimum height.
Split nose.
Docked Tail.
Any color other than those described under "Color, Markings and Patterns".

Meetups

In addition to our annual specialty shows each September, the Great Dane Club of Des Moines participates in outings and community events. We've had meetups at the Farmers Markets in Downtown Des Moines & Valley Junction, Meet the Breed events at Brown Dog Bakery,  Fourth of July Picnic & Fireworks, and outings to Snookie's Malt Shop.  You can find out more information about upcoming events on the Des Moines Great Dane Meetup Group.  Don't forget to keep an eye on our Facebook page, and the events page of this website for more information as well!

You Might Be A Great Dane Owner If...

  • ...you tell your dog to sit, and he backs up until he finds a chair!
  • ...you walk your dog and everyone knows him by name, but you have no idea who these people are.
  • ...you carry a tape measure with you when shopping for a new vehicle.
  • ...you keep at least one color-coded "drool towel" in every room of your house!
  • ...you could easily retire if you had a dollar for every time you've been asked about a saddle *facepalm*
  • ...you vacuum out your car, and most of the dog hair is on the ceiling
  • ...the donuts you put on top of the refrigerator are gone when you get home, and your dog has powdered sugar on his nose (oops).
  • ...the monthly dog budget exceeds your mortgage payment.
  • ...the pizza delivery guy tells you to meet him at the end of the sidewalk.
  • ...your UPS and FedEx drivers have learned the art of tiptoeing to your door!
  • ...you rate slingers on a 1-10 scale, judging by distance, velocity, and length.