What Country Can Lay Claim to The Great Dane?
The Great Dane’s origin can be traced as far back as 3000 B.C. Egyptian monuments from that time in history display drawings of large Great Dane Statues, resembling the familiar dog we know today. After that, the knowledge about the breed’s origin is subject to conjecture, theory and some documentation.
In the 16th century, the nobility across Europe began importing very large dogs for a specific role in hunting. Eventually known as Great Danes, these long-limbed dogs descended from crossbreeding English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds. Once in Germany, they were called Deutsche Dogges (German Mastiff). They became a favorite in that country, where these gentle giants were used for hunting large game such as bear, boar and deer. They were bred to be a “catch dog” that took over once the hunting dogs, such as hounds or terriers, cornered the game. The Deutsche Dogges would hold the beast in place until the huntsman could kill it. This was largely before the introduction of firearms as a hunting tool. Once they became the weapon of choice, the need for “catch dogs” was eliminated.
With regard to the name we associate with this very recognizable dog, there’s speculation that the breed’s name was coined by the French naturalist, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon while traveling in Denmark in the early 1700s. When he observed the dog, he assumed it was a native breed of that country and christened the large dog, “le Grande Danois,” or Great Dane. The name stuck. Though I must add that there is a very active group called Great Dane Gnosis, who remain convinced that the Great Dane did originate in Denmark.
Great Dane – From Hunting to Luxury Dog
Once these dogs were no longer needed to hunt, they assumed a new important role in European nobility. Their owners so loved them that they were relegated to another task. These stoic dogs began spending the night, like Great Dane Statues, in the bedchambers of their lords and their children. Their function changed to chamber dogs, helping to protect the sleeping royal children from interlopers who may harm them.
When they were not guarding the family, they lounged around the castle adorned with special collars made from jewels and velvet. Apparently, Great Danes are very good at lounging and are sometimes referred to as lazy.
The Great Dane is Pennsylvania’s State Dog
In modern day, the Great Dane is loved by people all over the world. And for a variety of reasons, it is the State Dog for Pennsylvania. Perhaps there’s a Large Great Dane Statue right in front of the governor’s mansion. If not, you can view a Great Dane Statue, regally standing on-guard right outside the front entrance of Pittsburgh’s pet-friendly Hotel Monaco.
Pennsylvania made the decision to honor the Great Dane for a variety of “whereas” reasons:
- The Great Dane has faithfully and voluntarily performed invaluable physical, psychological and economic service to mankind.
- The Great Dane is prominently depicted in the Governor's reception room painting by Pennsylvania artist Violet Oakley as the "Best Friend" of the founder of this Commonwealth.
- The Great Dane has held a consistent and honored position in many other foreign countries as well as throughout the United States.
- The Great Dane represents both the great hunting and industrial parts of Pennsylvania, having begun as a hunting breed just as Pennsylvania began as a hunting Commonwealth.
And the most important “whereas” . . . The outline of the Great Dane's head resembles the outline of the Commonwealth's boundaries.
The Great Dane is Easily Recognizable
While the Great Dane’s head may resemble the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that’s not a characteristic most people would recognize. It’s the Great Dane’s immense size and powerful muscled physique. While it is one of the “giant” working breeds, the Great Dane seldom appears clumsy walking, running or entangling itself off of the couch. The Great Dane is a courageous dog that is always friendly and dependable. Its physical and mental blend give it the regal appearance revered for many centuries. For this reason, many Great Dane owners want a Large Great Dane Statue, with its noble pose, announcing its presence in their home.